The North Face Single-Track Hayasa Review

The latest addition to The North Face’s Single-Track trail running shoe line is the Hayasa ($110) and it was developed with speed in mind. In fact, “Hayasa” means “speed” in Japanese, which is fitting as the concept for the shoe came out of TNF’s Japanese team. This race-ready trail shoe weighs in at 8.3 ounce and sits low to the ground with a 10mm heel-to-toe drop (8mm forefoot/18mm heel). While the Hayasa was designed to be an able trail racer, TNF didn’t skimp with protection or support, so this shoe could work as an everyday trainer for a good portion of trail runners.

The North Face Single-Track Hayasa Review Transcript

The Single-Track Hayasa is part of The North Face’s trail running line. This is the third trail shoe they have in that line with those being the Single-Track, the Double-Track, and now this latest version which is the Single-Track Hayasa. Hayasa is Japanese for “speed,” so they’ve really built this to be a lower profile, lighter weight shoe. This one actually comes in at 8.3 ounces in a men’s size 9 and 7.2 ounces in a women’s size 7 all with an 18mm-8mm heel-to-toe drop. So with those stats out of the way, let’s get up close and personal and see what this shoe has to offer.

Outsole
So let’s start with taking a look at our outsole. From a tread perspective we have a relatively low-profile lug pattern on these shoes. So they’re going to be good for your general purpose trail running, your fire roads, and maybe even do a nice job with that transition—maybe you’ve got a little bit of road, a long dirt road or fire road or that sort of thing and you’re not going to notice these lugs because, again, they’re relatively low profile. Of course, the downside to that in muddy and sloppy conditions this does not do as well, because you don’t have the surface area and the depth there to really add a lot of grip. But for general purposes, this is definitely going to fall in that category for trail running and also some light duty road running.

The North Face Singe-Track Hayasa - outsole

The North Face Singe-Track Hayasa’s outsole.

 

Let’s start by looking at this white part around the perimeter. These lugs are forward facing so they’re going to help with climbs, they are directional. Then in the middle part of the shoe you have some more general-purpose lugs in the center of the shoe basically where the midfoot and forefoot are going to be at. In the middle, we don’t have any lugs at all, so we skip all the way back to the back part of the heel. Again, around the perimeter of the heel you have these lugs that are going to switch direction and go to reverse facing all the way to the back which is going to help you brake going downhill.

Rockplate and Cradle
If we look up towards the front, essentially starting just behind your toes, working all the way back, we see this green. That’s going to be what’s known as a Snake Plate. In The North Face’s world, instead of having one large rock plate that extends from toe all the way to heel, you have this plate that sort of snakes in and out. The idea of that is to add flexibility so you have a protective plate without being too stiff and also save weight. One of the things I noticed from this Snake Plate was every now and then, especially when running on rocky terrain, I happened to hit some spots where that snake plate didn’t exist, and I could feel that rock poke through vs. some of the other spots. However, it wasn’t poking all the way through the shoe, because you do have traction and tread and outsole in those spots. It’s just something to keep in mind because it’s not a full plate that’s in here.

When we move back into the heel, we have this little window that gives us a view into this cage or cradle that this shoe has which we’ll talk about here in a minute. This is relatively thick in here though I do see that potentially getting a hole poked in it but in anything I was on, I didn’t seem to have any of those problems and it’s really not showing any signs of wear. I just wanted to make sure to call that out.

Midsole
So when we move to the midsole, we have a dual-density foam but for all intents and purposes, it’s single density all the way around, on the inside, to the toe, and all the way back. The only place we have a dual density of foam is in this heel cradle which is this green plastic which extends up from the back here and creates basically this dome that your foot is going to fit inside which is going to provide some stability and also some support for your foot to stay in here. So basically it’s a way of keeping your heel locked in and giving some stability to the shoe and the way that it rides without having to create any pronation control or anything like that.

This shoe is definitely on the neutral side. So this single-density foam is 18mm at the heel and 8mm at the toe for a 10mm offset. While it’s not an extremely low drop in terms of what we have now with 0mm and 4mm and 5mm, you have a shoe that rides low to the ground and has a normal-to-slightly-below-average drop of 10mm. This other foam, this white foam is again just around the heel and not much of that making its way into your foot, so it’s not any type of blocking or posting or anything like that. So the midsole is pretty standard, nice, light, low to the ground, and it provides definitely a decent amount of cushioning without going overboard.

Upper
Up front we have basically a puncture resistant toe cap. You’re not getting a lot of hard rubber up here, but it’s going to keep stuff from poking through there. Then on the very tip of the shoe, you do have a bit more rigidity in terms of kicking rocks and that sort of stuff. So the toe bumper is quite small in terms of the hard part of it but the rest of it is there, it’s going to help but it’s not going to be something that’s really going to save your toes from turning black if you happen to be dragging them.

