The North Face Back-to-Berkeley Redux Review Facts
Since its founding in the 1960s, The North Face has been known for its many lines of equipment and apparel. Though many seem to recognize their outerwear most of all, outdoor enthusiasts are also crazy about its shoes and boots. Out of all its winter boots, few seem to be more versatile than its Back-to-Berkeley Redux. This version, in particular, is made with a full-grain leather upper for a more rugged look and even greater protection. It also features a Winter Grip outsole for adaptable traction and a Compression-Molded EVA midsole for more durable cushioning. The inclusion of a Hydroseal Membrane and specialized 100 g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco truly gives the hiker a warmer and dryer wear. Though some reviewers have issues with its durability, most seem to be satisfied with what this boot has to offer.
Every good hiking book needs an incredible outsole to give the wearer a completely secure grip. The North Face uses their trademarked Winter Grip
outsole for all of their Back-to-Berkeley models. Its central gripping lugs are known as IcePick lugs, as they react accordingly to different temperatures. During treks through the snow, they actually harden and are able to dig in to keep the wearer from slipping. Conversely, they become soft and sticky in warmer temperatures in order to provide better traction on wet surfaces. As an added bonus, each of its side lugs has an open construction in order to properly drain out dirt and snow and prevent the tread pattern from getting clogged.
Though many shoe brands are developing more advanced midsole technologies, others still rely on standard EVA foam. Like many trailing shoes and hiking boots on the market, The North Face uses Compression-Molded EVA
for their Back-to-Berkeley Line. This particular form offers greater levels of stability, durability, and shock absorption, all of which are necessary for outdoor footwear. An Ortholite Rebound footbed is also set in place for more comfortable cushioning and a little bit of much-needed breathability. More stability is also offered via a small TPU clip attached to the back.
A durable full-grain leather is used to create this winter boot's upper unit. Though it's already quite protective on its own, it's outfitted with a Hydroseal Membrane for a waterproof
wear. This feature is paired with a 100 g Primaloft Silver Insulation Eco, which is made entirely out of recycled materials
. Though it also provides water repellency, its main job is to retain warmth without adding extra weight. Added comfort and support come in the form a padded tongue and collar, and its lacing system adds greatly to its rugged look. Instead of traditional eyelets, it has six metal D-rings and two open hooks. Flattened laces also ensure a more secure fit, as they are less likely to come untied.
Since this is a winter hiking boot and not a running shoe, it's no real surprise that this model is on the heavier side. Men's sizes average at around 17.2 oz., while women's measure out around 13.7 oz. Despite this, many reviewers still find its wear to be surprisingly lightweight. Not only does this keep the wearer from feeling fatigued by the end of the day, but it also allows the boot to transition easily onto paved roads and other everyday surfaces.
There are a number of benefits to having a leather upper, including greater protection and a warmer wear on cold days. Unfortunately, it also means a considerable lack of breathability. It's safe to say that the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather will definitely be able to keep hikers warm as they walk through snow and ice. However, buyers should be prepared for a great deal of foot sweating, as well as some odor and the possibility of blisters. While its Ortholite Rebound footbed does offer some breathability, it may not be enough for some. It also means that these boots aren't the best choice for summer weather
Hikers of all levels are very satisfied with the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather's level of comfort
. Its Compression-Molded EVA midsole stays durable as it completely absorbs the impact of each step. An Ortholite Rebound footbed gives further cushioning as well as a little bit of much-needed breathability. While full-grain leather safeguards from the outside, a Hydroseal membrane works to keep the foot dry. The brand's trademarked 100g Primaloft Silver Insulation Eco lines the boot to retain warmth. The only complaints reviewers seem to have are about its obvious lack of breathability and its inconsistent waterproofing.
Aside from its functionality, this boot's heavy use of leather also makes it quite stylish. Those who enjoy more rugged footwear that they can use for both hikes and everyday environments would be very happy with the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather. Its padded collar and tongue add to its design, as do the metal D-rings and open hooks that form its lacing system. As with other boots sold by The North Face, this model is mostly available in neutral colorways that include brown, tan, grey
, and black. However, there are brick red and navy blue options as well for those who prefer a little extra color.
Most reviews seem to be very mixed when it comes to the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather's level of durability. Since it's a hiking boot, buyers expect it to be able to hold up to constant usage on rough and rugged terrains. Yet while some feel that it holds up fine enough for regular hikes, and gives them incredible protection against the elements, others have had much different experiences. Some reviewers stated that the sole began to separate and come off after only a few wears. Others claim that the waterproofing features stopped working after some time.
Like any good hiking shoe, this winter boot was designed to completely safeguard the wearer against any cold-weather hiking hazard that they may encounter. When it can hold up to the elements, the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather does exactly that. The IcePick lugs of its outsole adapt to the temperature for greater traction, while its side lugs allow proper drainage to further reduce slipping. Compression-Molded EVA cushions the foot and completely absorbs impact. Along with an Ortholite Rebound footbed, it safeguards the wearer against pain and fatigue. The full-grain leather keeps trail debris out of the foot chamber while a Hydroseal Membrane is put in place to repel water. And 100g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco lines the inside to keep the foot warm and dry during those wintertime hikes. But, as stated before, this only happens when the shoe holds up to the elements. Though most reviewers are happy with its performance, others have experienced poor waterproofing and a major lack of durability.
