Gear Check: Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2

Keith Iskiw tested the Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2 on the rugged hills and coast mountain trails on Southern Vancouver Island, which provide gnarly, single-track trails with surfaces that are often bedrock, dirt as well as loose rock (baby heads), roots, mud and sometimes scree or shale.

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Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2

Type: Trail

Drop: 9 mm

Weight: 9.2 oz (M) 7.8 oz (W)

Arc’teryx is best known for their bomb proof outdoor gear built for alpinists and skiers. They are an industry leader in this category. But what happens when they put their talents into making a trail shoe? I tested the Novan LD2 to find out. 

First impressions out of the box were that they are lightweight with moderate traction and offer decent overall cushioning which seems in line with the fact that these are marketed as a long-distance trail shoe. The uppers are minimalist with little to no overlay to be seen. I did like the lace garage that allows you to tuck away the knot. 

Having run well over 100km in these shoes over the past few weeks I can say that Arc’teryx did an excellent job overall.

Traction was excellent on most surfaces with the exception of really muddy conditions which I attest to the lugs being a bit shallow. However, that did increase the enjoyability of the transition to firmer trails and an occasional road crossing.

The uppers were, as I expected, very breathable but I wasn’t as impressed with its ability to clear out water and dry quickly when they did get submerged. In my opinion, I think there is some work to be done on that front. 

Now keeping in mind that they marketed these as a “long-distance” shoe I found the lightweight and moderate stiffness (boasts a 0.7mm rock plate) made for sore feet once I moved into the upper teens even on relatively sure-footed trails. This might be different for those who prefer a more lightweight shoe even at longer distances. 

Overall I was happy with the fit, durability and traction of these trail shoes from a relative newcomer to the party. I think there is plenty more work to be done and if Arc’teryx has shown us in their other endeavours we will no doubt see the evolution of this brand’s efforts and will no doubt become a household name when it comes to trail shoes. 

https://arcteryx.com/ca/en/shop/mens/norvan-ld-2-shoe 180$ CDN or $160USD.