Thursday, August 10, 2023

NNormal Tomir Multi Tester Review: 12 Comparisons

Article by Mike Postaski and Sam Winebaum

NNormal Tomir ($165)


The Tomir is the 2nd shoe from Kilian Jornet’s NNormal joining his do anything super light Kjerag (RTR Review). It features a rugged upper, lightweight EVA midsole and Vibram Megagrip Lightbase outsole with big 5mm lugs. It has a 31mm heel / 23mm forefoot ( 8 mm drop spec) stack height and weighs a very reasonable 9.65 oz  / 274 g (US9). So what is it? How did it perform and fit for Mike in Idaho and Sam in New Hampshire running and hiking on a variety of surfaces? How does it compare to Kjerag as well as 11 others we cover at the end of the review. 


Highest quality materials & craftsmanship Mike P /Sam

Durability a key feature Mike P

Secure fit, stable underfoot Mike P

Very sticky rubber on wet slippery rock Sam

Great midsole foam but masked by over rigid outsole Sam


Ride/midsole feel is a bit uninspiring Mike P/ Sam

Upper material feels too rigid, non breathable Mike P/Sam

Outsole/lugs are just ok across different surfaces Mike P

Over rigid outsole with not much lateral flex, so “sharp edged at the ground” Sam

Toebox is borderline narrow/tight Mike P

At true to size required my thickest Darn Tough hiking socks to get heel hold. Sam


Approx. Weight: men's 9.65 oz  / 274 g (US9) 


  Mike’s non waterproof version men’s 9.9 oz  / 282 g (US 9.5)

  Sam’s waterproof version: 10.79 oz / 306g  US8.5 EU42

Stack Height: men’s 31mm heel / 23mm forefoot ( 8 mm drop spec) 

$165.  Available now. 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Mike P: I personally purchased a pair of Kjerag way back in the fall, so I was happy to get a test sample of the Tomir for comparison. I’m a big fan of the Kjerag, although I found them to be surprisingly minimal - especially as they came out after Kilian had worn them in such long, technical ultras - UTMB and Hardrock. It’s a fantastic shoe overall, but I’d say for most runners, myself included, taking them out for 100M would be a bit “aspirational”. 

The Tomir offers a higher stack of a more traditional lightweight EVA foam, so perhaps this is the shoe intended for the masses for longer distances and ultras. I knew from experience with the Kjerags that they do run a bit large, so I went with my TTS US 9.5. I was a bit surprised that the Tomir fits much tighter than the Kjerag - especially in the toe box. 

I would have expected it to be the other way around, or that the higher stacked Tomir would have at least as much space up front as the much more minimal Kjerag. But that’s not the case here. I actually found that I had to relax the lacing a bit around the forefoot to get a more comfortable fit. But not to worry - the Tomir’s monofilament polyester/TPE upper is a bit rigid. So no issues with foothold, even with the more relaxed lacing.

The higher 8mm drop of the Tomir is noticeable right away, especially in comparison to the almost “natural” feeling drop of the Kjerag. Right away, in combination with the firmer EVA foam, I get the general feeling of a more “standard” trail shoe.

As with the Kjerag, the gusseted tongue is nicely padded, and I have no issues with lace pressure or bite. Unlike the Kjerag, the Tomir does use a standard insole. It’s very snug inside the shoe - I initially thought it may be built in or glued down. But I was able to wiggle it out for inspection, it’s just very tightly fitted. I do prefer the standard insole as I find the Kjerag’s built-in suede-type material underfoot causes some friction under my big toes.  

[Offset lacing is a non-issue, except for the fact that the rounded bottom edge below the lowest eyelets is quite rigid, and presses into the top of my toes]

[Here you can see on my right foot where the bottom area of the lace rand is stiff and presses into the top of my toes]

As far as the Poly/TPE upper material - it’s a bit stiff and requires some break in. But even still after around 50 miles, with water crossings mixed in to try to loosen them up, they do still feel rigid. I also found them to run a bit warm and breathability to be more limited. The white/sand color helps a little in hot sun, but still, they feel a bit confining on foot. Water was also a bit of an issue- they don’t drain or evaporate moisture well. 

