The North Face Amp Boa

At just 732g (pair, size 8) this is a very lightweight trail-running shoe, yet it boasts some excellent features that add weight to its credentials. Firstly the unique lacing system is interesting and possibly a sale make-or-break feature. The laces are metal wires that are wound into a knob at the heel, which you wind to tighten them up. As they are steel there is no chance of stray branches trashing them and as there is no knot to tie, there are no knot loops to snag. The upper is mesh and mega-breathable, with some excellent support at the heel and protection at the toe. The sole is a heavily cushioned design with an aggressive lug pattern. Use these on roads, rough tracks and rocky paths and they should be ideal. These are not as speed-orientated as some shoes, but they are ideal for steady off-road runs.  But that unique lacing system may not be to everyone’s liking and only a lifetime of use will tell us if it is the weakest link of the design. The outsole is not the most aggressive, so for running over grass and mud others are better. The price is a real pain in the wallet and those metal laces are clearly the culprits of the price hike.


Upper: mesh upper; synthetic reinforcement
Sole: UltraATAC sole with EVA cushioning
Sizes: 7-13 (men’s); 3.5-8.5 (women’s)
Trail fit profile: forefoot 2; heel 2; volume 2; length 2
Weight: 732g (pair, size 8)
Made in China
Stores: England 36; Wales 2; Scotland 4; Ireland 2

Verdict: Buy it if you want a good general off-road running shoe and you like the unique lacing system.