There might not be such a thing as the perfect winter boots, but the North Face Back to Berkeley boots come very close. They are a unique blend of old-school silhouette and modern technology. The modern technology of these boots includes PrimaLoft insulation, HydroSeal waterproofing and an OrthoLite ReBound footbed. In plain English, these are boots that not only look good, but are also waterproof, warm and comfortable.
We’ll take a look at some of the best features of the Back to Berkeley boots, but we’ll also examine where the boots fall short of expectations.
Read on to find out whether the North Face Back to Berkeley boots should be your next purchase.
You might expect your usual winter boots to be bulky and heavy, but that's not the case with the iconic North Face Back-to-Berkley boots. These boots are incredibly lightweight with only 1.2lbs per boot, and they will not slow you down one bit. This is mostly because the sole of the boots is quite thin and flexible, but it still manages to provide you with enough support.
The upper part of the boot is made from full-grain leather, and features a HydroSeal waterproof membrane. The Back to Berkeley boots should keep you completely dry when threading through snow. If you want to try them out in heavy rain and slush, we suggest that you look into some additional waterproofing options, such as a spray, or a rub, just to be safe.
The inside of the boot itself features a compression-molded TPU heel clip, an OrthoLite ReBound footbed, so that you will have enough ankle and arch support with every step you take. The footbed is machine washable, and you don't have to worry about getting it dirty or smelly (after those long sweaty hikes!).
These boots are equipped with a compression-molded EVA midsole. This is important because the midsole of the boot is the part of the boot that stops you from feeling every single pebble you step on. With the EVA midsole, the Back to Berkeley boots will keep you comfortable for as long as you wear them.
Buying new shoes is exciting, until you have to actually wear them for the first time. Many people dread breaking in their new shoes, what with all the blisters and pain that seem to appear after the first 5 minutes.
Well, we've got some good news for you; they are good to go straight out of the box! It might take a day or two for the boots to completely adapt to your feet, but they do feel like they’ve already been broken in because they are just not as stiff and heavy as some other winter boots.
The North Face Back to Berkeley boots are also true to size, so you can safely order the size you usually wear. They are bit wider on the inside than they look on the outside. This just means that you can wear thick, comfy socks with the boots, and you can tighten them as much as you want with the shoelaces. We did find that North Face generously included about a foot longer shoelaces than you actually need. That issue, however, can be solved quite easily, with shorter shoelaces.
The North Face Back to Berkeley boots feature PrimaLoft silver insulation, which was designed to retain warmth in cold and even wet weather. It manages to preserve body heat in all conditions without being bulky, which is always a big plus in our book.
With the PrimaLoft silver insulation, the boots are incredibly warm, and there's no doubt that they will keep your feet warm no matter how deep into the snow they go. However, this also means that the boots are too warm to wear during warmer weather. If you’re looking for something that you can wear all year round, then you should look at another boot.
These boots are equipped with durable TNF Winter Grip rubber outsole with IcePick temperature-sensitive lungs. The Winter Grip outsole will provide excellent traction in compact snow. The IcePick rubber lungs are actually sensitive to temperature. As it gets colder the lungs harden, to ensure that you have grip on all kinds of snowy surfaces. When the conditions become warmer, the lungs soften, to provide you with grip and traction on wet surfaces.
That being said, the Back to Berkeley boots are not the perfect choice for icy surfaces. They perform excellently in the snow, but they fall a bit short on icy pavements. They don’t provide much better grip than your usual rubber boots, for double the price.
Pro Tip: If you really want to stay safe in icy conditions, the only real way to maintain grip is to get yourself a pair of ice spikes for boots.
Even though we’re looking at a winter boot here, we can never completely disregard style. We’ve already established that the North Face Berkeley boots get an A+ for functionality, so it’s only appropriate that we examine the way they look as well.
The Back to Berkeley boots feature an old-school hiking boot design, but paradoxically look very modern. They are very stylish, and you could pull off wearing them with almost anything. You can get the North Face Back to Berkeley boot in 6 different colors: TNF Black, Brickhouse Red, Urban Navy, Dijon Brown, Beech Green and Carafe Brown. Our absolute favorite style has to be the Urban Navy with moss green details!
The short answer is yes, you should definitely buy them - if you are looking for winter boots that will make walking in the snow much more bearable, then these are perfect.
They will provide you with great traction, and they will keep your feet warm and dry. The North Face Back to Berkeley boots are also incredibly comfortable and lightweight, especially for winter boots. Best of all, you’ll look great wearing them, so they will probably pick you up a few compliments.
You should not buy these awesome boots if you are looking for a shoe that you can wear in warmer months. Why? Because of the PrimaLoft silver insulation, they are very warm, and are therefore not suitable for spring/summer.
They might not provide you with perfect grip on icy surfaces, but we’ve yet to find the boots that will. When we do find them, we’ll be sure to let you know!
Head on over to Amazon.com to find a great deal on the North Face Back to Berkeley boots.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!