The North Face Ultra Fastpack II Mid GTX Hiking Boot

This fast and light midcut boot rides like a running shoe, but protects like a hiking boot.
Ultra Fastpack II Mid GTX Hiking Boot

Support

Thanks to a combination of stiff dual-density EVA foam and a firm TPU heelcup, the Fastpack II was much more supportive than its light weight would suggest. Even though the sole isn’t especially thick, we were able to balance from root to root and walk on downed trees on Juneau’s Thunder Mountain Trail without feeling any foot fatigue. Running felt natural, thanks to the rockered sole.

Protection

The full toe rand armored our feet against rocks and roots. The ankle cuff’s tight, gaiter-like fit is also a plus: “It kept out trail debris, even when I descended a sketchy goat path in the dark,” one tester says.

Traction

The boots’ U-shaped outer lugs paired well with the multidirectional H-shaped interior lugs, shedding mud and providing traction on both uphill and downhill trails. Note: While the hard rubber outsole adds durability, it does limit the shoe’s ability to grip wet features, making this best for dry-season treks.

Durability

Except for the mud caking the uppers, our boots show minimal wear, even after several hundred miles. Chalk it up to the boot’s tough textile upper and Vibram outsole.