Thursday, November 10, 2022

Satisfy norda 001 Multi Tester Review: Peace and Silence! 10 Comparisons

Article by Jeremy Marie, Jason Schlarb and Sam Winebaum

Satisfy norda 001 ($370)

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to welcome Jason Schlarb to this review of the 001. Jason is a highly accomplished Ultra runner whose achievements include include winning the Hardrock 100 (2016) and Run Rabbit Run 100 (2013 & 2015), as well as finishing as the top American in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (4th place, 2014).

His full bio is below. A huge fan of the Norda 001, it has been his goto shoe. Jason, as Jeremy and I did, received his pairs at no charge and is now assisting Norda with development. 


Introduction

Sam: I had only heard occasionally about Norda but when Satisfy proposed we test their edition of the Norda 001 I was intrigued. Somewhat odd branding messages and style aside, the Satisfy Running apparel Jeremy and I tested and reviewed was truly outstanding and long after the review I have continued to run and wear the Justice Merino shorts and found them especially cooling in summer’s high heat and humidity with no sign of wear after many. many washes. 


In like fashion, Norda is a Quebec, Canada “boutique” run brand focused on trail running.  Their 001 features a bio based Dyneema upper and an outsole and midsole combination from Vibram made up of a unique Megagrip Litebase outsole design and a SLE EVA midsole.

At  9.68 oz / 274g in my US M8.5 sample with a big 34mm heel / 29mm forefoot the shoe weight is very reasonable for the overall substance. The pricing at $370 is for sure bespoke so I was interested to see if  the shoe’s performance, versatility, and durability justified pricing that made it the most expensive run shoe I have ever tested. 


Spoiler alert!  My experience on road and trail and the experiences of Jermey and of our guest tester Jason Schlarb who has run many, many hundreds of miles in his first pair, over 600 in fact, say to me that indeed the 001 is not a “throwaway” after a few hundred miles shoe and is truly  long lasting, versatile, high performance running “equipment”. 


Jeremy: Having been lucky enough to review the very special apparel from Satisfy, with their incredible attention to detail and carefully chosen material thanks to their fashion background, I was curious to discover their collaboration with Norda, a Canadian brand flying under the radar amongst trail-running brands, but seeking performance with the same vision as Satisfy: with no compromise  and using the best materials and technologies to accomplish their vision of a performance, light, durable and environment-friendly shoe, the Norda 001.


Pros:

Superbly fitting upper:  Totally secure, totally comfortable, breathable and light Sam/Jeremy

Responsive, resilient (62% return), stable, well cushioned and protective midsole Sam/Jeremy

Durable Upper: Tested for over 600 miles not even coming close to damaging upper, no holes: Jason

Durable Midsole: At 600 miles true to form and long lasting for sure: Jason

Very well balanced midsole weight quick off the heel, quick final toe off - Runs lighter than it looks Sam/Jeremy

Tracks stable and arrow like on smoother terrain Sam

Adequate from very easy pace to sub-tempo, very adaptable Jeremy

Outsole is particularly well integrated to midsole, softer less slappy smoother running on all surfaces: Sam

Doubles as an excellent road shoe:  Sam

Durability: outsole and midsole

Extensive 360° reflectivity Sam


Cons:

Somewhat dense and firm midsole given the outsole provides plenty of stability and response.  Wonder if midsole could be softer and more reactive Sam

Needs some miles to break in the outsole (as often with Vibram) and the midsole. Jeremy/Sam

Pricing..Jeremy/Sam


Stats

Approx. Weight: men's 9.9 oz  / 255g (US9)

    Samples: men’s  9.68 oz  /  274g (TPU sockliner) US M8.5

11.21 oz / 318g (with sockliner) US 10.5

Stack Height: 34 mm heel (measured)  / mm 29 forefoot (spec 5mm drop)

Available now at Satisfy Running HERE. $370


First Impressions, Fit and Upper

  • Bio based Dyneema upper

  • Laces woven with Dyneema fibers, extensive reflective elements 



Jason: The fit of a running shoe is where it all starts and for me to love a shoe, the fit needs to be perfect. The Norda 001 has a one piece thin Dyneema upper that creates a feel like no other trail shoe I’ve ever worn. Norda’s 001 thin one piece Dyneema upper has no seams and snugly cradles the foot without any chance of blowing out


I don’t do pointy trail shoes. The001’s last is not pointy and fits my foot very well and thus performs well for me. I like the rocker on the 001, it flows well and helps me maintain good biomechanics.










