NNormal Kjerag Review: Play it like Kiki!

After Killian left Salomon, he worked on his own brand to take runners through epic adventures. How does the Kjerag measure up?

NNormal Kjerag: Trail Superstar?

I was really surprised when Killian Jornet announced the end of his partnership with Salomon. I heard so many things about how wrong he was, how it would have been difficult for him to create his own brand and be successful in the trail market… Consequently, I was really looking forward to trying his shoe. Furthermore, I had quite a lot of prejudices about them. Firstly, because Jornet developed the Salomon S lab  Pulsar and I did not like them because of their lack of grip and stability. Therefore, I was looking forward to seeing if the NNormal Kjerag would suffer from the same problems or not. Also, after seeing Killian Jornet winning short races like Zegama or ultras like the Hardrock 100 or UTMB with the same pair of shoes, I was questioning what distance the shoe was for and what kind of runner?

NNormal Kjerag-04


Weight in NNormal’s sample size: 7oz/200g

Official Stack: 23.5mm/17.5mm (6mm drop)

MSRP: $195/€190

NNormal Kjerag Upper: Comfortable, Durable and Surprisingly Light

Initially, I found that the upper is really comfortable, durable but also light thanks to the Matryx mesh. During my testing, I did not suffer any blisters or any pain even straight out of the box. I really felt like I was in a slipper and the fit is amazing. Even though I know the weight of the shoe, I was surprised at how light they felt on foot. Due to the light weight, I feared a lack of protection on the front and side of the shoes. There is indeed almost no rock protection. Nonetheless, even if I hit some rocks during my runs, I did not suffer more than in other “more protected” trail shoes. The laces are classic but ensure a good lockdown and give no pressure on top of the foot. 


When I looked at the shoe, I was a bit scared of the tongue which is surprisingly long and high. I do not think it protects you from rocks or sand but you do not feel it at all while running. Also, I found the toe box is generous for the foot, perhaps even too generous. This is the opposite of the Pulsar which is very snug and can be quite tricky to put on with socks. Furthermore, the midsole (which I will cover in more detail later) is wide and adds to the comfort and stability. In my opinion,  I think the last is half a size too large. Nonetheless, I would advise people to take their true size, especially if they are running ultra (the feet can swell after several miles) and you will feel less rocks on your front foot and you will suffer less from blisters.

NNormal Kjerag-02
NNormal Kjerag-03

Midsole: Thin bur Cushioned Enough

Here was probably my biggest expectation but also my biggest fear. As Killian Jornet developed this shoe, my biggest fear was to find the same problem as on the Pulsar. The narrow midsole was a real issue and, for me, made the shoe uncomfortable and highly unstable. Regularly, I found my ankles twisting on rough, technical terrain. Thankfully, the NNormal Kjerag is really precise. It probably matches the S/Lab Pulsar in terms of agility. I had no fear on technical terrains and never twisted my ankle.


Also, these shoes are quite close to the ground so it reinforces the precision of the run. Despite the firmness of the foam (which I believe was necessary to make a shoe this durable) and a low stack, I was pleasantly surprised by the cushioning of the shoe. Of course they are less cushioned than some ultra trail shoes such as the HOKA Tecton X. However, they almost match the Genesis and I found them more cushioned than the Evadict MT Cushion or the On Cloudultra 2.


In my mind, NNormal found probably almost the perfect compromise here between comfort and precision for a trail running shoe.

NNormal Kjerag Outsole: Doesn’t Like the Rain

Here, NNormal made an outsole of quality with the Vibram Megagrip Litebase. This continues NNormal’s quest for the perfect combination of durability and weight saving. After running in it already on several different terrains, I do not see any signs of wear. When I ran on dry ground, the grip was perfectly fine. Also on rocks and technical parts of trails, I never suffered slippage. That being said, I have also spent some time in the mud and have found this a real weakness of the NNormal Kjerag. I would love to see them with lugs of at least 4.5mm and a different geometry on the heel especially. Ideally, more V-shaped lugs  to be more efficient on wet ground.

NNormal Kjerag-10
NNormal Kjerag-06

Conclusion: Pleasant but not for everyone or every run.

From my first steps in the NNormal Kjerag, I truly loved it. Comfort is generally good (especially the upper with its good fit). Furthermore, the shoe, despite a low stack, is quite cushioned. I am also amazed by the feeling of lightness (an obsession of Killian Jornet) of this pair of shoes. Finally, the outsole will do a great job, especially in dry conditions on all terrains. Only the rain is the enemy of the NNormal Kjerag. Moreover, they are probably one of the most playful shoes with an amazing precision on trails that I have had the chance to run in.


But, not everyone is Killian. Despite all the upsides of the NNormal Kjerag, I would not recommend them to every type of runner or for every type of trail. First, they are quite low stacked which means they are not the most cushioned trail shoe on the market. For me, the NNormal Kjerag shines in the range to about 80km. For 100km and more, they are probably more suited to elite runners. 


Also, these shoes would excel on technical terrains but it will not be probably my first pick for a “runnable” trail race such as Zegama or UTMB. For these,  I would choose a carbon plated shoe such as the Nike Ultrafly or HOKA Tecton X. If you like a bouncy effect in the midsole or to run in a maximalist shoe, these ones are not made for you. Nonetheless, if you feel you can exploit them at their best, they are really playful shoes to run with, especially thanks to their lightness and precision.

NNormal Kjerag-09


30 years old

178cm (5’8″) – 63kg (139lbs)

Midfoot striker – Stride runner


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