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Backpacker Magazine – August 2009

Gear Review: The North Face Adversary Trail Runner

Traveling trail runners will be all over this The North Face shoe.

by: Berne Broudy

The North Face Adversary (
The North Face Adversary (

Best Trail Runner
For travelers who want to pack one shoe for both hiking and trail running, the Adversary is your pick. The secret ingredient? An innovative, zigzag-cut forefoot plate inside the midsole. It allows the shoe to flex freely and precisely so more surface area connects with the terrain (great for running on technical trails), yet it doesn't sacrifice underfoot protection (great for hiking on hard surfaces). Add decent traction, and you get a versatile shoe that excels at all types of light-load duty.

One tester said, "The flexibility, combined with the grippy, lugged sole, gave me confidence when I scrambled up crumbling rock in Mexico's Desierto de los Leones National Park." The leather-and-mesh upper is instantly comfortable, but it doesn't match the sole, proving too soft to offer adequate support for pack-carrying in rough terrain. The soft tongue is not gusseted, and it tended to slip sideways, letting in trail debris. TNF's contoured footbed offers more instep support than most stock footbeds–a boon for those with high arches, but a bust for the flat-footed.

Best for: medium-volume, medium-width feet.
Sizes men's 7-12, 13, 14; women's (Minx) 5-10, 11
Weight 1 lb. 13 oz.
Price $100

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