Nortiv 8 Armadillo Review – Fantastic Value Walking Boots or Damp Squib?
Looking for a budget pair of walking boots? We take a close look at the Nortiv 8 Armadillos to see if they are as good value as they seem…..
What we like about the Nortiv 8 Armadillos: Good range of colours and styles; great value; reasonably durable; very waterproof in our tests
What we don’t like about the Nortiv 8 Armadillos: The soles were slightly slippy until worn in slightly; some versions can feel slightly “plasticky”; a bit heavy
As avid hikers, finding the right pair of walking boots is hugely important to my wife Ali and I. We both need something comfortable yet supportive, durable yet lightweight. Most of all, we need boots that can stand up to the unpredictable British weather without costing an arm and a leg. That’s why we were keen to test out the Nortiv 8 Armadillo walking boots and share our thoughts in this review.
Nortiv 8 is a budget-friendly North American footwear brand that seems to be less well-known on this side of the pond. But their hiking boots have been creating quite a buzz online among the outdoor community. The Mens Nortiv 8 walking boot in particular has racked up over 12,500 reviews on Amazon, with an impressive average rating of 4.5 stars. Clearly, this affordable boot is winning people over.
As the founders of Camping Secrets, it’s our (weekend) job to thoroughly test out gear like this and provide an unbiased, objective assessment of how it performs in the real world.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve both been putting the Nortiv 8 walking boots through their paces on all kinds of terrain. I’ve hit a couple of trails in the Lake District, Alison has trekked across a very muddy Peak District, and we’ve both battled our way through torrential downpours. In short, we’ve tried to recreate the typical conditions any UK hiker is likely to encounter. Now that we’ve both clocked up some serious miles in these boots, it’s time to give our verdict. We’ll be describing how the Nortiv 8s stack up against comparable boots from more premium brands.
We want to give you a clear sense of who these boots are ideal for and whether they warrant a place in your backpack.
So whether you’re an avid hiker seeking a new trail companion, or simply want rugged and affordable footwear for everyday adventures, read on to discover if the Nortiv 8 Armadillos could be the right boot for you.
Let’s hit the trails!
Design and Key Features of Nortiv 8 Walking Boots
I was definitely impressed when I first took the Armadillos out of their box – let’s not forget that these are extremely low cost boots, under £50 in the UK. To my eyes they have rugged good looks and an array of practical design features too – it’s easy to see why they’ve proven so popular among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Nortiv 8 have opted for a classic leather style together with a mesh upper in muted earth tones. The mesh shaves a bit of weight off the boots compared with traditional full leather boots. They have incorporated a fuss-free lace-up system which can just be pulled tight with a toggle – personally I prefer normal laces, but it works quite well here in all honesty. While not the absolute sleekest boot out there, the Armadillos certainly look ready for adventure.
Delving deeper, the boots incorporate a number of clever touches geared towards optimizing comfort, stability and protection during prolonged wear. The padded collar cushions your ankles, while a gusseted tongue keeps debris from sneaking in. Underfoot, the EVA midsole provides lightweight shock absorption and energy return with every step.
At the same time, the Nortiv 8 haven’t compromised on support. An external heel counter and padded ankle cuff work together to cradle your foot, preventing rollover on uneven terrain. The lugged rubber outsole also supplies plenty of traction, with widely spaced 5mm lugs that provide grip without attracting mud too heavily.
Keeping your feet dry is crucial during long hikes, and the Nortiv 8’s waterproofed leather and mesh upper is specially treated to repel moisture. Nortiv claims to have built these boots to keep water out and they are 4-hour static waterproof (see below for our tests on this). For extra protection, a rubber toe cap guard protects against bumps and scrapes.
Inside the boot, a moulded EVA insole delivers underfoot cushioning and support. It follows the contours of your foot thanks to heat-activated memory foam, providing a more personalized fit. The heel cup aids stability, while the arch support aids comfort over long distances.
