NNormal Tomir Review
I think it is fair to say that Camper and Kilian Jornet have made their brand, NNormal, running shoes ‘for runners’. That might sound obvious, but by that I essentially mean that they have prioritised functionality and durability and haven’t got caught up in making their shoes feel super soft, so that the wearer is tricked into thinking they are super cushioned. There is no rocker to speak of, which whilst helping with posture, also makes you feel like you are ‘whizzing along’ when you’re jogging. Again, you feel good, but this doesn’t give you maximum feedback to improve your running or the control to run slowly on easy and long runs, where you need to be to maximise your base fitness.
The initial feel of the midsole is firm. This isn’t unique to NNormal and is the feel that a lot of off-road brands like La Sportiva, Scarpa, VJ and Inov-8 prefer, as it promotes more foot function and gives your feet instant feedback. You know the terrain you are standing on and your body can adjust accordingly. The contrast is high cushioning that absorbs everything beneath you.
NNormal set out to produce sustainable products, so the Tomir has been produced with durability in mind. It is the daily training shoe within NNormal’s range, so it’s designed to do a lot of easy miles and longer runs. Softer midsole running shoes wear out quicker. Considering 500 miles is often the lifetime benchmark, a lot of the softer shoes don’t last this long before the cushioning goes flat and you feel every pebble. Firmer cushioned shoes with high rebound tend to need a bit of wearing-in before they feel ‘perfect’ but are more durable. I have La Sportiva and Scarpa shoes that have a bit of life left in them at 1000+ miles.
As I have a preference for firmer feeling shoes, I found the Tomir nice to run in from the start but just like my La Sportiva Jackal, after around 100 miles they became a little softer and more flexible. They’re now so comfy that I’ll grab them for running, walking the dog, nipping to the shops, or putting the bins out!
The fit is snug at the heel and through the midfoot. The big toe line is straight and the toe box is roomy, which together with the firm feeling midsole promotes natural foot function upon landing inside the shoes. The laces follow the high part of the foot and don’t pull in as well as some. However, the snugger secure fit of the shoes at the heel and through the midfoot has meant that I haven’t had any issues with my foot moving inside the shoes. For example, I expected my feet to move forward when running down long steep climbs but this hasn’t been the case in my review miles. I have a slimmer foot and runners with a much higher volume foot might not have enough space through the midfoot.
I’d describe the ride of the shoes is a bit ‘ploddy’ on firmer surfaces like tarmac but when on bridleways and off-road tracks they feel secure and protective, plus the firmer stiffer feel then feels really good on the climbs. It gave me a base to push off from and made me feel like I was skipping up the hills.
The stack height is 31/23mm for an 8mm heel to forefoot drop. I prefer low or zero drop running shoes and expected to experience a heel strike, but the drop in the Tomir wasn’t as noticeable when creating this review, and it’s easy to land midfoot.
The outsole is made from Vibram Mega Grip Litebase. This is a rubber designed to grip well on wet surfaces but be durable enough for use on some hard surfaces. The lugs are quite large, to make them last, and 5mm in depth to give a good level of traction on wetter soft surfaces. This is a versatile lug depth that works well in the UK. It’s not designed for foot-deep sloppy mud, but the lugs are long enough to give good traction on almost everything else, whilst still feeling comfortable and giving traction on harder surfaces including tarmac. Litebase outsoles use 50% less rubber. That is to say that the ‘bit the lugs are attached to’ is thinner! This also makes it more flexible to give more feel for the ground.
The Tomir is designed as an all-road outdoor shoe. For this reason, we have tested both the waterproof version and the mesh upper version. The outsole and midsole are the same on both versions. The only difference is in the upper material.
The Tomir Waterproof uses a Sympatex waterproof membrane, which is 100% waterproof up to a 40k rating and 100% windproof. The material is made from 100% recycled material and is durable. Waterproof shoes are always naturally less breathable than mesh uppers, which is why most trail runners prefer shoes with a more breathable mesh upper, particularly in the summer. I didn’t find the Tomir Waterproof too hot when running in it, but on a warmer day I was sweating a little, which is the trade off for keeping dry from rain/puddles. Waterproof shoes can be a real asset in colder months, as your feet don’t get as warm, and are great if you intend to use the Tomir for other less strenuous outdoor activities where you won’t generate as much heat. In my experience, the Tomir is durable enough to use for general outdoor use. On a recent week’s holiday in the Lakes they did everything from hill walking (50 miles), Mountain Biking (20 miles), Go Ape and general kick around miles like a trip to the Zoo. This is in addition to 40 miles of running and they still look like-new and perform perfectly. I find if you spend a long time on your feet in softly cushioned shoes, they only feel softer and less energetic. Firmer shoes still feel good after you have been on your feet all day.
