Earlier this year, The North Face went all-in on trail running with a new line of shoes called Vectiv. Equipped with a rigid plate and a curved outsole, the shoes take after those favored by leading marathoners, bringing the tech to the trail for the first time.
But this is trail running. The action might be similar, but the spirit is its own. And while The North Face first debuted the Vectiv running line in bright white and slime hues that are somewhat characteristic of fast road models, it's proving that it recognizes the difference between the sports through a new limited-edition collab with artist Travis Weller.
Based in San Raphael, California, Weller works with paint and cut paper to create complex layers of colorful forms. As Weller describes in an interview with Brooklyn Art Library, his pieces "[examine] ambiguity and anxiety as a path towards precision and contentment" and "are reflections on the surrounding landscape here in Northern California."
To take in that landscape, Weller runs trails. "Trail running brings clarity into my life. Color is seen more vibrantly on mountaintops. Emotion is felt more deeply in the forest," he says in a press release about his collaboration with The North Face.
Weller competed in the Oil Creek 100 ultramarathon, finishing in under 22 hours. He hasn't run the famed Western States 100, but it's that race that inspired his color choices for Vectiv.
Weller created patterns for the men's and women's versions of two shoes in the collection, the Flight and the Infinite. The Flight is The North Face's top-line trail racing shoe (read our review of it here), while the Infinite, with a more forgiving Vectiv plate and more substantial upper, is better suited to daily running endeavors.
Both are built for speed, and chances are these artist colorways will be gone fast.