Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2 Review – 800km in

Back in March 2020 and staring down the barrel of lockdown 1.0, like a lot of people I decided to start taking running seriously. I’d always done a bit but never really managed to reach the point where it stops hurting.

First off I decided to invest in some proper running shoes. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where I can easily access some woodland trails from my house, but its predominantly urban, so I wanted a shoe that will be comfortable on paved surfaces but could handle trails. I’m also soft so I wanted plenty of cushioning under foot.

The Norvan LD 2 fits the brief well. The Vibram MegaGrip sole is designed to work on a range of different terrain without being too specialised. It works really well on rocky trails, graveled paths, and wet footpaths, while still being comfortable on paved roads. The tread isn’t super aggressive though so those looking for a shoe for really wet and muddy conditions may want to look elsewhere.


The fit is pretty standard in the heel and quite wide at the front. If you’ve got plenty of experience with different shoe brands it feels like a La Sportiva heel with an Inov 8 front, Or a slightly wider Salomon running shoe. There isn’t a lot of arch support so if you over pronate then you may want to consider supportive insoles.


Cushioning wise the Norvan LD 2 has a 9mm heel to toe drop which is plenty. Dedicated hill runners may find this excessive, but for me its perfect. It means that the shoes feel comfortable and stay comfortable on long runs.


The Norvan LD 2s are made from a durable TPU with a breathable mesh over the toe box. This material does not absorb water, a property shared by pretty much the whole shoe. This feels great when you go through deep puddles or bogs as water starts pumping out of the shoe as soon as you leave the water and they feel dry in minutes (imagine running in Crocs, in a good way).

800km In

So what are they like after 800km? Well for starters the cushioning must be made from some magic EVA foam, they still feel as comfortable as when I bought them 800km ago. It really is pretty amazing how comfortable they still are. This durability is something that translates across the entire construction of the shoe. The only signs of wear are some discoloring from mud, and wear on the soles. There’s none of the weak looking stitching or cracks at the flex points that you can get on other shoes. Inside there’s not really any visible wear. I find that the inside of the heel is the first thing to wear away in my footwear, but there’s no sign of that yet.

800km in. Looking muddy but still going strong.

The main body of the shoe seems to have a lifespan far longer than the sole, in fact my plan is to just get them resoled when the tread finally goes rather than buy new shoes.

Outside of running I’ve also found myself using the Norvans as approach shoes. They don’t have a fancy ‘climbing zone’ on the toe area or anything like that, but they are very light and perform well on steep grass. In my experience steep grass performance far out weighs climbing ability in approach shoes for UK climbing! They also don’t have heel loops for attaching them to your harness, but they do have loops on the tongue. These are actually better than heel loops as the shoes sit higher up your bum (so to speak) on the back of your harness which is less annoying to climb with.

Next to a brand new shoe. The cushioning looks a little compressed but doesn’t feel it. No real signs of wear around the toe flex point.

Should you buy them?

If you want a running shoe that’s going to do everything pretty well, bar one of those super muddy novelty event things then yes. The durability of the cushioning is really pretty amazing and the sole handles the majority of trails well and is still comfortable on roads. There may be more ‘precise’ trail shoes out there, but after 5 or 6km when your feet have expanded out a bit they get really comfy for the long haul.

The Norvan LDs are now available with a GORE-TEX waterproof lining, you can find both version at below:

Arcteryx Norvan LD 2

  • Single later TPU mesh upper
  • Anti fatigue insert in midsole
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • 9mm drop
  • 260g (per shoe size 8)

Arcteryx Norvan LD 2 GTX

  • GORE-TEX Waterproof breathable membrane
  • Single later TPU mesh upper
  • Anti fatigue insert in midsole
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • 9mm drop
  • 287g (per shoe size 8)

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