The North Face Plasma XCR Boa
The Plasma XCR Boa has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best trail shoes for 2023.
This is a great shoe minus the absurd lacing system. I was hesitant to buy because of the BOA but between clearance and a gift certificate they cost me $49.99.
Within 2 weeks I lost a knob of the shoe. Emailed North Face they told me if I ship them to Cal. (at my cost) in no more than a month they would let me know if the damage was covered under warranty, if not I pay to ship them back to Ky. HA HA.
After a hateful, guilt riddled second e-mail lambasting their $200 shoes and vowing to never buy another product again they replied kissing my ass and sent me 5 replacement lacing systems free of charge.
Bottom line, it's a bad design, they know it, let em have it. By the way replacements on Boa's site are $14.
Price Paid: $89.99 on clearence
I bought these in May and used them in a 48 hour adventure race in June and thought they was brilliant. Feet are more often than not wet, and they never loosened due to the BOA lacing system.
A few months on and with very little use, the BOA system fell apart and they are now useless as I have no way of repairing.
Break-in Period: nil
Price Paid: forget
Started falling apart after just a month of fairly light use. Soles came off, Boa system fell apart (and it's almost impossible to find parts for DIY repairs), the fabric ripped. At 10 months now they are completely useless.
My last pair of North Face shoes lasted 3 years. I guess they just stopped making real shoes.
Price Paid: $100
For a light trail shoe that has all the bells and whistles this one does it, it's not cheap but you kind of get what you pay for. It was my first exposure to the Boa lacing system and whoever designed this system has really done a great job and I can see why they are becoming so popular. It took a little getting used to but if you vary in socks from heavy to light weight socks it allows you to dial the tightness of the boot around your foot unlike any lacing system I've ever had. They are made up of mutiple micro strands of steel cable wrapped in a steel cable with a polycoating around the lace similar to tiny bridge cables very light and plyable and theyt won't come untied. It's great if you just want to pull them on to go out for more wood or let the dog out just slide them on and out the door you go.
I would caution when ordering not only this shoe but others in the North Face line they seem to run one full size smaller than you would take in a New Balance or other shoe. Construction is what you would expect in an over $100 shoe, no hit and miss stiches and a very agressive vibram sole that though unmarking is an attractor for dirt and mud but seems to self clean fairly well.
All in all a very sound shoe for those not needing a heavy mountain or climbing boot but a lightweight Gore-tex all purpose day hiker you can get multiple seasons out of with ease.
Use: day hikes, day to day wear
Break-in Period: none
Weight: Light almost running shoe weight.
Price Paid: $109
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