The North Face S4K (2016)

Features

A very light boot for this category at just 1746g, the The North Face S4K is made with an upper comprising synthetic materials, a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a full rubber rand. The ankle cuff is quite high with a gaiter to help keep debris out of the boot. A Vibram sole with a smooth climbing zone under the toe and slightly shallow lugs is provided underfoot, with a shallower heel breast than some. 4/5

Fit

Sizes are men’s 7-13 and women’s 4-9, with a snug fit around the toe in particular. The ankle cuff is a good height, but there is more sideways and forward flex in this than in other boots. The forefoot generally feels quite ‘precise’, which some walkers may regard as too close but others will enjoy. 5/5

Comfort

This boot feels comfy around the ankle cuff but a little too close around the toe for walking, so it’s slightly less comfortable than a more spacious model. The relatively low weight of 1764g (pair, size 11) adds to the overall comfort, however, and nothing digs in, so the The North Face S4K is a comfortable option, if a little close at the toe. 4/5

In use

The outsole is better designed for climbing or use with crampons than walking on snow as it has relatively shallow lugs, a shallow heel breast and a smooth climbing zone at the toe. The ankle cuff isn’t the most supportive, so this isn’t ideal for traversing slopes. The flex at the toe is also a little softer than other B2-rated boots. 4/5

Value

The price is appealing, but for walking in snow you are getting less performance in return for paying less cash. 4/5

Verdict

The North Face’s S4K is a good easier mountain walking and mountaineering boot, but others have the edge for winter walking in tougher conditions. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine January 2016

thenorthface.jpg