Based on this boot's multiple reviews, it's clear that its responsive
Compression-Molded EVA midsole contributes greatly to the wearer's comfort. Tests have shown that this type of EVA foam is not only more durable but also provides a greater level of shock absorption. Its rebound properties, however, are not quite as strong. This quality isn't nearly as necessary for a hiking boot as it is for a running shoe. Still, The North Face did include an Ortholite Rebound footbed to enhance whatever the main midsole unit lacks.
When it comes to this winter hiking boot, great comfort and protection also come with a very supportive wear. This starts off with the Compression-Molded EVA midsole, which reviewers say never loses its level of cushioning no matter how often they wear this boot. The same can be said for the Ortholite Rebound footbed. Its full-grain leather upper comes complete with a padded tongue and collar to fully support both the ankle and the top of the foot.
The Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather was definitely made for rocky, snow-covered terrains
. Between its Winter Grip outsole, Compression-Molded EVA midsole, and its waterproofing and insulation features, it allows hikers to easily trek through rain, snow, and even ice as they hike through both rocky and forest trails. With that said, however, there are some who have noticed that its Hydroseal either stops working after a while or doesn't work as well as advertised. As a result, many feel that this boot is more equipped for everyday living or casual hikes in dryer weather.
The Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather boot runs for $130, which seems to be an average price point
when compared to The North Face's other snow boots. And, compared to some of the brand's other models, these are actually quite reasonable in price. Its level of comfort, versatile wear, and the fact that it generally runs true to size makes it particularly appealing to buyers. However, its inconsistent durability does cause some to question whether or not they should go ahead and make that purchase.
Aside from its comfortable and versatile wear, the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather is also praised for its incredible traction. Its IcePick lugs are clustered in the center of the foot and are triangular in shape for an optimal grip. Even better is the fact that they react to the temperature in order to continuously ensure strong and stable traction. During walks in the cold, they'll stiffen up so they can really clamp down on snowy and icy terrains. And during warmer months, they'll soften up and become stickier in order to keep the wearer steady when walking on wet and uneven surfaces. Its side lugs also have an open construction that drains out dirt and snow to keep these lugs from getting clogged.
Given its materials and intended usage, it's obvious to buyers that the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather doesn't provide a very flexible wear. Though its outsole unit does become a bit more pliable during warmer months, it's noticeably stiffer when used in cold weather. Its use of leather and Compression-Molded EVA also focus more on protection and stability. With that said, reviewers still say that its wear is still easy enough for everyday environments.
Any piece of footwear that's made to be used on rough terrains also has to include a great deal of stability
in order to truly keep the wearer safe. Almost every single section of the Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather's anatomy works to ensure a completely secure wear. Its Winter Grip outsole is able to adapt to both warm and cold temperatures to provide incredibly strong traction on all surfaces. The Compression-Molded EVA midsole completely absorbs the impact of each step, while the Ortholite Rebound footbed supports and supplies energy return. Together they safeguard the wearer against damage while enabling them to hike for longer. Its full-grain-leather upper is more rigid than standard mesh or fabric, and a small TPU heel clip is fixed to the back to keep the foot in its place. The inclusion of flattened laces, as well as a padded tongue and collar, further ensure a secure wear.
Product descriptions and online reviews don't seem to indicate how high or low this boot's heel-to-toe drop height
is. Based on product photographs, there is an obvious wedge that gives at least some additional heel support. However, there's no indication of its exact measurement. Though it's clear that it's lower than the average running shoe drop height of 10mm. Many outdoor enthusiasts prefer their footwear to have a low or zero drop platform, as it gives better balance and posture when walking across challenging terrains.
-Winter Grip outsole with IcePick lugs
-Compression-molded EVA midsole
-Ortholite Rebound footbed
-Full-grain leather upper
-Waterproof Hydroseal membrane
-100 g Primaloft Silver Insulation Eco
-D-rings and open hooks for lacing system
The North Face has all of the necessary materials to make their Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather hiking boot both protective and comfortable. Its outsole can easily adapt to both cold and warm conditions in order to give consistently great traction. Its midsole unit features two different technologies for optimal cushioning and a pain-free wear. And its leather upper is equipped with a waterproof membrane and insulated lining to keep the foot warm and comfortable during wintertime hikes. For the most part, reviewers are extremely happy with how it performs. With that said, there are a number of buyers who have experienced issues with its durability. Some say that the sole comes apart too quickly, while several others claim that its wear is anything but waterproof. Whether this is due to poor testing, a manufacturing error, or some other factor, buyers can hope that The North Face takes these responses into consideration when designing the next model in this line.