On Friday I tested out North Face Hedgehog Fastpack shoes.
I have never tried shoes for walking before always having worn boots, so this was a new experience for me. I admit I was a little apprehensive as I didn’t feel confident that shoes were sturdy enough. I chose the North Face Hedgehogs because of their good reviews. It maybe just a mind thing, but I did not expect them to perform.
(Since writing this review I have also worn the Hedgehogs for The Ridgeway Trail – a stunning three day finish)
Hedgehog fastpack shoe
One of the advantages of shoes is their light weight. These weigh about 800g. They have a Gore-Tex membrane giving a measure of wet weather protection and an abrasive resistant textile mesh upper to provide breathability.
The sole is Vibram rubber to give the shoe a good grip with deep lugs, the unique heel and midsole construction are designed to provide greater stability to the walker. This was what I wanted to test.
The test walk
I decided to give the shoes a good workout so I walked 21 miles along The National Forest Way starting at Beacon Hill and finishing at Sence Valley Forest Park. This gave a variety of terrain, it was mostly firm under foot, quite a bit of trackway, and the ground was mainly hard and dry when walking across fields and through woodland, just a bit of scrambling across rocks in Bradgate Park.
It was a fine dry day mostly sunny and quite hot with a few clouds and a light wind.
The shoes were a comfortable fit and definitely light on the feet, even though the sole is quite thick it is flexible which gave easy walking. I think it must be the stability construction that makes the outside back of the heel deeper, this had the effect of pushing me onto the ball of my foot as I was walking. At the end of my walk the balls of my feet were a bit sore but perhaps this was because I had only had the shoes 3 days and I found it a slightly different walking experience from my well worn boots, but not a bad one.
Choice of socks
I wore a pair of Smartwool Socks with the shoes. Even though it was a sunny day my feet did not feel hot or sweaty, the shoes worked well. Because the weather was dry I did not have chance to find out exactly how water resistant the Hedgehog GTX’s were. I only managed to find a few puddles, and I didn’t get wet feet.
The shoes are not cushioned and my feet were a bit sore at the end of the walk but I had no blisters! Which I thought was pretty good for a first wear over that distance in new shoes? Neither were my feet over sweaty.
Conclusion about the North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX shoes?
My personal conclusion is that for a walk on a day that is not too wet, over ground that is not very demanding, with nothing more than a day pack I will definitely wear these shoes in the future.
Somewhen I will see how I get on in wet weather, but not if it’s pouring down.
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