The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky Trail Running Shoes review: put a spring in your step

With superior lockdown, breathable mesh uppers and a light, rocker sole, these shoes are designed with speed in mind

The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky Trail Running Shoes
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Advnture Verdict

These trail running shoes help you move quickly over rough ground and offer good protection and stability, but aren’t quite tough enough for muddy trails and steep, ultra technical terrain


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    Lightweight and breathable

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    Rockered midsole with carbon fiber plate offer good rebound and stability

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    Secure, sock-like fit with braided laces

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    Good protection for toes and heels


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    Lugs aren’t deep enough for mud or highly technical terrain

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    Midfoot may be too narrow for some

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The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky Trail Running Shoes: first impressions

These trail running shoes are built for people who don’t want to slow down just because they’re crossing uneven terrain. A thick, but light foam rocker sole is enhanced by the addition of a carbon plate, which ensures stability when the going gets rough and helps to propel you forward with every step. The cushioning isn’t exactly maximalist plush, but offers plenty of protection from the ground underfoot. A sock-like fit and secure lacing system means you can really lock your heel down, and braided laces stay put over long runs.


• List price: $199 / £180
Gender specification: Men’s and women’s available
Sizes: Men’s 7 - 14 US, 6 - 13 UK / Women’s 5 - 11 US, 3 - 9 UK
• Weight (per shoe): 200g / 7 oz (women’s UK 4)
• Drop: 4mm
• Materials: Outsole: Rubber, Midsole: Foam, Upper: Synthetic mesh
• Colors: LED Yellow-TNF Black, LED Yellow-Lunar Slate
• Best use: Trail running

The mesh uppers of these shoes are more like a plastic netting covering your forefoot, while a panel of synthetic fabric extends from your midfoot to your heel, providing breathability and quick drying technology if you hit some puddles or stream crossings. Both the heel and toes are well-reinforced to prevent painful toe stubbings when it’s rocky underfoot. The rubber outsoles are grippy on rocky paths, but with only 3.5mm lugs, these shoes aren’t great on muddy or highly technical trails. For the price, you might want a little more technical performance from these shoes, but if you have the money and want a light and fast ride over gravel and dirt paths, you’ll like the way these shoes handle.

The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky Trail Running Shoes: in the field 

The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky Trail Running Shoes

A sock-like fit and secure lacing system means you can really lock your heel down (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I’ve been testing out these trail running shoes on some of my favorite hilly gravel, dirt and grass trails recently and enjoying how the handle. Out-of-the-box, they look amazing on and promise technical performance without the weight of some trail running shoes.

Here’s how they performed:

Sizing and fit

These shoes fit true to size. I wear a UK 4 and these ones fit like a glove. The sock-like construction means they’re really secure around my heel and midfoot, but then they have a nice, roomy toe box which I really appreciate. As with many sock-like shoes, they’re a little bit of a struggle to pull on, and there’s no heel tab to help with that, but after a few wears it got easier.


These shoes can definitely be considered ultralight at just 200 grams per shoe in my size, thanks to those foam soles.

The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky Trail Running Shoes

These shoes can definitely be considered ultralight at just 200 grams per shoe in my size (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Comfort and breathability

The uppers of these shoes are a little stiff and though the soles are thick (21mm at the heel) they don’t have that plushness of a maximalist shoe and they didn’t strike me as super comfortable upon first wearing them. They didn't require seem to require any breaking  in and I ran 10k in them for my first run and had no problems at all with comfort. That said, on my second time out in them I did notice a bit of rubbing on my left arch and I think those with wide feet might not be so comfortable in these.

These shoes are also really breathable. What looks like mesh at the forefoot is actually almost like a fine, plastic mesh so there’s loads of airflow and they’re quick drying on wet days too.

Grip, stability and responsiveness

On a dirt or gravel trail, the rubber sole offers ample grip, but when I ventured into muddier terrain, I did find myself slipping a little in these, and I don’t think the lugs are really deep enough for super technical trails.

However, I was amazed by the stability and responsiveness these shoes offer on uneven ground. Even though the sole is thick, it’s a lower profile design than many maximalist shoes and the responsive carbon plate and locked-down fit means I can run pretty confidently over rockier ground. The rocker sole and slight drop definitely helps with forward momentum.

Just out of curiosity, I tested these out on the road and while I could tell they lost some of their responsiveness, I was still able to run for an hour in them.

Protection and durability

In such light shoes, you might expect to lose some protection but the reinforced toes and heels are actually pretty protective. I haven’t been wearing these long enough to really be able to testify to their durability, but I’ve definitely been known to wear through the mesh uppers of running shoes in the past, and I can’t help but think the design of these uppers will be a little more tolerant of hard use.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.