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The North Face Chilkat III - Women's Review

This winter hiker will have you tackling snowy trails for miles.
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Price:  $110 List | $102.35 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, weather-proof, versatile fit, comfortable, gaiter and snowshoe compatible
Cons:  Traction is not as good as other hikers, not stylish
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 14, 2018
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Weather Protection - 20% 8
  • Comfort & Fit - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 3

The Skinny

If you're ready to tackle snowy sidewalks and trails this year, The North Face Chilkat III is a great winter hiking boot. Boasting 200-grams of insulation and a waterproof upper and outsole, this winter boot is ready to tackle the elements. Even though the traction pattern isn't as bomber as other winter hiking boots like the Oboz Bridger Insulated or Columbia Bugaboot IV Omni-Heat, it serves its purpose well on snowy winter hikes. It will protect up to 8.5 inches and features a Gaiter-compatible D-ring. To boot, this hiker is fleece-lined throughout the entire shaft and breathable. It provides a well insulated, yet breathable experience on the trail, allowing you to just enjoy the great outdoors. Wear it while you tackle snowy mile after snowy mile.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Chilkat III is warm and weatherproof. This winter hiking boot has a beefy outsole and triangular lugs that grabs snowy slopes of any grade. Take it with you on your next snowshoe adventure or winter hike.

Performance Comparison


The Chilkat III is a great winter hiking boot.
The Chilkat III is a great winter hiking boot.

Warmth


Stuffed with 200-grams of Heatkeeper insulation, this boot is nice and toasty on the trails. The uber-thick sole insulates in temperatures that dip into the negative double digits. It's a very warm hiking boot, slightly less warm than the Keen Durand Polar, with 400-grams of insulation. It's warmer than the Columbia Bugaboot IV and on par with our Top Pick for Severe Weather, the Sorel Joan of Arctic.

Testing the waterproofness of the Chilkat III.
Testing the waterproofness of the Chilkat III.

Weather Protection


The suede and leather uppers are waterproof and snowproof, earning it a solid score for weather protection. While it doesn't have a faux-fur collar to keep out blowing snow like the Keen Durand Polar, its puddle-depth is an inch deeper than the Keen. So if deep slush is a feature of your winter landscape, the Chilkat might be your boot!

That said, while the lacing system provides excellent coverage up to 8.5 inches, it won't protect against tall snow banks like the 13-inch Sorel Joan or Arctic. Nor does it have a waterproof upper like the Sorel Caribou. Overall, this winter hiker performed well in our weather tests, wicking away moisture and keeping out snow. It will keep you protected from the elements.

This boot is equipped with a Gaiter-compatible D-ring, which can enhance weather protection during super blustery days.

The Chilkat III features a fleece-lined interior that is super plush for all-day comfort.
The Chilkat III features a fleece-lined interior that is super plush for all-day comfort.

Comfort & Fit


With great comfort and fit features that provide stability in the backcountry. We love the fully fleece-lined interior that made slipping this boot on feel sooooo good. The exterior suede is soft to the touch, and the fit of the boot is exceptional too. Versatile for both wide and narrow feet, the toe box provides lots of volume, easily accommodating thick and thin socks. The heel doesn't slip, and the shaft is relatively flexible. The boot fits true to size but doesn't offer as much arch support as the Oboz Bridger 7" Insulatedboot.

Of all winter hiking boots  this one is the easiest to lace up and take off.
Of all winter hiking boots, this one is the easiest to lace up and take off.

Ease of Use


All of our winter hiking boots take a little extra time to take on and off. The Chilkat III is no different. That said, it's a little easier to use than the Keen Durand Polar simply because it only has one eyelet hook at the top of the boot. The boot is stiff enough to simply slip on before tightening, and the lacing system requires just one simple pull to tighten all the laces. If you prefer a boot without laces, check out the Kamik Momentum, a warm laceless boot.

The outsole is burly enough for winter trails  but one of the least burliest tested of all winter hikers.
The outsole is burly enough for winter trails, but one of the least burliest tested of all winter hikers.

Traction


While its traction is great in comparison to other Pac Boots and less technical competitors, it doesn't perform as well as other winter hiking boots. Still, it will keep you upright and safe in rough and snowy conditions. The lugs are all triangle-shaped, providing traction while going up and down snowy slopes. That said, they aren't as deep as the Keen Durand Polar or as varied as the Oboz Bridger. While the outsole performed well winter hiking, we found ourselves slipping out more than the other hikers tested.

A look at the basic style of the Chilkat III.
A look at the basic style of the Chilkat III.

Style


While the Chilkat III looks better on then it does on the shelf, we think it's pretty ugly. While the looks aren't super techy like the Columbia Bugaboot IV, it simply doesn't have cute lines, contrasting fabrics, or cute colors. As a result, we never really chose to wear it around town.

While none of the winter hiking boots did particularly well in style, our testers agreed that this was the least flattering boot of the fleet. If you prefer a cuter hiker, check out the Keen Durand (with a faux-fur collar) or the Oboz Bridger 7" (with cuter colors, a wool pile-topped shaft, and slimmer design). Alternatively, if you don't need a serious winter hiking boot, check out our Editors' Choice, The North Face Shellista II.

Take this boot hiking in the trees!
Take this boot hiking in the trees!

Best Applications


Take this winter hiking boot…well….hiking! Strap on a pair of snowshoes and get out the door this winter.

Value


At just $110, this is the best valued winter hiking boot, just $30 more than our Best Buy award winner, the Columbia Ice Maiden. A great deal!

Conclusion


The Chilkat III is a great winter hiker that offers wonderful stability and support on winter trails.


Amber King