So, FINALLY, I managed to settle on a pair of snow boots for the winter. Those of you reading in the UK will have noticed that the weather turned decidedly warmer this week. This was a direct result of my buying cold-weather gear, because the universe likes to mess with my head. Fact.
Anyway, I digress, after deciding that the Clarks trigenic winter boots might not be tough enough to withstand the beating I was intending to give them, and deciding that the only pair of Sorel boots actually designed to be worn under tough conditions were too heavy to consider, I went back to Merrell, who made my old snow boots.
The Merrell range of snow boots was a little small this year, but they do mean business. I mean, look at the soles on these shoes, they have actual SPIKES on them. With these boots you know you can be walking the dog on some forsaken rock in a force 10 gale, and you’re still going to have grip:
I dithered over these boots for quite a while: on the one hand, the grip looks amazing, but on the other hand, I am not such a fan of the pink bit at the top, it’s a bit too dull and ‘serious mountaineer’, and the all-black version didn’t do that much for me (What Would Leia Do? Not wear the black boots)… so in the end I tried these:
These shoes ticked a lot of boxes:
- waterproof: check
- faux fur: check
- not too high on the leg: check
- Princess Leia might wear them: mmmm… maybe… check
The soles of these are not as hard-core as the Capra Glacial, but they do have the ‘Arctic Grip‘ sole. I’m only going from the website marketing, but this seems a really tough sole with ‘3 times more grip than other outsoles‘ (I’m assuming they are talking about other Merrell outsoles; they don’t tell me what exactly is being compared here so I will assume they are not comparing across other brands. Tellingly, this claim is only on their US website, so make of that what you will). In addition — this is gimmicky, but I like it — the sole changes colour when it drops below freezing!
They’re not as light as the Clarks Tri Arc, but they are very sturdy and allow much more manoeuvrability and freedom than the Sorel Caribou. They’re really nicely designed shoes. They are very warm, and the laces allow good adjustability. I have narrow feet, and can bring these in to fit, but they would fit wider feet too:
Unfortunately, after some very icy mornings, the weather has now warmed up so I’ll have to wait to test these on the ice (and getting the blue soles!), but I have worn them out and they’ve been good in the mud.
I also wore them when I went to pick my Christmas tree. OK, we’re not talking London Fashion Week here, but my point is I would happily wear these in the presence of normal (i.e. not-hiking) people, which isn’t true for most shoes designed for tough terrain:
So there we have it. I am sorted for winter for a few more years. A part of me is sad I didn’t give the Clarks Tri Arc boots a try, I really like how light they are, but comparing the soles on these boots with those of the Tri Arc, I think I have made the right choice.