Ripping trails in an ultra-responsive shoe
Upgraded cushion and structure in heel area, lighter weight, lower midsole stack
Available now for $285 in two launch colorways
Two years ago, Montreal-based Norda came out of nowhere with a trail running shoe that challenged the standard at the time. A clean silhouette with premium materials, including quite possibly the toughest upper in the game– full bio-based Dyneema with Dyneema-infused laces– the shoe made quite a splash in the trail scene and beyond. Not just for its $285 US price tag, but also for its style, surprising comfort, and reports of athletes taking it beyond 700 miles.
Since then, we’ve worn the shoe plenty of times on our own trail runs and possibly even more as a casual shoe. Maybe it’s gorpcore, maybe it’s not, but the fact remains: the 001 continues to be a shoe we reach for again and again. The fit, the grip, the look – all of it hits that sweet spot you look for in a beloved trail shoe.
The point is this– Norda came correct with a versatile shoe that combined technical function with crossover style and it wasn’t called Salomon. As a result, we’ve seen a slew of eye-pleasing palettes and clay-crusted collabs of the 001, and while they were all great and lovely, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t ready for something new.
While we’ve known the Norda 002 was coming since we talked with the Norda crew back in December at The Running Event, we weren’t able to nail down any details until we saw the teaser a couple months back. Now that we have the full rundown of the shoe, let’s see what’s the same, what’s different, and what it all means for the present and future of Norda.
For starters, the 002 is not the evolution of the 001. Which can be confusing. Two follows one, after all. Instead, the 002 is its own standalone shoe. Think of it as an “A” to the 001. A partner for athletic pursuits. Where the 001 was an all-arounder, the 002 is a performance model meant for faster days. The idea being, if you’re going knee deep into Norda, you want a shoe for each foot… or feet… or something.
While some of the core elements of the 001 remain, the 002 does come with some significant changes, since it’s designed for a different use-case scenario.
Norda says their goal with this shoe is to “create a shoe that increases performance by bringing runners closer to the surfaces they run on.” Basically, stack heights are getting higher and higher, and Norda is looking to zig where others zag. As such, the stack height comes down a bit in the 002, landing at 24 mm in the heel and 20 mm in the forefoot (not including the outsole). The weight has also been reduced.
A big change that fans of the 001 will probably love is additional padding and structure in the heel counter and collar area. This is significant because it was the one (very) weak point of the 001, which was altogether pretty loose and gaping. That’s never good for weak ankles and/or dirt collection, so it’s good to see a correction in the 002.
Again, the shoe comes with a bio-based Dyneema upper, though this shoe sports a ripstop-style weave pattern that stands out but still remains true to the Norda look and feel.
The midsole composition remains the same with Vibram SLE, which was surprisingly versatile in the 001. Most Norda fans loved the feel and performance of that midsole, so they’ll be happy it hasn’t really changed aside from the stack height.
Of course, the outsole keeps the Vibram Litebase and a Norda exclusive/proprietary version of Megagrip, which really is one of the best combinations of stickiness and traction that money can buy.
Norda likes to point out that every Norda athlete who has raced in the 002 has podiumed in their respective races. That’s a hell of a flex out of the gate and speaks to the intentional performance-based design of the shoe.
Launch colorways of the 002 are Alpine White and Summit Black, a tribute to the mountains around Norda’s home city. The medial and lateral sides of the upper feature reflective linework that represent the silhouettes of St. Bruno, St. Hilaire, and Rougemont — three mountains east of Montreal. The soleplate pattern is inspired by the rock formation of the Canadian Shield. More colorways and collaborations can be expected in the coming year.
As I’ve already said, we loved the 001 for its versatility, fit, performance, and style. The best parts of that shoe have remained for the 002 and the weaker elements have been improved. We loved the 001 because it seemed like a nimble shoe with a wider foot base that created some stability, two attributes that are generally hard to reconcile in trail running. A lighter weight with additional heel support should truly make this a viable race day option.
Speaking of races, it’s probably not going to be the first choice for a long ultra shoe, though plenty of athletes have taken it to 100K distances. However, for those 50K and under distances when you want to rip, this thing seems poised to seek and destroy.
The only downside? The 002 is coming out right before the dog days of summer, and that Dyneema upper, while virtually indestructible, gets real toasty anywhere south of the Great Lakes.
Price-wise, we still think the Norda is fair, for what it provides. This is a small team of four people pouring their passion into a product that brings something different to the trails.
Our pairs will come through the door at any moment and we’ll be sure to get some miles as soon as possible for a full review. Stay tuned for our full thoughts on the shoe.
The Norda 002 is available now for $285 on norda.com. You can pick it up by using the shop links below.
Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.More from Robbe