footwear apparel hard goods tech travel
The North Face Hypershock BOA Hybrid Water Shoe - A Badass Adventure Shoe With a Softer Side

The North Face Hypershock Boa, $115,
www.thenorthface.com

The Good: Boa lacing system is amazing, uber lightweight, me likey the soft luxurious micro-fiber lining.

The Bad: Micro-fiber lining dries slowly, really slowly.

The Ugly: Exposed EVA tread on the bottom won’t last long on sharp rocks or abrasive gravel.

Stepping into these lightweight hybrid water shoes is like pulling on a set of micro-fiber lined slippers.  The fit is snug, and the lack of weight is a welcome feature. The almost barefoot feel of the molded EVA foam and thin rubber strike zones are heightened by the fact that these cinch even and tight. The solid cinch down on your feet is thanks to the ratcheting BOA cable system in lieu of laces. This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of trying out the BOA system, and I have to say it immediately impressed. It’s really easy getting them on and off, and adjusts with a quick turn of the dial.

I absolutely love the styling on these shoes - it’s like a svelt european soccer cleat coupled with Hugh Hefner’s suede house shoe. The mesh and leather upper provide unbelievably comfortable style, while cinching almost no additional weight to your feet. These are seriously lightweight kicks weighing in at only 7.1 oz each.  The mesh uppers, and the EVA compression molded sole are the main components where the weight was saved.

These shoes were subjected to a 5 mile pavement run, about 10 miles of trails, paddling on both lakes and whitewater, and boulder hopping all over the Indian Falls in Plumas County.  The EVA foam was light and soft, lending me more confidence than is recommended while scampering over rocks near waterfalls or Class 3 whitewater. But the shoes held on tight and carried me safely through all my shenanigans.

The uppers are made from breathable mesh material, with a micro-fiber liner.  The lack of exposed stitching allows these to be comfortably used without a sock which is a must for a water shoe. A thin but durable rubber toe bumper protects against stubbing, but you still feel it. My favorite feature on this shoe is the BOA lacing system. It is made up of a thin metal cable threaded through low friction plastic guides that allow for an evenly tight cinch. The cable is cinched by a simple round ratcheting wheel, which attracts the attention and envy of everyone around you. Most comments are: “Is your shoe making that noise?  Omigosh, that is incredible.” To un-cinch the shoe, a simple pull up unlocks and a small plastic tab allows the lacing system to be fully extended for an easy on and off fit.  A slight quirk, the right cable is longer than the left when unrolled fully on the set of shoes I received.  It really makes no difference, just messed with my rainman OCD a bit.

The Soles of these shoes are compression molded EVA with rubber on the strike zones (heels and toes).  The rubber has a grip pattern to it that holds on well, I do wonder if grip will suffer when the pattern is worn down a bit.  My main concern with rubber only on the strike zones, is that much of the sole is left exposed to sharp rocks and gravel; I don’t know how much of a beating that soft material can take.

So if an uber comfortable water-friendly shoe is in the future then take a gander at The North Face Hypershock BOA.  Look for these in Grey/Blue and Black/Yellow.

Email Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Digg Delicious Reddit

You may also like:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Author:

Leave a Reply

Tweets by @trektechblog

Mailing List

Sign up if you would like to receive occasional updates from TrekTechBlog.

designed by Patrick Hardy Design
Trek Tech Blog © 2012