The North Face Hedgehog GTX III is a lightweight trail running shoe made of Goretex fabric with a Vibram sole. This makes them waterproof, breathable and durable with good grip without weighing you down.
That’s the theory. But how do they really hold up?
Firstly, I need to say that I got these shoes, not for trail running (my running days are sadly over), but for a cycle tour through the Americas.
My first impression on getting the shoes were I love the colour! I got the decidedly odd sounding colour combo of coffee brown and algae yellow. But they’re great. In any case, there are several colours to choose from, in both mens and womens.
I have wide feet for a girl and so opted for the men’s version. The fit was perfect. Comfy from the start.
I’ve now been cycling 6 weeks in them. That’s nearly 2,000 miles (3,000km) of pedalling or pushing. On tarmac and gravel, flat roads and lung-busting hills. And the nightly search for a campspot in the bush.
The shoes are holding up great. There’s very little wear on them yet. The only sign being at the back of the heel on the inside. But I always have tho problem as I am too lazy to untie the laces when putting the on and off.
This brings me to one of their downsides… the laces come undone, when I don’t want them to, even when double-knotted! Not so often, but I notice it nd it’s annoying. That said, I am wearing these shoes day-in day-out, which is not typical if you bought them for trail running. (I used to have Salomon x-trainers and I love their lace system which doesn’t require any tying at all).
The shoes cope well with wet grass and even in a downpour for a while. But when cycling, eventually the water starts running down the inside of the shoe and then rapidly your feet are soaked. But that would be the same with any shoe. Being Goretex they take some time to dry out.
Similarly, being Goretex, they are not as breathable as a none waterproof shoe.
As with everything, the shoe is a compromise in some ways. If you want waterproofness over breathability, good ventilation over warmth, then this shoe is a great option.
In other ways, there is no compromise at all… lightweight and durable, good grip and flexible.
Personally I love it.