Sam: The Tomir at first glance says one rugged shoe with great durability potential. The mesh is very dense and closed with clear abrasion resistance as when scratching a finger over it you really hear it! This is truly a debris proof upper. My test pair was the waterproof version.

The underfoot feel is dense and protective with the 5mm lug full coverage Vibram outsole noticeable right away as quite firm and notably sticky. In combination with the stitched and glued board to upper interface, the shoe is quite rigid in feel in all directions. It develops flex forward with break in but not as much side to side.

The asymmetrical lacing pattern and broad tongue wraps the midfoot well but overall the fit is hampered by the not particularly foot conforming stiff mesh. Unlike Mike, I found plenty of toe box height and decent volume but at my true to size US8.5 with EU a bit more than usual EU sizing at 42. That said they are clearly not as broad as the Kjerag but do have higher over the toes volume. Why NNormal did not go with the same fit I don’t know.

I had to use thick Darn Tough and Smart Wool hiking socks to get a good heel hold.  With the thick socks the front fit was OK if a bit short and the heel hold decent but given the dense waterproof upper things got warm in a hurry but not so much to be hot.


Mike P: I found the Tomir’s midsole foam to be a bit uninspiring overall. The foam itself leans firm (NNormal tells softer foam is coming for 2024), and there’s none of the responsiveness or “magic” felt in the Kjerag which has a supercritical midsole foam. Honestly it just feels like a plain old EVA, perhaps similar in feel to some Salomon trail shoes of the past - traditionally known for their firmer feel. As noted above, the drop is 8mm, and it surely feels like the full 8mm. The heel is quite blocky, and also has a bit of a “tail” extension to it. I do feel my heel being noticeably elevated. 

[The extended “tail” smooths descents, but is noticeable on the run]

The midsole is notably stitched to the upper - for durability. This is keeping with NNormal’s focus on sustainability - they want their products to last much longer than traditional trail shoes. I do wonder if the stitching also contributes to the stiff feeling of the ride and shoe in general. It may be that, plus the firmish foam itself, and the Poly/TPE upper, and also - the full coverage outsole, see below..

Sam: I found the midsole foam itself to be great. Moderately energetic, deeply cushioned, and appropriately firm It reminded me a lot of the Kjerag’s feel but with a big but. I think the outsole  contributes to the stiff firm feel particularly on firmer terrain with its widely spaced 5mm lugs. Agreeing with Mike, the outsole and stitched plus glued board make for a somewhat over rigid stiff overall platform, if super durable platform whereas the lower stack Kjerag has no sockliner and a lower outsole platform and, while not as cushioned, is much easier to move at any pace and on any surface.  More segmentation and some cut throughs to the midsole for better conforming to terrain are in order here.


Mike P: The outsole features high quality VIBRAM Megagrip/Litebase rubber. As with the Kjerag, NNormal goes with high end materials here. I have to note right here, that at the $165 price point, the Tomir definitely offers high quality materials and construction throughout the shoe. This is not a shoe that will show early wear or break down.

But getting back to the outsole - you have quite high 5mm lugs, very widely spaced. It seems to be a bit of a curious setup to me. I find the thick, high lugs to be noticeable underfoot on firmer surfaces, giving an almost cleat-like feel underfoot. It seems like the lugs are designed for rocky and loose terrain, but the base rubber layer itself is not that thick. Remember - it’s a lighter weight Litebase construction. 

[Huge spaces between lugs - especially under the middle of the forefoot]

I find that sharp rocks usually find the large gaps between the lugs and are more noticeable underfoot than they should be. This makes me reluctant to take the Tomir into really rocky terrain. But on the other hand the 5mm, wide-spaced arrangement is really not ideal for smoother terrain either. To me it seems like the outsole is trying to cover too many bases at the same time. In the end it ends up being “just ok” across all surfaces. 

