The pair of boots I have had the pleasure to test are The North Face Women's Nuptse Fur Boots. I'm not a shoe/boot expert, therefore I recommend that for all the tech specs you check out the website, however, I certainly get some good wear out of shoes and can give you the lowdown on my honest opinions about them....
Overall score: 4 out of 5
My one line review of these boots would be: Super-duper comfortable and practical, but could be better looking.
For those of you looking for a bit more detail, I've laid out my thoughts on practicality, comfort and all round look and feel below:
Practicality - 4 out of 5 (on what I could test so far)
So these boots definitely score highly on the practicality front from everything I've been able to test them on so far. They are seriously warm and toasty, even in what has been cold weather over the last week or so.
The boots aren't designed to be fully waterproof, and I suspect that their best performance would be under snowy conditions, however, lacking any snowfall in London and being serious about putting the boots to the test, I've taken care to jump in every single puddle or pool I could spot and walk over every slippery surface to test how well the boots fared, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. My feet stayed perfectly dry and comfortable and I didn't slip once.
Another big practical plus point is the weight of these shoes. They are so, so light. So light in fact that when walking in them I almost feel like I am wearing nice comfy slippers, but have the comfort of knowing that they're going to protect my feet from most of the elements that London could throw at them!
I've not given the boots full marks, as I feel I haven't been able to test them in a full range of scenarios as yet, but in future, should we get some snow, I will test them out in this too and might be able to add to this review. For now, I'm very happy to say that these boots are certainly warm, practical footwear for winter use.
Comfort and fit - 5 out of 5
Fit-wise, I was careful and looked at the other reviews on the site to gauge the best fit for me. I wear a size 7 shoe and a size 7.5 walking boot. Based on the other reviews, I went for a size 7.5, and they fit me great just wearing normal socks/tights, as opposed to walking socks. Basically a half size up from your normal shoe size seems to be the way to go.
For me, the absolute biggest plus point about these boots is comfort. They are ridiculously comfortable! I don't profess to understand loads about the 'Ortholite Northotic footbed', but whatever that is, it is bloody comfortable! So comfortable in fact that I've been wearing these boots around the house as well as on walks!
On my 6 mile walks to and from work they have been so, so easy to walk in - comfortable and very light. This in itself means that I'm likely to wear them often, and I think the onset of snow or colder weather would make this even more the case.
Look and feel - 2.5 out of 5
Now, I expect this rates differently in terms of importance for different people. Out on walks in the countryside, I really care very little for what my footwear, or indeed, most of my attire looks like fashion-wise. However, in London it does matter more to me, and despite trying to wear sensible footwear, I do like to err on the side of fashion when possible.
While these boots certainly have an air of fashion about them - the fur trim and slightly high-top sneaker look - they aren't exactly my style. I think they look - very appropriately - like the sort of thing that people who go skiing, etc would wear, but I'm afraid that's not really me. The black fabric is just a bit too shiny for my liking, and I feel quite conscious of them on my feet, as though they are shouting 'look at me'. In general, I prefer something a bit more understated.
My other main gripe with the look is the length of the boots. They're a bit too high to be ankle boots, but a bit too low to be calf-length or knee-length boots. I feel like the tops of the boots cut my legs off and makes them look shorter and while if I had very skinny legs this wouldn't be an issue, I'm afraid that's not the case!
Having said that, I recognise that this is very much personal taste, and I think that the amazing comfort of the boots somewhat outweighs this. If I was going to choose some winter boots that matched these in comfort but had slightly more my kind of look, then I might go for another North Face pair, such as these (in black) or maybe these.
So in conclusion, if you're looking for warmth and comfort then you can't go far wrong with these boots, but when it comes to the very personal opinion of look and feel I would say they wouldn't be my first choice.
My main take away from trying out these boots though is that sometimes comfort really does outweigh the look, and I'll certainly be wearing them again on a regular basis this winter!
That's all from me for now :)