The North Face RKTReview Facts
It may surprise many customers who aren’t intimately familiar with the complete product catalog of many popular apparel designers to learn that many of them create running shoes. In addition to Under Armour, The North Face also designs and sells running footwear to go with their wide range of active apparel. The Flight RKT is one of these products; while it is lesser known and somewhat hard to find, hunting down a pair of these running shoes can yield great results for any runners interested in a stable yet lightweight product. The North Face has implemented some fascinating features into this criminally underrated product that is worth the average consumer’s attention.
The North Face Flight RKT has an outsole that prioritizes the maximum possible traction and stability while keeping the weight
as low as possible. To accomplish this impressive design feat, the outsole features selective placement of sticky rubber pods. These pods provide the same benefit as treading lugs would on any other running shoe outsole and are placed around areas where the foot is most likely to come into contact with the ground. The benefit to implementing this design over a traditional tread pattern is that the traction provided by these pods is equal in all directions and it weighs less by way of being made from less material. While it may not be as durable as the alternative, the benefits it provides for speed and control are worth the tradeoff.
On their website, The North Face claims that the midsoles of their Flight RKT running shoes have a ‘bathtub design.’ While they don’t provide any additional clarification to this confusing statement, it appears that this means they use different forms of EVA cushioning
, with the harder material forming a protective barrier bowl that houses the softer cushioning. This is referred to as FastFoam by the manufacturers and it was designed in part with Rob Krar, an experienced running athlete
. Thanks to his input and the brilliant engineers at The North Face, this vital component of any running shoe is optimally designed for high stability and incredible responsiveness.
Aside from the interesting pattern printed on this shoe, the upper portion of The North Face Flight RKT features a design that is standard for most shoes like it. The synthetic material that covers the top half of the shoe contains several small holes. These were added in order to provide adequate ventilation, but the perforated material still provides a decent amount of cushioning to protect the wearer’s feet
. This upper material feels comfortable and manages to weigh surprisingly little, meaning that the minimal amount of breathability provided will be serviceable despite not being as pronounced as other running shoe models.
One of these shoes weighs just over eight ounces on average. When looking at its design and feeling the multiple levels of comfortable cushioning that has been placed in The North Face Flight RKT, it will come as quite a surprise to more experienced running shoe aficionados to see just how lightweight
these shoes are. This was clearly an intentional design aspect suggested by Rob Krar since only an experienced athlete would truly understand how important it is to make every ounce of weight count. This is far and away the most impressive feature of these running shoes and it is the one factor that is sure to leave a lasting impression on the wearer.
The best running shoes that provide the highest level of performance are those that can balance their weight and breathability. As a general rule, more weight added to an article of footwear will require a greater amount of ventilation. However, adding too much breathability
to a shoe’s upper can cause its protection and durability to suffer, as is often the case with knit fabric shoes. Thanks to the lighter weight of The North Face Flight RKT, providing enough airflow isn’t a major concern. This means that despite not providing the same degree of breathability as a knit fabric upper, this shoe manages to avoid high internal temperature
Despite its lightweight construction, these running shoes from The North Face offer a surprising amount of comfort. The Flight RKT seems to have been designed with an aerodynamic sensibility as its primary goal and comfort as a close second. From the soft manner in which the mesh upper conforms to the wearer’s foot, to the tender suede tongue that is moisture-resistant, all the way to the OrthoLite footbed that connects the upper with the midsole, this shoe will go to great lengths in order to ensure that the wearer feels comfortable.
The North Face Flight RKT has a visual aesthetic that is unlike most other running shoes on the market. Due to the lack of market saturation for this brand, at least in this product line, all of the design quirks and trademark elements found in this product feel novel and somewhat refreshing. In particular, the outsole’s pattern and appearance are interesting in the way that they approach the common goal of providing omnidirectional traction in an entirely different way. One aspect of its style that is going to be hit or miss with customers is the print pattern on its upper; the cloudy pattern is slightly reminiscent of a tie-dye shirt and is inevitably going to look tacky to some.
While many aspects of The North Face Flight RKT are impressive, one design element that is disappointing is its durability. From a visual standpoint, the predominantly white color scheme accented by bright neon elements are sadly prone to attracting dirt and losing its luster, especially where the outsole is concerned. The stickiness of this underfoot is going to degrade fairly quickly as well, resulting in diminished traction after a relatively short period of time. Because of this, runners should expect these shoes to only last for about a season before needing to be replaced.
