The other thing to notice, was the lack of insoles. When you look inside the shoe, you just see the midsole material. This is so ‘The EExpure foam midsole sits in direct contact with your feet, for best-possible propulsion and compression, less slippage, and way fewer blisters!’ according to the NNormal site. An interesting idea and not new, but it does make me question whether we need insoles. One advantage for me is that you can remove insoles to wash and dry them, but maybe there is less to dry? Time and testing will tell. 

As I pulled on the shoes, I realised that my concerns of them being too tight for my feet, was unfounded, and in fact, if anything, the toe box felt decidedly spacious! On my feet, they feel like a perfect fit, or as close to perfect as is possible. There is some friction as you pull on the laces to tighten them up, which helps to stop them coming undone. The tongue is a nice thin gusseted affair which I love as it means it will stay in place and not soak up much moisture like a thick one.  

They have that old school racer-flat feel due to the incredible weight, and now I was happy with the fitting, my mind moved onto the next potential issue for me, the underfoot protection. I needed to run! 

These shoes feel fast! The weight is almost non-existent and the midsole is fairly minimalist, though there is protection. It felt good on anything that wasn’t too rocky, allowing much feedback from the trail. Once sharp rocks came into the equation, I realised that this probably wouldn’t be the shoe for a long ultra for me. The midsole just didn’t smooth things out quite enough for it to remain comfortable for long runs. Now, as always, this is just my experience with the shoe, and many will agree though many won’t. I think I would race the Kjerag up to marathon distance, but would want a little more bounce for when the distance went beyond 42km. 

The protection around the toe, is pretty minimalist, but will help a little with some toe stubbings. 

Overall, the Kjerag is a pretty amazing racing trail shoe. The incredibly light upper is very comfortable, and also drains and vents very well indeed which is great for me as my feet run very hot! The Vibram outsole, as you’ll know if you have read any of my other reviews, is the king of rubber compounds, being the right balance of super grippy yet surprisingly durable. The tread pattern is fairly aggressive and copes well with most surfaces except the deep sticky mud.

The missing insole does seem to make a secure fit without compromising comfort. When your shoes get soaked, they dry well too as there is less to soak up water inside, I guess? For me personally, I would have liked a tiny bit more protection/cushioning underfoot to add a little extra comfort for the longer runs. If you wanted more protection like me, then NNormal’s other shoe offering, the Tomir has a more robust, cushioned design. 

For a new company’s first shoe, the Kjerag is mighty impressive, and this is without even mentioning NNormals huge efforts at doing things more with the planet in mind which seem far more genuine than a lot of the greenwashing going on in this industry and all others. Bravo NNormal and bravo Kilian for bringing this all too life! I look forward to seeing what NNormal do in the future. Already they have announced the Kboix shoe which will have an interchangeable midsole!