North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX
It’s nice to get a new pair of shoes no matter what the occasion. You get to step in and feel the brand-new cushioning and test out how it feels to move in them. However, not all shoes are made equal for every activity. Some are made better for daily activities,others for running, some for climbing and others for hiking. There seems to be a pair made for every kind of activity, and while most will never know nor care what the pair they like is made to do, it’s actually pretty important information.
You wouldn’t want to go climbing or hiking in a pair of motorcycle boots, nor go beach walking in snow boots. There is a reason to know what your particular pair is made for. This is a pair specifically designed for hikers. So, what makes them good? Let’s go ahead and find out!
Waterproof outer protection
Easy to clean
Lacking good support
Not true to size
With this pair, you have a quality build when it comes to the bottom of your shoe. This is the outsole, and it is what provides the traction and grip on the ground. This is truly what decides what the shoe was intended to be used for. In this case- hiking. This particular foot apparel was designed to keep your shoe from wearing out and tread that can grip even on wet or muddy terrain. It also allows for more natural flex to your movements.
The midsole is what is inside your shoe, and this is what you are directly stepping onto when you slide your foot inside. Unfortunately, it seems the material used in this case, the particular compression-molded inside does not work as well as others. Buyers have complained that it is simply too thin and does not provide enough support for the arch of their feet.
This is ideal if you are planning to jog or hike dirt paths or even make your way up hills. It is also designed to help your foot move more naturally to such terrain, which flat hard ground would not have the same areas for gripping shoes. It’s the difference between a smoother, flatter traction material where most of the bottom is touching and sticking to the floor, and deep tread with very little gripping the flat surface because there are grooves for gripping over natural ‘debris’ such as sticks, leaves, and grass.
With the treads designed to grip in multiple directions, they are set to be able to grip on some of the most difficult areas to hike through. They stood up to many of the tests that hikers put their sets through when it came to keeping steady. That gives a big plus to purchasing them before heading out, and for many is the most important one.
This is a hard area to get right because when you are hiking you need your feet to be in something breathable, but you also do not want your feet to get wet if it rains or you get splashed by a puddle or even mud. For this, they used a specially made material called Gore-Tex. The only thing this can’t do is keep your feet warm, it is completely un-insulated against temp, but it keeps you dry and keeps the air flowing.
Another good bit of news for this part of the shoe is that they have a special lacing system on top which ends in durable lace hooks. With these hooks being made of metal you might worry about rust- but you don’t have to! They actually thought about that already and this metal is rust-proof!
Size & Weight
Unfortunately, they didn’t get the same praise for sizing their shoes. Many found that they were simply not wide enough for a comfortable fit. Most, however, felt it was disappointing because the sizes all seemed to be one off no matter whether you bought men’s or women’s variants. While you could simply by a size or two up as you need, it still is a bit of a disappointment when you have to find this out the hard way.
Airflow & Waterproofing
Of course, you have to keep in mind, that you can’t expect any shoe to head off the extremes. Meaning if you are going to be in a heavy downpour or standing in flood style waters, your feet will get wet. With its thin upper shoe though, they can dry out really quickly especially on a dry and warm day.
Comfort & Cushioning
There are of course good ways to resolve this if you feel the rest of what this pair offers in traction, airflow, waterproofing and so on. Most people prefer to buy inserts anyway, even when the cushioning of a shoe is given high praise. In this case, they would likely be needed. You would definitely have your choices available, but the downside to any insert is you would have to go with the proper sizing to fit it and your foot- and with the sizing already off, this could be a little more difficult.
Another cool thing is you aren’t stuck with a single-color pallet to work with. They have a decent variety of color options, so if you don’t like blue or pink or grey, they still have the usual brown and tan many of this type of shoe offer as well. That means you can pick the blending of colors that would best suit you.
Longevity & Quality
The choices for material and build have created a good shoe when it comes to hiking and keeping up with high level, high impact activity. This means if you choose this pair for your journeys you are likely to have them for a good long time before needing another pair. You just may want to get high impact and support inserts to go with them.
The shoe is also designed to improve your walking so that you don’t end up overstaining yourself while moving through the trails. Along with the high impact rubber that covers both toe and heel, you are more easily shielded from hiking debris so that you can move comfortably without having to put as much effort in.
Finally, the waterproofing means not worrying about light amounts of water soaking through your shoe and leaving you vulnerable to blisters. Combined with the airflow of this shoe, you are likely to find your feet not ending up with the dampness of sweat which can cause the same problems.
Support & Balance
The downside comes from the support inside of your shoe. The type of inner sole they used is a great concept, but it doesn’t play out very well. The material is simply too thin and can’t support the arch. It also lacks proper cushioning against impact. So, while you won’t slip, you’ll still feel the impact on your feet over time without an insert.
Cost & Value
They are definitely worth it in a lot of ways. If you are not against getting some decent and supportive gel inserts, you may want to save up to assure you have a durable and long-lasting hiking shoe that has you covered in every other way.