If you don’t pay much attention to athletic trends, you may not be aware of the fact that female runners are falling in love with another activity that tones their legs, gets heart muscles pumping and offers a less pavement-pounding experience: hiking and trekking.
Singapore women are enthusiastically embracing both because it’s a great complement to running endeavours and the change of pace can be exhilarating. After all, to run is fun, but to trek is to take time to see nature’s wonders rather than running past them.
My interest in getting off the fast track — literally and figuratively — to spend time hiking in exotic places has become something of an obsession. Once I realized that I was in it for the long haul, I needed shoes more suited to rugged terrain than the smooth surfaces on which I usually run.
Talk about good fortune! A pair of bright red Capra Bolt waterproof athletic shoes appeared on my doorstep with a request to test claims made by Merrell that these shoes are engineered to perform in the most daunting, rugged situations. Besides, if I’m lost, I’ll be easier to find wearing these red shoes on my feet!
I Test the Capra Bolt’s Claim to Fame: Rain Repellent Properties
Every pair of respectable hiking shoes must be ready to stand up to abuse and from the moment I took my first training hike to break in these Capra Bolts, I knew Merrell had applied due diligence to the engineering and design because the water proof feature of this shoe is no exaggeration.
Mother Nature was kind enough to treat me to a Singapore downpour just minutes into my first test trek and my feet didn’t rebel because they stayed dry and comfy.
These imported rubber-sole shoes took to splashy, rocky, wet terrain like ducks to water and I’m happy to report that the bellows tongue and the tidy lacing/hook system did superb jobs of keeping debris from attacking my feet as I travelled several trails.
The Bolt Fits and Performs Beautifully, Too
It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of wearing a shoe that treats the rain like an evil aunt, but will it deliver on the inside, too? The answer is yes and part of the reason I was delighted with this shoe has to do with the removable insole that kept me balanced as I slogged my way across inclines, elevations, streams, dirt, grime and rock.
After several wearings (including some in sunshine), I gave these shoes the “sniff test,” and I’ll be darned if the blended EVA contoured footbed didn’t live up to its promise of organic odour control. How can a girl ask for more?
Breathable mesh lining does its job in concert with odour-controlling properties and I don’t have a single complaint about the heel’s shock-absorption properties. Despite encountering a variety of organic materials, the 4mm lug depth didn’t grab and hold leaves, twigs, pebbles and other trail refuse. Whew. No extreme and tiresome lug clean-up required!
- The Bolt’s TrailProtect pad adds another dimension of protection to an off-road experience and the “cord and lock” lacing system does double duty by keeping my shoes snug while repelling vegetation and natural refuse.
- The folks at Merrell say that these shoes keeps ones energy level high and the water out and that’s no lie!
- If you are a vegetarian, you will be thrilled to discover that this Merrell shoe features vegan-friendly construction methods.
- The waterproof technology used to craft these shoes is superior to competitive brands, particularly the moisture-wicking properties that I haven’t experienced before.
- This Bolt women’s shoe was engineered with small touches that are greatly appreciated: tongue and heel pulls, a sturdy toe rand and molded nylon arch shank.
- “I’ve only been searching for a great hiking shoe for about 20 years,” said one avid hiker who found the perfect pair in her tomato red Bolts.
- Mind if I again mention the organic odour control properties I was happy to report after several test hikes?
- While I take no issue with the weight of these shoes because they protect my feet from rain and obstacles, I did run into a couple of comments by women who stated that the Bolts are too heavy.
- My friend tried my red Capra Bolts and she said that they made her feet look too big! Seriously? Who worries about appearances when there are mountains to conquer?
- Contrary to my experience, a couple of runners said that the 4.0mm lug depth acts like a vacuum cleaner; they whined about the time it took to remove soil from between lugs.
- This shoe might be a hard sell for women who insist on more conservative shoe colours for any number of reasons.
- If you suffer from arthritis in your metacarpophalangeal joints, there are reports of pain from top seams that make Bolts too uncomfortable to wear, even on short treks.
Assuming that the hot red colour doesn’t intimidate you, there’s no question that you will stand out, just as I did, while tackling foothills, forested trails, brooks and alternating terrains that can test the mettle of any shoe.
In terms of waterproofing, my admiration is boundless. I tried hard to find faults with this shoe’s engineering because I figured that any company spending this much time on waterproofing is likely to have given short shrift to fit, comfort and performance. I was totally wrong, so let this serve as my apology to Merrell for doubting their thorough attention to detail in every aspect of this shoe design.
The Merrell Capra Bolt Collection comes in both men’s and ladies’ styles and retails from S$179 at Stadium at Takashimaya S.C. and all Royal Sporting House stores (excluding factory outlet stores at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, IMM, Changi City Point, and The Star Vista).
Have you ever said “no” to shoes that met every criteria you sought, yet they weren’t attractive, so you didn’t buy them? How important is it to you that your feet look attractive when plundering mud, rocks and obstacles?