Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2

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Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2: Review

“A trailblazer for lightweight, technical terrain running.”

Overview


The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is a trail running shoe designed for those who seek lightness and speed across challenging terrains. This shoe is part of the Arc’teryx Norvan SL family, known for its innovative approach to outdoor gear.

Key Features:

  • TPU mesh upper: A special TPU mesh makes the shoe ultra-light and foldable, enhancing its packability and durability.
  • Vibram Litebase technology: Reduces the outsole's weight significantly while maintaining grip and durability.
  • Minimalist design: A lean build with a focus on reducing weight to improve running economy on technical trails.

The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is an ideal choice for trail runners who prioritize a lightweight shoe for racing or speed workouts. Its minimalist design offers a natural feel, making it suitable for those who want to move fast and light without sacrificing protection.

Verdict

The consensus on the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2


The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 stands out in the realm of trail running shoes for its exceptional lightness and technical prowess. The innovative TPU mesh upper and Vibram Litebase technology contribute to a shoe that is not only lightweight but also durable and responsive on technical trails. The minimalist design, with a focus on a natural ground feel, positions it well within the category of shoes for runners who value speed and agility. Despite its trail-specific design, the shoe maintains flexibility and breathability, allowing runners to tackle long distances comfortably. The grip is another highlight, with the Vibram Megagrip outsole providing reliable traction on various surfaces. However, the shoe's tight fit and lack of versatility for non-trail use may deter some runners. Overall, the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is a premium choice for competitive athletes seeking a superlight shoe that doesn't compromise on performance. For those targeting fast and light trail runs, the Norvan SL 2 is a formidable contender.

Updates to Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2


The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is an update within the Arc’teryx Norvan SL line, focusing on reducing weight and enhancing durability. Compared to its predecessors, such as the Arc’teryx Norvan SL and the Arc’teryx Norvan SL GTX, the SL 2 features advancements like the TPU mesh upper and Vibram Litebase technology, which contribute to its superlight profile while maintaining the ruggedness expected from the brand.

Comparable Shoes




The Salomon S/Lab Sense 8 is a shoe that shares the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2's focus on lightweight performance for technical trails. However, the Sense 8 may offer a slightly more cushioned ride, which could appeal to runners looking for a balance between minimalism and comfort.



Compared to the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2, the Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 provides a more roomy toe box and a zero drop design, catering to runners who prefer a natural foot position and more space for toe splay.



The La Sportiva Bushido II offers a more aggressive outsole and additional stability features, making it a potential alternative for runners who prioritize grip and support on highly technical trails over the extreme lightness of the Norvan SL 2.

6 Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 Pros & Cons


3 Pros

Ultra-lightweight design enhances running economy on trails.
Durable TPU mesh upper withstands rough terrain.
Vibram Litebase technology provides excellent grip while reducing weight.

3 Cons

Expensive price point may not suit all budgets.
Tight-fitting design may not be comfortable for all foot shapes.
Lacks versatility for non-trail running activities.

In Depth


Upper

The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 features an upper made from a special TPU mesh, which is both durable and breathable. This material choice contributes to the shoe's incredibly light weight and allows it to be folded flat for easy packing. The upper's design also provides a snug fit, which, while enhancing responsiveness, may feel tight for some runners. The TPU mesh is designed to withstand the wear and tear of running on rough and rocky trails, making it a reliable choice for serious trail runners.

Midsole

The midsole of the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is constructed to offer a balance between cushioning and ground feel. While it does not include a rock plate, the midsole provides enough material to protect the foot on varied terrain. This design choice keeps the shoe light and agile, catering to runners who prefer a more minimalist feel without sacrificing protection.

Outsole

Equipped with a Vibram Megagrip outsole, the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 delivers excellent traction on a variety of surfaces. The outsole's Litebase technology reduces weight without compromising durability, making it a standout feature for those who need reliable grip on technical trails. The lugs are designed to prevent mud buildup, ensuring consistent performance throughout a run.

Size/fit

The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 offers a true-to-size fit, but it is designed to be lean with minimal space in the toe box and width. This snug fit contributes to the shoe's responsive feel but may not be comfortable for runners with wider feet or those who prefer more room for their toes.

Comfort

While the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is designed for performance, it does not prioritize comfort in the traditional sense. The minimal padding and cushioning, especially around the heel and ankle collar, mean that comfort is sacrificed for a lighter weight and a more direct trail feel. This may be a trade-off that some runners are willing to make for the benefits of increased speed and agility.

Cushioning

The cushioning in the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2's midsole is fair, providing enough protection for running on technical terrain without adding unnecessary weight. This allows runners to feel connected to the trail while still benefiting from impact absorption. The shoe's design is a testament to the balance between minimalism and necessary cushioning for trail running.

