Quite honestly, The North Face has been on a roll with their footwear. We’ve had a great time testing their latest trail runners and the Endurus Hike Mid takes much of that same performance and translates it into a lightweight and comfortable hiking boot.
The North Face Endurus GTX Hike Mid Features:
- Mid-rise hiking shoes build on the Endurus platform
- Proven Gore-Tex® membrane
- Welded upper design delivers lightweight, breathable support
- TPU welded synthetic toe cap adds protection
- FlashDry™ lining for improved breathability
- OrthoLite® footbeds
- XtraFoam™ midsole has softer foam underfoot with firmer foam around the perimeter
- ESS Snake Plate™ for rigidity and trail protection
- Vibram® XS Trek outsole with 4mm lugs
- Weight: 16.4 oz each (actual, size 11)
- MSRP: $150
Endurus delivers for scrambling, fast packing, light hiking
With a hike up Utah’s Mt Nebo on the radar, I was glad to get the new Endurus Hike Mid’s in this summer for testing. Truth be told, fast packing and light hiking duties can be served using a sturdy pair of trail runners, but having a little extra ankle support and protection afforded by a light hiker is truly the right footwear for the job. The beauty is that the Endurus GTX Hike Mid is a trail running shoe at heart and hikes like it.
Featuring a nice, natural rocker, the midsole and outsole of the Endurus Hike steals the show. It doesn’t take long to appreciate this shoe’s ability to make long days feel like a walk around the block. The maximalist shoe movement has influenced how shoes are built at the opposite end of the spectrum as the minimalist movement did. Now that we’ve collectively explored both ends, we get great hiking shoes like these.
Again, the XtraFoam midsole is quite comfortable but not so squishy that it makes you feel like you’re hiking in sand. At no point in time did I feel like the extra cushioning here slowed me down or impeded performance. So, I can confidently say that the midsole recipe employed here is just what my aging body needed on demanding days above the tree line.
Conquering the King of the Wasatch
A few hikes around the foothills were followed by a demanding climb up Mt Nebo — the tallest peak in the Wasatch Mountains. The North approach is just under 10 miles round trip and features close to 4500 ft of total elevation gain. With a gradual approach, the hike becomes more strenuous and demanding with several ridgeline scrambles with significant exposure.
Without question, the Endurus Hike Mid’s were the perfect tool for the job. The Vibram outsole delivered gobs of traction on dirt, shale, granite, limestone and everything in between. When scrambling was on the menu, I never questioned this shoe’s ability to get me in and out of tight situations.
As far as support goes, the mid-height is perfect. Lacing them up provides a secure feeling with no slop at all. The upper loops allow either looped or hooked lacing — player’s choice. I kept them looped and sacrificed a little convenience when taking them off but using the hooks would alleviate that.
On steep descents, I did notice just a touch of insole/midsole movement. Things just slipped a little bit and only when pushed hard on descents. Primarily, descents were controlled and stable with some of the best traction I’ve experienced — that’s saying a lot for Vibram’s rubber compound because 4mm lugs aren’t deep by any means.
Gore-Tex can become a slow cooker on hot days, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how breathable the combination is with these shoes. FlashDry is a wonder material and the combination of that with the latest Gore-Tex just works. I never overheated and can truly appreciate the all-weather capabilities that combo affords. To achieve waterproof status, there is a gusseted tongue so the lowers can be submerged below the ankle.
Of course I had to kick things up a little and run for a few miles just to see how they perform. Not surprisingly, they run quite well. Granted, the mid-height design does inhibit natural ankle movements, but I ran for a mile or more with a loaded hydration pack and these shoes nailed it.
Another point of view – Kevin Glover
I’ve been using the Endurus as a wintertime boot around the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been really impressed with how well these boots hold up in the ice and snow. For one thing, the sole grips surprisingly well on the ice. I’ve been really pleased with the traction offered by the Endurus’ outer sole and the soft rubber grips well. The Gore-Tex lining is truly excellent and my feet have stayed dry in long walks in the snow. It is important to remember that they’re fairly low-cut boots, so gaiters will be the order of the day if you want to plow through the snow. The boots aren’t insulated either, so wool socks are a must for wintertime use!
- Superb comfort for long days on the mountain
- Traction is absolutely bomber
- Gore-Tex and FlashDry combo kept my feet from overheating
- Excellent waterproof design
- Lacing system provides a snug fit
- Roomy toebox allows toes to spread out
- Great for fast packing
- Postal worker styling
- Exposed foam could get shredded (but mine are holding up just fine)
The Bottom Line: The North Face Endurus Hike Mid
I simply can’t get enough of The North Face’s latest footwear. No question, things have improved in recent years and the Endurus Hike Mid offers a killer combination of traction, comfort, support and performance in a lightweight hiking shoe.
Buy Now: Available at REI