There are matches made in heaven, and then there are matches made in Canada. Maple syrup and Canadian bacon, Seth Rogen and weed, Drake and whoever he dated on Degrassi.
But better than all of those: upstart boutique running shoe brand Norda, and Ciele Athletics, the cool kids cap brand of choice. Both brands hail from Montreal, and both brands are ready to elevate run couture with an all-new collaboration featuring the Norda x Ciele Athletics 001 Cooper’s Hawk trail shoe and matching GOCap.
We literally just received the 001 trail shoe less than 48 hours ago so have only had time to take it out for six road miles. Which is fine, by the way, because the shoe is designed as a road-to-trail option, with urban runners at the forefront of the design process. In fact, you could say it was micro-fashioned for Montreal runners who regularly run out the door to the city’s famed Mount Royal Park (or, Parc du Mont-Royal, which sounds way cooler).
The one-piece seamless upper is made purely of Dyneema®, which is basically one of the strongest materials on earth (literally 15x stronger than steel), yet ultra-pliable and supple. We’ve seen it appear in other shoes recently, most notably in the Speedland SL:PDX, but not to the extent seen here. Simply put, this upper is virtually indestructible. That said, first impressions are that it’s a bit warm, but not overbearingly so. Kind of an okay trade-off for something that won’t break down. (Side note: the laces are also made from Dyneema).
Moving onto the midsole, we have something we’ve never seen before – Vibram® SLE, which is a proprietary midsole of blown EVA, measuring 25 mm in the heel and 21 mm in the forefoot for a 5 mm drop. I should point out that the Cooper’s Hawk colorway of the Norda 001 is the first time ever that Vibram has allowed a shoe to use “Vibram Yellow” in the midsole. First impressions are that it’s surprisingly comfortable without being soft, with the most obvious comparison being a slightly firmer HOKA Speedgoat (I prefer this, by the way).
More Vibram is found on the outsole, or what Norda calls a “sole plate.” Inspired by the rock formation of the Canadian Shield, it’s a combination of two Vibram technologies: Vibram® Litebase® conserves energy and enhances performance with reduction in overall sole weight, while Vibram Mega Grip® rubber delivers superior durability, traction, and grip. If you don’t know, Mega Grip is one of those outsoles that you really can’t f*ck up – it’s just always good in almost every situation.
Oh, and of course the weight. All this durable tech actually comes in at a surprisingly respectable 247g / 8.71 ounces for a US Men’s 8.5. with OrthoLite insole.
We should also mention the price, which is as much of a head-turner as the design: $285. This seems to be the going rate for more boutique shoes these days, or even non-boutique in the case of marathon racing shoes (that only last a couple hundred miles, by the way). Norda claims its testers have taken the 001 past 1,000 miles, so dollar-per-mile you’re doing okay at that point.
First impressions are that this is a really good running shoe, and I’m looking forward to putting in some long run trail miles this weekend in it, with a full, in-depth review to follow. In terms of design, we really love the white/yellow Cooper’s Hawk colorway (though we’re sad to see it get trashed on the trails). As city runners ourselves, we also appreciate the high-vis reflective hits on the shoe, which really does make it a capable urban or road-to-trail runner.
And since I’ve only taken it on the roads so far, I should say that it’s a totally acceptable road shoe, maybe my favorite ride of any trail shoe on the roads in recent memory. Definitely want to get some miles, but first impressions are feeling good. One last side note: you may want to go a half size up in these. They’re a bit snug on me, so size up if you want a little more room on the trails for those downhill descents.
Okay, now let’s move on to the limited edition Norda x Ciele Athletics GOcap: Cooper’s Hawk Edition.
The cap takes all the elements of the five-panel Ciele GOcap and gives it some seriously premium upgrades (you will pay for it though, the cap is $80).
It features a fully welded construction utilizing Dyneema throughout, coupled with COOLwich micromesh fabric for breathability. The interior headband is bourgie AF, made from Toray Ultrasuede® which offers superior durability, ideal breathability, and moisture permeability, as well as easy care and washability. What the hell else could you want in an interior headband?
A classy and subtle 1876 is printed in reflective ink on the front of the cap, and no, it is not a misprint of the United States independence. Rather, it denotes the inauguration of Mount Royal Park in Montreal (I told you they love that park).
The underside of the brim features the same topographical layer featured on the Norda sole, inspired by the Canadian shield and printed in reflective ink. As with any Ciele cap, it looks cool, runs cooler, packs easily, and comes with Ciele Athletics’ million miles guarantee, which protects your cap for a million miles from manufacturing defects. So just make sure you don’t wear it on your next Elon Musk tour of space or the warranty may be voided.
You can learn more and pick up both the Norda 001 and Ciele GOcap Cooper’s Hawk editions by using the shop links below.Shop Norda 001 Shop Ciele X Norda GOcap
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