Thursday, November 23, 2023

NNormal Kboix Details & Initial Analysis: Modular/Interchangeable 3 Super Foams Midsole Trail Shoe. 150 Invited to Test!

Article by Sam Winebaum

NNormal Kboix (Pricing TBD)

The Kboix is the third model from NNormal, Kilian Jornet's company. It is a modular midsole shoe with three CO2 infused supercritical processed EXXpure midsole options. We don't have all the details yet and will update the article as we do but here is what we know so far. The shoe combines easy to swap in and out versatility for terrain, type of run, and distance by swapping midsoles in and out and expected very long durability as midsole and upper can be changed out when you wish. Let's find out more.

After the super light and versatile Kjerag (RTR Review), one of our favorite do anything shoes of 2023, and the Tomir ( RTR Review) a still relatively light but a bit hard to place all arounder and near hiker we have the Kboix.

Clearly designed to plug a gap between the 2 current models and amplify yet further the brand's ethos of sustainability through durability, the Kboix features 3 interchangeable inner core midsoles of differing foams to match runner type, terrain, distances, pace and preferences for teach day's run or multi day adventures. Of course as replaceable if the MegaGrip outsole and  Matryx Kevlar upper holds up, which it should one can also get a fresh ride as needed. 

The foams of each of the interchangeable midsoles is processed with CO2, so all are what NNormal  calls EXXpure foams whereas before only the Kjerag was so processed. The compounds and NNormal description of their characteristics:

  • EVA (soft), 
  • PEBA (reactive), 
  • TPU (bounce)
While the Tomir a more conventional EVA midsole, the Kerjag has a supercritical CO2 processed foam, likely EVA as it base. Here, in a unique twist, we have a choice of supercritical foams to suit terrain, distances, paces and preferences. It seems likely, and we will find out more, that runners will choose one midsole and add others as they wish at we assume extra cost. 

We have been quoted a weight in the prototype stage of 8.47 oz / 240g (assumption US9 as before at Normal) but we don't know yet which of the three foams the spec weight represents. 

Given they are all supercritical, it is likely weights of each option will be close. For comparison,  the spec weight in the Kjerag in a US9 is 200g while the Tomir is about 282g. We don't yet have the full stack heights to compare but it appears the Kboix sits in between the 2 prior models in weight.

We have seen modular midsoles with Speedland providing a single foam type in each of their shoes and  not three as here. In the past, road shoes have had tunable midsoles such as earlier adidas with interchangeable rods and tended to be heavy. Here you change out the whole midsole. We are curious to see how is secured and stays put as this is not illustrated in the provided photos.
The upper is a Jacquard Light Matryxl. It has with what appears to be a generous toe box.

The outsole is Vibram Megagrip with it appears a higher profile lug than the Kjerag appearing to be about 4.5mm but we will confirm. 

While NNormal won't confirm,  I suspect Kilian got some "solid" prototype testing in during his  epic recent "Rediscovering the Pyrenees" adventure where he  ascended  177 three-thousander meter peaks with over 480 km of distance and over 43,000 meters of climbing. I think I catch glimpses of Kboix in  the NNormal's video recap of the adventure HERE 

It is expected to launch in June 2024 (pricing to come) but a lucky 150 will not have to wait that long. 150 runners will be selected to test and provide feedback on the final prototype with sign up at  NNormal from November 23 through January 14, 2024 HERE.

The shoe and its innovative concept of swapping midsole types when you wish for conditions, distances, type of run or terrain is definitely innovative. It has a  significant sustainability (and maybe wallet as well) bonus that if either upper/ outsole or midsole wears out you can get a new one keeping the shoe going strong and not entirely landfilled if one component has failed.

Official Intro YouTube Video by Kilian 

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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