WHEN MY TRUSTY old leather hiking boots gave up the ghost recently, I made a decision to try and leave behind my old way of thinking in regards to a replacement pair and went in search of a lighter-weight boot.
Modern hiking boots are now lighter and tougher than ever before, with synthetic fabrics that are now very robust in terms of wear, etc.
After a bit of a look around I settled on a pair of The North Face Storm boots. These boots ticked off all the criteria of the lightweight – but still robust – boot I was after: the upper is made with a mixture of waterproof leather and synthetic mesh; the rubber toe cap ensures plenty of protection without being too chunky; there’s a waterproof membrane; the TPU (welded) overlays keep the boot in “one piece”; while the TPU shank makes sure that your foot doesn’t fatigue over rougher terrain.
Add in more TPU – in the form of what TNF dubs Snake Plate forefoot protection, and a grippy Vibram outsole and you’ve got a boot that does general duty as both a day-hiker and for longer adventures.
The Storm boots were, literally, thrown into action pretty much straight after purchase – there was no chance for a wearing-in period as I was off to, firstly, hike the Heaphy Track in NZ, before following that with more walking on the Queen Charlotte Track.
It was here that the Storm boots convinced me of the benefits of a lightweight, robust hiking boot; besides a couple of very small blisters on the first day (soon sorted out once the leather outer stretched a bit) the Storms caused no foot-related issues for me. Pretty amazing, really, considering they were brand-new off the plane before going straight on to the Heaphy.
Besides the fact they felt comfortable from the get-go, the Vibram sole kept me well and truly anchored to terra firma on the track, plus my feet and legs felt distinctively fresher – something I attribute to the boots’ total weight of roughly 1kg in total.This is significantly lighter (more than half-a-kg) than my old boots, something that made a noticeable difference over the course of five days’ walking.
It’s now been five months since my rushed purchase of the Storm boots but I don’t regret it at all. With their light weight, build quality, surprising toughness, and appealing price point, the Storm boots have become an integral part of my gear shed.
The North Face Storm