The North Face Singe-Track Hayasa - upper

The North Face Singe-Track Hayasa’s upper.

When we move to the rest of the upper, we can see that there is basically a lot of blue mesh on here. This shoe drains really well and breathes really well as you might expect. From the upper standpoint, they try to keep the seams extremely low in using these welded seams that you see here with this silver that you see in a couple spots. So those aren’t sewn on, it’s more of a gluing or a heat process to make those part of that. On the laces, we’ll notice this cage that’s inside of here. This is this fabric that is essentially on both sides of the shoe. And when you lace up, that’s going to pull on that fabric and create a nice wrap around your foot to basically create support without having to have a bunch of overlays and fabric and things like that on the shoe. So I felt like this shoe had a really nice wrap to it and part of the reason for that in addition to our metatarsal pulls here is that we have a gusseted tongue on this shoe. That essentially starts at this top eyelet all the way down. So gusseted tongue, nice wrap, really nice uniform fit on your foot.

From a laces standpoint, these laces are a little bit different from traditional because they’re sort of stretchy feeling. The stretchy feeling does a nice job of when you tie it, it sort of thins out and then when you release that it bunches back up. So what you get is, the laces sort of pull on each other and keeps them from coming untied. If they do come untied, they sort of bunch up before they fall off or come untied completely.

From the heel standpoint, we already talked about that cradle down in the bottom, but up top we also have an actual heel counter that’s in here that we can feel. So this crushes down to about right here and the rest of this is some sort of plastic or structure to add to the back of the shoe. It is somewhat flexible compared to a lot of shoes but you do still have something in there that’s going to keep its shape and keep your heel locked in.

Lastly, inside, we have a removable insole, so if you’re somebody that wants to wear orthotics or change these out you have the ability to do that.

Overall Impression
So in closing, The North Face Single-Track Hayasa provides a lot of really great things in a really lightweight package. You’ve got rock protection, a trail-specific outsole, really good cushioning, and an upper that’s going to drain well and breathe all at under 8.5 ounces.

Call for Comments
If you’ve worn the Hayasa, please let us know what you thought. If you’ve got any questions, ask away.

The North Face Singe-Track Hayasa

The North Face Singe-Track Hayasa

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing "Trail Trials with Travis Liles" video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 40 comments

  1. David

    I picked up a pair of these last week after trying on many different pairs of shoes. Fitting of their name, the tread is great on single track, but I feel it is lacking for any mud or loose terrain.

    I've had no issues with the snake plate and I've been impressed with how well it has protected; though my feet did become tired after a 28 mile weekend on the Appalachian Trail.

    I find the toe box comfortable. In the forefoot I find that the fit is similar to the MT101, though the toebox is less volumous.

    Overall a nice shoe for single track. For the comfort and lightness I imagine I'll be gravitating to this shoe as my everyday trainer. However, for any long mountain runs I'll need to find something else.

  2. art

    last year I bought the first generation Single Track, which I did not like at all for technical single track, but which worked well for fire roads.

    this second generation shoe is so different it should have been given a completely new name. bought the new version but the jury is still out on how I feel about it, not enough miles yet. a bit lighter than most shoes I run in, but that seems to be the way things are going.

  3. Lucy

    Thansk so much for the review! I am so glad these are being discussed – have been looking for reviews for these for a few months! I bought a pair two months ago (there's the North Face store a block from my office) and I really like them! I have worn them on single track, fire roads (SF Bay Area), somewhat muddy trails – (they dry very quickly), to me they feel wonderful and have an excellent grip and also it feels like they offer enough cushioning. Bay Area fire roads tend to be hard packed and sometimes quite hard at the end of a long run, but I haven't had any issues with Hayasas. They were also wonderful on a slippery rocky, root-covered technical trail.

    I also have TNF Double Track which I don't quite like as much. I haven't done any races in them, only quite a few trail training runs, longest being about 20 miles – and I don't run in them on pavement.

    Just for reference, my other trail shoes are Saucony Guide Trail (the only other shoes I found to be comfortable, after trying a zillion different brands and getting quite discouraged – I've always wanted to be able to wear something really "trail" – like Salomon or Montrail.)

  4. tom

    nice review! thanks.

    did 3 ultras in a single pair of the old single track ones last year (100k, 100k & a 100miles): not much wear. great shoe.

    so I was really looking forward to the new lighter and lower version of them!

    unfortunately IMHO they do not come up to the expectations.

    The tread is worn down in less then 100km!? And the laid open green parts of the outsole (the cradle that shows up there) is definitely a dangerous slippery thing when you run on slanting trails with roots perpendicular to it.

