The North Face Milan Review Facts
This breathable and sleek summer trail running addition to The North Face shoe family is versatile, lightweight and comfortable, made with durable materials and the brand’s CRADLE sole technology. While the Milan trail shoe has its weaknesses, it’ll be a perfect choice for people looking for a stylish lifestyle shoe that can go off-road with ease.
The outsole of The North Face Milan trail shoe looks elegant and efficient, although it’s fairly clear from the get-go that this shoe isn’t made for the most technical and rugged trails. The prominent lugs are made to be multidirectional and multi-sized to offer great traction on a variety of surfaces. The sleek-looking outsole also features three deep flex grooves in the forefoot that are made to promote natural gait cycle, as well as a swift toe-off. The deep groove in the heel
forms a segmented crash pad that alleviates some of the shock upon ground impact. The tread pattern of the entire outsole is balanced and aimed at providing good ground grip as well as a smooth heel-to-toe transition.
The sole unit of the North Face Milan shoe features the brand’s TPU CRADLE technology that encourages heel stability. This technology makes use of the dual-density, full-length EVA foam compound that provides support
throughout the gait cycle, as well as moderate cushioning. The dual-density foam is constructed to absorb impact efficiently as well as stabilize the foot. The brand claims that this midsole configuration also works to encourage a stride that is anatomically correct by supporting the heel and biomechanically positioning the fatty tissues under the bursa – given that this is the brand’s new arrival, there still aren’t enough runners’ experiences to support these claims. On top of the CRADLE midsole is the OrthoLite sockliner that adds another layer of cushioning and comfort, while also encouraging a bouncy ride.
The seamless upper of the North Face Milan trail shoe looks gentle, but it’s actually fairly protected and resilient. It’s constructed with a combination of nylon ripstop and no-sew synthetic suede overlays. The nylon ripstop provides a flexible, supportive and ventilated in-shoe feel, while the seamless overlays add stability and protection, as well as additional lateral structure. The upper features an external heel cradle, as well as a protective toe bumper that is thin, but sturdy – quite enough for light trails. The toe bumper goes deeper into the vamp on the high-wear area above the big toe, according to the unwritten trail shoe tradition. There is minimal padding on the collar and tongue, which offers a tight and customizable fit. The laying system is traditional, and the eyelets are positioned on the more durable, overlay material, in order to prevent loosening of the upper.
The North Face Milan trail running shoe is an ultra-lightweight
one, weighing only 247g or 8.7oz for both men’s and women’s half-pairs. This would be considered a lightweight shoe in the road running category; in fact, most road running shoes weight more than the Milan, with most racing shoes sharing the weight with this trail runner. This only goes to show that the North Face Milan will make a great trail racing shoe that won’t weigh your feet down or cause any weight-related tiredness.
The nylon ripstop material utilized in the construction of the North Face Milan’s upper is high-wearing and breathable, despite its lightweight and thin nature. The sock-like construction that isn’t overwhelmed with overlays provides enough airflow for hot summer days and running in the Milan shoe won’t cause hot spots, over sweating or blistering. The shoe isn’t water resistant
, but the material is thin enough that it will probably dry on itself during the run if it comes in contact with water.
The North Face Milan is a comfortable shoe, although its light, below-9oz weight does come at a price of less cushioning than some other trail shoes have. This moderate cushioning makes the shoe comfortable on short and medium-length trails
, but it renders them unsuitable for long trails unless you’re used to running in moderately cushioned shoes in the first place. The nylon mesh upper and the no-sew synthetic overlays featured in the upper provide a tight fit that feels supportive and comfortable. The OrthoLite sockliner on top of the midsole does provide some extra cushioning to the CRADLE midsole, and most runners will probably find the insole to be a welcome addition. The back of the heel features a loop for easy on/off.
The North Face Milan is one of the most fashionable trail running shoes on the market. It looks (and literally is) seamless, which provides an elegant and modern feel to the shoe. The synthetic overlays make the shoe look like street style piece, and one runner noted that they give the shoe a chic finish. If it weren’t for The North Face logo written on the outer midfoot side of the shoe, as well as the top of the tongue, you couldn’t find a difference between this and a lifestyle shoe at a first glance. The men’s version of the shoe comes in four colorways: “New Taupe Green/Four Leaf Clover”, “Meld Grey/Ebony Grey”, “TNF Black/Ebony Grey” and “Scarlet Ibis/TNF Black”, while the women’s version comes in only one colorway “TNF White/Breeze Blue”. While this sounds a bit disappointing, it’s worth mentioning that the women’s and men’s version of the shoe have the exact same design and construction, and even the same weight, so women can also choose their colorway from the men’s version, as long as they adjust their sizing accordingly.
The nylon ripstop material used in the upper’s construction is resilient and sturdy, despite it looking thin and sensitive. The one-piece, no-sew construction of the shoe increases its durability, given that there aren’t any seams on the thin upper material that could be the first to tear. The CRADLE sole unit features dual-density EVA, which is usually firmer and more hard-wearing than regular, single-density EVA, so you can reasonably expect Milan to have average to above-average durability. Given that this is a newly-released shoe, there isn’t enough info on the shoe’s longevity to make more precise predictions. The North Face offers a limited 1-year warranty on the shoe, which is a significant reassurance.
