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North Face Back to Berkeley Review: Are They Worth It?

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Imagine this: a winter boot that looks good and keeps your feet warm and dry. While this might seem like an impossible combination, The North Face Back to Berkeley shows us that a winter boot can be both stylish and functional.

The Back to Berkeley boots combine an old-school feel with the best in winter gear technology. Primaloft Silver insulation, a HydroSeal waterproof membrane, and an OrthoLite ReBound footbed are just some of the many advanced features the Back to Berkeley offer.

If you’re in the market for a pair of winter boots, however, you probably want to make sure that you’ve found the perfect set before you spend some serious dough. While The North Face Back to Berkeley might seem like the answer to all of your winter boots need, you might be asking yourself: Are they actually worth it?

To help you decide whether the Back to Berkeleys should be your next winter boots, we’ve thoroughly reviewed the boots, taking a look at the nitty-gritty details of its construction and design. We’ll wrap things up with a discussion of the boots’ many features and then give you our verdict as to whether or not The North Face Back to Berkeley are worthy of all the hype.

Let’s get to it!

Preview
The North Face Men's Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather Boot
Product
North Face Back to Berkeley
Upper Material
Full grain leather
Waterproofing
HydroSeal
Insulation
PrimaLoft Silver (100g)
Weight
18 ounces
Warranty
1 year
Footbed
OrthoLite ReBound
Sole
TNF Winter Grip, IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs
Midsole
EVA
Preview
The North Face Men's Back-to-Berkeley Redux Leather Boot
Product
North Face Back to Berkeley
Upper Material
Full grain leather
Waterproofing
HydroSeal
Insulation
PrimaLoft Silver (100g)
Weight
18 ounces
Warranty
1 year
Footbed
OrthoLite ReBound
Sole
TNF Winter Grip, IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs
Midsole
EVA

North Face Back to Berkeley Review

The North Face Back to Berkeley Boots are made of durable full grain leather on the upper portion of the boots with a lace up closure. All of the hardware is rustproof so that it can survive cold and wet days with ease. The collar of the boot is made of thick leather and there’s an EVA footbed that gives you excellent cushioning.

Overall, these are a well made pair of boots that provide you with great traction while keeping your feet warm and more importantly, dry. They are the perfect blend of functionality, style, lightweight material, and durability. If you’re considering winter boots that are made for walking, the North Face Back to Berkeley should definately be on your short list.

All North Face products come with the North Face lifetime warranty which protects you from manufacturer defects, as long as they’re purchased directly from North Face or an approved seller (like Amazon).

Pros:

  • Well insulated & waterproof
  • Unique outsole design
  • Stylish
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Too warm for summer months

The North Face Back to Berkeley Features

We’ll take a look at some of the best features of the North Face Back to Berkeley that make this boot a functional and stylish winter companion.

Materials

The next time you’re out shopping for a pair of winter boots, take a look at all of the options in front of you. Chances are, the vast majority of the boots you’ll find that are designed for winter use will be made with heavy, bulky materials that slow you down as you move.

While the old school of thought was that winter boots need to be big and bulky to protect your feet from the cold and the snow, the Back to Berkeleys show us that warmth can come in compact packages. At only 1.2lbs per boot, these boots are really light for their class, which is great for walking at a quicker pace.

Much of the weight savings with these boots comes from the thing and flexible outsole. Usually, the outsole (the part of the shoe that touches the ground) adds a considerable amount of weight to overall boot, but the Back to Berkeley outsole manages to shed this weight while also providing ample support.

Getting back to the materials themselves, the Back to Berkeley’s uppers are made from full-grain leather and a HydroSeal waterproof membrane, a combination that combines durability, style, and versatility. The HydroSeal membrane is pretty good at keeping your feet dry, but you’ll have to treat the leather once in a while to maintain this waterproofness over time.

Inside the boot, there’s a lot to love with the Back to Berkeley. A TPU compression-molded heel cup helps keep your foot in place as you walk while an OrthoLite ReBound footbed provides the arch support you need on the trail. Finally, a compression-molded EVA midsole provides all of the cushion necessary for protecting your feet from rough terrain and reducing the impact on your joints from your foot striking the ground.

