This post comes from TMS Ambassador – Coral Taylor, an avid mountain biker, yogi, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast living in Truckee, CA. Follow @c_ros on Instagram for rad photos of her adventures around Lake Tahoe and beyond. In addition to getting after it on the snow, Coral is also a Team LUNAChix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team Ambassador!
Hiking Shoes Reviewed: Merrell Capra Sport Hiking Shoes – Women’s
Color: Royal Lilac/Adventurine
Size Reviewed: Women’s Size 7
First thing out of the box, I noticed the awesome color of these shoes. I know, I know – don’t judge a book by its cover and all that; however, I can’t help it. I want my gear to have function AND form. Form – check.
Onto assessing function. I like my hiking and running shoes to typically be a little larger than my normal shoe size, to account for swollen feet on the trail and thicker socks, but the Capra runs true to size and my standard size 7 works for the size 7 in these shoes. It seems like Merrell knows what they are doing and made accommodations accordingly.
The light weight of these shoes was noticeable as soon as I put them on. They are heavier than my trail runners, but MUCH lighter than any hiking shoe or boot I have ever worn. Walking with these shoes around the house to get a feel for their lacing and to start breaking them in, the stiff sole was noticeable, although there is a point mid-sole where the shoe gets more flexible.
I decided to take these hot new kicks for a trial hike/run after work one day. I hiked up the lovely Donner Canyon, which is mostly fire road, with some rocks, loose gravel and dirt, and a little mud in the lower sections. These shoes performed well and maintained traction even in a few parts where the trail was eroded with spring runoff from the recent rains.
I detoured off the trail, onto one of the granite boulders offering a stunning view of Donner Lake, and the Capras continued their grippy action, allowing me to walk up the side of the boulders as easily as if I were walking on the street.
I enjoyed the view then took a short, much needed meditation break, with the sound of the forest and the scent of the pines. Afterwards, a quick glance at my phone revealed that dinner would be ready in a few minutes, so it was go time – trail run back to the car! The Capras were heavier and bulkier than my trail running shoes (naturally), and I stumbled a few times, as I was adjusting to the larger shape of my foot in these shoes. However, compared to my few pathetic attempts at jogging in any other hiking boots, the Capras far out-performed them in their flexibility, lightness, and nimbleness. Towards the end of the trail, my clumsiness subsided as my proprioception increased, and the Capras felt more comfortable.
For my second, longer hike in the Capras, I went to the Redwood Forest of Mendocino. The Capras were comfortable on steep uphill and downhill sections, and were excellent at avoiding banana slugs and poison oak (yikes!). They maintained traction in the loose loam of the upper trail area, as well as the sandy beach and slippery log that I had to precariously balance on in order to cross the flowing Russian Gulch Creek. The second time wearing these shoes made a big difference – they already seemed more broken in and fit my feet better.
I wore them again the following day for an outrigger canoe paddling trip up Big River, where they performed well by keeping my feet dry and warm (much needed due to my sloppy paddling skills) and they gave me ample traction on the sandy beach to get a good running start for the rope swing over the river.
All in all, I think these are an excellent all-around hiking shoe! I look forward to wearing the Capras on longer hikes this summer and on a few backpacking trips, including meeting up with my youngest sister who is currently somewhere on the PCT.
– Supportive, but flexible
– High traction sole
– Lack of ankle support
– Need to be broken in (like any other hiking boot)
– Spend time wearing the shoe to get to know its width
Merrell Capra Sport Hiking Shoes – Women’s