Gear Review – North Face Single Track Hayasa

The search for the perfect shoe is a long running and probably impossible mission that drives us nuts most days at Ultra168. To be honest, a shoe that can be fast, low profile, lightweight, with great grip on any surface with awesome durability that suits all styles of runner will probably never be made in our lifetime. In the meantime we continue to try the best and latest editions from the main manufacturers along with some new brands entering the market and those still establishing themselves.

Here’s wishing, so in the meantime…….

North Face Hayasa's after approx 250kms

The latest shoe we have been extensively testing is more an evolution than revolution. The story of The North Face’s Single Track Hayasa was the result  of some rather over energetic Stanley Knife action from none other than Tsuyoshi Kaburaki of Japan. An accomplished ultra runner who seems to get better with age. All he wanted was a lighter weight version of his current shoe the Single Track and in order to prove a point to his sponsors he hack over 30% of the support from his shoe and requested they make it !


Ultra168 were provided with a 3 pairs to test courtesy of The North Face – Australia and we have had this shoe for a number of months extensively testing it on the toughest of Australian trails.

We consider this a good all round shoe for those looking for a neutral no-complicated trail show that will suit those who like to race hard as well as those looking to spend longer on the trail in comfort.

Marcus recently stuck himself in front of the camera to give us his considered opinion on why this shoe could prove popular amongst those at the pointy end of this years North Face 100 such as elite competitor Jez Bragg as well as those just looking to finish the gruelling event.

Some key figures:

  • 9 0z or 280 grams for 11 US
  • Neutral last
  • Cradle Technology in the heal and Snake Plate in the forefoot to help provide support, stability and cushioning
  • 9 mm Heal to toe drop

We like:

  • Light weight
  • Fast Draining
  • Mesh upper
  • Minimal stitching with welded seams
  • Stretch lacing system
  • Large tongue prevents debris entry
  • Solid grip on most surfaces
  • Cool colours including Red and Blue and Magenta for Women
  • Durable construction

Wish List:

  • More agressive grip for the steeper trails
  • Lower heel to toe drop
  • Less clunky heel design

Ultra168 score 3.5/5

Love the elastic lacing system

Disclosure:- The North Face Australia provided 3 x test pairs to Ultra168 for Marcus, Dan and Darrell to review.

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Author: Marcus

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9 Comments

  1. Good review Marcus. I have a pair of the previous model singletracks and am similarly neutral but approving in my appraisal of those. I like that they have lowered the profile but a shame they didn’t lower the heel-toe drop as well. How’s the flexibility? I found the earlier model a little stiff. But I agree the traction is good (appears to be same outsole) and they are a good all-round trail shoe so I imagine these will be a good upgrade worthy of a try when you need a bit more protection than the new range of minimalists offer.

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    • Hey Andy, top effort on your recent adventure !

      Agree, they do have a pretty high heel to toe drop compared to the current trend and TNF make no apologies for this. As for the stiffness, they have a little more flexibility than the original Single Tracks. Big difference is the construction. I have run the last 100kms in them with no socks and they feel so snug and comfortable. The welds are smooth and the bigger wider tongue helps to keep the debris out. The outsole is the same as the original and they do fine on the trails of the Blue Mountains. IMO these are a solid shoe that do the job admirably.

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  2. Just to add some further thoughts. I’ve put about 10 hours in these shoes and agree, they’re a good solid option that span across both road and trail. Indeed, I think the are a great shoe for something like the north face 100kms where you do have quite a mix. It has enough tread and grip for the technical stuff, but adapts well for the road too.

    I personally prefer a more minimal shoe with less heel support and the 8mms heel to toe is a little too much for me, but for someone just entering the ultra scene and attempting 100kms you could do a lot worse than this shoe.

    The shoe is still a little stiff for me in terms of the flexibility it offers, but it’s more flexible than say the speedcross 3’s. But as always much of what you like comes down to personal choice… As Marcus says, a good all rounder.

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  3. Great review! I also had the previous version of the Singletrack and I must say that they are very comfortable, light, there is a good support and they are really good on road as well. I hope they are a bit more resistant than the previous model. I did all my preparation last year for TNF100 with them and continued to clock many more kms after that for Tarawera, but they are now completely worn out: there is a hole in the fabric at the top of the shoe, many signs of delamination, but I still love them!

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  4. Thanks guys. While I have been reducing the thickness of my midsoles and the heel-toe drop, I find for the really long stuff I still want a bit of protection so these could be useful.

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  5. Bought a pair 2 weeks ago and tested them on TNF stages 4 & 6, loved every moment in them. The comments and thoughts above are all spot-on.

    I’m moving towards the lower profile / smaller heel to toe drop, so these shoes are a nice interim stage. However (and I might have to make use of the 1 yr warranty), the glue holding the sides (L&R) to the mesh at the widest point of the shoe (where most flex is), as well as the non-mesh panels to the mesh tops is coming away / lifting on the right shoe. Looks like a bit of contact glue should fix it nicely, but if it continues will seek replacement.

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    • Agree with your feedback – if you think they are going to fail on you take them straight back to TNF and get a replacement as my second pair was a big improvement on my original R&D pair

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      • I have taken them back to the North Face store in Pitt street. The manager was really excellent in handling the problem and acknoweldged there was obviously an issue (with my shoes). I ended up choosing the Single Track II instead as it’s a more robust construction. Alas the heel toe drop is 4mm larger, but my calves will thank me for that I’m sure! All good but a bit sad to not have the Hayasa in the TNF in a few weeks.

  6. It certainly seems to be a a global problem as we are hearing reports from other forums that there are some durability problems occurring with both the sole and the welds. It is funny that two of us at Ultra168 really enjoy running in these shoes and we are clocking up some big kms in them without any undue wear issue. I know Darrell is about to order his second pair of Hayasa’s as he likes them so much – a great alternate to his trusty Brooks Cascadia’s . It is good to hear that TNF are keen to seek as much feedback as possible to hopefully rectify any potential problems

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