We tested The North Face walking boots designed with technical climbing in mind

The North Face is known for both its less technical Gorpcore offerings, and its professional level Summit Series gear. Can the new Women's Verto Alpine Mid Boots bridge this chasm, and please the wider market of outdoor who want a technical boot at a reasonable price?

from The North Face
RRP  £180.00
The North Face walking boots Verto Goretex Alpine mid boots feature image

by Fliss Freeborn |
Published on

In the way of affordable, lightweight but technical hiking boots for women, there’s surprisingly little on the market. Currently, your sub £200 summer options for hiking, scrambling and via ferrata boil down to about three options. But now there’s a new player in the technical game: The North Face Women's Verto GORE-TEX Alpine Mid Boot.

This boot was released in spring 2024 and we’ve had them on test since then, and have been more than impressed with the performance from these The North Face Walking boots across a range of outdoor activities.

The North Face certainly isn't new to making boots. Its advanced Summit Series range has been on the market for a good few years now, as have its entry-level Storm-Strike series. But the Verto Alpine boots, with RRP of £180 at the time of writing (so you’ll find them for less online in a few months), represent a new middle tier in the North Face’s line of footwear. They’re technical enough for most summer alpine work, taking a light crampon quite happily and remaining stiff where needed, such as on a via ferrata or when mainlining it down steep scree.

Simultaneously, however, they’re still flexible and agile enough to be great for more demanding walking trails, and even do well as a mountain biking option for flat pedals. Let’s get into some more details.


  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Very capable on technical terrain


  • Comes up small for wider-footed people
  • Less all-day comfort than other boots


The North Face walking boots_ Verto Goretex Alpine mid boots upper

The upper on the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot is mostly leather, with a three layer Gore-Tex waterproof lining and ankle cuff. We’ve found that the cuff works well to keep the majority of gubbins out of the boot, and is comfortable and adjustable, along with the moulded heel.

In terms of waterproofing, the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot has good credentials on paper, claiming both excellent breathability and waterproofness as standard. We found that these claims generally stood up well during testing - the only time there was water ingress was during a river crossing when we were standing around in fast flowing water for 15 minutes and some dampness started coming through the stitching. The boot is, however, supremely breathable and kept our feet at a decent temperature even on a warm day of European via ferrata, and again on a warm spring hike in the UK.

The feature we liked most on the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot was the highly durable and comprehensive rubber toe band, which completely protected our feet from scuffs, bumps and knocks while climbing and scrambling. The heel is similarly moulded with rubber, and keeps your ankles safe and sound inside the boot, while also minimising movement to reduce blisters and keep you stable on the downhills.


The North Face walking boots_ Verto Goretex Alpine midsole

The midsole is somewhat cushioned in comparison to other technical mountaineering style boots, but don’t expect to be walking on clouds as if you were wearing a pair of Hokas. This boot errs on the side of stiffness and will happily take a C1 crampon with a flexible heel basket. The North Face uses a material in the insoles called lightweight superfoam, which provides some level of bounce, but not masses.

The Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot requires some amount of breaking in, and if you’re any wider footed than an F, you might be better off with a different boot: they do run narrow. However, we found the midsole offers great responsiveness while remaining comfortable and stable, thanks to a strengthening midfoot shank which functions like firming up the suspension in a car in sport mode. This makes navigating smaller edges an absolute breeze, and we’re very much looking forward to completing some more scrambles using this boot. It's brilliant to climb in and really comes into it's own in rocky environments.

For some parts of the testing, we actually replaced the removable insole with our own trusty Superfeets, which made longer distance hikes more comfortable. It must be said that if you’re after a pair of boots solely for hiking comfort, you might be better off looking elsewhere, but with the custom insoles you can have the best of both worlds. The last thing to add here is that we found the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot comes up around a half-size smaller than expected; fine for us and our weird in-between sized feet, but not so great for others. If you’re unsure, size up.


The North Face walking boots_ Verto Goretex Alpine boots, sole

The outsole for the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot is a classic Vibram number, with 5mm lugs. The tread pattern seems to avoid the usual pitfall of becoming clogged with mud and debris in the boggy UK mountain environment, and there is a designated lugless “climbing area” of around 4 square cm at the very tip of the boot, which helps with stability on small edges. It’s flexible if you try really hard to bend it, but for the most part, the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot has a stiffened sole which allows for good stability on rough terrain.


The North Face walking boots_ Verto Goretex Alpine mid boots feature image

This is a relatively unfeatured boot: it goes for a streamlined style without much in the way of tags or straps hanging off it. The lacing system seems pretty comprehensive and adjustable for most foot depths, and uses a combination of metal and plastic eyelets, plus a lace-locker for more dorsal support if needed. The main features are the aforementioned wrap-around toe band and moulded rubber heel; these are what set the Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot apart from other similar offerings.

Price and competition

The North Face walking boots_ Verto Goretex Alpine mid boots in use on via ferrata
©Aaron Rolph

With prices rising faster than ever, this boot is still surprisingly reasonable for a technically advanced and relatively lightweight option, which seems to live up to what the North Face say it does. We’d go as far as saying it’s good value, especially from a brand as huge as TNF who could get away with charging slightly more if they wanted to.

And in terms of competition, there isn't much. Some compeititors include the Salewa Lite Mid GTX, the Scarpa Women's Boreas GTX, and the Mammut Sapuen High GTX.


The North Face does alright when it comes to sustainability, and this boot gets a 3.5/5 from us overall. It does use a recycled lining and certified tannery leather, so points for ethics and eco-credentials there.

However, not every part of the shoe is made from recycled materials and we’d like to have seen a little more transparency in the manufacturing process. In terms of durability, this doesn’t feel quite as solid as other more expensive boots, but it’s always a trade-off between cost, weight and quality, with this boot landing in a satisfactory compromise between all three.


The North Face walking boots_ Verto Goretex Alpine mid boots in use on rough terrain

The North Face Vetro GTX Alpine Mid Boot is a nimble but still rugged alpine-style walking boot built for steep trails, scrambling and technical scree. It performs excellently in these environments but don’t expect long-term comfort or cushioning for through-trekking.

How we tested

LFTO tester and writer Fliss Freeborn having a great time on a via ferrata in Corsica
©Aaron Rolph

The tester for these boots was LFTO writer Fliss Freeborn, who wore them for both mountain biking and via ferrata in Corsica, in addition to scrambling, climbing and walking in and around the granite cliffs of the Inner Hebrides. For more information about our transparent testing process, click here.

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