The Ultra Cardiac is the latest trail shoe offering from The North Face. The company describes it as an everyday trail running shoe. I tend to agree with The North Face – I think this shoe is best-suited to be a trainer as opposed to a racer. With that being said, I’m sure some North Face aficionados will use it for racing longer distances.
The shoe fits similarly to other North Face trail shoes. It has a snug overall fit – while I like the way it wraps the foot, I do not enjoy the narrow toe box. I think it might be a bit narrow even for someone with an average foot. In addition, I thought it was a little shy on length. I sized up a half-size, and I recommend that you do the same.
The size 10.5 weighed in at 10.5 ounces on my scale. The shoe has a 22mm heel and a 14mm forefoot – an 8mm drop.
The shoe has an awesome Vibram sole. The lug pattern is very similar to that found on Montrail shoes (specifically, I think the outsole is similar to the Bajada series). It is simple, yet highly effective. I think too many companies are trying to do too much with outsoles – credit to The North Face for keeping it simple.
The shoe has a firm sole. For me, it would be too firm for longer distances (anything over 20 miles), but this is probably more of a personal preference.
My favorite feature of the shoe is the laces/eyelets. The combo of laces/eyelets prevented any slippage. In fact, it was so effective that it was almost a challenge to adjust the shoes mid-run.
– great sole – simple and highly effective
– laces/eyelets – no slippage
– awesome colors
– too narrow
– too firm
– a light trainer or a heavy racer?