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The North Face Chilkat V 400 Review

These boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair price
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The North Face Chilkat V 400 Review (The Chilkat V 400 is a warm, protective, and attractively priced winter boot that will suit most users.)
The Chilkat V 400 is a warm, protective, and attractively priced winter boot that will suit most users.
Credit: Sam Willits
Price:  $159 List
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Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 22, 2023
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Weather Protection - 25% 8.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8.0
  • Traction - 15% 9.0
  • Durability - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

The North Face Chilkat 400 II is a great all-around winter boot performer, keeping the wearer warm, dry, and comfortable at a great price. This boot uses plenty of synthetic insulation and a waterproof membrane to keep heat in and water out. The boot also feels great on foot, with a snug fit and laces that tighten everything effectively for comfortable walking. Other boots are warmer or have a higher cuff, but no other boot provides such a well-rounded performance. When the temps plummet and the snow piles up, our testers reach for this boot more than any other. Compare it to top competitors in our men's winter boot review.
REASONS TO BUY
Great traction
Excellent fit
Very comfortable
Warm
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Other boots are warmer
Relatively low water-resistance height
Editor's Note: We updated this review on December 22, 2023, to address some online user complaints regarding the durability of the Chilkat V 400.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line These boots perform great across the board, earning top accolades for being so well-roundedThis boot makes winter walks comfortable and secure, but it isn't a great option for deep snowWith good performance across the board, these low-priced boots deliver great valueA convenient slip-on work boot with handles, this boot has a tricky fitA very comfortable boot at the most affordable price
Rating Categories The North Face Chil... Merrell Thermo Chil... Columbia Bugaboot III Bogs Bozeman Tall Kamik Nation Plus
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weather Protection (25%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
5.0
7.0
10.0
8.0
Specs The North Face Chil... Merrell Thermo Chil... Columbia Bugaboot III Bogs Bozeman Tall Kamik Nation Plus
Measured Weight 3.86 lbs (size 13) 2.74 lbs (size 13) 3.69 lbs (size 13) 4.88 lbs (size 13) 4.56 lbs (size 13)
Measured Shaft Height 11" 7.5" 10.5" 13" 12"
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 8.5" 6.5" 8" 11.5" 8"
Fit Details True to size True to size True to size Roomy True to size
Appropriate Activity Town, errands Hiking, town Hiking, town, chores, errands Chores Town, Chores, Errands
Lining/Insulation 400g Heatseeker Eco 200g M Select 200g synthetic 7mm Neo-Tech neoprene 200B 3M Thinsulate
Upper Material Waterproof leather & suede Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh Waterproof leather Rubber Waterproof suede
Toe Box Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Surface Control rubber Rubber Omni-Grip Rubber BioGrip Rubber
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating Not listed Not listed Not listed -72 F Not listed
Animal Products? Yes No Yes No Yes
Sizes Available 7 - 14 7 - 15 7 - 17 7 - 14 7 - 14

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Chilkat V 400 performed well in every one of our testing metrics compared to other top-rated winter boots. They achieve this result by blending the attributes of Pac boots and winter hiking boots, remaining warm and weather resistant while also delivering a comfortable fit and sticky sole.

Performance Comparison


the north face chilkat v 400 - the north face chilkat v 400 is a great all-around winter boot.
The North Face Chilkat V 400 is a great all-around winter boot.
Credit: Sam Willits

Warmth


The Chilkat V 400 kept us warm on most cold winter days. It uses synthetic insulation to seal in heat, and the cuff extends far enough up the calf to keep the feet away from cold air. The sole is relatively thick, effectively insulating the feet from cold, snowy ground. It does all of this in a remarkably light package, providing the best warmth-to-weight ratio in our test by far.


Other boots may be warmer, but considering that the Chilkat is sleek and low-profile with a moderate shaft height and comfortable fit, we are impressed by the warmth these boots can deliver. If you live in the coldest winter climates, you may experience a day or two of the winter that overpowers these boots, but they are plenty warm for 99.9% of users. And, they are much less expensive than other boots that provide just a bit more warmth.

the north face chilkat v 400 - the chilkat v 400 has enough synthetic insulation to keep your feet...
The Chilkat V 400 has enough synthetic insulation to keep your feet warm, most of the time.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Weather Protection


The Chilkat V 400 has great weather protection for all but the most brutal winter storms and the deepest snow. A rubber shell around the foot and a waterproof upper, lined with a proprietary membrane, keeps water out of the boot up to the top of the tongue, which sits at 8 inches. We can't remember the last time we stepped in a puddle deeper than eight inches in the wintertime, but our testers did make sure to wear their pants over their boots when walking in deep snow to keep the powder from making its way inside.


