Verdict from 1 expert and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Dozens of verified purchasers reported of the Northside Pioneer’s outstanding level of comfort.
  • Its quick break-in period shocked a considerable number of wearers.
  • This Northside boot impressed many reviewers with its astonishing surface traction.
  • Numerous owners praised the hiker’s noteworthy lightness.
  • The cuteness of this over-the-ankle footgear mesmerized several users.
  • Some customers found the Northside Pioneer a desirable product price-wise.
  • Its ability to resist intrusive water floored about a handful of testers.
  • A small group of trail enthusiasts applauded the boot’s spectacular arch support.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Several wearers were annoyed by the footgear’s hook eyelets snapping on them too soon.
  • The sole was criticized by a couple of hikers for not being protective enough against stubby rocks.

Bottom line

To give the Pioneer accolades for being astronomically comfortable is okay. Yes, this particular quality achievable on day one is enough to woo in even the most dismissive of skeptics. That said, converts and long-time Northside users alike should also give the gear credit for its exemplary grip performance and overall lightweight build. The boot, unfortunately, has received a few criticisms, the most concerning of which would have to be its fragile top eyelets. All in all, despite its shortcomings, the Pioneer still makes for a remarkably capable boot with its collection of hike-worthy traits.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The Northside Pioneer is a hiking gear for adventurers who wish to take on the trail at a casual pace. It has a seam-sealed construction for water resistance.
  • It is equipped with a stout midsole for cushioning and a hardwearing outsole for terrain grip. These two soles as a unit furnish the footwear with rockered heel and toe zones, improving the user’s stride on more level surfaces.

Northside’s Pioneer is a relatively true-to-size, mid-cut day hiker for women. It is offered in B – standard width in full and half sizes. Its lace-up closure provides a quick approach to fit personalization and lockdown security.

Rain or shine, users can maintain their footing over challenging terrain thanks to the Pioneer’s durable rubber outsole. Giving it enhanced traction, especially on soft-soiled surfaces, are its multi-sided lugs and arced, ridge-like grooves. For improved descent control, on the other hand, trail seekers have the outsole’s heel brake to thank.

The Northside Pioneer’s ability to provide a stable ride on the trail comes from its chunky midsole made of TPR (thermoplastic rubber). The thickness of its construction, especially around the heel, enables it to cushion the foot against pointy hazards and mitigate shock on impact.

For additional underfoot comfort, Northside designers paired this cushy component with a removable (and washable) footbed. It is made entirely of EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate.

This leather hiker encloses the foot in its mid-top upper made with a combination of breathable mesh and suede leather. It has a moisture-wicking liner. Its seams are sealed, rendering the footgear capable of repelling most types of watery elements. It is engineered with a heel stabilizer for extra rearfoot support and a rubberized toe cap for added forefoot protection. It is also built with a gusseted tongue for debris prevention.

Completing the Pioneer’s upper is its ghillie lacing system and a heel pull loop. The former is comprised of a synthetic lace and a set of fabric loops and metallic hooks for eyelets.


How Northside Pioneer ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 28% hiking boots
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Top 25% Northside hiking boots
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Bottom 30% day hiking hiking boots
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.