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Finlay McAndrew  •  Running Gear •  26.06.2023 •  8 min read

Why everyone is talking about NNormal running shoes

We are very excited to have the opportunity to stock NNormal running shoes at Run4It. NNormal’s mission is ‘inspiring people to enjoy and respect nature’. To help you achieve this, NNormal set out to make running gear that lasts as long as possible. They believe that durability means sustainability. At Run4It, we agree this makes perfect sense and understand how much runners value this attribute in the running gear they choose. 

How are NNormal running shoes so durable?

NNormal partners with some of the best technology brands, such as Vibram and Matryx, to make their running shoes incredibly durable. Extensive testing is also carried out to guarantee they last. You’ll discover more about this as you read on. The name specifically links to NNormal’s product development process - designed in Mallorca and tested in Norway (Nor-way + Mal-lorca). Although the double NN hints to ‘No-Normal’. 

Kilian Jornet holding the NNormal Kjerag trail running shoe

Who are NNormal?

If you don’t know who Kilian Jornet is, he is widely regarded as one of the best mountain athletes in the world. Dakota Jones, a NNormal athlete, says Kilian is the best runner their sport has ever seen. On top of his extensive list of major championships titles in ski mountaineering and trail running, he also holds speed records in mountains around the world. This includes a double ascent of Mount Everest. 

Kilian has been sketching ideas of what running shoes should look like since he was 5 years old. Over the years, the passion and desire to make his own running shoes in the way he sees them has grown. Kilian openly talks about the vast number of running shoes he has used in his professional career and that it’s too many. This concern is closely linked to Kilian’s commitment to raising awareness about protecting our environment. 

Through a chance encounter, Kilian was put in touch with the shoe company Camper. If you don’t know, Camper was established in 1877 in Inca, Mallorca. They introduced the first shoe-making machines and are currently a 4th generation family-owned company. Kilian and Camper discovered they shared many of the same visions and values. Camper’s expert knowledge on manufacturing processes and Kilian’s vision was the perfect foundation for a new offering in the running world.

As Kilian lives in Norway, he could test all of the kit that was being developed in Mallorca in extreme conditions. After a year of development, NNormal was unveiled to the running world. However, a big part of the testing was to not use lots of prototypes and develop running shoes that delivered incredible levels of durability. Kilian wore his first pair of NNormal Kjerag running shoes for 1,300 km and 70,000 elevation metres!

The debut

The running community saw NNormal for the first time at the famous Zegama trail running race in 2022. In emphatic style, Kilian went on to win Zegama and prove all the development work had paid off. One of the key goals was to create running shoes that could perform on all types of terrain and over a range of distances. This would limit the need to have multiple pairs of running shoes and reduce impact on our environment. 

To prove this, Kilian then went on to win the Hardrock 100 shortly after his win at Zegama in the same pair of shoes. The 100 mile ultra is a completely different distance and covers a vast spectrum of surfaces. Impressed? It doesn’t stop there. 

Kilian raced at Sierre-Zinal, a relatively short distance and flat trail race. Due to not being in perfect form, he finished 4th. However, he then went on to win the iconic UTMB. A race that is regarded by many as the ultimate test of endurance. Kilian ran all of these events in the same pair of NNormal Kjerag running shoes. That meant he raced UTMB in a pair of shoes that he had already clocked 600 kilometres in. 

Not only did this prove how durable NNormal running shoes are, it validates how many types of surfaces and distances they perform on. Most professional athletes will opt for brand new versions of their chosen models for racing and typically use different styles for specific courses. 

The NNormal trail running shoes line-up

There are two NNormal models, the Kjerag trail running shoes and the Tomir trail running shoes. We stock both of the NNormal trail running shoes at Run4It. 

Close up of NNormal Tomir trail running shoes on rock

What’s the Tomir?

The NNormal Tomir trail running shoes are designed to be used on a wide variety of terrain. They feel cushioned and supportive underfoot. 

Technical specs

The outsole features a Vibram Megagrip with Litebase outsole. This compound is extremely durable, lightweight and performs on dry and wet terrain. While the Tomir excels on rolling trails, the 5mm lugs deliver excellent traction on steeper terrain. 

The Tomir cushioning provides great protection on hard ground. With a 31mm to 23mm midsole stack, you’ll feel like you’ve got a lot of padding under your feet. The EVA midsole compound balances softness and energy return so that it performs over a range of paces. Whether you’re heading out for an easy trail run or trying to run a new personal best up a hill segment, it should adapt. 

Even though everything in NNormal trail running shoes is designed to be tough, the Tomir upper is particularly durable. With a unique blend of monofilament polyester and TPE, it’s ultra resistant to abrasion and snagging. You’ll also notice a stitching line between the midsole and the upper. That's because the upper is craft-stitched onto the midsole in order to improve durability. It’s clear Camper’s exceptional shoe building know-how is being demonstrated here. Finally, if you’re wondering why the Tomir has an asymmetrical lace design, it helps improve support and reduces pressure points. 

Runner running across rocky pass

What’s the Kjerag?

The NNormal Kjerag trail running shoes are designed for max-performance and fast running on technical terrain. These are Kilian’s choice for trail racing, sky races, ultras, scrambling and even roads. Even though they’re incredibly lightweight (just 200 grams for a size 8 UK), the Kjerag is very durable. As mentioned earlier, Kilian didn’t want to use different shoes for varying distances and terrain. The goal was to create a trail running shoe that could cope with everything - from marathon trail races such as Zegama, to 100 mile ultra distance trail runs such as Hardrock. 

Technical specs

Like the Tomir, the Kjerag also features a Vibram Megagrip with Litebase outsole. Although, the lugs are 3.5mm. The lugs are shaped in a way that maximises grip on rock. However, the lugs in the forefoot are shaped differently from the lugs in the heel. While the lugs on the heel grip on soft terrain, the lugs in the forefoot excel on mud and grass. 

An EExpure midsole foam is very absorbent and highly energy returning. Unlike other running shoes, the Kjerag doesn’t feature an insole. This means your feet sit directly on top of the cushioning and you get the best possible propulsion. It also reduces foot slippage and therefore lowers the risk of blisters. Finally, you should feel more confident on technical terrain as your feet can feel the ground better. For clarity, there is a small rock plate in the 23.5mm to 17.5mm thick midsole that protects your feet from sharp objects. 

The upper of trail running shoes goes through just as much stress as the outsole and it’s often the first place that shows wear. To ensure the Kjerag upper can handle the demands of harsh terrain, it features Matryx jacquard. This extremely breathable upper is weaved from individually coated polyamide and Kevlar yarns. From testing, they found that the midsole design around the toe box protected the toes from hitting off hard rocks. This meant extra material didn’t need to be added around the toe area and your toenails won’t hit off hard fabric. 

Close up of NNormal Kjerag trail running shoes

How can NNormal improve your run?

Kilian states that failure of what you’re expecting is a big part of sport. Most of the time you won’t achieve what you’re looking for. But, that shouldn’t stop us. It shouldn’t change our motivation because we should focus on the process. If you’re running on the trails and want to explore new places, it’s likely that NNormal can be a part of your journey. We hope NNormal’s values and ethos resonate as strongly with you as much as it does with us.

NNormal set out to make running gear that lasts as long as possible. They believe that durability means sustainability.

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