The North Face Hiking Shoes

Review: The North Face Men’s Sakura Walking Shoes

An instantly comfortable, waterproof and durable walking shoe that is ideal for everyday wear or fast and light hiking.

The North Face Men’s Sakura Walking Shoes are an exceptionally comfortable option for lightweight hiking as well as everyday use. With a Gore-Tex lining that does a great job at keeping the water out, and superb grip and support that keeps you securely where you should be. These excellently well-made hiking shoes are highly durable and sturdy, and are an ideal option for those taking the step from heavy hiking boots to the world of lightweight hiking shoes.

The North Face Men’s Sakura Walking Shoes: The stats

Weight:860g/30oz (UK size 10)
Uppers:Suede and synthetic mesh

Design features of The North Face Men’s Sakura Walking Shoes


Lugs of hiking shoesThe suede and mesh uppers have a Gore-Tex lining to make the shoes fully waterproof, but also with a really good level of breathability when hiking in warmer conditions.


Laces of hiking shoesThe lacing system couldn’t be more straightforward. The laces move well through the eyelets and are well spaced to create even tension across the top of the foot.

Lugs and grip

Soles of hiking shoesThe lugs compete with those of a trail running shoe in terms of depth and spacing, and the ultraATAC outsole offers excellent grippiness, even on wet rocky terrain.


Toe bumper of shoesThe outsole stretches up to the front of the toe for extra grip and protection on the steep uphills. Behind that is further protection across the toe area. This reinforced synthetic bumper does a great job at dealing with scrapes and scratches on rocky terrain, as well as adding some extra protection to the toes.

Gusseted tongue

Tongue of hiking shoesThe tongues of the Sakura’s are attached to the shoe uppers. This helps keep sand, dirt and mud from entering the shoes at the laces, and also adds to their waterproofness.

The North Face Men’s Sakura Walking Shoes review

I’ve been wearing (and very much enjoying) The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack Lite hiking shoes for the last few years – an ideal lightweight shoe that is as kind on your pocket as your feet! They’ve done me very well, and although the tread was over-worn and losing effectiveness, it was the mesh of the uppers that wore out first leaving my pinkies exposed to the elements!

So I was mega keen to jump into the Sakura hiking shoes knowing how comfortable the Hedgehogs were for me. And they didn’t disappoint! In fact, so far the Sakura’s have out-performed the Hedgehogs in almost all areas. Sure, they’re slightly heavier and less flexible through the midsoles but what they offer in terms of durability, comfort, support and robustness has most certainly won me over.

Man wearing hiking shoes

The fit

The Sakura’s are true to size in both length and width with no heel lift when the laces are tied securely. The superbly secure fit also means that even on steep descents my toes keep well away from bashing against the ends of the shoes on the inside.

Comfort and support

The soft cushioning on the inside of the Sakura’s makes my feet feel instantly at home when I put them on. And they felt like this from the get-go. Absolutely no wearing-in needed before heading out on longer trails. And despite the low cut of the ankles (which can only offer so much ankle support as to be expected), the shoes offer a surprising amount of support to my feet. They feel super secure and protected, especially on top of the foot.

The grip

The lugs on the soles of the Sakura’s are fairly aggressive providing excellent grip on both the challenging ups and steep downs. I’d forgotten what proper grip should feel like because I’d been wearing my previous hiking shoes (The North Face Hedgehog) for several years. You don’t really notice a grip gradually wearing down and the contrast when stepping into the Sakura’s was amazing. I felt much more confident on inclines and slippery mud and rocks.


So far the waterproof Gore-Tex lining has held up perfectly with no damp spots even after walking through shallow streams. The downside of this is that it builds too much confidence that my feet will stay dry whatever. I need to remember the shoes are quite low cut and so even the small torrents will go over the top and fill the shoes up. And once the water is in it doesn’t come out very easily at all! The result is soggy feet for the duration of the hike! So either wear some good waterproof gaiters, or just be better at not getting out of your depth when crossing creeks and streams.

Shoe on dirt

What I love the most about The North Face Sakura Walking Shoes

The comfort is probably the best bit about these shoes. Super cosy and secure from their first wearing. But I also love how versatile they are. Because I have such confidence in their waterproofness, (unless I get into deeper than expected waters!), it makes packing for a weekend away super easy. I don’t need to take a second pair of shoes for time at the campground (or pub!) in the evening. Also, because the colours are subtle and the style casual, they don’t feel out of place as everyday shoes with jeans or shorts.

What I don’t love so much about The North Face Sakura Walking Shoes

The laces! Because the laces are round (and not flat) they’re constantly coming undone. Even when I double knot the things they still manage to wriggle their way free of themselves!


If you’re after a hiking shoe that strikes an almost perfect balance between weight, comfort, support and durability, then look no further than The North Face Men’s Sakura Walking Shoes. They are ideal for three season hikers, fast and light backpackers, travelers, and those looking to ditch their hiking boots for something less cumbersome. And they’re great for everyday use too. I’m one very happy hiker in my Sakura’s, wherever they take me!

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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About Rob

Man holding teapot in tent

Rob is a graphic designer and web developer, based in Cornwall, UK, and is in charge of making Cool of the Wild look fabulous! He loves camping, especially the beer drinking, fire building, and cooking parts, and is deceptively fast at running up hills. When he’s not surfing or throwing a frisbee on the beach, he’ll be drinking tea whilst playing board games.

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