A good pair of hiking boots or shoes can make the difference between exploring new terrain and hobbling into camp cursing every decision you’ve ever made that brought you to that moment in time. My last pair of boots were heavy-duty, and while they were sturdy it felt like I was walking around in a pair of bricks that killed my feet.
I started wearing my retired running shoes everywhere instead and even though they were comfortable, they were lacking in two key areas: ankle support and sole longevity. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a real pair of waterproof lightweight hiking shoes after I destroyed the soles of my three month-old running shoes: apparently hiking the Canadian Shield and open prairie is too much to ask for road shoes.
As an added complicating factor, years of endurance running (OK and overtraining) has left me with a nagging bout of plantar fasciitis. This means that finding a comfortable shoe or boot is extremely important as the wrong footwear sets me back in my rehabilitation. Believe me: I can break myself all on my own, I don’t need shoes to help.
As soon as I tried on the Arc-teryx Aerios FL, I knew my search had ended. They felt great in the store and lived up to my hopes from there. I broke down my assessment of these amazing lightweight hiking shoes below. As always, I have received no compensation for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.
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Table of Contents
I have a difficult time buying shoes as my feet are on the large size for women. In fact, it’s almost impossible for me to get women’s running shoes and I usually go straight to the men’s sizes. The problem is that men’s shoes tend to be wider but that’s the trade-off I have to make. It’s not that bad as I don’t like the bright colours that seems to be the only option available for women’s shoes anyway. I was delighted to find that the Arc’teryx Aerios FL women’s size 10 fit my feet perfectly in both size and width. Because they fit so well, I did not have a break in period either: they went from the box to hikes without a single hotspot or blister.
While I haven’t had the chance to scramble up mountains yet, I’d say that so far I have easily put 50 km (or 31 miles) under the soles through some slick and hilly terrain without so much as a scratch to the sole or scuff to the uppers. As you can see in the photos below, I’ve been putting these shoes through the wringer, all in the interest of providing an honest review of course.
Stability and Grip
I find that these hiking shoes provide minimal ankle support. The Vibram sole with sturdy treads provides plenty of grip when hiking over wet terrain and I have never felt a slip. Even when holding onto two pulling dogs and walking over wet logs, the soles kept their grip with each step. If I were carrying a heavy pack for days at a time, I’d likely want something taller with a bit more support. However, for day hikes or even overnight backcountry camping trips, these are excellent hiking shoes.
Waterproofness (is that a word?)
Our early morning walks through dewy grass used to leave me with puddles in my shoes by the time we made it back to the house. Well that has not happened since I started wearing these shoes. I’ve even had a few missteps into shallow puddles and my feet have stayed dry. Even though they are waterproof, they are still breathable so it minimizes the dreaded swamp foot.
If there is a downside to these shoes, it is the cost as they are over $200 CDN. However if these shoes continue to hold up as well as they have been, I see that as a fair price to pay. I’d rather shell out $200 once every few years as opposed to having to buy new hiking shoes every season or even multiple times per season. Depending on when you buy your shoes, you may even get a great end-of-season deal.
I love these lightweight hiking shoes. Between a comfortable and stable fit to enough grip to keep me upright as I hold my hiking companions, these are an excellent pair of lightweight waterproof hiking boots and I cannot wait to see where else they will take me.
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