We found that the Nortiv 8 walking boots find a good balance between sturdiness and lightness. The uppers have just enough structure to prevent blowouts, without becoming overly heavy or rigid. This flexibility helps reduce fatigue during lengthy hikes across rough terrain.
In terms of sizing, the Armadillos run quite generously wide in the toe box area, although I did buy the ‘wide’ version which Nortiv 8 sell on their website. Some wearers with especially wide feet might still want to size up half a point but as I am a wide-foot person myself, I found these boots very comfortable, especially across the toe area so personally I did not need the half-size larger. As with any new footwear, it’s wise to allow time to break them in before hitting the trails.
Overall, the Nortiv 8’s smart design choices make these boots a versatile, lightweight option suitable for most day hiking adventures. While serious mountaineers may demand more technical features, the average outdoor lover will find much to appreciate in the Nortiv 8’s fusion of comfort, support and protection.
Water Resistance Testing of Nortiv 8 Walking Boots
Nortiv claims that their walking boots can withstand a 4-hour static water resistance test. To evaluate this claim, we conducted an initial water resistance test on a pair of new Nortiv men’s and women’s walking boots.
- Both pairs of boots were brand new out of the box and had only been worn for approximately 2 hours in dry conditions prior to testing.
- Each boot was filled with tissue paper to allow detection of any water ingress.
- The boots were submerged in 8 cm of water in a bowl, weighted down to prevent floating.
- The boots remained submerged for 4 hours continuously.
After 4 hours of submersion, the tissue paper inside both the men’s and women’s boots remained completely dry, indicating no water had entered the boots. Based on this initial test, the boots meet Nortiv’s claim of withstanding 4 hours of static water exposure when new. Impressive!
While this test confirms water resistance in brand-new boots, it does not evaluate performance after wear and use in real-world conditions. Based on past experience, walking boot water resistance often decreases over time as the materials stretch and wear, particularly in high-flexing areas like the toe box. To better understand true robustness of water resistance, we re-tested the boots after several weeks of hiking use.
Re-Test After Wear
After several weeks of hill walking and general use, the boots were re-tested using the same procedure. As expected based on past experience, the boots allowed a little water ingress across the toe box area in wet conditions and around the tongue when walking through tall grass. This indicates that the water resistance decreases with wear and abrasion over time. Given the affordable price point, the Nortiv boots still provide good value and their initial water resistance is decent. To aid in maintaining water resistance with ongoing use, we recommend periodic application of a waterproofing spray on high-wear areas. Overall, for the price, the Nortiv boots perform well in wet conditions when new, and periodic re-proofing can extend their water resistance lifespan.
In Use – My Thoughts
Having field-tested the Nortiv 8 walking boots over many miles and in varied conditions, I’m ready to share my thoughts on how these budget hiking boots actually perform out on the trails.
Overall, I’ve found the Armadillos to be a surprisingly comfortable boot right out of the box, with ample cushioning from the EVA midsole and removable padded insole. The wide-toe box design suits my feet well, providing plenty of room to splay my toes while walking. The outsoles grip reliably on muddy trails and wet grass, with their 5mm widely spaced lugs supplying decent traction without clogging.
In terms of support, the external plastic heel counter and padded cuff work together to cradle my ankle and prevent any rolled ankles on uneven ground. The arch support built into the contoured insole has also helped reduce foot fatigue over long distances compared to other boots I’ve worn.
During my testing, the Nortiv 8’s water-resistant leather and mesh uppers have proven largely effective at repelling rain, puddles and morning dew on the trails near me. They’ve kept my feet dry much better than expected for a boot in this price range. The protective rubber toe cap has saved my toes from bumps a few times too.
However, some wearers have reported issues with the waterproofing giving out after extensive use, so I can’t say with certainty how long it will last under heavy rotation. A few users also mentioned the laces being too short. Personally, I haven’t had any problems in this regard, but it’s something to potentially watch out for.
