Verdict from +100 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • According to a few owners, the Northside Pioneer Waterproof did not require any breaking in.
  • The comfort provided by this hiking boot was appreciated by some wearers. 
  • A handful of pleased online buyers commented that it felt light on their foot.
  • The Pioneer Waterproof’s ability to wall off wet elements impressed a couple of testers.
  • The majority stated that it was a decent boot for its price.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Almost all of those who purchased the boot were utterly frustrated with its small sizing. Some even ordered a full size up, but it was no good at all.
  • A verified purchaser declared that it had a narrow fit.

Bottom line

Northside’s Pioneer Waterproof caters to the fundamental needs of hikers on the trail. Those who enjoy wearing a lightweight, cozy mid-top boot outdoors might be tempted to check it out. Its fit and sizing miss the mark though. To sum up, it seems the Pioneer Waterproof from Northside is a good choice of hiking boots for narrow-footed beginners and experienced day hikers. They must, however, be also willing to size up.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • Northside engineers designed the Pioneer Waterproof with casual comfort in mind. Its rugged upper protects users from outdoor obstacles. Its protective features include a scuff-proof toe cap and gusseted tongue.
  • The rockered profile (which helps during push-offs) of the boot is attributed to its cushy midsole and tacky outsole. The former works with an EVA insole in delivering comfort. The latter is in contact with the ground for traction.

The Pioneer Waterproof is a mid-top day hiking boot from Northside. It caters to female hikers with a medium-width foot. Also, it is offered in whole and half sizes. Generally, it runs true to size. The boot’s traditional lace-up closure helps grant a snug, customized fit.

Making this boot stick to ground surfaces is its abrasion-resistant rubber outsole. The arch-like lugs (on the rearfoot and forefoot) are facing opposite directions to provide multidirectional traction. The large studs along the side of the sole yields stability, especially when tackling rugged terrain. The tip of the toe and heel area comes with ridges to assist on ascents and descents.

The cushioning midsole of the Northside Pioneer Waterproof renders a comfortable ride to users. It is particularly thick at the heel area to maximize shock absorption. This material works with the boot’s ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) insole for added comfort. Its heel cup gives stability.  

The waterproof upper of this day hiking boot uses suede leather with mesh inserts for breathability. Inside is a lining which wicks moisture away from the foot to maintain a fresh feel. Its synthetic, padded collar helps enhance comfort. The toe area is reinforced to safeguard against accidental knocks.

Preventing entry of loose trail debris is its gusseted tongue. To manage fit, it employs combination eyelets which allow quick adjustments.  Lastly, the pull strap at the heel assists wearers in donning and doffing the boot.


How Northside Pioneer Waterproof ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 14% hiking boots
All hiking boots
Top 50% Northside hiking boots
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Bottom 12% day hiking hiking boots
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The current trend of Northside Pioneer Waterproof.
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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.