Sam: I agree with Mike on the outsole design. It tries to do too much especially by giving it the 5mm height and wide spacing.  There are Speedcross vibes from this outsole and outside of mud, very loose sand/ gravel and snow; such a design leads to a rougher smooth terrain ride limiting versatility in my experience and what I felt in testing.

 On firmer terrain the outsole is more noticeable than I prefer and even with the LiteBase construction makes the shoe quite rigid. I think a 3.5mm-4mm lug height would have extended the shoe’s versatility. As far as traction I tested the same day as the Salomon Thundercross with 5mm lugs on very wet slippery rock and the Tomir’s traction was superior as the rubber is notably stickier and firmer, both good things for traction but less so for ride quality.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Mike P: The Tomir for me gives off a “workhorse” vibe as far as the ride goes. It feels firm and solid underfoot, but there’s nothing really distinctive or exceptional to get excited about. Perhaps this was the intention of the shoe - to provide a durable and long-lasting, solid trail shoe, to cover most terrain, for most runners. If that’s the case, I’d say it fits the bill.

As I mentioned earlier, the 8mm drop is noticeable, perhaps making the shoe more ideal for heel strikers. For me as a midfoot/forefoot striker, the heel feels noticeable, and I can pretty much sense that large tail extension hanging off the back. The shoe feels nice and stable in most terrain, although a bit stiff overall. 

At 9.9 oz in my US 9.5, the weight of the shoe is decent, and I’d even say pretty good given the materials as well as the 31/23 mm stack height. But the stiffness is for sure the thing that stands out, especially when you can’t help but compare it to the Kjerag. It just feels like everything is strung a bit tight, if that makes sense - from the upper, to the midsole, down through the outsole.

 I just wish they had toned down the ruggedness/stiffness of the upper to improve fit and connection to the platform and made the outsole more multi surface and less aggressive in lug height.  With those changes I think they would have a solid winner as with the potential ride and fit benefits weight would drop yet further. 

Despite the narrow platform (under the midfoot through the heel), the Tomir doesn’t feel very agile. I typically like narrowness under the back half of a shoe for maneuverability, but the Tomir rides best when pointed straight ahead. The shoe feels sluggish when you have to maneuver it side to side or do any rock dancing. 

It appears to me that NNormal went all in for high-end performance with the Kjerag. But with the Tomir, they might have played it too safe in trying to design a super-durable shoe more tailored for the masses. Most of the elements of the shoe stray so far from the feel of the Kjerag that they hardly seem like siblings from the same brand.

Mike P’s Score:  8.13 / 10

Ride: 7.5 - Solid, stable, yet quite non-distinctive 

Fit: 8 - Upper is too rigid, ok toebox - surprisingly narrower than Kjerag

Value: 9 - Durability may be the highest selling point

Style: 9 - Like the blue accents, and especially the light color

Traction: 8.5 - Seems like it should perform better, seems like there are too few lugs?

Rock Protection: 8.5 - Again, too few lugs? Too much empty space between lugs

Smiles 😊😊😊

Sam: I concur with Mike. The Tomir has very decent weight for the stack height and big outsole, outstanding expected durability but a somewhat awkward stiff ride both running and hiking that doesn’t flow as well as the Kjerag or others in its own class, such as the considerably heavier Cascadia 17 I recently reviewed.  In part I think this is due to the super durable upper which doesn’t really conform to the foot and lock to the platform as well as the outsole design. as previously discussed. The fit is a bit of a puzzle as I had real problems without super thick socks getting good heel lockdown while Mike didn’t, both at true to size although my pair was the waterproof version with its membrane bootie. Mike does have a wider forefoot than I do so I understand why we don’t agree on that area. NNormal told us next year's version will have a slightly wider front fit.

We have not yet tested the higher top Tomir Waterproof (same underfoot platform)  which has a different  polyester water repellent ripstop mesh protecting its  Sympatex® waterproof membrane. My suspicion is that this upper might wrap the foot better and the higher collars could make the platform more stable.

