The North Face ThermoBall Versa Boot

Gearflogger reviews The North Face Thermoball Versa Boot

And now for something a little different: The North Face ThermoBall Versa boot. It's a waterproof leather boot lined with PrimaLoft's synthetic puffy insulation, normally used in jackets and vests.

The Versa is a handsome and stout but lightweight boot, with an aggressive sole made of IcePick rubber, a compound that is supposed to get stickier when it's cold. They do have decent traction on ice, but not enough to do away with traction devices if you're going to be walking any distance on the stuff.

The ThermoBall insulation is… interesting. It's only on the upper cuff of the boot, and it does confer some extra warmth but it also feels a little clammy if you spend much time or exertion in them. The lower part of the boot has a conventional light lining, and overall the Versa is decent down below freezing but not into single digits. A thick sock will help with both warmth and the clamminess thing.

The Versa takes a little breaking in to soften up the stiff leather, especially around the cuff where the ThermoBall insulation doesn't provide a lot of cushioning. Once broken in the Versa is a comfortable, light waterproof boot that will work well for urban use, especially given it's subtle and attractive styling. When the going got cold or if we were going to be on anything other than an improved trail, we found ourselves reaching for something else. If we were buying for the first time, the Versa might be competitive at a sale price like the one below, but at full price there are better options.

$69.83 (on sale from $130.00) at REI




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