Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe | Tested and reviewed

The Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe has won a Gear of the Year award from us. Find out what makes this shoe such a champion.

from Arc'teryx
RRP  £150.00
Closeup of hiker wearing Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe with Gear of the Year award logo

by Ben Weeks |
Updated on

Although classed by Arc'teryx as a trail running trainer, we've found the Norvan LD 3 that hits all the right notes as a brilliant piece of hiking footwear.

The Norvan LD 3 is ultralight, grippy, comfortable and supportive – a lovely balancing act between competing priorities, and an adept hiking shoe. It has a springy, energetic design, with its InFuse midsole providing active rebound, good shock absorption and plush cushioning.

Studio shot of Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe
©LFTO

Yet, the Norvan LD 3 isn’t so highly stacked and squidgy that you lose your sense of connection to and feel for the trail. Since it's designed primarily as a trail running shoe, the Norvan LD 3 is also a lot lighter than many hiking shoes, weighing a mere 268g per shoe, meaning you feel somewhat weightless while walking.

Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe toecap
©LFTO

The upper is made from a soft and flexible mesh, ensuring the shoe is air-permeable and quick-drying (there is also a Gore-Tex-lined version), while more durable upper inserts, a 360° wraparound rand, stiffened toe cap and well-designed heel cup add the toughness you need for gnarly terrain.

The ankle cuff is soft and forgiving, and the tongue is connected to a stretchy sock-like inner for a comfy fit. The Vibram outsole is sticky, and we particularly loved the way the wide toe box allows your toes to splay – something that’s crucial for avoiding blisters on long-distance walks.

Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe sole
©LFTO

We wouldn’t bestow our Gear of the Year title on just any shoe, but the Norvan has truly impressed us.

Gear of the Year 2024 winner

Closeup of hiker wearing Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe with Gear of the Year award logo
Price: £150.00

arcteryx.com

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Immediate comfort
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Good grip
  • Highly breathable

Cons

  • Not as durable as some heavier hiking shoes

Why the Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 won Gear of the Year 2024

Hiker wearing Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe
©LFTO

Comfort

There is an enormous variety in hiking footwear these days and your options are plentiful. That’s a good thing, of course – but it does mean you need to weigh up these options before you buy.

Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe side profile
©LFTO

A current trend is to wear trail running shoes trainers such as the Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3, or trail running-inspired lightweight boots for hiking – they can be light, fast and grippy with excellent energy return, thanks to loads of cutting-edge technology, and, best of all, comfort levels are very high.

Unlike hiking shoes, which can be a tad heavy and rigid, the Norvan LD 3s are comfortable straight out of the box, with a soft, forgiving fit.

Lightweight

Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe upper
©LFTO

It’s billed as a lightweight trail running shoe, so no surprise that the Norvan LD 3 weighs in at just 268g per shoe. That’s considerably lighter than many other hiking shoes (the very popular and classic Meindl Respond GTX hiking shoe weighs 412g, for example, and the similar Oboz Sawtooth X Low is 485g).

This means that, with every step, your feet and legs feel lighter, faster and more nimble. This improves all-day comfort, minimises the risk of blisters and – ultimately – helps improve your all round hiking experience.

Cushioning

Arc'teryx Norvan LD 3 Shoe midsole
©LFTO

The Norvan LD 3 features Arc’teryx’s In-Fuse midsole, which is made from a blend of durable EVA foam and polyolefin (a type of thermoplastic). This is designed to provide shock absorption – so that your feet are adequately protected from the lumps and bumps of the trail – as well as forward propulsion.

The latter is far more pronounced than on most hiking shoes, ensuring a bouncy, energetic feel underfoot with good rebound and momentum. This helps you smash out big mileage easier than ever before.

How we tested

Our Gear of the Year award winners are, what we consider, the best products in their category that we've tested in the previous 12 months.

The products have all been used in tough real world conditions by members of our rigorous and experienced team.

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