The North Face Endurus Hike GTX Review
Cons: Lacking support for rough terrain
Manufacturer: The North Face
This is a very comfortable pair of hiking or walking shoes. They have a softer than normal foam midsole that is also on the thicker side, making them almost as comfortable as the super-thick Hoka One One Tor Summit. They are a little softer than that pair though, and even though they are thick, you can still feel sharp rocks underneath your feet. We preferred to wear these on softer trails or when walking around town. These are a good option for a traveling shoe, though we like the style of the Ahnu Sugarpine II WP a little more. For a more traditional hiking shoe that's built specifically for the trails, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Oboz Sawtooth BDry.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Endurus Hike GTX has an "XtraFoam" midsole that seems like it is TNF's attempt at replicating the Hoka One One phenomenon. It's thicker than most other midsoles, giving you a cushy and soft ride. This shoe also has a Gore-Tex liner and a Vibram XS Trek sole.
The Endurus received one of our highest scores for comfort. Many factors combined to make this a comfortable shoe. The thick midsole is soft and provides a lot of cushioning, and fell somewhere between the Hoka Tor Summit and the Ahnu Sugarpine II in terms of softness. We could feel some sharp rocks under the Endurus, but it offers more cushioning than the Sugarpine II. It's also one of the more breathable models, which helped it be more comfortable as well. The upper is synthetic and thin, with multiple diamond-shaped cutouts to increase airflow.
We didn't get quite as much support out of this model as we would have liked. In addition to the Xtra-Foam midsole, TNF says that there's a firmer EVA on the outside of the midsole for more stability. We didn't notice much firmness in this pair, and it didn't feel as stable laterally as models with a super-stiff sole like the Lowa Renegade GTX Lo. The arch support built into the shoe did feel adequate, though the insole is just a flat piece of material and did nothing to help provide more support. The Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX has more stability than this pair, if that's what you're looking for.
The Endurus has poor traction overall. The thicker midsole makes them a little less sensitive on bare rock, though the rubber on this pair did stick pretty well. The lugs are a little shallow and don't grip well on loose trails though. These are better suited to gentler trails and city walking than a burly mountain adventure.
The Endurus are light! They weigh 1.62 pounds in the woman's size 10 that we tested. They offer a lot more comfort and stability than the lightest pair (the 1.44 pound Merrell Siren Edge Q2 WP) and even at the end of a long day on our feet we didn't feel like they were dragging us down.
We are impressed by the waterproofness of this pair. The Gore-Tex liner really does keep the water out of the inside of this shoe, which is impressive considering how thin the upper is. The tongue gusset comes high up the front and also helps keep the water out. We did notice that the synthetic upper held water in though as opposed to shedding it like the Salomon X Ultra 3, so they might be a bit slower to dry out once wet.
Our main concern with the durability of the Endurus is that there is a lot of exposed midsole. Since that material is soft, it'll be more prone to wear than a covered midsole. The lugs on the soles are not very deep either, and since the rubber is soft, you might wear away a lug or two over time.
The North Face Endurus Hike GTX is a great shoe for those who like a lot of comfort from their footwear and don't do a lot of aggressive hiking. In fact, these seem like a better walking shoe to us, and they do a great job of cushioning your feet throughout the day. This is the pair we'd take on a weekend getaway where we expected to do a lot of walking around a new city with a short day hike thrown in as well. You could pack just this one pair, and it would handle all of your footwear needs.
The Endurus retail for $140, which is a bit more than the other TNF model that we tested, the Hedgehog Fastpack ($120). The Endurus did score higher than the Hedgehog, so that extra $20 may just be worth it. For a more substantial savings, check out our Best Buy winner, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilators ($100).
The North Face Endurus Hike GTX is a great pair of shoes that can work well for moderate hiking. This isn't the pair we'd take on a 15-mile day hike over rough terrain or on a backpacking trip, but they are functional on easy terrain and are certainly very comfortable.
— Cam McKenzie Ring