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The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX - Women's Review

A great shoe for fast and light hiking.
The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX - Women's NEW
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Price:  $120 List | $119.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, sleek design, waterproof
Cons:  Minimal cushioning
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 26, 2017
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 10
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

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 like our Editors' Choice winner, the Oboz II Sawtooth Low BDry, and the Hoka One One Tor Summit. While we prefer the Hedgehog for day hiking as opposed to any overnight trips with a heavier pack, they are still a good bet for someone looking for a lightweight pair for fast day hikes.


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $119.95 at Amazon
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$110.00 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$139.95 at Amazon$159.95 at Backcountry$119.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, sleek design, waterproofComfortable, stable, great traction, durableGreat traction and stability, durable construction except for the lacesVery comfortable, lightweight, waterproofComfortable, waterproof, excellent traction
Cons Minimal cushioningUpper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavyDifficult to tighten the toe box due to the speed lace system, release button got jammed, a little stiffNot the best traction, questionable durabilityNeeds breaking in, runs short
Bottom Line A great shoe for fast and light hiking.The Sawtooth II excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrain, making it an easy pick for our Editors' Choice Award.An excellent all-around hiking shoe that is waterproof and supportive.An exceptionally cushioned shoe that is also lightweight and waterproof.Good at most things and great at some. It's an all-around solid hiker at a good price.
Rating Categories Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Sawtooth II Low BDry Terrex Swift R2 GTX HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit WP Merrell Moab 2 WP - Women's
Comfort (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
Support (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Traction (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
Weight (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Specs Hedgehog Fastpack... Sawtooth II Low BDry Terrex Swift R2 GTX HOKA ONE ONE Tor... Merrell Moab 2 WP...
Weight per pair (size 7) 1.2 lbs 1.83 lbs 1.36 lbs 1.55 lbs 1.69 lbs
Width Options Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular, Wide
Upper PU-coated leather Leather & textile Synthetic mesh Nubuck and suede leather Suede leather, mesh
Midsole Dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole with "Cradle Guide" Dual density EVA EVA EVA and RMAT oversized midsole EVA
Lining Gore-Tex B-Dry Gore-Tex eVent Mesh
Sole Vibram Sawtooth Continental Traxion rubber Vibram Megagrip Hi-traction with 5mm lugs Vibram TC5+

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.

Performance Comparison


Heading out for a quick scramble? These shoes will get you there quickly.
Heading out for a quick scramble? These shoes will get you there quickly.

Comfort


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 that we felt such uncomfortable pressure with so we noticed it. For a truly cushioned and comfortable ride, our Top Pick for Comfort, the Hoka One One Sky Arkali is hard to beat. The Hedgehog runs a bit narrow, so that's something to consider if your feet are on the wide side. This shoe does not come in wide sizes — look to the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof and the Vasque Talus Trek Low UltraDry, which do come in wide options. The Keen Voyageur, Keen Targhee III Low, and Ahnu Montara III are cut on the wide side and are also good options to consider.

Support


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. If you're looking for more support from your synthetic shoes, check out the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX, which is stiffer than this pair.

These softer hikers don't offer the best stability over rough terrain.
These softer hikers don't offer the best stability over rough terrain.

Traction


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.

The soles are so pretty! Too bad you can't really see them. The blue strips of rubber are soft and sticky  helping you achieve great traction on rocks.
The soles are so pretty! Too bad you can't really see them. The blue strips of rubber are soft and sticky, helping you achieve great traction on rocks.

Weight


At a hair over 1 lb 3 oz for a pair of size 7 shoes, these shoes are similar in weight to the Merrell Siren Edge Q2 WP, but more comfortable. 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. Another good option to consider is the Salomon X Ultra 3, which is a little heavier but remains our Top Pick for Fast and Light hiking. Note that both the Hedgehog and the X Ultra do feel 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.

Heading out for a hike with the dogs. These Hedgehogs are lightweight and won't weigh you down.
Heading out for a hike with the dogs. These Hedgehogs are lightweight and won't weigh you down.

Water Resistance


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 just a hair short of the Oboz and Hoka One One models, providing a lot of coverage for crossing streams or hiking through wet brush.

Durability


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.


Best Applications


We like The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Low 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. Since they have more of a trail runner look, they are also a good option for those who don't like the bulky or techy aesthetic of most hiking footwear.

Like to hike up the trail and run down? These shoes are a good option for that. They are lightweight and trim fitting.
Like to hike up the trail and run down? These shoes are a good option for that. They are lightweight and trim fitting.

Value


This shoe retails for $120, which is pretty reasonable considering that it comes with a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. Another great value that offers more support at the same price is our Best Buy winner, the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof.

Conclusion


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