Being considered a “speed-hiking” shoe, the Proterra Sport Gore Tex melds the concepts of the streamlined trail-running shoe with the ruggedness of a hiking boot.
The biggest improvement for the Proterra Sport Gore Tex lies in the new CONNECTfit design, which is powered by the ever reliable Gore Tex technology. This results in a waterproof yet breathable design upper mesh.
Coming from our previous review with the Merrell Proterra Sport, it is best not to view the Proterra Sport Gore Tex as a running shoe. Think of it as a tough hiking shoe with a ‘minimalist’ drop of 4mm, with your feet enclosed in a protective, breathable and waterproof upper mesh, and 10mm of cushioned sole. My feet were kept snug and dry even after splashing through puddles of water and mud, which really just shows the excellent Gore Tex technology at work.
I felt that my review pair’s colours were really pleasing to the eye. The gunmetal grey upper Gore Tex mesh is a pleasure to look at, and it complemented the orange soles perfectly. The shoes fit true to size, and the forefoot is wide, allowing for just that little extra stability.
The unique diamond patterned sole with inverted oval lugs is a unique and innovative way to give great traction with extreme durability. The grip is great on even the toughest terrain, and I really don’t see the soles wearing off anytime soon, even with intensive use. But this comes at the cost of some cleaning hassles. The small spaces in between the diamond shape and inverted ovals will collect plenty of small stones and debris. Those who plan for extended hiking trails on sandy terrain will need to check that debris does not build up and decrease traction.
A tougher material was used to make the shoelaces for the Gore Tex Edition, resulting in more durable shoelaces that can withstand some damage. Along with extra protection at the heel and toe caps, the Proterra Sport Gore Tex is definitely built like a tank, offering some heavy-duty protection. All these come at the cost of extra weight, with my pair of US Size 8 weighing in at 398 grams per shoe. With such thick soles, don’t expect much of a ‘ground feel’ with these shoes.
When approached from a hiking perspective, it’s surprisingly lightweight, given that hiking shoes usually weight 450 grams and up. If you come from a trail-running shoe perspective however, these will seem excessively heavy, especially since Merrell’s very own Mix Master 2 weighs in at 262 grams per shoe for a size 10.5.
The same drawbacks for the Proterra Sport are evident in the Proterra Sport Gore Tex. The rigid shank caused abrasions on the heels of the feet. A ‘run-in’ period to increase the flexibility of the shank will be necessary to prevent abrasions with your heels. If you want to consider trail-running in this shoes, then wearing hiking socks with padding on the heels is an absolute must.
Putting these issues aside, Merrell prove that they do provide the best technology in outdoor hiking footwear. With their collaboration with outdoor fabric experts Gore-Tex, it will be truly interesting to see what other innovations this unique partnership comes up with next.
All in all, the Proterra Sport Gore Tex is a great shoe for hiking in even the most extreme of terrains. The great upper mesh and durable sole ensures that your feet are very well protected from outside elements. If you’re considering this as a trail-running shoe, do keep in consideration its rigid shank and tendency for debris to get caught in its lugs.
- Tough, waterproof upper mesh
- Shoes fit true to size
- Extreme durability
- Unique soles give great traction and grip on hiking and trail terrain
- Rigid shank requires long ‘run-in’ period
- If used for trail-running, thick hiking socks are an absolute must-have
- Inverse lugs will collect debris easily