The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Low is a lightweight hiking shoe/trail runner hybrid. While it has a trail running shoe look, the majority of the cushioning is in the heel (for walking or hiking), so they work well for fast hikes with only occasional running. It comes with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner, and the mostly synthetic upper does a great job of shedding water. Its performance was average in most of our testing metrics, particularly when compared to the standout models that we tested.We like this shoe best for light and fast hikes without any extra weight on our backs. They also work well for those days when you want to run part of your hike.
The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX - Women's Review
Cons: Minimal cushioning
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Low are made with a PU-coated leather and a dual-density EVA midsole. There is a Gore-Tex liner and unique bi-color Vibram sole that is pretty to look at and also functions well.
This shoe received an average score for comfort. There's plenty of cushioning under the heel, but we did notice a lack of it under the forefoot. We often got a pressure spot on the top of both of our feet due to the tongue pressing down on us in a weird way. While it is possible to re-thread your shoelaces to eliminate pressure spots (you can skip a section), this was the only pair in the test where we felt such uncomfortable pressure. The Hedgehog runs a bit narrow, so that's something to consider if your feet are on the wide side, and this shoe does not come in wide sizes.
We did find enough arch support on this shoe, but since we had to loosen the laces due to the pressure points described above that resulted in a loss of support. The synthetic uppers are also rather soft and flexible, which gave our feet more side to side play. All in all, there are stiffer and more supportive shoes to choose from.
We like the traction on this shoe. The Vibram sole has a fun bi-color design in the shape of a flower or tree branch. The inner rubber is soft and pliable, helping it to grip on slick surfaces.
At a hair over 1 lb 3 oz for a pair of size 7 shoes, these shoes are similar in weight to other lightweight shoes we tested but more comfortable than most. We like the lightweight nature of these shoes, and they felt great when moving light and fast along a trail. If you like to run a bit during your hikes, then these are a good choice. Note that the Hedgehog feels slightly heavier than a regular trail runner, so if you run more than hike go check out our Women's Trail Running Shoe review instead.
This shoe performed well in our water resistance testing. The PU-coated leather and synthetic upper keep the water out, and the Gore-Tex liner acts as a backup should any water seep through the upper. The ankle opening is high enough to provide good coverage for crossing streams or hiking through wet brush.
We did have a few durability concerns for this shoe. The leather cut-out strips on the upper are only single stitched in some places, and we had a few of the stitches coming loose after a couple of months of use. Softer rubber soles will also wear out faster than stiffer ones. There are some pluses, like a small rubber toe cap with an extra abrasion-resistant textile around the front of the shoe, and the inner liner didn't pill.
This retail price of this shoe is pretty reasonable considering that it comes with a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. Other waterproof shoes at a similar price offer more support, but for a lightweight and waterproof shoe, we think this is a good value.
The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Low is a good middle of the line shoe. Unfortunately, in TNF's quest to make a lightweight shoe, they did sacrifice a bit on comfort and stability, but this shoe still works well for a variety of purposes.
— Cam McKenzie Ring