Dyneema Upper! I have had no success in making a hole in the upper of the 001 after many hundreds of miles. I haven’t been able to even come close to damaging the upper. Even without washing the shoes (usually the sure way to blow the upper is to never clean the dirt and mud on the uppers), still no holes! If you run wild trails, you know this is pretty much unbelievable!


-Style! Norda is certainly fashion forward. Plainly said, I’ve never seen colorways like the Norda 001 has. I’ve also never seen so many options and limited edition colorways. Collaborations with brands like Satisfy certainly will create some very cool looks.

Jeremy: The shiny silver-like color of the Peace and Silence really jumps out of the box. The Satisfy norda 001 would feel right at home in a fashion event with its bold, shiny look. Puting the first smudges on it was almost a heart-breaking experience considering how good the shoe looks when it’s brand new.

Attention to detail is second to none: the Norda001 oozes quality craftsmanship, the Dyneema based laces slide gently through the eyelets, the generous heel tab makes putting the shoe really easy, and step-in comfort in the bio Dyneema based seamless upper is an experience in itself.


Dynee…what? you might ask?  Dyneema can be seen as an alternative to Matryx, an upper material a bit more common in running shoes (Salomon SLab Genesis, SLab Pulsar, Hoka Speedgoat Evo), which combine polyester and aramid fiber.


Dyneema is a high modulus polyester fiber, 15 times stronger than steel. It’s widely used in nautical sails. I’ve been using a road cycling shoe built with Dyneema parts for years now: the Specialized SWorks 7.


In the Norda 001, the Dyneema used is bio-based: it uses only recycled fiber, and the whole upper is built using this material. Laces are a mix between Dyneema and polyester.


There are good reasons for Norda to choose Dyneema: it’s resilient, durable, thin, light, made of recycled material: it completely fits the bill the Canadian brand seeks to achieve: a top performing, durable, and environmentally friendly shoe using the best material for the job.


This approach is completely on par with how Brice, founder of Satisfy, drives his creative process, as he explained to us during a long interview after we reviewed their clothes. 


Test, test, destroy, erase, improve, test again…all in a very home-made craft vs mass production work style, thinking out of the box to source and bring the best stuff to perform exactly how you envisioned your product should. The Norda 001 has been tested and improved during 2 years of this kind of rigor.


I might be digressing a bit here, but all this attention to details is sensible when you take a closer look at the Norda X Satisfy.

After reviewing shoes such as the Salomon Pulsar Pro and Naked T/r, with a sock-like upper construction, coming back to a more traditional upper is almost refreshing…especially when it’s as good as the Norda’s.


The midfoot is adequately snug to ensure a nice, firm foothold, helped by the gusseted tongue.


There are not lots of overlays on the shoe, and the sturdy yet soft upper does not really need them. Even when firmly tightening the laces I did not encounter any excessive pressure on my foot thanks to light padding on the tongue.

The toe box widens a bit to allow for some toe splay and long-distance comfort. A minimal toe-rand adds just a tiny bit of protection upfront.

Another minimal aspect of the upper can be found at the back of the shoe: Just like the edge of the tongue, the ankle collar is made of a very thin, minimally padded material. 

The good news is that it’s very flexible and conforms nicely to your feet. Some might want for a little more padding in this area so that it would be more adaptable to different foot shapes. I did not have any issue as is. 


The same is true for the heel area which just consists of a thin layer of the same flexible material and two padded pods around the Achilles.


The heel counter is not overly rigid but makes a good job of holding the heel down.

This might sound minimal to ensure a good foothold for what looks like a long distance oriented shoe, but the fit and lacing system, despite its apparent simplicity, is so good than never had I wished for something beefier or more secure.


Put the first-class comfort in the equation, and the sheer quality of the whole build and you get one of the best uppers of the year.

Despite its sturdiness, Dyneema stays flexible, and breathability is not too compromised. The crazy high temperatures in France (25°C mid-October!) allowed me to put this aspect to test and it passed easily. 


I’m pretty sure the shoe will be even more comfortable during colder months - it’s designed in Canada after all!


