North Face Ultra Trail Running Shoe Review – Men’s

Dark Shadow Grey / TNF Red – US Men’s size 9.5

I had an opportunity to try out and test the North Face Ultra Trail Running Shoes over the past week. That included a day of wearing the shoes around the office to break ‘em in, wearing the shoes during a Crossfit session, and a short hour-long hike on Cougar Mountain.

First Impressions: Before trying them on, I was really surprised at how light they are. I thought to myself, “Could these be lighter than the Nike Flyknit 4.0?” It turns out, they’re not quite that light, but still really light by most standards (the North Face weighs 9.1 ounces per shoe, while the FlyKnit measures 7.8 ounces). And you’d expect them to hold up well, since they’re designed for outdoor and trail use, but durability has yet to be confirmed.

My previous trail running shoes were made by a different brand and they blew out on the sides along the seam. So I’m glad there appears to be more reinforcement in this particular shoe.

Sidenote: My foot actually measures 8.5 EEE, but I always wear size 9.5, mainly because I don’t like my toes touching the front of a shoe. They fit true to size, like every other 9.5 on my short-wide feet.

The Verdict: So far, I love these shoes. You don’t feel any seams or edges. The tongue feels a tad short, but it was probably designed that way since it’s out of the way and you don’t realize it’s there. I tend to tie my shoes a little looser due to my wide foot, but my foot still felt secure during all my activities.

I haven’t had a chance to actually do any trail running in them (I have a hard time running much due to my recovery from a broken leg), but I did run in them for a short distance on hot pavement during a Crossfit session and they felt solid underfoot. I checked the Vibram soles, and they still look brand new. Not sure why but I expected them to melt a little bit in the almost 90 degree weather we’ve been having. That was not the case. I realize it wasn’t really designed for gym use, but I thought it would be a good test for the shoe.

During the short hike, they were more comfortable than expected. I’m used to hiking in mid-top boots with Gore-Tex to help protect my foot. But it was nice to have on something extremely light and breathable. The sole provided great grip. I stopped a few times to test the shoes on an incline and they held up great. I will probably go back to the boots when fall and winter arrive (along with all the rain), but these shoes will definitely be in the rotation for future hikes, especially in dry conditions.

*North Face shoes can be special ordered through Sturtevants. If interested, please email customerservice at

About The Reviewer: It’s easy to pick a winter sport, it’s either skiing or snowboarding. But summer time is when I get to try lots of different things, although I don’t really get to excel at any one. So look for my reviews on hiking gear, tennis products, golf, mountain biking, and more. -Jin

Father’s Day Sale 2014!


Father’s Day is June 15th!

Pick out something nice for Dad during our Father’s Day Sale!

June 2nd-15th

In-Store Only at Sturtevant’s in Bellevue and Ski Mart in Alderwood and Tacoma!!

Receive 20% OFF Men’s Spring 2014 Tennis, Golf, Active Apparel, Footwear, Life Vests, and Wetsuits!!

Receive an additional 10% OFF Sale Men’s Tennis, Golf, and Active Apparel!!

*Discount is off original retail price, taken at register. Not combinable with any other discount or offer.

Mother’s Day 2014

Mother’s Day is coming up, Sunday May 11, 2014!

To help celebrate mom’s everywhere, we’re offering 20% off women’s Spring 2014 tennis, golf, active apparel, wetsuits, life vests and footwear.

We’re even offering an additional 10% off tennis, golf and active apparel items that are already on sale.

This deal takes place in-store only, at our Sturtevants Bellevue, and Ski Mart Alderwood and Tacoma locations.

Introducing Reel Cameras

About a week ago, I was doing some spring cleaning and found my GoPro Hero 3 Black edition tucked away in my file cabinet. Out of curiosity, I grabbed one of our shipping scales and did a quick comparison of the GoPro and one of our newest cameras, the Reel Slayer HD.

I was surprised to find out that the Reel Slayer HD is smaller and lighter by a considerable margin (both with and without the plastic casing). Now I know what some of you may be thinking, “What’s a fraction of an ounce here and there?” And I agree. I’m not one to obsess, but the fact remains that the GoPro marketing always points out when newer models are 10%, 20% or 30% lighter / smaller than their previous models. And when I saw the scale readings, I had to do a double take, “Is this camera actually lighter than the GoPro?”

If my calculations are correct, the 2.4 ounce Reel Slayer HD is a little over 14% lighter than the 2.8 ounce Hero Black.

But the cool thing about the Reel is that it already includes an LCD screen that is built in, and includes a tripod mount in the case. Once you add the LCD screen and tripod adapter to the GoPro, and the weight difference becomes more significant.

To be completely fair though, the GoPro Hero 3 Black edition offers higher definition recording modes than the Reel Slayer HD. No camera can compare to the top of the line $400 GoPro. The Slayer HD doesn’t offer 4K, and records at a maximum of 1080P at 30 frames per second. But for almost all my videos, I record at 720P anyways. The higher resolutions seem to drain the battery and are difficult to work with while editing.

So if you’re on a budget, and want an all in one package, the Reel is a great option that will work for most sports enthusiasts, especially at $299.

My favorite camera of all time is still the Contour Roam 2. It had the best combination of ease of use and battery life (the thing only used battery while recording, which was great). It’s a shame they went out of business. But the Reel Camera is quickly becoming one of our favorites, especially as we’re able to use it more and get used to the settings and controls. And we love the LCD screen, even if we mostly use it to setup shots. The battery life is superior to the GoPro, which only lasted 2 runs (about 20 minutes) at Mission Ridge on Sunday in 20 degree weather. The Contour and Reel ran out of memory card space before the battery ran out, but both were used for the entire afternoon.

UPS Shipping Issues

Hello to our online store customers.

We have been keeping up with the news that UPS shipping has been experiencing delays. I know that this has also affected many of our customers. If you are one of the many that were affected by these delays, please take the following steps so we can ensure that those who paid for Expedited Shipping will get a refund.

1. Email
2. Include the subject line “UPS Shipping Delays”
3. Include your Order Number and UPS Tracking Number

We will double check those tracking numbers before contacting UPS and will refund customers as necessary.

To read more on the shipping delays, please visit CNN (

We’re sorry for the delays and will consider other shipping options in the future.

- Jin

Online Special – Black Friday thru Cyber Monday

For Thanksgiving Weekend, we are adding another 10% to all Gift Cards purchased through our website,!!

What you need to do!

Step 1 – Visit the Gift Card page and purchased your gift card(s). Here is a link to the page.

We will automatically add 10% when we activate your gift card(s). No additional steps will be necessary.

Step 2 – Sit back and wait for your gift cards to arrive in the mail!

Please Note: This special is not available in-store. Our retail store employees will not have access to activating gift cards using this special promotion.

This Promotion Ends on Cyber Monday, December 2nd, 2013.

Gift Cards can only be redeemed in-store or over the phone (Sorry they don’t work online, yet!). If you would like to redeem your Gift Card over the phone, please call 425-778-3616 to place a phone order. This is the number to our Alderwood location. All Gift Card orders from this promotion will ship from our Alderwood location.

Gift Cards do not expire. But they are also impossible to replace unless we know the full gift card number. Please treat them like cash.

Thanks, and happy Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopping!