The North Face have challenged themselves to produce the most versatile outdoor shoe on the market. Ambitious?
The Havocs are designed as a ‘fast and light’ hiking shoe, and at just 425g they certainly fit into that category. In terms of intended use, they’re ideal for hill walks, trails, and general outdoor use. Being GoreTex they are, of course, fully waterproof and breathable – the XCR (Extreme Comfort Range) membrane utilises improved lamination techniques and should provide enhanced breathability at no expense to waterproofing qualities.
|Havoc GTX features. Click to enlarge. Info courtesy of The North Face|
They grip well too; exclusive Vibram rubber soles provide traction and shed mud and dirt. The TPU snake plate (the red bit) is designed to offer flexible protection and an interior EVA cradle cushions and rebounds your stride for ‘medial stability’.
|Havoc sole spec. Click to enlarge|
Enough of the techy stuff, take a look at the pictures above for an overview of the shoe’s features. The most important thing is fit. How did they actually feel to wear?
|Knowing that my feet were unlikely to get wet, the child in me couldn’t resist jumping in some puddles!|
Funnily enough, those conditions we had back in April were actually ideal within which to challenge the Havocs. Since then, as we all know, the weather has improved dramatically and that has presented another challenge. Prolonged exposure to a full selection of the elements was exactly what was required to test the shoes.
“After wearing these shoes every day for a few weeks now I have found they have lived up to their description really well.
They have been worn to and from work in the rain and storms we have had as well as in doors for 8 hours a day. They have also been subjected to wet grass on caravan rally fields and a 10 mile charity walk.
Overall, I have to say they were really comfortable in all the situations I put them in. At the end of a 8 hour day my feet were comfortable, in wet grass and storms my feet were dry and walking tow and foot paths they were ideal.”
“Although I have found them to hot to wear indoors on an all day basis when worn for what they have been designed for they are at the top of the tree for walking and running.
I used them on the south west coast path on a wet day and the enjoyment was equal to wearing boots, they are very stable which gives you confidence as no slipping or sliding even running on the pebbles I felt no concussion on my feet or ankles and had great protection on my heels, good stability and comfort all day.
Very easy to look after just wash off dry and with cloth. If you want one pair to do all they have to be very good value.”
My own impressions are positive. The shoes do exactly what they say on the tin, they’re a fantastic all purpose shoe, suitable for a wide range of activities and a variety of terrains. Plus, they’re well made and have that feeling of high quality.
In terms of fit, I found them to be extremely supportive and comfortable, although they were quite tough initially. Like any boot or shoe, they soon softened up after a bit of wearing and are now pretty flexible. I didn’t feel any rubbing or experience any discomfort through the initial bedding in period.
|The weather wasn’t all bad!|
The Vibram soles are strong and durable and after what is now several weeks of use, I’ve not noticed any excessive wear on the materials. In terms of traction, the shoes seemed to grip well on the variety of surfaces that I’ve tried them out on. This gave me confidence that I could walk pretty much anywhere and wouldn’t be losing my footing.
|I stood in this puddle for a good minute or so and my feet stayed dry|
– Taunton Leisure Online.