Reflectivity is amongst the best I’ve seen in a shoe, and the “360° visibility” argument is far from an overstatement: from the useful heel tab to the top of the toes, the Norda shines even more in the dark than in daylight!

Sam: Jeremy and Jason have described the upper well.  I was amazed at how precisely and securely this very light on the foot upper fits with plenty of room and no pressures anywhere. It has an all of a piece smooth consistent fit.  Even the quite minimal rear collars and heel counter are totally secure, often tricky to pull off but not so here, and without resorting to an over rigid heel counter.  


The Dyneema material is thin and non-stretch but somehow conforms to my foot beautifully. Laced tight for short and fast or more relaxed for long hours on the trail the hold always remains.

I do think the silver reflective overlay on the tongue was a bit rigid at first but it did soften with use.

The fit is true to size for me with more than adequate toe box room, easy lace up, and impeccable hold.

There is plenty of toe box room for even wider feet yet my narrower feet are equally as well held. It is I think one of the finest if not the finest run shoe upper I have ever worn be it trail or road. 


Midsole

  • Vibram SLE foam 30% lighter than standard EVA 

  • tested at +/- 62% energy “return” losing only 14% resilience over its lifetime.


Jason: The 001 has a EVA/midsole from Vibram that is durable and lasts! When I wear a bigger cushioned shoe, if the upper doesn’t blow, the next thing to go is the EVA

under my left medial foot (pronation). The EVA on the 001 stayed true to

form for over 500 miles. 

The 001’s midsole isn’t too soft which contributes to it lasting a long time. The midsole is a bit more firm than the average bigger cushion shoe. A firmer EVA is more responsive, lasts longer and often breaks in nicely with a softer ride after running in it for a hundred miles or so. I like shoes that break in and thus last longer.  


Jeremy: The midsole uses Vibram SLE, which stands for Vibram Superlight EVA foam. It’s quite unusual to see a midsole from the Italian brand - only UYN uses it as far as I know. EVA still gets into the majority of trail shoes midsole material, and frankly it’s usually a good thing. A nicely designed, tuned EVA midsole can combine durability, cushioning and stability without the need for plates or stabilizers of any sort, simplifying a shoe construction and usually leads to better durability.

I can’t attest to the Norda 001 midsole durability yet, but I can say that its generous light-EVA midsole hits a sweet spot between comfort and responsiveness. 


Step-in comfort is also achieved by the TPU expanded pellets insole - with the “Possessed” logo from Satisfy. You know nobody will ever see it, but you know it’s there - it definitely gives a vibe to the shoe when you look at it before stepping in.

The first miles can feel a tad firm, but it’s something usually felt with Vibram outsoles. After 40 kms, I felt that the Norda really revealed itself, and the midsole kind of opened up, gaining just a hair of softness (or was it the outsole that softened up a bit?). I can use them for long easy runs or shorter, faster ones, fartlek sessions or crazy all-out sprints with my dog (and the dog is fast!) with equal “Satisfaction”. T


The weight is nothing special, in the middle of the pack for this amount of cushioning, but due to the responsiveness of the midsole, I feel that the shoe runs a bit lighter than the weight suggests.


Despite a generous stack height, the Norda is inherently stable: the wide platform helps a lot, as is the density of the Vibram SLE midsole.


As of today, I’m approaching 80kms and cannot detect any midsole compression. It has just broke in a little bit, becoming more comfy after 40kms that’s all. No further evolution - for the best IMO.

Sam: As Jeremy said the midsole does require some break in but once about 20 miles went by flex and flow improved, and markedly so, as at first I found the midfoot a bit rigid and tippy on more technical terrain.


The foam here is  a compression molded EVA is clearly something more..It has a unique combination of dense, quite firm yet forgiving, stable cushion with a touch of measured rebound and deep vibration/impact reduction of course assisted by the 34/29 big stack height.  


Never over firm or punishing on the legs, the midsole is just right for intended any trail use and is also totally roadworthy with the outsole playing very nicely with the midsole, not adding the usual trail outsole harshness and stiffness on firm surfaces. There is a distinct forward flex point which makes them climb extremely well for a big stack shoe and also makes roll to toe off on road decently snappy even without a plate reminding me of a somewhat more mellow Saucony Speed Roll or the forward flex of Salomon shoes. 


There is no rock plate here but with the combination of high stack and rubber none is required.