    Would love to get the old rubber or actually outsole on them,

    cause fit and weight is fine.

    1. David

      I do agree with you. I'd rather the plastic not be shown on the bottom; especially the non rubberized part under the arch. I've had a couple of slippery moments. It makes me want to "paint" some type of rubber compound on to for grip.

    2. Toe

      Have put about 150 miles on my hayasa's. midsole foam is starting to break down (has weird creases in it) and the outsole is not what it once was. bummer because they felt fantastic for the first 75 miles. I also feel like the snake plate is losing its protective feel as mine has several sizable holes in it.

  5. jim

    Not really sure why NF keeps trying to sell shoes. They have never really had a foot hold in the market and they designs and quality seem to be lacking. I guess I would be hesitant to even try them considering I have never seen a sponsored NF athlete actually wear NF shoes.

    Jim

  6. Gabe

    I just returned a pair of these to running warehouse because because the tread was completely falling apart. I had only put about 50 miles on these shoes and the lugs were basically gone and the sole was splitting. I thought the shoes had a very comfortable upper with a nice snug fit, but the durability was pathetic. Maybe I got a bad pair, but there is no way they were going to get me through spring.

  7. Dan

    Picked up a pair of these a few weeks ago – amazing shoe easy transition from a road to trail – I have used them for 3 trail workouts – 10k each – 30k total have noticed significant wear on the very first black lug at the toe of the shoe – am wondering if anyone else has experienced this – general wear after 30k?

  8. STKretzmann

    I picked up a pair of these feeling pretty sure based on everything I had heard that they'd be pretty comparable to the Montrail Rogue Racer, a shoe I've loved for both road and trail, and even worn onto the treadmill a couple of times with relative comfort. Kinda disappointed in the Hayasa. I was okay with them on the first couple runs, feeling that they probably just needed some more break-in time, but after a few 2-hour outings, they still feel just as stiff as they were out of the box and the forefoot/midfoot still hasn't broken into my foot like most shoes do. I think that I may have expected too much from them given all the "great trail AND road" shoe literature on them, but I just don't think they perform on the road as well as the Rogue Racers do.

  9. Marcus

    Nice review – Interesting comments starting to emerge re build quality of these shoe – we did a video review at ultra168 and make reference to the fact that the first pairs delaminated very quickly and the clear plastic bubble at the back filled with water – North Face are looking into for us and we hope to get an answer on the issues soon – will post on the site when we have them. My second pair are going strong with minimal signs of wear

    http://ultra168.com/2012/04/09/gear-review-north-

  10. David

    I also looked at these as a possible replacement for the Rogue Racers. I didn't care for the fit so I didn't purchase them.

    I'm dying for a La Sportiva Vertical K vs Salomon Sense comparison (smackdown) video. These are the two shoes that I'm considering at the moment and would love to know how they compare.

  11. tom

    see my entry 5 above: yes, the wear is significant way below 100k; especially the first black lug is gone pretty sone on my shoes as well. you see the white rupper from below. disappointing.

  12. Travis

    The tread is shallow and works well for moderate trail but not very strong in mud or areas that require a lot of grip. I can say that the tread is not a very dense so chances are its life will be shorter. Obviouslly the type of terrain you are running on can decrease the life of the shoe more rapidly than others.

  13. Mark L.

    Keep in mind this is NOT the second generation of the Singletrack, but a completely different model. TNF has also released the Singletrack II, which is the replacement for the Singletrack model. The Hayasa reviewed here is a brand new lightweight low profile trail runner.

  14. Mark L.

    I also purchased a pair of these about a month ago, and have put about 60 miles on them, about half pavement and half trail. I really like the fit, low weight, and feel of the shoe. But, as others have stated, the durability seems to be lacking. I have significant wear on the outsole and my shoes also have some delamination of the black plastic stuff where the upper connects to the midsole. Sorry, not sure what that's called! These are also NOT the shoe of choice for gnarly singletrack, as the traction and protection are lacking.

  15. Digby

    I have been wearing the Hyasas for ten days and put in 100 miles of mainly offroad rocky paths, beaches and tracks. Incredible shoes in terms of comfort and trail feel, great traction even on wet rock. However, I am returning them to the suppliers as the wear on the midfoot is frightening, even after the first 40 miles. The tread is almost gone in parts and there is no way they will survive for another 100 miles. A real shame as I thought I had found the ultimate Ultra shoe for me!

  16. mike

    Shoe is light and fast, good for light trails. It performs really well and is comfortable/breathable.

    It just falls apart after 100-150 miles. Have had 2 pairs, glue falls apart and mesh rips real bad. Good for a race if you have the money to burn on multiple pairs. Sent both into TNF warranty.

