Multi-tasking is the name of the game in today’s world, so I’m all for a good hybrid shoe that allows me to transition from road to trail with ease. Enter Craft, a Swedish company that makes high quality gear for biking, hiking, skiing, and (of course) running, both on the trail and off. The Nordlite Ultra shoe is a great road-to-trail option, and Run Oregon was stoked to try it out.
These are slick! Right now, the Nordlite Ultra comes in a bright orange color with yellow accents. They definitely stand out and shine. If you want to be noticed, these are the shoes for you, as the colors are poppin’ and HAPPY! It remains to be seen what other colorways may come on line, but these are for sure nice.
These are the shoes you can grab for a long run, and on pretty much any terrain. There is enough grip to do decently well on most standard, non-technical, trails. The small lugs are also not too large to feel awkward on the road. It’s a nice middle, cross-terrain, option. They are great for an easy to moderate pace (the Nordlite Speed is a better option for those sprint days).
The upper construction is truly impressive, if not excessive. The single-layer engineered mesh provides a perfect balance between lightness, comfort, and durability. It is is lightweight, allowing for excellent breathability and preventing the feet from feeling weighed down during long runs.
Honestly, we felt like we had a surprisingly good support around the ankle – much appreciated for someone who has been randomly prone to ankle rolls lately.
We do feel that there is almost too much room near the toes. This is overall OK for most runs – and those who need some more space – but it doesn’t provide a snug lockdown fit.
One gripe/question we have around Craft’s upper is the excessive length of the laces. The Nordlite Ultra has fixed this! The laces are normal length and provide solid lock. Finally!
While not the softest midsole you will ever wear, the Nordlite boats a supercritical CrFoam. There is a good springiness to it and the cushion is enough to power through miles. While I have really enjoyed the Craft Endurance Trail (it has become one of the two main trail shoes in my rotation), I was still wondering how the Nordlite would fit and feel underfoot.
I shouldn’t have worried.
I found the foam to do the dirty work underneath while still providing a comfortable and supportive platform. My pace was surprisingly quick on my first run with these (chalk it up to the rebound?), and have held up nicely over time as well.
As we breifly highlighted in the function section above, the outsole features a hybrid traction design. There are some small lugs and enhanced grip that make it ideal for transitioning seamlessly from road to trail. While I woulnd’t utilize this solely as a trail shoe, nor for technical terrain, I found there to be ample grip and traction required on the trails and off.
There is pretty solid coverage on the bottom, which makes the grip solid, though does add a bit more weight as a result. That being said, this should hold up really well over time (it has thus far).
Looking for a lightweight shoe with lots of cush for roads OR for trails? Look no further. The Nordlite Ultra somehow checks all the boxes. These shoes have surprised us with their stability and rebound across multiple terrain. Time to explore!