Outsole

  • Vibram MegaGrip in a Litebase design which according to Satisfy reduces 30% of overall sole weight through a reduction of sole thickness by 50% without sacrificing grip, traction or durability.


Jason: Vibram Litebase Megagrip; need I say more?

At 500 plus miles..

Jeremy: If a Vibram midsole is quite unusual, the Megagrip Litebase Vibram outsole is something we’re more accustomed to see in trail running shoes.


The main difference here is that Vibram is in charge of all the lower of the lower platform of the Norda001: the outsole and the midsole bonding by hand. So they can finely tweak each part in order to achieve exactly what Norda’s designers were seeking.


The 5 mm chevron-shaped lugs are topped with some rubber mini-spikes, for what is a very effective do-it-all outsole shape: not too bothersome on road stretches, but effective on all but the muddiest of terrain.

The base of the outsole is not slick, but gets a Canadian easter egg by reflecting the Canadian Shield, a Canada-specific rock formation: it looks like topographical lines. I’m not sure it has any functional effect although Norda says they act as sipes do in a car tire but…it’s a nice touch.


Without any surprises, the Vibram Megagrip outsole performed incredibly well. I don’t live in the most technical, rockiest region, but I have some key spots allowing me to test a shoe’s grip: short but rocky hills, limestone rocks covered with lichen that are slippery as hell when wet. And the Norda performed well everywhere. More adequate than the Naked T/r on wet soft ground thanks to higher lugs, I even get the feeling that they were better on wet rocks.Maybe the flexibility of the midsole was at play here, conforming more to rock shapes…Anyway traction and grip have been faultless during my testing.

Sam: The outsole has outstanding grip on all surfaces and at the same time does not get in the way by being slappy, stiff, or over harsh in the mix on hard surfaces and even pavement. The MegaGrip is softer to press than most, or so it seems, but I think the real secret is likely careful hand assembly by Vibram of both midsole and outsole as both are produced by Vibram. From Norda: Our sole is entirely made by Vibram A-Z.

The bonding of midsole and soleplate are done in one factory, all by hand. 

95% of brands order just the soleplate from Vibram, then a separate factory attaches it to the midsole.”


I also suspect less glue is used (the glue layer can cause stiffness) and it is a special glue that is better matched to the parts than the usual as Vibram knows for sure the materials they are assembling.


Where does this smooth feeling underfoot and great grip that is not in the way come from? Nick, founder of Norda further told us: “The real secret are the sipes on the sole, like a winter car tire.  It’s how cars stop on ice, and adds a huge dimension to our grip, where most brand soleplate have a smooth soleplate under the lugs.” 


As with the upper about the finest trail outsole I have experienced.  


Ride

Jason: The Norda 001 has a smooth, stable ride with a great rocker that keeps the running biomechanics clean even when I get a bit tired.  Not too soft, responsive, but with plenty of EVA to keep any small pokey things from disturbing my trail run. Again, the security and fit of the one piece upper pairs with the incredible midsole and last to create a beautiful, natural ride that lasts! 


Jeremy: “Peace and Silence” is the surname of this Norda & Satisfy collab, and I must admit that it suits the shoe very well.

Upper comfort is top notch, I really have nothing negative to say on this aspect. Comfy as an everyday shoe, with the foothold of a real ultra running shoe. 


There’s no plates, rods, supercritical foams in the shoe yet it runs smoothly after a short break-in period. Transitions are fluid from midfoot to forefoot, and I feel really connected with the shoe and the ground despite generous cushioning and its efficient shock absorption.

The responsive midsole makes cruising on mellower trails a real pleasure: no friction, no exaggerated propulsion from a super-foam, no disconnect from the ground. It really is for me the kind of shoes for long haul where managing a low-intensity effort for hours is key…as in ultra-running. The grip is so efficient that you can stop thinking about it: it will never be an issue. 


Foothold is effective and never constricting. I’ve used the Norda many times after some very hard sessions, when I come back home and go for an easy run with the dog and their comfort and security are always on top even with really sore legs.


It definitely is an “easy shoe”..sounds perfect for long days on the trails no?

Sam: Smooth flowing after some break in, well cushioned without being either mushy soft or overly firm, the ride is incredibly versatile with maybe only very fast technical downhills its only weaker point for me where the stack height and relatively narrow platform may be pushed beyond its limits at midfoot, although the upper never will. 