Design

The North Face Back to Berkeley are designed to be an every-day winter shoe that can also hold its own in the mountains. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t know what the day will hold until after they leave the house, you’ll need a winter boot that can handle anything you throw at it, which is where the Back to Berkeley steps in.

Whether you’re planning a morning hike through the snow, need to shovel your driveway, or are heading out for a night on the town, the Back to Berkeley can keep your feet warm and dry while you live your best life. The Back to Berkeley’s old school hiking boot design, combined with its modern materials and new-age outdoor technologies give this boot a unique aesthetic that’s designed to be worn all day long.

Fit

At the end of the day, a proper fit is the most important consideration when buying a pair of boots. If the boots don’t fit well in the store, we can assure you that they will not feel any better after hundreds of miles on the trail.

That being said a long break-in process, like what you’d find with a full-leather boot is not very much fun as it is usually associated with plenty of blisters and lots of pain as the boot molds to your foot (or is it the other way around?). Luckily, the Back to Berkeley feel nice on your feet straight out of the box, so you can wave that horrible break-in process goodbye!

These boots tend to run true to size, so you can usually order a pair that matches your street shoe size. But, these boots are a bit wider than you would think just by looking at them, so you might have to wear thicker socks to take up some of the extra space, which won’t be a problem in the winter.

Insulation

Insulation is incredibly important in winter boots as it’s responsible for keeping your feet warm when the temperatures drop. The Back to Berkeley boots have PrimaLoft Silver insulation, which is great at keeping your feet warm even when wet. Outdoor enthusiasts love PrimaLoft Silver because it retains heat without any excess bulk, which helps reduce the boot’s overall weight.

While we love PrimaLoft insulation in our winter boots, the insulation keeps our feet so warm that we can’t really wear them in warm weather. This means that the Back to Berkeley are pretty much only for cold-weather use, so they won’t make for a good year-round boot.

Traction

When it comes to choosing a hiking boot, a quality outsole that provides ample traction is important in reducing slips and falls on rough terrain. The Back to Berkeley are designed with TNF Winter Grip rubber outsoles with IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs.

This might all seem like a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo, but it’s good news for hikers. The Winter Grip outsole offers great traction, especially on compact snow, where slips are likely. Plus, the Ice-Pick temperature-sensitive lugs (the bits of the outsole that stick out to grip terrain) actually harden with a decrease in temperature. This means that as it gets colder, the lugs stiffen up to provide good traction on snow but as it gets warmer, they soften to increase your traction on wet surfaces.

At the end of the day, however, the Back to Berkeley are not great for walking on ice as their outsoles are not built with metal spikes that can grip the ice. That being said, there are few, if any boots, that come pre-fitted with ice spikes, so this isn’t really an oversight on The North Face’s part. If you want to walk on ice, we recommend getting yourself a pair of ice spikes that fit your boots, like Yaktrax or Microspikes to give you stability on slippery surfaces.

Style

The North Face Back to Berkeley is a winter boot with style. With these boots, The North Face decided to mix an old school hiking boot design with a stylish street shoe feel and we’re glad they did.

This unique look means that the Back to Berkeley boots look as good in town as they function on the trail so they can easily double as an apres ski casual wear when you’re not tromping around in the hills. Plus, they come in 6 different colors, so you can definitely find a pair that matches your style!

Sale
North Face Back to Berkeley
54 Reviews
North Face Back to Berkeley
  • Old school meets new school in the handsome The North Face Back-To-Berkeley Redux Leather boot.
  • The North Face
  • varies
  • Chocolate Torte/Weimaraner Brown

Are The North Face Back to Berkeley Worth It?

Now, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – are The North Face Back to Berkeley actually worth it? Our answer? Definitely a yes. If you’re looking for a winter boot that can do it all, the Back to Berkeley won’t disappoint.

With PrimaLoft Silver insulation and a HydroSeal waterproof membrane, the Back to Berkeleys are designed to keep your feet warm and dry, even in the worst winter weather. They’re lightweight enough for everyday wear but have the durability and toughness you expect from a winter boot.

Plus, they’re so stylish that you can wear them around town and no one would ever know that they’re winter boots. Their slim old-school design fits in easily at the bar but is comfy and supportive enough for long walks in the snow.

While they won’t function well in the summer months (they’re just too warm!), the Back to Berkeley are a great cold weather boot for everyday wear.

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