The North Face Momentum Hiking Shoes - Gear Review

August 23, 2007

My first foray into the realm of The North Face shoes were the Momentum hiking shoes. At a glance, these shoes look great and seem to have all the features anyone could want in a lightweight hiker/kicking around the house shoe. I liked the looks and felt like they would be a good buy for the money at $75 retail. I popped into my local store to try some one before placing the order through The size 9.5 seemed like the trick. A quick shopping experience on and my North Face Momentum hiking shoes were on their way. I happened to be in Minnesota on a family trip at the time and they arrived just in time for some trekking around Mt. Rushmore and in the Seattle-area. Overall Construction The Momentum shoes have a proprietary ultraTAC sole that does a good job gripping terra firma on all the hikes and urban assaults I've taken them. The uppers are a combination of bomber vented nylon and synthetic materials. Eyelets are a hard nylon and the laces are of the thin nylon variety which pulls things tight from top to bottom very quickly and easily. They are a nice looking shoe and are built to handle general lightweight day hiking, approach situations and urban assaults. The Bottom Line To put it bluntly, these are some of the worst-fitting shoes I've ever owned. Like I said before, I tried on the 9.5's and thought they would do the trick because they had the best overall fit in the volume area. The only problem was that my toes were just barely touching the front of the shoes. So, I had to make sure that my toenails were cut nice and short, otherwise, I might have experience some toenail separation. Thanks to's no hassle return policy, I was able to swap them out for some size 10's. Well, I've now got a shoe that is the right length, but is huge everywhere else. The forefoot area absolutely can not be cinched down enough to cradle my foot properly. Even though the laces and nylon eyelets are nice and smooth, it does nothing to help cinch down the forefoot area. With every step I take, the ball of my foot pulls away from the insole and by the end of the day, the balls of my feet ache. Yeah, I could potentially cinch the laces down far enough, but if I do, it puts way too much pressure on the top of my foot for all-day comfort. Maybe I just need to cinch them down and hope that my feet get used to it. What Don't I Like: Weird in between fit for my typical size 10 feet Laces don't cinch down the forefoot at all Laces get caught on the triangular-shaped tongue thingy at the top of the tongue Too much space in the forefoot area What I Do Like: The laces do pull evenly (though not enough in the forefoot) with one quick pull The soles are grippy I'm at a loss with these shoes. Either The North Face has really, really weird sizing, or these shoes are just plain built wrong for my feet. But, that seems odd because I've never once experienced these kinds of fit issues. For my feet, I can't recommend The North Face Momentum hiking shoes one bit. I've never owned a more uncomfortable and odd-fitting shoe in my life. Maybe there are other shoes in the line that are superior fitting, but these shoes just don't fit well and are super uncomfortable for my feet. Buy Now: Search for North Face Hiking Shoes

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