Otherwise the Norda 001 is all as Jeremy also says “Peace and Silence”. You are connected to the terrain without it punishing you. Despite the stack there is a ground conforming feel from a combination of foam and due to its construction quite “pliable”. Finally, for such as big shoe there is indeed “Silence” as it runs quietly and smoothly no matter where you take it, even road.  Of course, in addition to ultras and daily trail runs, it is for sure the shoe I would choose if I could only take one on a long trip with trail running, road running, sightseeing, hiking, walking and general wear. 

And I did so (OK I had a few others) on my reporting trip to the Golden Trail Series where I used them for daily runs on often extremely steep pavement and on the last stage to report from the slick misty knife edge uphill downhill segment.










Conclusions and Recommendations

Jason: Supporting small North American businesses. Maybe you don’t care, but I

appreciate supporting brands that genuinely care about and are part of our

trail running community. Norda is trail running, they operate out of the

Norda Barn in Quebec Canada and support trail community. 


I give the Norda 001 a 10 out of 10 for a max cushion trail shoe. No exaggeration, the 001 is my favorite max cushion trail shoe I've ever run in.  


Jeremy: There’s no “Wow” effect in the Norda: it’s not the lightest, not the most cushioned, or the most explosive shoe, but all the parts of the shoe are well-thought and come into play when running. It’s a perfect “long Z2 shoe”that can easily handle some blasts for fun.


As such, it’s one of the best ultra-running shoes I’ve tried. It just works, is easy, and never bothers or feels burdensome.


Of course, the price is the elephant in the room, and that will be very difficult to swallow for many. I think it’s completely on par with the shoe’s intrinsic qualities and apparent durability but…then again…it’s up to your pockets’ depth….

Score: 9.4 (Ride: 9.5 Fit: 9.5 Value: 7 Tractio: 9.5 Style 10 Rock protection: 9)

Smiles score: 😊😊😊😊😊


Sam: I mostly agree with Jeremy there is no huge Wow factor with the Norda beyond of course its incredible upper which I score at near perfect 9.9.

 

The Norda is all about the sum of all of its parts. All of a piece with an immaculate fit from the Dyneema upper that is never over constricting plenty roomy and totally well held with a perfectly integrated midsole outsole combination,  the Norda is not only “ultra worthy” but an incredibly versatile do anything run any terrain (and even road) shoe. 


Everywhere I have gone, and due to circumstances during the test period that included plenty of road, the responsive cushion, never in the way outsole and nice front flex had me wondering what the shoe couldn’t handle.  If Jason's experience is any indication most should get considerably more miles out of this shoe than just about any other. 


I particularly noted the smooth, slap free ride and integrated feel of the substantial Vibram outsole and midsole.  The Norda is not just a mish mash of fancy tech and components, every element is carefully brought together for a seamless feel top to bottom. Not a luxo plush ride or a high rebounding or pillowy feel here but a purposeful, focused, versatile, and reliable one designed to really go the distance. 


I do wish the midsole was a bit softer and more reactive. I would change nothing as far as the upper which should fit a very wide range of foot shapes. 


Is it a speedster type trail shoe? Not as much as some, but for 80% of your miles on any surface it is a top choice.  It would be the first shoe I would reach for if I went on an extended trip with road and trail running, trekking, and walking all in the mix.


As the most expensive shoe I have ever run, I am “comforted” by its expected long long life, craftsmanship, integration and reliable protective ride anywhere I have taken it.  Thus,I scored its value quite high but do of course wish it was more accessible to more runners.

Sam’s Score: 9.51 /10

(Ride: 9.4 Fit: 9.9 Value: 8.5  Style:  9.1 Traction: 9.8  Rock protection: 9.4

😊😊😊😊



10 Comparisons 

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Altra Paradigm

Jason: The best comparison I can make for the 001 is to the Altra Paradigm 1 and 2. The Paradigm was a light max cushion road shoe with a stable, smooth max cushion ride. The 001 has all the goodness of the Paradigm 1 & 2 but with all the upgrades of the upper, midsole and outer. 


Naked T/r Trail Racing Shoe (RTR Review)

Jeremy: same “no holds barred” approach to design, carefully choosing the most appropriate materials to serve the intended purpose.