  17. Tony

    All of the above…

    I bought an early pair in Canada in March (on a trip), as we didn't get them that quickly here in Singapore as they were for an Adventure Race to be held in the first week of April in Borneo.

    After one race of 132km they are pretty much dust, the black sole is flat and wearing through to the snake plate (which is also wearing), the white compound is degrading (drying and coming away) and the blue foam is also given up any rebound and is also degrading.

    I did get in touch with TNF via email, and they said to contact their warranty dept for return, but from SG to US this is the price of a new pair of shoes, so I have not taken them up on this.

    This is a real shame as they are the most comfortable shoes I have used, and on the race I can say I has no feet issues at all. The drainage was great on river hikes and the protection also great on rocky descents…its just a pity I can't use them again!…

    Maybe they are a racing shoe (one hit!), I think it would be prudent for TNF to include this in their marketing material, rather than imply them as a Training shoe also.

    I've now begrudgingly bought some XT Wings, as this was cheaper than shipping back the Hayasas, and although I'd love another pair… I need something more durable.

    1. digby

      Still awaiting news on whether NF will replace my Hyasas… with what I dont know, maybe some singletracks for training or spare shoes. have managed to get a pair of salamon senses at a good price, whew! Thought the might be a bit too minimal for me but wow, they are some shoe! Used them for a 10 mile road race, following 6 miles off road to get there, has soaking wet feet and not a blister in sight or hot spot. great road/ trail feel, hug my feet like a second skin, good protection and light as anything! Think I am in love, just dont tell my wife! These might be my shoes for my inaugral UTMB this year. Oh and absolutely no wear at all even after road use, still look new, except the clean white bits which are now stained!!!

  18. Alan

    I ran a 50 miler in my first pair of Single-Tracks, out of the box with great results. How does the overall "feel" of the Hayasa compare to the first edition Single-Tracks? Thanks.

  19. Brett

    I agree with a number of the comments. They are the best trail shoe I have managed to find but the soles wear very quickly and the upper is starting to fall apart.

  20. Jestep

    Started seeing major wear after about 20 miles. IMO a trail shoe should be good for 300 – 500 miles depending on usage. I'll be lucky if these last for 150. Extremely comfortable, almost unbeatable feel. I'd exchange an ounce or two for a shoe that's going to make it more than a month.

  21. Matt P

    I love this shoe. I've got 300-400 miles since purchasing in late April. They've held up well.

    My only complaint and glad this review brought it up was

    "One of the things I noticed from this Snake Plate was every now and then, especially when running on rocky terrain, I happened to hit some spots where that snake plate didn’t exist, and I could feel that rock poke through vs. some of the other spots."

    This happens to me occasionally and when it happens its a real wake up. If TNF could fix this issue then they'd have a great shoe.

    1. Digby

      400 miles Wow!! Matt are you a heel striker as mine were gone in less than 100 in the fore foot. I now have Salomon Sense and some rogue racers. The Sense are awesome and cannot wait for Salomon to bring out there new Ultra version and there not quiet so expensive version. I got my money back from North face but have not heard on whether they plan to change the tread on the fore foot as the Hyasa would be a great shoe.

  22. dan

    have put about 120km on my first pair before i got them replaced by TNF. The new (fall 2012) pair have started to become worn out after the same distance but still have them. They are one of the most comfortable shoes to run in. I have since gone back up to the regular single track and am confidant that i will be able to ride these out for a long time.

  23. Digby

    how do the single track compare, just look a little too chunky for my, love the lower feel of Hyasa, Rogues and the ultra thin sense. have not been able to try some on.

  24. dan

    The regular single track are more bulky but offer alot more protection and durability. For me, the Hayasa were great for distances under 15km but the feet took a beating after a while. Regular single tracks will offer a little more protection to last 20+ KM.

    Would keep buying the hayasa for their low profile/ light weight but their durability is not great for everyday training runs on the trails.

  25. Digby

    My feet are happy in minimal shoes for ultra distance, just wish North face would upgrade the sole in its mid foot and then it would be awesome!

  26. Matt P

    I think it was more like 250 miles now that I think about it (stopped wearing a GPS watch about time I bought the shoe). About 8 weeks of running. And stupid me, I never really looked at the sole before/after running. I'm usually in such a hurry I throw them in the bag and then toss the bag in the back seat of my truck. I just took a look at the shoe and holy cow, its totally worn down all the way to the blue on both feet. I wonder how long they've been like that? I'm wearing Brooks Cascadia 7 as of last week and feel way more comfortable downhills.

  27. Wilbert

    Durability issue and not for long distance! I wore this several times but my feet will hurt after 10km. Now I'm looking for better shoes. What would you recommend please email.

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