I also agree with Mike that if maximum durability and longevity are what you are seeking, the Tomir is a great choice and a strong value. Essentially they have put the ruggedness of a low top hiker with the tech and at the weight of a quite light trail runner. What is missing to take it to a higher level in all around rugged terrain trail runners, as the Kjerag is for sure in do anything light trail shoes, is a smoothing out of its somewhat rough edges of fit and ride. 

Sam’s Score: 8.69 /10

Ride: 8.5 - Well cushioned but stiff and a bit awkward, not smooth flowing and “sharp” tippy at the edges of the sole. 

Fit: 8.4 - Upper is too rigid, heel hold issues at true to size

Value: 9.2 - Durability may be its best selling point

Style: 9 Subtle and classy 

Traction: 9 - Very sticky rubber but to much lug depth and pattern is not as versatile or easy flowing (stiff and rigid) as it could be, due to firm rubber and lack of decoupling and segmentation

Rock Protection: 9-more than adequate Smiles 😊😊😊

12 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

NNormal Kjerag (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Sizing is the same length-wise, but the Kjerag has a much broader and overall spacious toebox and of considerably softer and more pliable Matryx. The Tomir by comparison is narrower and even a bit tapered at the front. 

Kjerag features a more dynamic midsole foam which feels way more responsive, especially with the shoe’s much lower overall weight. The Tomir’s foam is somewhat firm and dull, and the ride feels more generic. The Kjerag is so versatile across all distances, probably better though if you’re a bit lighter on your feet as they can feel quite minimal, especially under the forefoot. But Kilian and Dakota have taken them 100+ miles, so there’s that. If you want a highly durable, more protective shoe, with a tighter fit up front, the Tomir would work better. 

Sam: (US8.5): Truly a marvel of any terrain performance and versatility, the Kjerag is not as deeply cushioned or protective with a 23.5mm/17.5mm stack height to the Tomir’s  31mm / 23mm but its energetic supercritical foam midsole gets it close.

It is not as deeply lugged for loose terrain but is so much more fun to run and more stable. I have run roads and trails and even trekked with a heavy pack for 2 days and everywhere I took them big smiles. There are many heavy duty trail shoes in Tomir’s class and really for me none as fine as Kjerag in the superlight weight category at a weight less than many road flats. As far as fit, the Kjerag clearly has a much broader toe box. My true to size pair is for sure long and I would size down a half size in a next pair  but only for length even though. Unlike Tomir, the hold everywhere is perfect in its total security and comfort. 

361 Futura (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Both shoes are high stack, but the Futura features a full TPE midsole which feels more bouncy and is more fun to run - but on more mellow terrain. The Futura is heavier, but runs lighter, and feels smooth in easy terrain. But the midsole is too unstable and there’s not enough lockdown for true trail duty. The Tomir has less bounce for sure, but a much more secure fit and can handle pretty much all types of terrain.

Dynafit Ultra 100 (RTR Review soon)

Mike P (10.0): I have this one currently in test - it’s a real long distance, all mountain shoe. The Dynafit Ultra is heavier than the Tomir, but its rocker makes it feel quite smooth on the trail. It also works well in mountain and somewhat technical terrain, as long as you are aware that you’re pretty high off the ground. The Tomir does feel a bit more stable, but the ride is flatter in comparison to the Dynafit. I wish the Dynafit’s toebox was less pointy, but its upper materials still feel less confining than the Tomir. Tomir’s plasticky upper feels too stiff and holds water. Both shoes have their pros and cons, hard to make a call between the two.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The MS4 comes in slightly heavier, but packs in more stack underfoot, and much softer foam. It gives a much more comfortable ride than the Tomir, but perhaps a touch less stable in uneven terrain due to the softness. MS4 notably has a 4mm drop which makes it feel much more balanced than the Tomir’s 8mm + its “tail”. MS4 also features a bomber outsole which provides all the traction you need - it’s much more effective than the Tomir’s outsole, although the Tomir may end up being more durable. The fit of the MS4 is pretty much perfect for me, and it’s upper breathes and dries out normally. I think the MS4 is a much better shoe (if you like soft cushion).

Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The XU2 is quite similar in fit and feel - V2 now also has a tighter fit and tapered toebox. It comes in at a lower 6mm drop, but I find that it feels like a high 6mm - so similar to the Tomir. Where the difference is between the shoes is the midsole - XU2, while not pillowy soft, is still much more cushioned than the Tomir. It absorbs impact a bit better and feels smoother on easy up to moderate terrain. I find the XU2 is a bit high and unstable in more technical stuff though, whereas the Tomir can handle that much better. Expect much higher durability from the Tomir as well.

Salomon Thundercross (RTR Review)

Sam: The Thundercross is a direct competitor to Tomir with the same heel height of 31mm but 4mm more at the forefoot as a 4mm drop shoe. The cushion evens out as the Thundercross Energy Foam is softer and I also think its similar 5mm lug rubber is softer too. The Thundercross upper wins from heel to midfoot with a secure comfortable and less stiff hold while up front its fabric like mesh and extensive soft overlays don’t provide quite the hold there of the Tomir.  I was a half size up in the Thundercross and did not need as thick socks as I did in Tomir at true to size. The Thundercross ride is more all of a piece with less of a disconnect between its big outsole and midsole and with more flexibility and ground conforming in all directions.  Even with its deep outsole it is a more smoother terrain versatile shoe while able to go in the deep soft ground grip territory.  During my test in the White Mountains with both shoes worn the same day during a very rugged rocky hike the Tomir had superior grip on wet rock but was less stable due to its rigidity laterally. While it is early, I suspect the Tomir will outlast the Thundercross from outsole to midsole to upper. 

Brooks Cascadia 17 (RTR Review)

Sam: I am testing the Cascadia 17 now and it is considerably heavier due to its high stack height. Yet, due to its plastic propulsion and protection plate and decoupled and segmented outsole underfoot geometry, it runs more smoothly and with more stability on all terrain even with its weight noticed. So smooth even on road where the Tomir struggles with stiffness and its firm much noisier outsole. Its upper is snugger with superior hold front to back.  Zero fit issues at  true to size with wide also available. Durability winner to be decided after more testing but suspect Tomir. Traction, even if it affects the ride goes to the Tomir on wet slippery rock but its only 0.5mm higher 5mm lugs than Cascadia are more noticed and outsole design less effective on smoother terrain. 

Salomon S/LAB Genesis (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): This is a shoe I’ve been loving recently, and I’ve been running in it a lot, concurrently with the Tomir. The Genesis has one of Salomon’s best trail uppers ever - very lightweight Matryx material, atypically spacious (for Salomon), yet nice and secure. The Matryx setup is more more flexible and comfortable than the Tomir’s stiff TPE upper. The Genesis midsole is softer and the ride is much smoother than the Tomir, in all terrain. The Genesis outsole features a more standard lug setup and of course it works better. I’d pick the Genesis all day, there’s nothing really that the Tomir has over it. 

Salomon Ultra Glide 2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The UG2 is noticeably softer, and also noticeably rockered. It’s really a smooth roller for easy/somewhat moderate terrain. The Tomir is firmer, its ride feels flatter, but it definitely works better in more technical terrain. I found the UG2’s rolling ride to be a bit unstable when not smooth. Both uppers fit about the same, with both being borderline “too tapered” in the toebox. The materials of the Tomir seem much more premium, and will be more durable. 

Scott Supertrac 3 

Mike P (10.0): The Scott is much heavier - a full 2.5 oz heavier, but runs much lighter than its weight, especially in its target mountainous terrain. The level of cushioning underfoot is similar to the Tomir, but it utilizes a rocker up front which gives it a nice, smooth ride. I find the Scott’s 8mm drop to be more agreeable than the Tomir - the Scott is more supportive under the midfoot so it feels like less of a forward slant. The Scott’s outsole gives better mountain traction, but holds more mud. Both uppers are similarly shaped, but I think the Scott is more breathable.