But those purposes are totally opposed. The Naked T/r as its name indicates, is a full bred racing machine, light, with a tight fit and very secure booty-like upper. The thin layer of EVA cushioning and carbon plate are built for precision, nimbleness and propulsion on technical environments, even if they’re no slouch on more tame trails. The Norda feels like a comfylimo cousin to the Naked, perfect for the long easy hauls and full days on the trails…and can easily get to more technical places…just slower than the Naked.


Breathability is a no-match with the Norda being head and shoulders above the T/r.


Price-wise…they’re both expensive and I think that if you’re able to put 290$ on the T/r, the remaining 50 bucks won’t hold you down. 


Two excellent shoes, with different purposes. If I had to choose one, I’ll get the Norda. More comfy, more appropriate for my running habits, and I just have a perfect feeling with them on foot.


Sam: Battle of the “exotics”.  While the Peace and Silence Satisfy X Norda is all about forget you even have shoes on as you cruise the distance, the Naked is the high strung shorter and faster race machine with a very precise (and for me hard to pull on) laceless upper, low slung firmer platform, flexible carbon plate and Vibram Lite Base in a different more smooth terrain design. I agree with Jeremy if I had to pick one it would be the Norda but that said they make an excellent pairing for the trail runner who wants the ultimate..and can afford it..


Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G280 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Inov 8 with its supercritical nitrogen infused foam is softer and more bouncy. It for sure shares an easy flexing, no rock plate long run focused ride with the Norda. Its excellent Graphene Grip outsole essentially matches the Norda’s Vibram but is not as quite as well integrated with a somewhat firmer and stiffer feel on hard ground. The firmer front feel is also in part due to the fact the G280 has 4mm less forefoot cushion while its heel height is about the same as the Norda.  


The higher stack Norda is about 0.35 oz / 10g lighter in my US8.5.  The weight difference most likely comes from a combination of the outsole and especially the difference in uppers. Yes back to the incredible Dyneema upper.  The G280 has an unusual knit upper. It works well but doesn’t hold a candle to the lighter, more breathable, less moisture absorbing  yet more secure Norda’s which not only delivers all that but a noticeable higher more comfortable toe box.  


The pain in the comparison comes from the $185 difference in price but the Norda is clearly superior to the Inov-8 in all respects except maybe midsole foam and even that is quite close.


Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)

Sam: Norda was clearly aiming for the iconic Speedgoat with the two sharing the same stack height and drop. The Speedgoat 5’s new softer midsole is similar in feel to the Norda but its Megagrip outsole is not nearly as well integrated to the midsole. The Speedgoat may be a touch more stable on technical terrain but otherwise the Norda wins with a far smoother firm ground flow and especially for upper comfort and room where the Speedgoat continues to be a challenge for many upfront. 


Hoka EVO Speedgoat (RTR Review)

Sam: The softer and bouncy Speedgoat variant has a high tech Matryx upper which while very comfortable does not have nearly the structure and secure hold of the Dyneema in the Norda. The EVO does have a 0.6 oz / 17g advantage in weight at the same stack height but its upper will not support you nearly as well on more technical trails as the Norda’s will.


Nike Zoom X Zegama Trail (RTR Review)

Sam: Very similar in cushioning, protection, weight and purpose the Zegama Trail is stiffer in feel and less agile with a harder less effective outsole. It is a rocket on road while the Norda is more mellow, pleasant and more forgiving, and on all surfaces The Norda upper has more overall support, more front room, and is lighter.  If your trail running includes road sections pavement and gravel and you want a more aggressive and responsive ride I would pick the Zegama here. Otherwise Norda all the way. 

Jeremy: Sam summed up quite well my feelings between those two. They’re in the same shoe category, aiming for all-day comfort, but the Norda is much better. More secure fit, but also more comfortable, more flex and easier to run with, less directed ride, more natural, less bouncy cushioning, more ground feedback despite the ample cushioning. The outsole grip…need I talk about that?

Of course, the Norda costs almost twice the price of Zegama, but I think durability will be way better.


Saucony Endorphin Shift 1 or 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: OK a road shoe but the similar feeling foam ride and especially the front flex of the Norda reminds me of the Shift’s distinctly felt Speed Roll to toe off on firmer terrain. This feeling subsided a bit after break in but is still there. 


