This post comes from Shaun Nauman, a blogger (snowboardmountaineer.com) and Boulder, CO resident. When Shaun isn’t studying snow hydrology and forecasting avalanches, the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Instructor is finding new adventures in the backcountry on his splitboard. Watch for more gear reviews and fun reading from Shaun and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.
Hiking Shoes Reviewed: Merrell Capra Gore-Tex Sport
Color: Black / Lime Green
Size: Men’s Size 10
The Merrell Capra was designed for speed hiking mixed terrain and, so far I am impressed. The Capra has a generally rigid feel and stable platform. The shoe is a bit stiff out of the box, but break-in fairly easy. Allow yourself a bit more break-in the first few times wearing them out before a long ascent. On a mixed trail-run and hike they were extremely sturdy on uneven, loose, and rocky terrain. Yet this shoe is so light, it feels more like a running shoe. This lends itself for fast, same-day approaches on virtually any terrain.
I typically do a combination of trail running, hiking on steeps, and scrambling. These shoes really cover every activity on the trail. Coming down on steep loose talus and gravel I had no problems. This is partly due to the tapering forefoot.
Merrell has incorporated some amazing technology in to this shoe. The Capra is designed with inspiration from the Capra mountain goat whose cloven hoof lends itself incredibly well to gripping support and stability. Using a split sole design in the outsole toe tread, this mimics the climbing capability of a Capra. As far as the sole goes, a 3.5mm Vibram lug depth provides incredible traction. Typically the deeper lugs are not found on a shoe this lightweight intended for speed hiking. The combination of deep lugs, and a traction sole built thicker at the heel, and narrow at the toe is a profound advancement in trail shoes.
The Capra also has an exoskeleton design along the outside of the shoe that is neatly linked to the lace-up points which provide excellent toe-box support. This provides a well-grounded stiffener and extra stability over rough terrain. Merrell refers to this technology as the Stratafuse™ exoskeleton which fuses the foot cage to mesh and keep the shoe incredibly lightweight.
Even though these are rigid shoes, there is a defined heal break in the unified midsole, which offers flexibility. Merrell refers to this as UniFly™. They feel much harder at the foot and softer at the ground, which is a noticeable improvement over many trail shoes I have had. The Gore-tex material on the outer breathes and keeps the feet dry running through water crossings and standing water, even fully submerged.
– I am truly impressed with the Merrell Capra. They can be used in a wide range of trail activities, and through varied conditions.
– Lightweight speed hiking shoe.
– Vibrom sole, with deep traction lugs.
– Traction grips on the edge of the outsole are a little wide for my comfort, which tend to catch. However, since everyone has a different instep, this may not be a problem for others.
The Capras offer exceptional comfort, especially for a stiffer lightweight shoe. The Vibram patterning makes this a great all-around trail shoe or an approach shoe. They spare every ounce, focus on traction, connection, and cushioning where you need it. In all a fantastic speed hiking shoe.
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Merrell Capra Sport GTX Hiking Shoes – Men’s