Northern Runner Newcastle Store Manager Craig:
“Putting the shoes on, I noticed just how fitted they felt. More akin to a fell shoe in the way it held my foot. Snug but not tight, and with more room in the toe box. My big toe is nice and straight, with a bit of wiggle room for my other toes. Not as much room as I’m used to in Altras or Topo but still very comfortable.
When I started running, they felt amazing and almost as if I’d been running in them for years. I got used to them very quickly. The cushion is very good, I could easily do ultra distance in (and I will give it a go!). Surprisingly, they don’t feel like an 8mm drop. The grip is quite special and very impressive. I used them on multiple terrain types, though not sloppy mud as yet due to the warmer weather at the time of testing. They gripped really well. Gravel, grass, rocks, pebbles, dusty trails, up and down hill I felt very confident of not slipping. I’m looking forward to running many more miles in these after the review. Not designed as the ‘fastest’, but very comfortable. Like I said, somehow fits securely like a fell shoe but runs like an ultramarathon/long distance trail running shoe.”
In our experience, the sizing of the Tomir Waterproof and the regular Tomir upper is the same. Like the NNormal Kjerag, the Tomir is generous in length. I found them similar in length to running brans like Brooks, Scarpa and Saucony, in which I wear UK11. This is compared to brands like La Sportiva, Hoka, New Balance and Karhu where I go half size up.
In summary, the NNormal Tomir is a durable, firmer cushioned trail running shoe that is best used for everyday trail running training miles, pushing your trail running mileage and would be a great option to train for and run that ultramarathon adventure you’ve got your eye on. Plus it’s durable and comfortable enough to be worn for a variety of outdoor pursuits from walking the dog, to days hill walking with it’s high rebound midsole that won’t collapse and leave your feet sore after a long journey, like those squishy trainers you’re probably thinking of right now!
La Sportiva Akasha II: A more nimble shoe and a bit more flexible which makes them easier to run quickly in. Midsole isn’t as thick which means that the cushioning won’t be as durable and the open mesh upper also won’t withstand grit as long as the durable upper of the Tomir. The lugs are slightly longer and give better traction in sloppier mud. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/la-sportiva-akasha-ii-review/
Hoka Torrent 3: These are the most versatile of the Hoka shoes. Less cushioned than the Tomir but, a firmer more responsive ride than other Hoka’s. The grip isn’t quite as good as the Tomir in sloppy conditions but good. The toe box is much narrower and more pointed. So, doesn’t allow the same foot function. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-torrent-3-review/
Altra Lone Peak 7: The Altra Lone Peak has a very natural feel to it. A bit like going running in your slippers. The zero drop platform promotes a more midfoot landing. Similar to the Tomir in that they have that comfortable feel that makes to gravitate to them when you looking for a pair of shoes to just slip on. Much more room in the toe box and available in a wide fit/high volume version too. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-lone-peak-7-review-2/
Topo Ultraventure 2 (not the Ultraventure 3 which has reduced lug depth) 5mm heel to forefoot with a broad rounded toe box. Similar fit to Altra’s Lone Peak but with a bit of heel raise and a thicker midsole more inline with the Tomir level of cushioning. The midsole is firm and responsive to promote more foot function. The lugs are 5mm in length which is the same as the Tomir. They aren’t quite as sticky on wet rock but, off good durable traction that is functional enough for all but the most extreme terrain. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-ultraventure-2-review/
Inov-8 Roclite Ultra G320: A more pointed toe box. Durable midsole and similar level of traction. The 8mm drop favours the heel strikers as the shoes feel like they pull you onto your heel. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/inov-8-roclite-ultra-g-320-review/
Icebug Arcus GTX: Broad rounded toe box is similarly roomy. Grip is exceptional in the wet and durable. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/icebug-arcus-rb9x-gtx-review/
Karhu Ikoni Trail: Softer feel to the cushioning. A better ride on firmer terrain a bit like a road shoe with better traction. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/karhu-ikoni-trail-review/
New Balance Hierro v7: Available in three width Men’s and two width Women’s. Soft cushioning. Like a road shoe with some grip. The lugging isn’t as good as the Tomir on the softer ground. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-hierro-v7-review/