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Trail Running Shoes • September 18, 2023

The North Face Summit Vectiv Pro 2: First Thoughts

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What You Need To Know

The Shoe

The North Face’s second-generation trail racer

Key Features

Updated Dream foam midsole (PEBA and EVA), dramatic forefoot rocker, the same plate as the first version

Price and Availability

Coming soon, likely for $250

Introduction to The North Face Summit Vectiv Pro 2

TAYLOR: Over 10,000 runners took to the trails as part of UTMB week at the end of August. It was a week packed with races ranging from a 20k to the big one — the 106-mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc that circumnavigates the entire massif of the namesake mountain. Athletes find their way through three different countries and accumulate more than 30,000 feet of gain with equally brutal loss. Even though mountain running has a sanctioned world championship event, we all know that UTMB week is the actual proving ground in terms of competition and fanfare.

If you’re feeling the post-UTMB blues like I am, know that all things will be okay. Yaboyscottjurek will still be slinging hilarious memes, Courtney will continue to crush whatever her presence touches, and, for shoe nerds, it means the beginning of a landslide of gear and shoes that are to come.

We’ve covered the weirdly secretive Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra, Jimmy Dubs was seen in yet another variation of the Tecton X, and — hold up, is that The North Face coming in with multiple upcoming shoes and prototypes?

That’s right! Until recently, the mountain-centric company had almost no business being highlighted in the high-performance trail running world. We’ve reviewed The North Face Flight Vectiv (the original carbon-plated shoe for the trails) but were left wanting more. Then, The North Face delivered a full lineup and a new marquee shoe earlier this year in the Summit Vectiv Pro.

It’s the same shoe that Katie Schide ran her way to a UTMB championship in, as well as a record-setting runner-up at Western States. It claims multiple world-class performances throughout the 2022 season as well. To this day, the Summit Vectiv Pro is still an arguable favorite carbon-plated racer for the trails, with the caveat of needing to find out if the Vectiv carbon wings will destroy your forefoot or not.

In light of advancing its line, The North Face presses forward with updates. This year’s UTMB series revealed that many of the brand’s shoes can pave the way to massive performances. Most notably, one of my personal favorites, Zach Miller, was seen absolutely crushing the UTMB course in a couple of TNF’s freshest models that will be released in the spring of 2024. I was sent The North Face’s new Summit Vectiv Pro 2 and have had my hands and feet all over this thing.

It’s the very same shoe that Zach wore from the starting gate up to Vallorcine (around 150 km), including when he dropped a big move to take and hold the lead from the American (male) GOAT, Jim Walmsley. Zach also switched to another upcoming TNF shoe, the Altamesa 300, for the rest of the way.

The North Face Summit Vectiv Pro 2: What stayed the same?

TAYLOR: The Summit Vectiv Pro 2 is largely the same, which makes me both cheer and cringe a little. We loved what was going on underfoot in the original, and it still has a high stack of a PEBA/EVA blend which is now a proprietary blend called Dream. I was really impressed by the amount of protection, comfort, and a healthy dose of responsiveness, and a dramatic forefoot rocker makes this shoe sing on trails up to moderately technical.

Also, like the original, carbon is both a blessing and a curse. The North Face Summit Vectiv Pro 2 carries over the same plate scenario, and while I haven’t been able to run in it yet, this likely means a few things:

  1. A highly reactive ride
  2. Moderate stability
  3. The potential for some medial rubbing on the forefoot

Pro Tip: For those who were “rubbed the wrong way” in the first model, try adding Inov-8’s Boomerang insole (available on its website) for an extra 3 mm of padding between the carbon plate (which lies right below the footbed) and your foot. It doesn’t completely solve the issue but it is so worth it.

The North Face Summit Vectiv Pro 2: What’s changed?

TAYLOR: Much like the Hoka Tecton X, the newest Summit Vectiv Pro 2 will see an upper update based on athlete feedback. My eye immediately goes to the elf ear heel tab. What’s it for? Quite simply, it’s for comfort and dialing in overall fit. In the trail scene, we’ve really only seen Hoka adopt the elf ear with positive results in the Challenger ATR 7, Speedgoat 5, Mafate Speed 4, and Stinson 7. The Craft Nordlite Ultra and Kailas Fuga Elite 2 also have a similar design, though Hoka’s approach works just a little bit better.

I don’t want to reveal everything about this new upper, but it’s adjusted toward a more performance fit and is sustainably minded. Win-win.

Overall, I really think The North Face Summit Vecti Pro 2’s recipe is a super exciting one. We thought the first one landed somewhere between the Hoka Tecton X and the Saucony Endorphin Edge — mostly dependable, but also packing a wicked-fun energy. It has just about everything one would desire from a high-performance ultra-distance trail runner. Both the first and upcoming models are, at minimum, worthy of trying on to compare with the other trail racing options.

We’ll get back to you with a full review of The North Face Summit Vectiv Pro 2 once we have an official release date and pricing. Hopefully it will bring us the same top-level racing experience as it brought Zach Miller.

In the meantime, you can grab The North Face’s current Summit Vectiv Pro from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) at the buttons below.

Shop TNF Summit Vectiv Pro - Men Shop TNF Summit Vectiv Pro - Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Antoine says:

    Thanks. Looking at photos of Zach running UTMB, he most probably cut out the carbon wings.

  2. JT says:

    Looks like the upper material is softer, a bit less harsh, rough compared to V1. Also, the toe bumper comes around more at the wings which might lead to less wing issues. This is currently one of my favs…wings don’t bother me hardly at all, but I have a narrower foot. I can feel them with an odd step here and there, but the combined pop, stabilty and cush of this shoe is probably the best of the carbon trail shoes.

  3. Rich says:

    Good shout about trying with a boomerang insole – I actually do that with my Hoka Tecton x (both original and v2) as I found those insoles thin and prone to slipping on steep terrain. Owning both Tecton X’s and Summit Vectiv Pro, I’d have to give the edge to the Hokas as they are lighter and feel more nimble and lively. Sadly I’m not sure this upper date will change that, but I look forward to the full review!

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Taylor Bodin
Lead Trail Reviewer
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Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultra runner living in Estes Park, Colo., with his wife and daughters. Trail running is pretty much the only hobby he can manage right now and loves it. Every so often, he will pop off a race or FKT attempt because competition is pure and the original motivator for him getting into running anyways. When not running, Taylor is a 1st grade teacher, running coach (track & field, Cross Country, and Trail/Ultra athletes), and volunteers at his church.

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