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The North Face - Havoc

posted Jun 26, 2013, 4:42 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated Jun 28, 2013, 12:27 PM ]

The Havoc are light and flexible shoes representing a sort of fusion between a trail running shoe and a trekking shoe. The North Face has had the Havoc in its catalogs for a few seasons now. They are produced in various versions: high-, medium-, low-cut, with and without Gore-Tex. We decided to test the low-cut model cause we thought this could be more versatile and could have better performances in "light & fast" uses.


Full-grain leather toe and mudguard
Welded-synthetic, breathable midfoot
Protective rubber toe cap
Vibram® rubber sole of exclusive design
Combination compression-molded EVA and injected PU midsole
TPU and EVA CRADLE™ heel cushioning and stability technology
TPU Snake Plate™ forefoot protection

Low-cut, very flexible, wide.
Weight (size 9 US): 425g, pair 850g

Our Tests

Outdoor Activities tested: hiking, trail running, mountain biking

During six months of testing, we used the Havoc for hiking and running on trails, rock, mud, and snow, often carrying a heavy backpack, but also without it. We also used them for some mountain biking and we often used them as a comfortable "after sport" footwear.


The Havoc are relatively light, very flexible, and damn comfortable!

The first feeling you have is that of great comfort. You immediately have the feeling of wearing your beloved everyday shoes and it becomes hard to wear others. The feeling on the ground is great. You always have full perception of the ground and at the same time you are well protected from impacts on blunt rocks or other objects. This is possible thanks the patented "Snake Plate", a sort of plastic plate present in the midsole that lets your foot flex naturally and protects it from sharp rocks on the trail. Overall, the setting of the low-cut Havoc is closer to that of a trail running shoe than to that of a classical trekking shoe.

The sole is wide and, therefore, the upper doesn't wrap tightly around "thinner feet", especially in the forefoot area. This causes some lack of precision, especially in lateral movements. The lacing is fast and the holes are well spaced along the entire length of the shoe. The laces have minimal friction, allowing proper tightening which helps reducing the backlash due to the wide sole.

Breathability is decent, despite the presence of the GORE-TEX® membrane. Of course, the model without a waterproof membrane is definitely much more breathable.

The sole has a good grip on most of the terrains. Only on wet or loose terrains we found a significant loss of traction, probably due to the not so pronounced tread of the sole.

The arch is very pronounced and it does not flatten even after heavy use. The rigid shell that supports the heel combined with the well-shaped innersole, contribute to the overall comfort and at the same time provides excellent support of the foot in every stance, but in particular for pronators. Although not designed for trail running, we tested the Havoc on some brief (10km) trails and we were not disappointed.

At first glance, when we picked up these shoes, we had the impression that they wouldn't be very long-lasting. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised by how, after months of heavy usage, the signs of wear were extremely limited and how the gluing withstood any abuse.

One thing we really appreciated is the mix of full-grain leather on the toe and synthetic web on the rest of the shoe. This combination always offers excellent protection from water, dust, and debris while allowing great flexibility and saving grams where not needed.

For extra protection you can choose the mid-cut version. For a few additional grams you'll have a higher barrier which prevents stones, leaves, elves, and all the debris of the forest from getting into your shoes!


The Havoc are the perfect shoes for those who want to travel light and fast in the Outdoor and those who've had enough of the ancient leather hiking boots! Both the high-cut and the low-cut models are excellent for walking, hiking, cycling or ... even as comfortable "after-training" shoes.

  • Great Comfort
  • Light & Robust

  • Grip can be improved
Tester: Marco M. (172cm - 62kg - size 42 EUR)

 Versatility  8/10
 Lightness   8/10
 Comfort  9/10 
 Grip  6/10 
 Stability  7/10 
 Flexibility & Responsiveness  7/10 
 Breathability  7/10 
 Durability  8/10
 Total Score  7.5/10 

The North Face - Havoc

The North Face - Havoc