The nylon ripstop material is abrasion-resistant, which makes it ideal for a lightweight trail shoe, given that you’re bound to come across stray flying stones, sharp objects, and branches along the way. The OrthoLite sockliner, aside from additional underfoot protection it offers, wicks away moisture and keeps your feet dry and comfortable throughout the ride, protecting your feet from blisters and discomfort caused by the wet shoebox interior. The toe bumper is sturdy and protects the toes from impact and injury. One runner stated that the shoe is a little light on the padding, which causes the runner to have some ground feel. While some runners prefer their soles to dampen out the ground feel completely, there are lots of other who actually find having some ground feel in a trail shoe beneficial, because it increases the confidence and stability on the trail. Depending on which side you’re on, the moderate cushioning
of the Milan can either be a good or a bad thing – it’s not necessarily one or the other.
Given the fact that running generates forces that measure up to 4 times your body weight upon ground impact, it is essential for a running shoe to provide a mechanism to utilize this excess energy and turn it into something useful. The CRADLE sole unit of the North Face Milan trail shoe is made to absorb the impact forces and use the firmness of the dual-density EVA to utilize the absorbed energy to encourage a natural stride and facilitate a quick toe-off, complementing the racing nature of this shoe. This bouncy nature of the Milan’s midsole provides a natural stride and an energized, springy ride.
The North Face Milan trail shoe is made for neutral pronators, who make up more than 50% of runners. These are the runners who don’t require additional arch support, namely the runners who have high, medium-high and normal arches. While the OrthoLite insole that comes with the shoe is removable, it’s low-top nature and thin upper won’t be able to facilitate a customized insole that adds too much support to the upper, because that would cause the ankle to become wobbly and unstable, due to the lack of cushioning in the collar. The no-sew synthetic overlays add lateral support
, and the lacing system allows for a tight and secure fit that offers all-round support for the foot.
This shoe is made to tackle light trails and is able to perform well while hiking, running and even racing
. However, this shoe won’t be able to tackle hard, technical trails, which require sturdier shoes with more aggressive lugs and a different outsole configuration. That being said, this is an ideal shoe to take with you on a trip, a shoe that is light enough not to add significant weight to your backpack, and that can be used for walking around town, as well as hiking to off-road destinations with ease.
The North Face isn’t a cheap brand, and neither is the Milan hiking and racing shoe. However, for the quality, lightweight, comfort and breathability it offers, together with its impressive and versatile design, a lot of the runners feel like the price is suitable and corresponding to the multi-use sneaker. At a little over a C-note, it’s in the range of more famous Adidas
trainers, and for the runners who already know and trust this brand, the price will be acceptable, and even affordable, if you catch the shoe on a summer discount!
The tread pattern of the North Face Milan trail shoe gives a good performance on dry surfaces, and the tread pattern of the outsole looks like it won’t pick up debris, mud or dust, that could decrease the level of traction it offers. The brand has packed a great number of traction lugs on the outsole, creating an efficient sole that grips well to various surfaces. There are even small lugs in the front part of the outsole that covers the toe cap area, which possibly indicates at the shoe’s ability to tackle smaller rocks and ascents. The shoe’s performance on wet surfaces hasn’t been reliably tested yet, although the outsole looks as if it will struggle slightly with flat and wet surfaces, while it will probably give a better performance on uneven wet terrain
The seamless construction of the upper, which utilizes the nylon ripstop, creates a very flexible running experience, and the upper of the Milan hiking shoe is more than capable to adhere to your foot’s natural shape and move along with the foot. The outsole grooves indicate that it’s able to flex in order to encourage and promote a flexible and smooth heel-to-toe transition, with an especially flexible toe-off phase of the gait cycle
, while the heel flex groove is aimed at dispersing impact forces in a way to transfer the energy forward as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
The main stability feature of the North face Milan is its external heel cup that enwraps the heel completely. This heel cup provides increased stability on uneven, rocky terrain, and prevents heel slippage as well. The sole unit also uses the TPU CRADLE technology that offers additional heel stability
and balance. The sole of the Milan trail shoe is visibly and significantly wider than the forefoot shoebox width, which offers basic (and often overlooked) stability and increases your confidence in each stride. The synthetic overlays, together with the lacing system, keep the foot in place and prevent any in-shoe wobbling.
The North Face
hasn’t stated the exact height of the drop of their Milan trail shoe, but looking at the profile of the shoe, our conclusion is that it’s most probable that the shoe features a 10mm heel-to-toe differential. This drop is a standard one and favors heel strikers first, that benefit the most from thick heel cushioning. However, midfoot strikers could enjoy running in the Milan, given that the heel cushioning won’t often stand in the way of their natural stride.
● Multidirectional, variously-shaped lugs
● TPU CRADLE midsole unit with OrthoLite sockliner
● Nylon ripstop and no-sew synthetic overlays upper
● Very breathable
● 247g / 8.7oz
● Comfortable, especially if you prefer moderately-cushioned trail shoes
● A little expensive
● Durable materials
● Trail running, hiking and racing shoe
● Neutral pronation
● External heel cup
The North face Milan is a sleek and modern-looking trail running shoe
that is versatile and designed so as to blend lifestyle and trail running shoe categories. The level of cushioning it offers is moderate, and the shoe is lightweight, comfortable and protective, offering everything you need for tackling light trails and looking sharp while you’re at it.