In spite of this running shoe’s durability-related shortcomings, The North Face Flight RKT does an admirable job protecting the wearer’s foot. For starters, the use of a lightweight mesh fabric provides a noticeable benefit over knit fabric while providing comparable benefits in terms of breathability. This allows the wearer to have an upper foot covering that is both more comfortable and offers a higher resilience to damage. Some features added to provide greater stability for runners also contributes to its protective capabilities since they can assist in preventing the wearer from becoming injured.
It should go without saying that a running shoe designed by a professional running athlete would have features that make it highly effective at competitive running. In conjunction with its lightweight material and high stability, The North Face Flight RKT does this by offering a ridiculously high level of responsiveness. The primary catalyst for this shoe’s lightning-fast response time is its midsole; the intuitive design of its FastFoam construction uses softer material for its energy absorbency and potential for explosive dispersal, while the harder casing ensures this material is protected from repetitive ground striking.
It’s rare to find a running shoe that is able to provide a competitive edge through high performance while also offering a comfortable and supportive fit for the wearer. The North Face Flight RKT is one of those rare few shoes that manage to provide both of these benefits. Many of the features that ensure these shoes feel exceptionally comfortable to wear, like the FastFoam midsole and OrthoLite internal footbed, provide increased support as secondary benefits. However, the one area in which supporting the wearer’s foot was stressed above all other features is near the midfoot, which is where a TPU-welded geo quarter was implemented for excellent arch support.
These running shoes have many positive features that make them some of the highest-performing footwear options in athletic environments. This means that using these shoes on the kind of terrain encountered during track and field events, such as running tracks and grassy fields, will result in impressive results. The North Face Flight RKT is also able to handle casual running environments such as a sidewalk or asphalt road in stride, and its omnidirectional traction makes it a decent choice for training in a gym environment. The increased traction provided by its outsole makes it tempting to take these shoes on a trail, but the somewhat lackluster durability and protective capabilities would make this a bad idea.
The first hurdle that any prospective customer for The North Face Flight RKT will need to pass is hunting down a pair of these shoes, since they are fairly rare online. Once they have, it will require another miracle for this customer to find the style and size of their choice. If they do manage to accomplish both of these difficult feats, they may find that the currency needed to purchase these shoes is different from their primary one. For example, one website where this shoe can be found had its cost listed as Swedish Krona. Adjusting this price to American dollars reveals that these shoes tend to be on the expensive side, mostly due to its scarcity. However, the impressive performance ability of these shoes makes them worth the extra cost for the most part.
As has been previously mentioned several times, the impressively designed outsole of The North Face Flight RKT provides excellent traction through its use of sticky rubber pods. These pods are designed to provide the highest degree of traction with the lowest possible weight. Thanks to the particulars of its design, these pods can even provide an equal amount of traction in multiple directions. Considering that many running shoes of a similar caliber to these only offer traction for forward-based movement, this is very impressive. Unfortunately, the disappointing durability for these shoes makes this traction short-lived.
Despite having a lightweight construction, these running shoes from The North Face aren’t as flexible as this fact would lead many customers to believe. This may have something to do with the multiple layers of comfortable padding that were added to the upper and midsole of these shoes, although it could also have something to do with the stability features added around the midfoot. In any case, the Flight RKT places greater emphasis on providing stability than it does in flexibility, although individuals who have reviewed this product after trying them have stated that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to wear these shoes as a result.
When trying to strike a balance between flexibility and stability, The North Face Flight RKT has a design that focuses much more on the latter than it does the former. This is especially evident around the midfoot, where a TPU welded quarter ensures that the wearer’s arches have increased support on top of stability. However, most of this shoe’s construction that makes use of several layers of cushioning work to provide a satisfying degree of control for the runner. This is important for running in athletic events, since an experienced athlete will need to make quick movements that require a steady composure.
With a heel to toe drop of around 8 millimeters, this shoe has a similar style of midsole elevation to the ordinary casual running shoe. This slight elevation offers more comfort and support for runners with a tendency to strike the ground with their heels, but it can detract from the outsole’s omnidirectional traction.
- Outsole with omnidirectional treading
- Bathtub design FastFoam midsole
- Breathable mesh fabric upper
- OrthoLite insole cushioning
- Extremely lightweight design
- Midfoot cage for stability
The North Face Flight RKT is an excellent running shoe for any person interested in serious athletic performance from a lightweight pair of footwear. Although these shoes are expensive and hard to find, the end result is worth the trouble; just be sure to replace them before too much time has passed, since their quality will degrade fairly quickly.