Topo MTN Racer 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): The Topo is much roomier and comfortable in the toebox, without being sloppy and overly wide. Both have similar, nice and narrow platforms under the midfoot and heel. The Topo is softer, and has more ground feel, so it feels much better and safer maneuvering around in technical terrain. I also prefer the layout of the Topo Vibram Megagrip outsole - the lugs are better situated and give a smoother ride in a wider variety of terrain. The Topo also feels more balanced on foot, and does not have a “tail” extension as the Tomir does. I prefer the MTN Racer 3 all day.

VJ Ultra 2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): There’s a difference in materials and quality, as the Tomir is much more refined (especially the upper). The Ultra 2 is wider across the forefoot, but then tapers more sharply than the Tomir. The Tomir has a more gradual narrowness, so you’d probably need to try on to see what fits best. The VJ’s foam is softer, but it also has a rockplate which gives it some protection. The VJ outsole is one of the best - great traction and grip - but is similar in performance to Tomir's, not so smooth on hard surfaces or road sections. I’d give the VJ the slight edge in technical terrain, but the Tomir may be on par in moderate terrain. Both shoes could use a few tweaks/improvements. 

Tester Profiles

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to 100+ mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. From 2022-23 Mike has won the Standhope 100M, IMTUF 100M, and Scout Mountain 100M trail ultras. He also set a CR of 123.74M at the Pulse Endurance Runs 24H and completed the Boise Trails Challenge on foot in 3 days 13 hours, besting the previous record by 7 hours. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was 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 gets very very lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. 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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Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Jan said...

Thanks for the review.
For me the Tomir is excelent hiking shoe. I had them for month on GR11 route and the durability is amazing. After the 850km and 45000m+ through some high Pyrenees terrain with backpack there is just one tiny hole in the upper.
I actually like the outsole, the 5mm lugs were very good in steep mud and I did not have any problem with stuck rocks in high alpine terrain. So the durability and grip are what makes it very good hiking shoe.

What I don't like is the fit. The heel is clunky and there is no hole for the heel-lock tie. For technical downhill with backpack I needed to tie it very firmly and I got lot of lacebite. I do not think that the asymmetrical lacing with lace across the top of the foot is good design. I think they should go with offset to the other side of the shoe like in Skora Fit.

I wanted to ask - Thinking about buying Kjerag, looks like it should have better foothold.
I have Tomir in true to size, should I buy Kjerag half size smaller?

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks for your feedback, congrats on your awesome trek and assessment of the durability. They say it is durable, our testing although way less than yours says so and you demonstrated it. Part of having to tie firmly and tightly is the upper for sure but I also think the rigid nature of the outsole in combination with the not very foot conforming stiff upper. As far as Kjerag my pair is TTS but long. Next pair a half size down for me. That said fit is very good especially with heavier hike type socks and with a pack. I hiked 2 days in mine in Tuscany with a decent pack and was way happier than in boots. It is a lower stack but much more energetic midsole and some clever rock protection from its ground filter. Very agile feeling and very stable at all times. I find more stable than Tomir not surprising as lower to the ground and with a superior upper. Not quite the traction in loose terrain compared to Tomir.
Our Kjerag review is here:
Sam, Editor

Mike P said...

Jan - I have both shoes in the same size (US 9.5 which is true to size for me). The Kjerag is much more roomy in the toebox, especially width-wise. I really was surprised that the Tomir has a noticeably snugger fit up front.

I'd go with the same size for the Kjerag, you'll just have a bit more space and be more comfortable.

Btw, I agree, 'clunky' is a good description for the heel/rear.

Anonymous said...

Do you plan to review the Tomir 2.0
Would love to see a comparison with the ASICS Trabuco Max 2 (or 3)
Thanks !

Anonymous said...

Tomir 2 Review coming very soon!