The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight is a stomping, all-condition, all-terrain boot that will help you power through whatever the great outdoors throws at you.

Lightweight low-top and versatile mid-top hiking shoes are popular with hikers today, as they offer a light, fast fit for low-stakes adventures. But when hitting technical terrain, sub-zero temperatures, ice or snow, a quality high-top like The North Face’s military-spec insulated Vectiv is called for. As sponsor of elite mountaineers, The North Face knows that quality materials count. And this North Face Vective Fastpack Futurelight insulated all-season hiker – waterproof, snowproof and packed with 200g of insulation – is a top-notch multi-season solution, and one of the best hiking boots for men.

Men’s Fitness verdict

An incredibly robust, warm and stable high-top hiking boot for extreme weather adventures in any terrain.
  • Outstanding protection from snow and rain
  • 200g of quality synthetic insulation
  • Inevitably heavier than a mid-top
  • Insulation means it’s not a summer boot

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Pair of used hiking boots
These Vectiv Fastpack boots have insulation almost spilling out of them

The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight Boots design and build

When you pluck The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight (buy now) out of the box, you know you’re holding a quality product. It has a robust leather upper and a protective reinforced layer which reaches a height of 4cm at the toe and 11cm near the heel. Furthermore, the distance from the sole to the upper tongue, marking the top of the boot’s waterproof inner, is a huge 15cm. That means you can plough through rain, rivers, ice and snow without worrying about getting your feet wet.

The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight Boots performance

On wintery hikes and soggy spring slogs, these boots offered me a reassuringly sure, stable and dry-footed stride. That robustness is not just about staying safe and dry either – it also galvanises your confidence to venture through tricky terrain. I ploughed through icy streams in the Cotswolds, powered over slippery lichen-coated boulders in the Peak District and kicked through frost in Lincolnshire landscapes without losing my grip.

These shoes feature 200g of insulation, which kept my feet toasty, even on winter mornings. And that waterproof Futurelight inner, which uses a nanospun polyurethane fibre to combine waterproofing with breathability, does a fine job.

With the secure high-top design, ankle stability was also excellent. Remember, ankle support is not just about avoiding slips and injuries; it also helps to stabilise you when carrying a heavy backpack uphill and downhill.

The danger with all-weather boots is that they can feel bulky. But these feel unexpectedly nimble, thanks to their athletic fit, momentum-boosting Vectiv plate rocker and high-rebound foam midsole. My UK size 7.5 came in at 450g per shoe. The brand calls them ‘lightweight hiking shoes that won’t weigh you down’ – and that’s a fair shout.

Arrowhead-shaped lugs provide plenty of multi-direction grip

Given the insulation, I would avoid using them over summer. On a spring day at 19°C, these were uncomfortably warm. An uninsulated version is available at a cheaper price.

With that beefy outer strip of enhanced protection, at no point did I think these boots would suffer a tear or abrasion. Although I’ve only had them for four months, I expect their long-term durability to be excellent.

The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight Boots features

Take note of The North Face’s Surface CTRL outsole – an impressive rubber construction with 4mm arrowhead-shaped triangular lugs which excelled in both wet and dry conditions, and across multiple directions.

The OrthoLite foam footbeds are spongy, light and breathable and feature built-in moisture management and antimicrobial action.

The shoe has some nice pro touches too, including a D-ring on the tongue to attach to gaiters and a knob on the heel to keep showshoes in place. I won’t use them, but they say a lot about the wild terrain these boots are built for.

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