In terms of sizing, I found the Nortiv 8’s run about a half size large based on my experience. Going down half a size gave me a better fit. The wide toe box still leaves plenty of room for toes to spread out.
One negative I noticed was that the tread depth on the rubber soles seems quite shallow. This means it could potentially wear down faster than deeper lugged boots from some premium brands when subjected to really abrasive terrain day in, day out.
Considering their budget price point, the Nortiv 8 walking boots have exceeded my expectations during real-world testing. While serious mountaineers may demand more advanced features, these Nortiv hiking boots offer impressive comfort, grip, water resistance and protection right out of the box for casual adventurers. For those who want a sturdy, affordable trail companion without breaking the bank, the Nortiv 8 walking boots are certainly worth considering.
What are the soles like on the Nortiv 8 waking boots?
When examining the soles of the Armadillo boots, they provide decent traction and grip ability overall. The lug pattern with 5mm deep lugs supplies suitable traction on most everyday surfaces including dirt trails, grass, and muddy terrain.
However, the lug depth is on the shallow end compared to higher-end hiking boots. This means the sole tread may wear down faster over time if subjected to extremely heavy use day after day on highly abrasive surfaces. The tread life is unlikely to match boots with deeper lug designs.
For light to moderate hiking and outdoor use, the Nortiv 8 soles should hold up reasonably well. But hardcore hikers or those constantly on rough rocky terrain may find the tread wears prematurely. Soles are more likely to wear down sooner than with premium hiking boots.
Casual users who don’t demand advanced technical features will probably find the traction and durability acceptable given the budget price point. Overall, the Nortiv 8 soles offer decent grip and longevity for the competitive cost but lack the hardcore tread life of pricier boots.
Having put the Nortiv 8 walking boots through extensive testing, I can comfortably recommend them for casual hikers and outdoor enthusiasts on a budget. Considering their very affordable price point, these boots deliver impressive comfort, traction, protection and water resistance straight out of the box.
The wide toe box provides ample room for your toes while the EVA midsole cushions every step. The heel counter and padded cuff supply stability and support on uneven terrain. While not 100% waterproof, the treated leather and mesh uppers exceeded my expectations for keeping feet dry in wet conditions.
Potential downsides to note are the shallow lug depth that may wear faster under extremely heavy use. Some users also reported inconsistent sizing and problems with the waterproofing giving out over time.
But for the price, the Armadillo boots offer tremendous value for casual day hikers who don’t demand advanced technical features. If you want a comfortable, protective and budget-friendly trail companion, these Nortiv boots deserve strong consideration. While serious mountaineers may need something more heavy-duty, the Nortiv 8 gets the basics right at a very affordable price point.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are the Nortiv boots true to size?
A: The Nortiv 8 walking boots tend to run about half a size too large. Going down half a size from your regular shoe size will likely give you the best fit.
Q: How waterproof are the Nortiv 8 hiking boots?
A: The boots have water-resistant leather and mesh membrane uppers to repel rain and moisture. However, they are not 100% waterproof for heavy downpours or submerging feet in water.
Q: What conditions are the Nortiv hiking boots best suited for?
A: These Nortiv 8 hiking boots are ideal for day hikes, casual walking, and moderate outdoor activities. They provide good comfort and traction for most trails and paths in our good old British weather.
Q: How durable is the tread on the Nortive walking boots?
A: The lug depth is fairly shallow, so the tread may wear down faster compared to boots with deeper lugs under extremely heavy daily use on abrasive terrain. For moderate use, tread life should be decent.
Q: Do the Nortiv boots need to be broken in?
A: While a short break-in period is recommended, we found the boots fairly comfortable right out of the box thanks to the cushioned insole and EVA midsole.
Q: What activities can you use these boots for?
A: These versatile boots work well for day hiking, dog walking, garden work, camping, fishing, walking the trails, and everyday outdoor wear in various conditions.
Q: What is the fit like in the toe box?
A: The Nortiv 8 boots have a wide square toe box to allow your toes to spread out comfortably when walking.