Part of running’s beauty is the simplicity of what’s needed: A willing body and space to move it through—a pair of shoes helps, too. After two years of testing and a lifetime of working in the footwear industry, Canadian footwear brand Norda launched itself onto the scene in August 2021 with the Norda 001 trail running shoe made from lightweight Dyneema fabric and a proprietary Vibram midsole and outsole.
For the Spring/Summer 2022 season, Norda has updated its debut shoe to feature Bio-Based Dyneema Fiber for the upper and shoelaces, increasing flagship trail runner's sustainability, without increasing weight. Standard Dyneema uses fossil-fuel-based polyethylene in its fibers, but a new process allows the manufacturer, DSM, to use certified sustainable sources like bio-waste in its place.
For the uninitiated, Dyneema is a brand of miraculously lightweight, waterproof, and abrasion-resistant fabric made from woven polyethylene. When compared at equal weights, Dyneema is 15x stronger than steel. For all these reasons, it’s been the choice material for ultralight backpack and tent manufacturers, but Norda receives credit for creating the first seamless, lightweight trail running shoe using the more Earth-friendly BlueSign approved Bio-Dyneema. A pair in size 8.5 M weighs a mere 8.7 oz (247 g).
Norda put an equal amount of work into the soles of the 001 by working with Vibram to create proprietary midsole and outsole components. To support long-distance runners, the brand collaborated with Vibram to design its own lightweight, supportive midsole intended to conserve energy.
Topographic lines from Montreal and the surrounding area paint on waves of grip underfoot and are reinforced by five-millimeter Vibram Megagrip lugs across the custom sole. Trail runners dedicated to logging miles through winter can opt for the G+ Spike sole variant of the 001, loaded with 20 carbide tipped steel spikes for grip over frozen trails and a G+ Graphene thermal lining.
Norda founders Willa and Nick Martire are running partners that have spent much of their careers in the shoe industry. Launching their own brand focused on creating the ultimate, technical trail running shoe was a project that had been on their minds for some time, and a particular global pandemic gave them the ability to make time to pursue it.
After two years of developing and testing prototypes in some of the harshest conditions Canada has to offer a trail runner, the 001 shoes were ready for runners worldwide. For now, 001 is the brand’s only shoe model, but rumors are swirling about an 002, so stay tuned.