“If you like a comfortable, cushioned feel whilst running then you’ll be hard pushed to find a better shoe.”
Aviemore store manager Martin Bell has covered over 116 miles whilst testing the latest North Face Ultra Cardiac running shoes. With such varied terrain, Aviemore is possibly one of the most ideal locations in the UK to test out this pair of technical trail running shoes.
The first thing that jumped out at me when I tried these on was the comfort and amount of cushioning they had straight out of the box. The other thing I couldn’t help notice was the distinct yellow Vibram logo on the sole, something you don’t see very often on a pair of running shoes.
For me they come up a little short, slightly smaller than my Hyper Track Guides and much smaller (in length) than my North Face Ultra MTs. I’d advise a half size bigger if you like doing a lot of downhill, to help prevent any toe bang. If your runs don’t involve many steep downhill sections then you might get away with your normal size.
Fit and feel
If these shoes were a car they’d be a Bentley, they ooze luxury and comfort. From the moment you put your feet in them, you are conscious of the cushioning and support. I’d say they are a great halfway house between having a minimalist shoe where you feel everything under your feet (not necessarily a bad thing), and a maximalist shoe that makes you 3 inches taller by standing on a block of foam! They have an 8mm drop (20mm rear and 12mm at the front).
The laces have a good feel and tie well. They hold securely and of course match the colour scheme of the shoes!
The upper uses Ultra Airmesh and as with other The North Face products they have incorporated their FlashDry technology. Both of these features help aid with moisture management and definitely performed as advertised keeping my feet dry and cool.
They have a Pebax heel cradle to help with positioning and support. If you’ve been out for a long run, feeling fatigued and your technique has gone somewhat out of the window, then the Cradle should help you keep control.
Considering the amount of support and cushioning these shoes provide, I feel they are fairly lightweight with a pair of size UK 8 weighing in at only 277g.
As mentioned before it has a Vibram sole, so you know it’s going to last a long time. It does give good grip on most terrain, though it suits harder packed trails. Even with loose stones the grip has been impressive, I’ve used them multiple times on the road and they’ve continued to perform well.
If you’re going to be running wet boggy muddy runs, then get the Ultra MT, but if you want a shoe that goes most places and you can wear all day long, then the Ultra Cardiac is the one.
The somewhat strange name ‘Cardiac’ is actually the name of a section and an aid station on The North Face San Francisco 50 mile course, hopefully nothing to do with clutching your chest whilst out running!!
In summary, if you want a trail shoe that will perform on multiple surfaces (bar the extremes), you like a comfortable, cushioned feel whilst running then you’ll be hard pushed to find a better shoe.
Oh and they look pretty good too!
Shop The North Face Ultra Cardiac here.