Crossover shoes are stable enough for trail-running but have enough cushioning for short jaunts on the road. If your runs feature a mixture of trails and asphalt, reviewers recommend The North Face Single-Track. Even though fit is highly subjective, numerous wear-testers rave about the shoe's comfort thanks to the dual-density cushioned EVA midsole. The shoe is also designed to fit snugly around the heel, which helps stabilize the foot. A rock plate in the forefoot helps protect the foot from sharp rocks and sticks. A sticky rubber outsole provides good traction on most surfaces, but some testers would like more grip on wet and muddy trails. We saw one report that some runners might require more arch support when running in the Single-Track, and one reviewer notes that the shoe runs small. The men's version weighs 11.5 ounces, while the women's version weighs in at 9.5 ounces. If you need a more rugged trail shoe, reviewers recommend the Montrail Rockridge (*Est. $75) , which provides excellent traction over a variety of terrain. For those looking for a lighter shoe that transitions well across most terrain, the top-reviewed Saucony ProGrid Peregrine (*Est. $90) is a stellar choice.
Outside magazine, which gave the Single-Track its 2010 Gear of the Year award, provides a solid review. The shoe is rated on a variety of factors and tester feedback is incorporated into the analysis. Detailed test-based reviews are also available at Trail Runner, Runner's World and Running Times magazines. Several blogs, such as FeedTheHabit.com and IRunFar.com, also have good coverage of The North Face Single-Track. Unfortunately, these reviews are all more than a year old, and the shoe has received little expert or consumer attention since 2010.
The North Face Single-Track wins Outside's Gear of the Year award for 2010. Testers rave about the comfortable and lightweight design, and they like that the heel fits snugly to provide more stability.
Review: Trail Runners, Lisa Jhung, Summer 2010
2. Trail Runner
Trail Runner magazine includes The North Face Single-Track in its 2010 trail shoe guide. Editors say the Single-Track has a good amount of plush cushioning and the mesh upper is well ventilated. Traction is good, but the outsole doesn't have enough grip for muddy trails.
Review: Trail Tested, Michael Benge and Elinor Fish, May 2010
3. Runner's World
Runner's World gives The North Face Single-Track a Best Debut award, calling it a "superb road and trail hybrid that runs well on both." It's softer and more flexible than most trail running shoes, which makes it easy to transition from trail to road. The shoe could use more traction on wet or muddy trails, however.
Review: Stepping Out, Warren Greene and Martyn Shorten, April 2010
Calling The North Face Single-Track "surprisingly sublime," Brian Metzler at Running Times recommends it for runners looking for a versatile lightweight trail shoe. He notes, however, that it's not the best choice if you regularly run technical terrain.
Review: Trail Shoe: The North Face Single-Track, Brian Metzler, June 2010
Jason Mitchell writes a lengthy review of The North Face Single-Track for FeedTheHabit.com, an outdoor gear site. He says the shoe "fits like a glove" and provides good cushioning in the midsole. Like most reviewers, he notes less traction on muddy or gravel trails.
Review: The North Face Single-Track Trail-running Shoes Review, Jason Mitchell, April 16, 2010
IRunFar.com, a running website, enlists the help of three trail runners to evaluate The North Face Single-Track. Each tester is impressed with the shoe's fit and praises its overall comfort.
Review: The North Face Single-Track Review, Bryon Powell, April 30, 2010
More than a dozen runners review The North Face Single-Track at Backcountry.com, giving it a 5-star rating (out of 5). Highlights include a lightweight design, comfortable fit and responsive ride. One owner notes that the shoe lacks extra medial support.
Review: The North Face Single-Track Trail-running Shoe - Men's, Contributors to Backcountry.com, As of Aug. 2011