We bestowed the Arc'teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX shoes with our Gear of the Year award because they offer an ingenious mix of trail running and hiking features. Fast, light and funky, the Aerios are our go-tos for light and technical day hikes.
Are they shoes or boots? Only you can decide... In our estimation, the new Arc'teryx Aerios FL Mid GTXs are more like shoes than boots so that's what we call them. We've had these lightweight, light hikers for about a month now and we're ready to tell you all about them.
We have reviewed many, many Arc'teryx items over the last decade and have been lucky enough to have sampled and reviewed a few items from their footwear line. Curious? Take a look at our last year's review of the Acrux SL Leather approach shoe, or, our look-see at the Procline AR Carbon AT boots from just a couple months back. To see all the Arc'teryx kit we've looked at (jackets, pants, gloves, packs and more) enter the word Arc'teryx in the search bar up top of the page and pick and choose what you'd like to read.
Here are the Aerios FL Mid GTXs after a hike up our local peak. Good looking kicks. This is the Orion/Proteus colour scheme—or "blue" for short. Click the arrow at the right end of the orange bar below the image to get the full review.
Starting from the front. Here's the TPU toecap which comes in handy when scrambling and for overall durability.
Note the funky recessed lacing design that contributes to the shoe's distinctive looks. It's found on other Arc'teryx shoes like the Norvan SL GTX or the Konseal.
A side view featuring the EVA midsole. The cush of the shoe is a nod to its trail runner roots. Very comfortable and, though there is a TPU shank, I wouldn't classify the sole as stiff.
Here is a rear-view shot where the Aerios looks like something other than a shoe. Good, solid heel support (and cup) and soft-yet-strong collar. Very easy in and out.
The Aerios with the 4mm thick OrthoLite 3D molded insert. These maintain their even bounce but don't provide much support on their own. If you want something more supportive, consider slipping in a SOLE footbed. Note the purple-ish Gore-Tex liner.
The Aerios FL seem like a combo of the Arc'teryx Konseal approach shoe (in terms of their lacing design) and the Norvan trail runner, in a high-top version. That's no big surprise, many products are born as this kind of hybrid. This two products are a light hiker and an approach shoe, respectively. There doesn't seem to be much "influence" from Arc'teryx's hiking-boot line, like the Bora. This may be why, to me, they feel and perform like more of a beefed-up running shoe than a "beefed down" hiking boot.
I've taken them out on several long day hikes with a day pack and they've performed really well. They are nimble, very light, dry in the wet and provide all the traction I need. I probably, though, wouldn't take them for a multi-day trip with a heavier load—and this may just be me. Though I'm amazed by the number of people I see backpacking in lightweight footwear like the Aerios, these shoes just don't provide the kind of ankle support and stiff sole that instill confidence in me if I have a 40 lbs + pack on my back. Sure the Aerios would do swimmingly in technical terrain, but technical terrain with a heavy pack over several days? Not in my humble opinion. And that is entirely OK. I have a pair of heavier weight, super sturdy Scarpa Kinesis Pro GTX Boots that do the trick and provide my weak old ankles and weird feet with the kind of support I need. I mean, who really has a quiver-of-one hiking shoe/boot these days?
A word on fit—the Cordura mesh is a fabric without much "give" or elasticity. In other words, they don't fit like a leather boot or something that really hugs your foot. As you can see from some of the images above, the mesh is a little looser than the polymer, more-supportive part of the shoe. This is neither good nor bad, just something I wanted to share with you in case it matters.
The Gore-Tex sock is very effective in keeping out the wet. Consider though, regardless of claims of extreme breathability, it means that the shoe runs hotter than something without a Gore-Tex sock. For a waterproof shoe, the Aerios does pretty darn well heat-wise—and it sure makes a big difference if you are travelling in the rain. These things are all about trade-offs. Non-waterproof shoes will, 99% of the time, be cooler.
Finally, the Aerios FLs are very distinctive and good-looking shoes. You might say that doesn't matter to you—but at least the people around you will enjoy looking at them. As with all things Arc'teryx, the colour selection is excellent as well.
Price: $215CAN / $199USD
Sizes: 7-13 (whole and sizes)
Weight: 370g / 13.0oz
Colour: Tan; Dark Blue
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.
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