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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Gear Guide 2009: The North Face Jannu GTX Boot Review

The North Face packs extreme waterproofing and long distance comfort into this bargain boot.

by: Michael Lanza

The North Face Jannu GTX (Julia Vandenoever)
The North Face Jannu GTX (Julia Vandenoever)

Gear Guide 2009: More Heavy-Duty Boots
Search through our extensive library for more reviews.

Killer Deal
From the snowy San Francisco Peaks to the muddy North Cascades to the epically wet Welsh highlands, the common reaction among testers to these Gore-Tex all-leather hikers was: "very waterproof." And this well-priced high-cut has other qualities seen in boots that cost at least $40 more, including good ankle support on mucky trail and steep slickrock; a reassuringly stiff midsole that can handle 40 to 50 pounds easily; a firm heel cup that keeps feet locked in place; and leather exoskeletal reinforcements extending from the heel to the cuff.

Best of all: It's stiff in the right places–namely, from heel to arch–with a more supple flex in the forefoot than many leather models in this category. That gives it a slightly softer feel over miles of walking. But take note: These boots are definitely for cooler temps, and the lugs skate on wet rock. Best for narrow to average, medium-volume feet. $190; 3 lbs. 2 oz.

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star
Lauren P
Jan 02, 2013

These boots took a long breaking-in period, which although expected, was unfortunate for me whilst exploring the Cuillins on Skye! However, once broken in they were really fantastic - amazing support whilst being incredibly comfortable, and waterproof to the point that I could stand in ankle height water every day for a month (which I did working in Norway) and retained dry feet!! However, I have now had these boots for just over 1 year, and one sole has come detached, making them exceedingly un-waterproof (!), and the rand has split and cracked into multiple holes on both boots. I am really upset & will definitely be complaining to North Face; this is the only item of theirs that I own but I won't be buying anything else for sure! I would definitely expect more than a year's use from expensive leather boots.

May 17, 2012

i had a pair of these and while i did find them very comfortable, after only a couple of months of infrequent use one began to leak and the sole started to separate on both. also the rubber glued to the leather began to come off

Feb 21, 2012

Agree with others in the fact that this boot is very very stiff and takes a good while to break in. The boots crippled me the first time I wore them on a 5 mile walk and I had to rely on a lift from a farmer to walk the 1/2 mile back to my car.
Now just three years old, they are leaking. One leaks at the heel, other one at the toe. I didn't mind the long break in period, but for boots to leak after three years of use I am not overly impressed. They are used probably 6-8 times per year on walks ranging from a few miles to 30 mile weekend trips.

Sep 09, 2011

This is the only piece of NorthFace gear I own. I selected this boot for the ankle support, as I've injured both of mine and one of them multiple times and suffer along with permanent damage.
My assessment of the boot;
Very stiff until broken in. Do not wait to buy this boot the day before you go out into the forest or on a long hike. I had to break mine in for a few weeks they were so stiff. The good news is; this is exactly what I needed. Now I have broken in boots, that provide great ankle support. I haven't tested this boot too too long, but I've hiked, camped and hunted in them for probably a total of 45 to 50 days. The more I wear them, the more I love them. I would recommend this boot, especially to anyone with ankle issues such as myself. The thin rubber that is glued up onto the leather has pealed away a small amount, but this doesn't change anything about the boots or how they perform. In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say this is a sacrificial piece of rubber intended to lengthen the life of the leather.
Good luck, I hope this helps.

Mar 01, 2011

Just wore mine on a weekend trail in an attempt to break them in. Currently using another NF boot and very happy, but these ones chomped my ankles something wicked and my ankles are still swollen 2 days later! Had to hike the second day of the trail with the laces done up like a pair of shoes. Wondering whether to sell them now or try to walk with them again and break in the ankle part? The foot section is fine, roomy toe box and very comfortable and stable, no problems there, but I'm thinking maybe the ankle is too high for me? Anyone else had anything similar?

May 31, 2010

nick, same name and same comment. Tounge not long enough. i just double laces back to 2nd loop then tie work great. Brilliant boots.

Mar 08, 2010

I have trouble with this boot.
The tongue slides down & the laces bite into my leg.
Very uncomfortable, may it is just my boots who have this issue. I will either replace them or sow a loop to put the laces into & keep it high enough. Any one else having this issue?

Matt Pace
Feb 19, 2010

ignore comment from "Rinaldo". This is a great boot and the best for the money. Do you really think the upper came off from the upper part of the boot with regular wear. I could put this thing in a concrete mixer for a month and that wouldn't happen. What a dumb comment. Obviously fake. Most likely an obsessed fan of Asolo or Merrel who can't stand to think they paid too much for some other boot.

Nov 28, 2009

It's a crap boot!! The mid-sole delaminated from the upper within a month. The quality gear that The North Face used to supply is no more because all their footwear is now made in China. DO NOT buy this boot!!!!


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