Scarpa Golden Gate Kima RT (RTR Review)

Jeremy: More technical focus, the Scarpa Kima RT stays quite versatile nonetheless. It’s more efficient on rocky ground, especially uphill with the combination of the firmish midsole with PEBA insert and the carbon plate acting as a propulsion device on long ascents.

The midfoot fit is tighter but strangely does not feel more secure.

On shorter (<40kms) runs on rocky terrain, I’ll reach for the Scarpa, but the Norda will be better for everything else and for longer and easier outings.

Sam: Agree with Jeremy here.  Lower to the ground, highly propulsive from its flexible carbon plate, and an incredible climber, the Kima RT is a “Sky Running” shoe par excellence, although I found it an excellent 25K choice on smooth terrain as well,  while the Norda is more about going big distances on any terrain.  


Salomon S/Lab Genesis (RTR Review)

Sam: The new Genesis is Salomon’s new soft and flexible ultra option and competes directly with the Norda. Its big gripping Contragrip outsole is comparable but not as well integrated to the midsole as the Norda's so on firm terrain you will feel it more as a presence.  It has a broader not quite as secure and all of a piece fit all around, except at the toe box which are similar. Lower volume feet may struggle more than in the Norda and especially on technical terrain as its Matryx upper is not quite as locked down as the Norda’s and especially the rear of the midfoot. True to size with both.


Altra Timp 4 (RTR Review)

Jeremy: Two very similar shoes: similar purpose, similar cushioning levels. The Timp gets the nod on upper comfort as it really feels like old slippers, but they are far from having the same foothold as the Norda. Altra Ego foam is less dense, bouncier than the Vibram SLE midsole, making them more fun to run in, but less precise and predictable. The Norda 001 is like a performance vision of the Timp, and more adequate for longer runs thanks to the denser midsole. I had some mitigated experiences with Altra durability so I give the nod to Norda on this aspect.

Sam: Similar as Jeremy says but the Timp 4 is more about comfort than long performance on any terrain as the Norda delivers and I will take the Norda’s 5mm drop over Altra’s zero drop. 


The Satisfy norda 001 is available from Satisfy Running HERE 

and in other colorway editions from Norda Run HERE


Tester Profiles


Jason is a highly accomplished Ultra runner whose achievements include include winning the Hardrock 100 (2016) and Run Rabbit Run 100 (2013 & 2015), as well as finishing as the top American in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (4th place, 2014). His full bio is below. He is also an accomplished adventurer who, among other things, has skied the entire Hardrock 100 course in winter and explored remote regions of Patagonia and New Zealand, all while filming his exploits and then creating films though his company Schlarb-Wolf Productions.  Jason is a veteran who served for 10 years as an officer in the United States Air Force, which included a five-month deployment to Iraq and his earning the rank of Major. He also has a coaching service which we invite you to explore at his site here


Jeremy MARIE, French, 40y/o. Running since 2013 and quickly transitioned to trails, focused on ultras since 2015 : TDS, Maxi-Race, “100 miles du Sud”, 90kms du Mt Blanc, GRP 120kms, Some shorter mellow races (Saintelyon 45kms, Ecotrail Paris 45kms…) with always in the mix road and flat running, but not many road races. Recovery/easy runs ~4’45/km - 4’30/km. He has an un-official marathon PR of 2h54 (solo) and 10K PR of 36’25. He does few timed road races.


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he is lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.


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4 comments:

Eric said...

Do brands like Norad, NNormal, etc. represent an attempt at the Lululemonization of trail running? It seems like the biggest selling points are modern minimalist design, "premium" materials, "boutique" branding (i.e., exclusivity) etc.

I mean, sure, it's just another trail running shoe, but why not pay three times as much as the competition?

Anonymous said...

Hello. I am unsure about you meaning that Nnormal is overpriced. It is not the case at least in Europe. I bought a Tomir pair for 150 euros. Exactly the same price as the Speedgoat 5. And Tomir as more premium materials

Hedges said...

Just wanted to point out that the standard 001 models as opposed to the 001 with the Satisfy designed upper, which are the same shoe, retails for $285. You get nearly double the use out of them and they ride nicer than the other shoes you compared, so actually the value isn't bad. Min price I believe for the comparisons is $160.

Anonymous said...

Jason is sponsored by them, correct? I feel like if so, that should be more clearly said. Having a review with someone who helped in its production or development, doesn’t lead to an unbiased opinion.