First impression out of the box of the S22 Norvan LD 3 is that of a no-nonsense shoe. Arc’teryx have gone with a single colour upper, which ironically makes it stand out against it’s multi coloured competitors.
It looks like a really solid shoe and it’s pleasant surprise to find out just how light it feels in your hand. At 265gsm (UK Men 8.5) it’s towards the lighter end of the trail running spectrum and I could certainly feel the difference once running.
I normally go with a UK10.5 sizing for my trail shoes but the S22 Norvan LD 3 was too narrow in the mid foot for me at that size so I went up to UK11. That did the trick. The toe box was fine in both sizes with plenty of room to allow for toe spread on those longer runs.
I liked the smooth interior of the shoe, designed to minimise friction and reduce the risk of blisters. Although I rarely have a problem with blisters it is always something to be aware of – particularly when trying a shoe for the first time and I had no issue with the S22 Norvan LD 3.
The tongue is well padded – something that I find really important on longer runs as I can suffer from lace pressure issues. The lace pocket at the top of the tongue is a nice idea and something I find useful – particularly when running through long grass where laces can get snagged. This one is a little on the small side but it works well enough.
The construction of the Cordura upper provided the breathability the manufacturer had claimed which is a real positive – particularly on the warmer days. The toe bumper provides plenty of protection and comes around the sides of the foot which is a bonus.
The Vibram® Megagrip outsole with its 4mm lugs is billed as being able to ‘hold fast on soft trails’. I can’t confirm that as for much of the time I have been trialling this shoe we have had really good weather, leading to hard packed trails. I can attest to the grip the shoe provides on bone-dry trails with a loose surface and to greasy grass after a sharp shower. It’s excellent.
But where S22 Norvan LD 3 really scores is the comfort and protection the additional shock absorption provides on hard an rough surfaces. There’s real bounce in this shoe and that makes a difference on the longer runs.