In 2023, The North Face has truly elevated its trail shoe offerings.
I previously had the opportunity to test and review The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky — here’s our The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky review — and they won me over. However, I was also curious about their slightly more rugged and affordable counterpart, The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 ($169). My anticipation was that this reasonably priced, yet sturdy shoe would serve as an exceptional training companion, allowing me to reserve The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky for racing purposes.
In their basic stats, this model weighs in at 10.5 ounces (298 grams) in a U.S. men’s size 9, has a claimed stack height of 28 millimeters in the heel and 22 millimeters in the toe, which give it a 6-millimeter drop.
Let’s see how these shoes measured up to my expectations.
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 Upper
Despite a mid-tier price point on the trail shoe lineup, The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 still feels like a high-performance trail running shoe.
The upper of the Vectiv Infinite 2 is constructed with a lightweight and breathable jacquard mesh fabric. The main advantage of using jacquard mesh is its breathability. The intricate weaving pattern creates small openings or perforations that facilitate airflow, allowing heat and moisture to escape from the foot, thus helping to keep the feet cool and dry. I mostly found myself using these shoes in hot, dry, and dusty conditions, meaning I can attest to the superior airflow. My feet did not overheat or sweat during the hottest of runs. When I did stumble upon a water crossing, I found that the shoes dried surprisingly well.
The tongue has soft “wings” to help with comfort, increase the ease of getting into the shoes, and prevent debris from working its way into the shoe. Unlike The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky, this shoe does not have offset laces. The shoe was very easy to get in and out of, I definitely could slide them off without untying them, which might be bad practice on my part. That being said, I did not find the shoe to feel insecure or like my foot was floating around. The North Face states that the shoe is constructed on an updated D-width last that accommodates a broad set of foot shapes. The toebox was snugger than others I’ve tried in the lineup, but I did not experience blisters or hot spots.
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 Midsole
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2’s midsole has changed a decent bit compared to its previous iteration. For starters, the midsole purportedly has one millimeter more cushion. Size matters and when you’re headed out for a multi-hour adventure, and a little more cushion never hurts.
The shoe delivers a comfortable and cushioned feel underfoot, thanks to the responsive EVA midsole foam. Adding to its dynamic performance, a Pebax insert in the forefoot provides an energized toeoff, offering a springy and propulsive stride. Even after two-hour runs, my feet did not feel fatigued.
However, the standout feature lies in the innovative VECTIV 2.0 midsole rocker technology. This little plate ensures a consistently fast and efficient experience, maintaining forward momentum with every step you take. The Vectiv Infinite 2 has a claimed 10-millimeter greater toe spring than the original model. The rocker midsole is noticeable at first, in a good way. I definitely felt some help with forward propulsion. Though after a while you become accustomed to that and only notice it’s gone when you change to shoes that don’t have a rocker. C’est la vie. We don’t know what we have until it’s gone.
With its unique forked heel design, the Vectiv Infinite 2 effortlessly adjusts to the varying terrain beneath your feet. This feature, coupled with a TPU plate, provides a substantial boost in stability on even the rockiest of trails. By minimizing the risk of twisted ankles, this shoe ensures a secure and confident stride, allowing you to tackle any trail with ease and peace of mind. While I did not twist my ankles during testing, I can’t conclusively say it’s because of the shoes. Causation versus correlation is tricky.
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 Outsole
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 features a robust outsole compared to the other more expensive and carbon-plated trail shoes in its lineup. The shoe is equipped with a Surface CTRL rubber outsole with 5-millimeter lugs, which together provide excellent performance on various terrain.
The outsole’s design and lugs make it well-suited for different types of trails, including rocky desert trails in Flagstaff, Arizona, and mountain runs in Telluride, Colorado. It offers reliable traction on dusty or slippery rocks, allowing you to maintain stability and prevent sliding while climbing or descending. The multi-directional lugs contribute to the shoe’s overall grip and stability, enhancing your running experience.
Despite covering approximately 100 miles in these shoes, the outsole shows minimal signs of wear. The lugs, although having a substantial profile, did not cause discomfort during any of my runs.
Overall, The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2, with its beefier outsole, durable construction, and reliable grip, provides a comfortable and dependable option for trail running on various terrain.
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 Overall Impressions
From the moment I laced up The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2, I’ve been impressed. There was no need for a break-in period; I could hit the trails right away with utmost comfort and ease. Despite their minimalist design and materials, they have proven to be incredibly durable, withstanding plenty of abuse and racking up numerous miles.
This shoe has quickly become my go-to daily training companion. While I do miss the carbon plate found in The North Face Summit Vectiv Sky, The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 offers a more well-rounded performance and excels across a wider range of trails.
The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2 provides excellent value for the money. While it’s marketed as the ideal shoe for long mountain days — and I agree it’s great for that — I also believe it would shine as a racing shoe. Weight-conscious individuals may have a different opinion and opt for lighter options, but for me, this shoe strikes the perfect balance by minimizing weight in all the right areas. The North Face has skillfully reinforced and enhanced durability in high-impact zones, making it an exceptional all-rounder.
Call for Comments
- Have you run in the The North Face Vectiv Infinite 2? How did you find it?
- If you are running in others the The North Face’s current Vectiv line of shoes, how does this one compare to others for you?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
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