Being somewhat of a hipster dufus, I like to wear my VANS everywhere. Weddings, funerals, biking, you name it.
So in early March 2015, I had a trip booked to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where I spend a lot of my time walking the cobble stone streets of this old city, and hiking the hillside trails that surround it.
Sure, I had my VANS packed, but I also brought along my new Merrell Capra Sport hiking shoes “as a backup plan”, I told myself.
After the first day of wondering, the uneven ground of the cobble stones had my feet screaming. My old school Vans had no rigidity in the sole, and I would roll my ankle on a constant basis, and feel every stone as it mashed into the bottom of my foot, my shoe. Molding the shape of each uncomfortable step.
Better go to plan B.
On day two I met my father in law for our daily morning walk, this time sporting the MerrelL Capra’s. As we pressed uphill from our hotel, I immediately noticed the Vibram sole, and how I was able to bridge over the cobble stones, and other unevenness of the city streets.
Out of the box, the shoe appears to be quite rigid, and I thought that there would be some “breaking in” to do, but while the Vibram sole does provide major support on the sole, the mesh construction of the rest of the shoes makes it very maneuverable and surprisingly limber.
I had my concerns about the heat and humidity in Mexico, and how that would affect my longer hikes in the afternoons.
In the heat of the day, I would leave behind the seaside bustle of tourists doing tourists things, pass upward through the casas, and Calle’s of the local people, and into the forests, and trails of the higher elevations. Here, I put the shoes to the test of trails mixed of steep dirt and limestone rock.
Not surprisingly, the shoe was great, but I thought to myself, what shoe wouldn’t perform well (beside my crumby vans) in these conditions. I didn’t have a pack on my back, and no snow or mud in sight.
Returning to Nelson 6 days later, I thought, I’d better give the shoes a tougher run for their money, before I could really provide honest and constructive feedback in forms of a review.
Located on the North Shore of Kootenay Lake, Pulpit rock is a fairly steep trail with a lot of switchbacks, and vertical rise of about 400 Meters. Often snow covered in late march, this season’s drought left the trail usable most of the year. Knowing that if I brought my 5 year old daughter along for the hike, I would inevitably be required to put her on my shoulders, and hiking the uneven trail with a dead weight of about 60 pounds on my back.
Thankfully, I found the shoe performing the same on these muddy trails, as they did in Mexico. Rigid sole, great overall flexibility, and no stink foot!
As I grinded the last muddy switchbacks to the lookout, with a singing 5 year on by back, I was stoked for the on board air cushion in the heel that seemed to absorb shock and add stability.
By the end of the hike, they were no longer lime green, but it didn’t matter…
UPPER / LINING
• Synthetic leather and mesh upper
• Traditional lace closure
• Stratafuse™ exoskeleton fuses the foot cage to mesh uppers for extreme lightweight durability
• Bellows tongue keeps debris out
• Breathable mesh lining treated with M Select™ FRESH reduces shoe odor
• Ace single density removeable footbed
• TrailProtect™ pad offers additional protection off road
MIDSOLE / OUTSOLE • UniFly™ midsole connects you to the trail, protects you from the terrain
• Molded nylon arch shank
• EVA molded footbed
• Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability
• 3.5 mm lug depth
• Vibram® MegaGrip outsole
Men’s Sizes: 7-12, 13, 14, 15
Men’s Weight: 1lb 13oz