The Merrell Capra Bold Mid is a lightweight hiking boot that is easy to break in, breathable, and flexible underfoot. They provide the feel and comfort of a running shoe with additional support around the ankle that makes them fit into the hiking boot category.
The Merrell Capra Bolts fit more like a running shoe than a hiking boot. They also showed signs of wear after only a few uses.
The beauty of the Capra Bolt Mid lies in their relaxed fit and quick break-in period. True to Merrell's ability to make shoes that require little break-in, these boots were comfortable as soon as we put them on. They felt soft with ample padding in the ankle and tongue. However, their soft, malleable quality does not provide as much arch support as other boots we tested. Also, we noticed that because they have a lot of seams holding together the panels of the upper, they do have the tendency to create pressure points in those with wider feet.
Because the Capra Bolt is so lightweight and similar in design to a running shoe, they do not have the same level of support as the many more traditional hiking boots we tested. The ankle shaft height is lower and not very substantial, giving the boots very little ankle support. Their soft mesh and synthetic upper are breathable, but do not provide much structure to the shape of the boot. Boots with a similar price tag and more support are the Keen Targhee II Mid - Women's and the Vasque Monolith - Womens.
These boots are some of the lightest boots we tested, comparable to the Columbia Redmond Mid - Womens and the slightly heavier Keen Targhee II. Because they have qualities that are more akin to a hiking or running shoe, the Capra Bolt weighs less than the average hiking boot.
Though the Capra Bolt does have 4 mm lug depths that keep small rocks and other debris from impacting the bottom of the foot, these boots scored lower in traction because they had a tendency to skid out on the loose dirt and rock trails where we tested them. The rubber on the bottom just did not hold up in comparison to the other boots with Vibram soles, such as the Ahnu Sugarpine II, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's and the Ahnu Montara III.
The synthetic and mesh upper that makes the Capra Bolt breathable and light does not provide the same level of water resistance as a boot with a more substantial upper. Boots with a more effective waterproof coating are the Vasque Monolith - Womens and either of the Ahnu boots we tested. These boots did not protect against wetness at all, so they are not the best option if you want a boot that will keep your feet dry in wet weather, or on hikes with lots of stream crossings or puddles.
Here, signs of wear show on the mesh upper and along seams at the toe of the boot where the foot is widest. This wear mark appeared after only a few uses.
Because of the number of seams holding together the mesh and synthetic upper, the Capra Bolt began to show signs of wear after only a few trips. The sides of the foot, especially on hikers with wider feet, wore out more quickly than any other spot on the boot. Again, their light, running-shoe feel comes at the price of durability and water resistance.
The Capra Bolt Mid is a hiking boot that can double as a running shoe. Its light, breathable design, and flexible sole made it a great option for day hikes where long-term support is not as much of a concern. The Capra Bolt does have a decent amount of cushion in the sole and we felt like these boots would perform well on a light jog.
We wore these shoes on moderate day hikes, where they were comfortable and light. They do not have the structural integrity of a full hiking boot and thus would not be a good option for backpacking or longer day hikes.
Sold on their website for $140, the Capra Bolt Mid does cost a bit more than some of the other lightweight hikers we tested, such as the Columbia Redmond Mid or the Vasque Monolith. These other options were more durable, even though they cost less than the Merrell Capra Bolt.
The Merrell Capra Bolt are Merrell's answer to the trend toward lighter and lighter hiking boots. These boots were comparable to a running shoe because of their flexible sole, synthetic upper, and non-aggressive tread pattern. These qualities made them a good option for light day hikes, but these boots did not hold up to long days on the trail or hikes with a large, heavy pack.