As an ultra-runner, hiking boots have not had a place in my shoe collection for quite some time. This changed recently, as some injuries helped me decide that perhaps I didn’t need to treat my feet like punching bags all the time – as I tended to wear trail shoes for all of my mountain adventures around my home in Canmore (Alberta, Canada). While I love my All Out Charge shoes, the nature of the terrain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains would sometimes leave my feet pretty banged up after a big day in the alpine. In order to better protect my feet, I decided that it was time to experiment with light hiking boots. I chose the Merrell Capra Mid Sport Gore-Tex hiker because it was lightweight, waterproof, and touted as a speed hiker.
I’m very happy to report that these boots have definitely gone the distance and are now my go-to footwear for my big mountain projects. Since the spring, I’ve logged hundreds of kilometres in them, as well as thousands of meters of elevation in and around Canmore and Banff, but also Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the Bodie Hills of Nevada. They are very comfortable, and I’ve been virtually blister free in them. I’m loving their light weight, but also their durability. The Gore-Tex is still keeping my feet dry and the shoe has held up in a number of extreme situations. During a recent, and successful fastest known time (FKT) attempt for the famous Rundle Ridge traverse near Banff Canada, these shoes kept me alive as they provided incredible grip on slippery limestone stone slabs, as well as sure footedness during several free solo climbs of up to fifty feet, en route to setting the new record. They gave me the confidence I needed on dubious, and sometimes rotten rock to continue to push forward.
On a technical note, the upper has resisted tears and piercing by the sharp rockies limestone, and the Vibram soles have resisted wear – still providing excellent tread depth and grip after months of serious use. The tongue design keeps debris out of the boot, although can make it a tad difficult to get my foot in unless I loosen the laces below the hook eyelets.
I’m definitely tough on my equipment and regularly get myself in situations where my well being relies on my gear performing at the highest level. I have not been disappointed by these boots. They are nimble and grippy enough to scramble confidently in technical terrain, but provide enough comfort and stability to trek for endless miles without worrying about your feet getting upset with you. These boots are a definite winner for those who want to travel quickly, but with more stability and protection than a trail running shoe can provide.