The North Face Snow Sneakers

My half of the GearWeAre headquarters resides in an olive green shed in the shade of a cedar tree at the bottom of my garden. It’s a lovely, peaceful place to meditate over the merits of gear and while away a weekend. It is also, however, one of the coldest places on the planet and there have been known to be spontaneous indoor snow flurries on even the warmest summer day. Perhaps I’ve insulated it too well?

And too much insulation is a problem it may well share with the North Face’s Snow Sneakers which I’ve been testing for the last couple of months.

TNF describes them as a “Skate and surf-inspired sneaker made for wintry use; the SnowSneaker is made with lightweight and warm PrimaLoft® Eco insulation beneath its waterproof suede leather upper. Ideal for off-trail wintertime treks or Frisbee session in the snow, this casual lace-up provides stable footing over slick surfaces, taking sneakers to a whole new level.”

All well and good. But what they don’t mention is that when you’re not standing on sub-zero surfaces, the shoes are like wearing survival blankets, sleeping bags and a big duvet all at once, but just on your feet. Good lord above they’re warm!

I really like the styling of these shoes. You can see the heritage that they share with more ‘street’ styles like Vans and yet the build quality is excellent. The fit is comfy and the features are all that are necessary (metal eyelets, pull-on strap, decent flat laces, toe bumper).

SUMMARY: For the coldest office in the world, or on a frozen path these are great shoes. But, as soon as you step into somewhere heated they quickly become uncomfortably hot and sweaty, so that when you step back into the cold your feet feel unpleasant. They do what they’re meant to do, but for me, to have to take a 2nd pair of shoes for indoor is just a bit of a pain.


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