On boots made from multiple pieces of material the seams are vulnerable to abrasion and their stitching is often the first thing to fail. With these boots The North Face has overcome this by welding the seams so the only stitching is round the tongue and on the heel. This looks neat and should make these boots more durable than other fabric/ leather ones. There is some padding round the cuff but less overall than on most other boots. Even so, the Gore-Tex lining makes them quite warm.

The boots are good in other respects too. The weight is low. There’s a protective rand round the sole, a hard toe bumper and a stiff external heel counter. The footbed is excellent; the only one in any boots tested that is really firm and supportive. The sole unit is particularly interesting as it has a transparent stiffening plate that can be seen tapering towards the front. This gives good side-to-side stiffness while allowing reasonable forefoot flex. Cushioning is excellent and better than on most of the hiking boots tested. The tread grips well but can clog with mud as the lugs are small and quite close together. The fit is reasonably roomy with a forefoot wide enough for me. The cost is on the high side but I think the welded construction justifies this.