The new Verto S4K GTX from North Face.
My first experience with North Face climbing boots was when they made La Sportiva a part of their corporation a few years back. I bought two pairs of La Sportiva boots on sale when that relationship ended. A pair of the first Trangos and the original Nepals.
So when I heard about the "first" North Face climbing boot I was at least mildly interested in the end result.
Seems North Face has saturated the blogger market with free boots to get the word out on the new Verto S-4K GTX. Smart marketing on their part.
I own or have owned and climbed in a lot of mountaineering boots. Boots suitable for technical climbing on the South Pole and boots suitable for a summer alpine scramble in the Sierras or Cascades. So there is a lot of leeway on what manufactures and users define as a "climbing" boot.
I have friends who use similar boots to the new Verto S-4K for much of their own summer climbing in the Cascades. The La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX and Scarpa Chamoz GTX come to mind when comparing like boots.
North Face was also smart in using the obligatory red and silver colors on their new boot. It is now easy to confuse the La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX (an actual fully featured climbing boot) with the North Face Verto S-4K which is not.
That doesn't mean the Verto S-4K isn't a good boot. It seems to be from my perspective as long as you understand its limitations. For one it isn't all that warm. But as warm as the red La Sportiva Trango Evo or Chamoz GTX I think. And because of the Gortex equally as water proof. It isn't all that stiff in the sole nor is it intended to be. So it is easy to hike in. It fits my narrow feet and heels very well and it seems to be is slightly more robust that my Trango S Evos. I like the fully bellowed tongue. And how comfortable this boot was out of the box. That alone should sell a ton of them. They weigh in at 1# 15 oz per boot in my size 12s. The red Trango S Evo weighs in at 1#13oz in a comparable size 45.
The Verto S-4K needs a basket for the front of the crampon. But it will take a heel lever. They would work fine for any of the NW glacier slogs mid summer. But that is the limit of where I want to use them when it is cold and wet.
The soles are likely the best available for rock climbing in boots. It is the Vibram® MULAZ. Same sole on my beloved Scarpa Ultras and half a dozen other pairs of similar lwt mountain boots that directly compare to the Verto S4K. The soles are closely trimmed and the low profile toe lacing allows you to take every advantage the sticky rubber on the MULAZ.
Boots for me are first all about the fit. The new North Face Verto S-4K last fits exceptionally well on my foot. Sad that the style of boot isn't one I use very much.
At least the sample boots I received are made in Romania. I have to say I am impressed with the end result. Rightfully or not my feet feel better trusting them to a European factory than one in Asia. I am hoping for great things from the future technical boot line up.
Bottom line on the North Face Verto S-4K?
It is not a highly technical "climbing" boot. But it will do anything a Trango S or Scarpa Charmoz will. So it is in good company. It could be lighter. But it is within ounces of the other two boots for comparison in my size. But I had hoped the new contestant would win the weight comparison with a knock out. It didn't. Neither did they hit any surprise price point. The buy in is steep at $350. Same as the Trango S Evo GTX.
As a first effort for North Face? They did extremely well.
Currently available in the UK.
The company spiel?
Verto S4K GTX £229.99
Inspired by the endeavours of The North Face’s team of elite mountaineers, the Verto S4K boot delivers absolute best-in-class technical fit and performance for the most demanding alpine conditions.
■Traditional Italian craftsmanship and innovative European design
■Finest materials assembled without compromise
■Synthetic leather and rugged Panatex textile uppers
■GORE-TEX lining gives waterproof, breathable protection
■X-Frame provides lateral stability and flexibility
■Over-injected TPU cage provides midfoot support
■Stainless steel upper eyelets and locking instep eyelet
■Smartlite PU mudguard resists abrasion better than rubber
■TPU Cradle heel stabilising technology with crampon spoiler
■Five-part co-moulded midsole
■BASF Agile PU body and EVA heel cushioning
■Northotic Pro+ premium EVA footbed with gel heel
■Ortholite forefoot cushioning pads
■TPU shank and polypropylene/fibreglass lasting board
■Vibram Mulaz outsole with climbing zone for superior edging