Breathability

The TPU mesh upper of the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 ensures that the shoe remains well ventilated, making it a suitable option for running in warmer conditions. The breathable nature of the upper material helps to keep the feet cool and dry, which is essential for long-distance trail runs.

Durability

Despite its lightweight construction, the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is surprisingly durable. The TPU mesh upper is resistant to tears and abrasions, which are common when running on rugged trails. Additionally, the Vibram Litebase outsole is designed to be repairable and replaceable, extending the shoe's lifespan and making it a more sustainable choice.

Who should buy the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2?


The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is best suited for trail runners who are focused on speed and efficiency during their runs. It's a top pick for those participating in races or engaging in speed workouts, where the ultra-lightweight design can provide a competitive edge. Runners who appreciate a minimalist shoe that still offers protection on technical trails will find value in the Norvan SL 2's design.

Who should not buy the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2?


Runners who prefer a more cushioned and comfortable shoe may want to look elsewhere, as the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 prioritizes a lightweight and responsive design over plush comfort. Those with wider feet or who need a roomier toe box might find the fit too restrictive. Additionally, runners who primarily stick to road running or less technical trails might not benefit from the specialized features that the Norvan SL 2 offers.

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2: What's it good for?


The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is particularly good for trail running on technical terrain where a light, responsive shoe can make a significant difference. It's also well-suited for runners who prioritize a natural ground feel and those who engage in competitive racing where every ounce matters. The shoe's design and features make it a strong contender for setting personal bests on challenging courses.

4 Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 FAQs


Is the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 waterproof?

No, the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is not waterproof. It features a water-repellent TPU mesh upper that provides some resistance to moisture but is not designed to be fully waterproof.

Can the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 be used for road running?

While the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 can handle some road running, it is primarily designed for trail running. Its specialized features, such as the Vibram Megagrip outsole and stiff lugs, are optimized for grip and performance on technical terrain.

How does the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 fit?

The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 fits true to size but has a lean design with a snug fit, particularly in the toe box and width. It may not be suitable for runners with wider feet or those who prefer a more spacious fit.

What type of runners is the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 best for?

The Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is best for trail runners who value a lightweight, responsive shoe for fast and technical running. It is particularly well-suited for racing and speed training on challenging trails.

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 alternatives



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Weight
Weight
M: 170 g
W: 145 g
269 g
M: 261 g
W: 224 g
M: 179 g
W: 221 g
235 g
281 g
Forefoot
Forefoot
12 mm
12 mm
M: 14 mm
W: 12 mm
19 mm
20 mm
Heel to toe drop
Heel to toe drop
7 mm
4 mm
4 mm
4 mm
6 mm
Heel
Heel
19 mm
12 mm
M: 18 mm
W: 16 mm
23 mm
26 mm
Terrain
Terrain
Trail
Snow/iceTrailTrailTrailMudTrailMudTrail
Usages
Usages
RacingSpeed training
Daily runningRacingSpeed trainingRacingRacingDaily runningRacingSpeed trainingRacing
Brand
Brand
Arc’teryx
Inov-8ASICSASICSadidasDynafit
Shoe Type
Shoe Type
Lightweight
Low dropZero dropLow dropLightweightLow dropLightweightLow dropMinimalist
Orthotic friendly
Orthotic friendly
Removable insole
Removable insole
Rock plate
Rock plate
Carbon fiber plate
Carbon fiber plate
Techs
Techs
Vibram
ASICS Geladidas LightstrikeVibram
Waterproofings
Waterproofings
Water repellent
Environmental Characteristics
Environmental Characteristics
Sustainable
Sustainable
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Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2: what the experts say (1 review)

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2: 1 Expert video review

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2: 1 Manufacturer video

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 characteristics and specifications

Specificationsvs Average
Model
2
Released
Jan 2021
Measurements
Weight
M: 170 g
W: 145 g
Heel to toe drop
7 mm
Heel
19 mm
Forefoot
12 mm

Evolution of the Arc’teryx Norvan SL product family

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AuthorTom Green
Tom is the founder of geerly. Based in West London, he found his passion for running in his mid-30s. He’s best at longer distances, and is a regular at the London Marathon, where he's edging closer to sub-2.40. He started geerly because he found it frustrating when shopping for running shoes spending ages trying to find the best deal in his size, and wading through verbose, waffling reviews clearly designed to appeal to search engines rather than be helpful to users. For geerly he's passionate about writing reviews that get straight to the point, and helping runners find the right gear at the best price.
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