Other boots in our review have higher cuffs and tongues to allow deeper submersion without letting water into the boot. If you frequently find yourself in deep snow or deep water, like during stream crossings when snowshoeing, hiking, and hunting, you might need a boot with a higher shaft. But for the winter conditions that most users will face, these boots provide plenty of weather protection and water resistance. During our submersion testing, they did not allow any water into the boot's interior.

The Chilkat is a generally waterproof boot, but the tongue is susceptible to splashes around 8.5 inches above the ground.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Comfort and Fit


The Chilkat is extremely comfortable. The fleece lining is soft against socked or bare feet, and the insulation compacts gently to cradle your paws in comfort. The fit is spot-on for those with narrow to average feet, and the boots are true to size in length. Most other Pac boots have a wide and roomy forefoot that makes the wearer feel like their toes are swimming in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, but the Chilkat has a narrower toe box that fits more like a hiking boot.


The fit of these boots feels like a mix between a large Pac boot and a snug hiking boot. The calf section is flexible to allow for plenty of comfort on long walks, and the foot feels supported by the footbed, despite plenty of insulation in the vicinity. Our testers reached for this boot day after day in the winter, largely because of how comfortable and well-fitting it is. It truly offers comfort that rivals some of the best hiking boots we've reviewed.

the north face chilkat v 400 - the chilkat v 400 isn't too clunky, and fits like a glove.
The Chilkat V 400 isn't too clunky, and fits like a glove.
Credit: Sam Willits

Traction


The Chilkat V 400 has an aggressive lug design that is, again, more akin to a hiking boot than a Pac boot. The lugs aren't deep, but they are sharp and angular, with plenty of room between lugs to absorb rough objects on the trail. A brake pad at the heel with multiple straight and angular lugs can also grab ground irregularities in a last-ditch effort to prevent a slip from becoming a fall.


These boots handled every condition we threw at them, from steep dirt trails thinly covered in a dusting of snow to deep powder in the driveway to firmly packed snow in parking lots. We trust these boots with our knees on the snowiest and most slippery days.

the north face chilkat v 400 - we like the tread pattern on the chilkat v 400. they bite into all...
We like the tread pattern on the Chilkat V 400. They bite into all winter surfaces well.
Credit: Sam Willits

Durability


We are impressed by the durability of the Chilkat. It has a rubber shell around the foot and a thick leather upper with a strong nylon tongue. The components assemble tight stitching and large-diameter threads with redundant stitching to ensure that the panels stay sewn together even if a couple of threads are cut. We also like the metal eyelets that the thick laces are threaded through; there are no brittle plastic components to potentially break on the coldest days.

We are aware that some online user reviews show durability issues on the rubber meets the seam on the Chilkat's upper. However, we have not personally experienced these issues ourselves. Our tester has used these boots over two winter seasons now and has not experienced any issues, but we plan to keep testing this boot and have purchased another pair for the coming update of our winter boot review.


Our experience tells us that this boot's soft synthetic insulation and lining will pack down over time, making them even more comfortable and contoured to the user's exact foot shape. However, this will also slightly decrease the insulation's warming power. We have also seen similar padded footbeds and heel cups develop holes from wear as heels are slammed into the boot and pulled out forcefully over and over again, but this is only speculation based on experience.

the north face chilkat v 400 - the construction quality on the chilkat v 400 is great, and previous...
The construction quality on the Chilkat V 400 is great, and previous versions of this boot have easily lasted multiple seasons without much sign of wear.
Credit: Sam Willits

Should You Buy The North Face Chilkat V 400?


The Chilkat V 400 is a high-performance boot that delivers excellent comfort, great warmth, and plenty of weather protection at a great price. It also has excellent traction and is built to last, making it the total package for a winter boot. Certain users will want a boot that excels in a specific performance metric for use in niche tasks, but this is the best choice if you want one winter boot to do it all. These boots also cost less than most of the competition, which is great news for consumers looking for a new quality pair. They are comfortable and durable and truly a well-rounded option. There are warmer boots to be had, but more warmth and protection generally cost a lot more, and these are more than adequate for the typical user. No other boot in our lineup performed as well across the board at such an attractive price, the hallmark balance of true value. This makes our job easy, as we can recommend these boots to users on a budget and those who are willing to pay any amount to get the best boots. They are a great value.

What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?


If you won't be doing activities and prioritize winter chores over hobbies, the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid is the better choice. With a waterproof design and rubber shell, it can get mucky with the best of them while keeping you warm enough. If your temperatures will be below zero with a high number of hours in the cold, the Baffin Impact might be the better option for sheer warmth even though it lacks the precision and smaller size required for driving and other activities. If you hope to hike or the snow won't be deep, the budget-friendly Merrell Thermo Chill Mid is worth looking at. While it isn't a good chore boot, it is the better hiking or walking option with great comfort and weather resistance.

the north face chilkat v 400 - the chilkat v 400 is great for winter weather around town.
The Chilkat V 400 is great for winter weather around town.
Credit: Sam Willits

Jeff Dobronyi