The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Insulated Boots are 200g mid-height waterproof hiking boots that are good for winter hiking. I like them because they are shaped like a regular mid-hiking boot with a curved forefoot rocker which makes them easy you walk with and because they have a large toe box. Their construction is also optimized for winter hiking with gaiter rings, 4mm lugs, and a rear snowshoe knob in the back for snowshoe support.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: men’s (women’s also available)
- Type: Mid-height Boots
- Waterproof: Yes
- Insulation: Heatseeker 200g
- Temperature Rating: Approximately 10-20F
- Gaiter Ring: Yes
- Snowshoe Knob: Yes
The North Face Vectiv is a waterproof and insulated hiking mid that’s insulated with The North Face’s proprietary Heatseeker insulation. This insulation is functionally equivalent to the Thinsulate found in most other winter hiking boots in that it’s a sheet insulation made with recycled polyester that weighs 200g per square meter. The North Face doesn’t provide a temperature rating for these boots, but they’ll keep your feet warm down to about 10-20 degrees F if you’re wearing warm socks and actively hiking, and not standing around waiting for a bus. If you need warmer boots, I recommend switching to a winter hiking boot with 400g insulation.
The Vectiv is a waterproof breathable boot that is coated on the outside with a DWR coating, which is pretty standard on insulated winter boots. The waterproof membrane is proprietary to The North face, something they call “Futurelight” which is a porous nanospun matrix built up from microscopic strands of polyurethane that prevent water from entering but let water vapor escape. It’s supposedly less waterproof than Gore-tex but more breathable.
It sounds great until you ask what happens to water vapor in freezing temperatures (it turns to fog and then ice which blocks the pores). The boots are still waterproof though…at least until the membrane or seams break down. If you want to ensure that the boot stays waterproof in the long term, I’d recommend coating the exterior with SnoSeal and melting it in with a blow drier.
The Vectiv Boot has a leather upper with a rigid front toe kick and reinforced side panels for protection against crusty snow and ice. The toe kick prevents the toe box from collapsing when worn with an elastomer harness found on Kahtoola Microspikes or Hillsound Trail Crampons winter traction aids. You don’t want that to happen because it causes discomfort and blisters.
The sole of the boot is also well protected with a TPU plate under the forefoot which acts like a rock guard in trail running shoe terminology as well as high rebound EVA midsole. In addition, the boots have a roomy toe box up front since good blood circulation is essential to keep your toes warm and prevent cold injury.
The Vectivs have a small plastic knob that sticks out from the back of the shoe. This creates a small ledge to keep a snowshoe strap from slipping down and off the boot. A lot of winter hiking boots offer the same functionality but in different ways. The Vectivs work well with my MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoes.
The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Winter Boot is an excellent waterproof winter hiking boot with 200g insulation. It has a highly rockered (curved) sole which makes it easier to hike in compared to most blockier insulated winter hiking boots. But make no mistake, the Vectiv has all of the must-have features of a winter hiking boot with a rigid toe kick, roomy toe box, a gaiter ring, and snowshoe knob to keep your snowshoes secure. I’ve been winter hiking for the past month in these mids, with and without traction, and really enjoy using them. They’re warm and it’s easy to hike fast in them…I don’t need much else!
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Disclosure: The author owns this product.