Footwear
Nov 30, 2023
by Karl Smith
The HAVEN x norda™️ 003 Is Approaching Performance Differently
by Karl Smith
Nov 30, 2023

norda™, if you’ll forgive the half-intended pun, has been on something of a run this year. There have been multiple collaborative releases of its flagship footwear offering, the 001, there has been the introduction of its successor, the 002, and now – to round out 2023 without slowing down – we’re about to see the release of the norda™, a slip-on shoe in collaboration with HAVEN.

Now, that may sound like a lot – but it’s nothing compared to the volume of product turned out by bigger names in the world of performance footwear and apparel. It’s also worth mentioning that none of these releases were created without thought; there is purpose behind each new model and each new iteration.

From the brand’s perspective, that has to be the way – because norda™’s USP is its quality over quantity mindset, its attention to detail, and its genuine preoccupation with balancing planet-friendlier materials and performance-focused technologies. It isn’t a volume business and it doesn’t want to be.

And so, with this in mind, what to expect from the 003?

Well, first and foremost, the 003 isn’t a straight-up trail-running shoe like the 001 and 002 – it’s an approach shoe; a hybrid hiking and climbing shoe, with the comfort of the former and the grip of the latter. And, while norda isn’t known as a climbing brand, any questions about it venturing too far from the realm of its expertise are somewhat misplaced – after all, this isn’t actually a climbing shoe, it isn’t designed for the actual act of scaling near-vertical rock faces, but rather for making sure that the pre-ascent journey is as easy as possible. As norda co-founder Willa Martire puts it, “The 003 is a new tool in the norda trail toolkit.”

“Reimagining the approach shoe, the 003 is a brand new silhouette from norda™, expanding the range of our outdoor footwear system. Sitting alongside the 001 and 002, the 003 is a durable, supportive shoe designed to transition seamlessly between hiking, scrambling and running.” – Willa Martire, Co-Founder of norda

“The HAVEN x norda™ 003 is a laceless approach shoe with an exclusive and proprietary Vibram® midsole and soleplate as its foundation, allowing for long days on feet with uncompromising traction,” explains Martire, asked about the performance and materials in this first outing for the new, slip-on silhouette. In terms of make-up, the shoe doesn’t stray so far from the path of its predecessors – it has, Martire confirms, the same Earth-friendlier Bio-Dyneema® upper, with the added benefit of elasticized Bio-Dyneema® – an extra, Martire says, “developed exclusively by norda™ allows for a fit that remains unchanged over time.”

There are extra details, too, as is the norda way – planning for every eventuality, equipping each silhouette with the tools for every scenario it might reasonably be placed in. “Between a padded heel collar and reversed heel tab is a pull tab through which the shoes can easily be clipped to a pack,” Martire notes, adding that there are also some limited-edition specs that may well only apply to this collaborative version of the 003, specifically that, “This edition of the 003 with HAVEN features a G+® graphene membrane integrated into the upper lining, providing additional comfort in cold conditions due to its weather resistant and thermoregulating properties.”

 
In terms of why the brand – which has had an impressive line of collaborators, names ranging from high-fashion houses like ZEGNA to fellow running brands like Satisfy and premium athletic labels such as Reigning Champ – would choose to link with HAVEN for the 003’s debut, Martire first offers a simple explanation: “We’re both from Canada and both have a need for functional products on a day-to-day basis. Haven hails from West coast Vancouver and norda™ from East coast Montreal.”

But there is something else, too, something a little deeper and more specific – a common thread connecting the multi-brand retailer and lifestyle brand with the go-to label for hardwearing, hardworking and high-end outdoor footwear. “Beyond geography and national pride, we found synergy: both norda™️ and HAVEN both do things through a pinnacle lens,” Martire says, “HAVEN comes from a core lifestyle perspective while norda™️ comes from a core trail running perspective. The 003 is a bridge between worlds.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Arthur Chmielewski, HAVEN’s Co-founder and Creative Director, too: “They stuck out to me right away because their story is very similar to ours,” says Chmielewski of norda™️. “We’re both focused on functional design, craftsmanship and innovation. Norda’s minimalist design and use of pinnacle materials immediately resonated with our own approach at HAVEN, making them ideal partners. Their use of materials such as Dyneema, Graphene and Vibram showcased their dedication to pushing boundaries in performance footwear.”

The two brands also share something else – not just a commitment to quality and to premium, durable, and high-performing products, but also to what those things stand for when you put them together. “Sustainability is a shared pillar for both HAVEN and Norda,” Chmielewski says, asked about how two align on a progressive approach to materials and philosophy. “Their approach mirrors ours, emphasizing the creation of better, longer-lasting products. Beyond environmental considerations, Norda’s dedication to crafting durable, high-quality items perfectly aligns with our values. Sustainability isn’t a mere checkbox; it’s woven into the essence of creating enduring, purposeful products that resonate with our discerning consumers.”

Purpose, performance, planet. Those seem like three pretty strong pillars to build on.

With an RRP of $325 USD / CAD, the limited run of HAVEN x norda™️ 003 shoes releases tomorrow, December 1st, exclusively via nordarun.com and havenshop.com, with some select global stockists also receive the silhouette.