The North Face Havoc Mid GTX XCR
Published on 05/01/2012
By Billy Brown
Built on the shoulders of their trail running shoes, the Mid-length version of The North Face’s Havoc Hiking shoe takes all the lightweight goodness of its predecessor and adds some ankle support for those gnarly trails. The North Face took their trail running line’s ESS Dome heel cradle for a secure fit and Snake Plate rock shield, which adds protection without sacrificing flexibility.
Some of the boot’s more notable features are right on its exterior. The Havoc Mid mixes leather’s durability with the light weight and breathability of synthetic material. Its full-grain leather toe cap combines with a wraparound rubber toeguard to act as a mudguard and toebumper, while the synthetic upper cuts weight and adds breathability to the top of the wearer’s foot. The Havoc Mid also sports a distinct lack of hardwear on its upper– the majority of the eye row is welded, which helps keep the weight down and minimize pressure points at the top of the foot.
Apparently, the focus on cutting weight and attempting a sneaker-like feel paid off, because our testers loved these boots. The Heal Cradle did just that- cradles our our testers’ heels without allowing any slippage, while the Snake Plate protected soles from rocks and roots without limiting motion.
We appreciated the Havoc’s wider forefoot, but narrow-footed hikers may find the fit a bit sloppy. Testers reported that Havoc Mids didn’t really need a break-in period, saying that the flexible sole and cushioned insole negated hot spots and pressure points, giving the boot a flexible, sneaker like feel right out of the box.
The GORE-TEX lining held up to various creek crossings without any leakage – testers stood ankle-deep in water and were happy to return with dry feet. The GORE-TEX lining is a double-edged sword, though. On hot-weather hikes, the boots heated up, like any waterproof boot would.
The Havoc Mids were a huge hit as a light hiking boot – lightweight and flexible enough for day hikes/runs, but supportive and tough enough to handle a heavy pack on multiday trips.