The North Face Hedgehog FutureLight Trekking Shoes
This time we put on some hiking or trekking shoes, an activity that generally involves long days walking in the mountains and in which good footwear is more than essential to avoid discomfort, injuries or other unforeseen events. Good, hard, well-protected shoes with a sole with excellent grip are essential. And for that, The North Face brand has several options. One of them are these The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight. A low-cuff shoe, moving away from the classic boots or ankle boots for this activity.
The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight is a classic model, one of the longest running in the catalogue of the American brand. They offer great versatility and comfort in a low-profile shoe that is lighter in weight than boots. This latest edition features Futurelight breathable technology in the membrane. But if you don’t know what they are like or what they can offer you, we invite you to continue reading.
What does their top part look like?
The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight has as its surname the technology of its upper or top mesh. Thus, Futurelight refers to this part of the shoe. The membrane is waterproof, breathable and durable enough to prevent us from scratching it with a branch or sharp stone. As they are a waterproof layer, they are very suitable for the coldest months of the year as they will keep us protected against the humidity of the terrain as well as against possible sudden rains while we are in the mountains.
They have a multitude of reinforcements throughout the shoe. In the toe cap, which will prevent us from damaging our feet if, by chance, we hit a stone or kick some branches while walking. In the middle of the foot, which will protect us against lateral knocks and avoid hurting one of the most important areas of the foot while trekking, such as the plantar arch. And finally, in the heel, which has an even stiffer chassis that will also provide stability in the most complicated situations.
It has large laces that even if we gripped them hard we wouldn’t be able to break them. In addition, the metal eyelets (3 on each side) and the textile eyelets (the lower ones) make it easy to tighten them without any complications.
Lastly, the tongue is quite thick although the lower part is more padded than the upper, which is thicker. That is, it has more air between layers to “lighten” a few grams.
This is what the midsole looks like
In this area of the Hedgehog Futurelight, we find a single-density EVA compound designed for trekking. This facilitates a more uniform absorption of the impact and a more relaxed and comfortable ride whatever the hours we are in the mountains.
It also features Cradle Guide technology to create a sort of second density in the midsole, which is more in charge of guiding the transition of the stride but also increases support, as well as stabilises and cushions the foot.
And helping a little to the absorption and cushioning we can consider the insole that in this case is of the Ortholite house and is sewn, so you cannot remove it. These insoles are lightweight, breathable and also incorporate a moisture management system with antimicrobial properties that repel odour and increase durability.
Fundamental part, the sole
The sole is synonymous with confidence. And more depending on the terrain we face. We can never gamble with a compound that offers neither grip nor protection. And that’s why The North Face has turned to the Vibram brand to meet this need. Specifically, it is the Vibram XS Trek outsole, designed to provide stability and comfort, offering traction, durability and flexibility on unpredictable and wet or damp terrain. Well, whatever type of terrain we encounter during our trek.
Large, triangular-shaped and well distributed lugs to prevent mud from sticking easily – the forefoot lugs are positioned for better traction, while the rearfoot lugs (plantar arch to heel) are positioned for better grip on downhill runs. There are no lugs on the toe and heel. There are some longitudinal strips to make our footprint safer when climbing up/climbing a vertical area where it is necessary to use. Because we can always find an area like this while we are in the mountains.
Out for a walk
Time to put on The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight and give our opinion on how they feel. To test them we went to the mountains, their usual playground. At a leisurely pace, with little rest and 4 or 5 hours a day.
At first, until you break them in and get used to them, the Hedehogs feel hard, heavy. It may also be because we usually use more trail running shoes to go to the mountain and go quietly through the mountains few times we have done. But there is always time for everything. But once you get used to them, they feel different, in a good way.
The collar of these shoes is quite high, a bit more than our preferences. This is not a negative aspect, but rather a matter of personal taste. And we can’t say negative because in the mountains, the more protected the foot is, the better. Especially in the back or heel area, where our ankle requires the utmost care not to hurt us.
What is true is that the inside of the shoe is a bit hard, not very padded unlike the collar. We only find the wall adjacent to the external mesh in the case of the forefoot area and adjacent to the chassis and the Cradle Guide in the heel area. We haven’t had any injuries while using them, maybe the reason was because our treks were 4-5 hours and alternate days. But perhaps in journeys of several days and many hours a day could generate some irritation. To avoid this, we recommend wearing good socks.
The breathability of the mesh is very good despite the number of elements that reinforce the upper. A Futurelight thing. A good breathability-impermeability ratio is achieved, which is appreciated in the early morning and in the middle of the day. The foot stays dry and well-ventilated as well as making it difficult for water to get in. Although the appearance may lead you to think that these The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight will be somewhat uncomfortable due to their robustness, the conclusion is that this is not the case. Internally they are pleasant to the touch. They invite the foot to feel comfortable. It does not generate friction in the most compromised areas and feels good.
Finally, let’s talk about the sole. For us and for many others it is a fundamental point in footwear. And even more so when it comes to going down the mountain safely, without fear of slipping or sliding. Vibram remains, in our opinion, the number 1 sole manufacturer thanks to its compounds. Whether it’s for trail running shoes that require a certain pace or hiking shoes. But it’s not all about grip. Resistance and durability are also important, two characteristics that are also part of Vibram’s how to do.
The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight is the sample of the concept that trekking is following nowadays. Those high boots, very heavy, that did not leave space to move the foot a little inside them, are intended more for trekking at high altitude, terrain in which we do need all this care. But in the case of hiking lower mountain and even for walking on flatter terrain, reinforced shoes and these characteristics is more than enough. That’s why The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight are a great option to consider.
The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight shoes are a model for those occasional or regular hikers looking for comfort, protection and durability in a shoe and that offer a lot of security when facing any type of terrain. A shoe for people with a rather wide foot, a normal stride and a medium-high weight (over 80kg).
Brand: The North Face
Model Hedgehog Futurelight
– Midsole: Single density EVA
– Sole: Vibram XS Trek
Available sizes: From 39 EU to 47 EU
Weight: 800g (in size 42,5EU)
Colours available Black/Grey; Greenish brown/black; Grey/orange; Black/red (female); Greenish grey (female); Grey/blue (female)
More information here