Will Renwick tests out the latest addition to Merrell’s Capra family of boots
The previous releases in the Capra collection by Merrell have been lightweight boots for summer trekking and fast and light hiking, and I’ve loved all of the pairs I’ve tried out, particularly the Capra Mid GTX which I wore on a two-week self-supported hike across rough Scottish terrain. I was very impressed by their comfort, grip and waterproofing.
The latest Capra release, the Capra Glacial Ice+ walking boots are a cold weather variation, with grip and warmth being the focus.
Firstly, in regards to grip, Merrell has added a sandpaper-like material onto the tread of the outsole. During testing, this worked well when worn on an icy rocky path in sub-zero conditions. I’ve also found it works very well on wet rock too, which not many boots can be credited with. An interesting addition is the small white tread on the front of the outsole that acts as an ice indicator, turning blue in cold conditions. This does what it’s supposed to but I don’t think I’d ever find this useful.
For warmth, Merrell has added a thick layer of fleece on the inside of the shoe – this is indeed warm and also very soft. The outer material has a thick construction that retains warmth well also. It’s a coated leather that’s combined with a waterproof membrane. This layering makes for a very thick boot, but one that’s still surprisingly light (1.47kg for a pair).
Merrell has marketed the Capra Glacial Ice+ boots as an option for the ‘most extreme winter conditions’, however, they are certainly not what most people would refer to as ‘technical winter boots’ as they’re not stiff enough for regular crampons and there is a very minimal step to the outsole. It’s best to think of them as low-level winter boots.