Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX Review
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Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX
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|Pros||Very lightweight, good traction||Excellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, support||Super comfortable, durable, stable||Supportive, great traction, lightweight||Wide and roomy fit, great traction, lightweight|
|Cons||Below average durability, average water resistance||Cuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favorite||Not great for off-trail, average traction||Stiff, lacing is hard to tighten||Some comfort issues, less durable|
|Bottom Line||This lightweight hiking shoe is great for fast and light hikes where weight is the greatest concern||This is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking trips||These super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfaces||This is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrain||This cushioned shoe is light and nimble, and offers great traction at a bargain price|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Aerios FL...||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salewa Mountain Tra...||Columbia Facet 75 O...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Aerios FL...||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salewa Mountain Tra...||Columbia Facet 75 O...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.68 lbs (size 11)||1.76 lbs (size 11)||1.79 lbs (size 11)||2.16 lbs (size 11)||1.86 lbs (size 11)|
|Upper||Polyester recycled mesh||Synthetic, textile||Nubuck leather, GTX Textile||Synthetic||Mesh|
|Lining||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex membrane||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Extended Comfort||OutDry|
|Flood Level||2.5 in||3.25 in||3.0 in||3.5 in||3.0 in|
|Last Board/Shank||TPU||ADV-C chassis||Not specified||Nylon||Not specified|
|Midsole||Compressed EVA||EnergyCell||Compressed EVA||EVA||Techlite PLUSH|
|Outsole||Vibram MegaGrip||Contagrip MA rubber||Vibram MegaGrip||Pomoca MTN trainer Lite||Adapt Trax|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We took the Aerios FL 2 GTX on a trip to Switzerland to hike a section of the famous Haute Route. While on the trail, we wanted a lightweight shoe that could shed some water now and then but ultimately not weigh us down since we were carrying a very small pack and did not require the additional support of a beefed-up shoe or boot. This is the application the Aerios FL 2 does well at. It is not the shoe that you should hike the whole JMT, AT, or PCT with, but for short trips where weight is your primary concern, these might be right for you.
We found the Aerios FL 2 GTX to be comfortable out of the box, as the upper is made of a soft and forgiving polyester mesh material and easily conforms to the foot. For those with narrower feet, it seemed tough to really get a snug fit, as the laces and the upper have a lot of stretch. It feels easier to get a good fit around the ankle than around the forefoot unless you wear overly thick socks. The breathability of the GTX liner is fair, although on dry days, we were still getting pretty sweaty feet.
The Aerios FL 2 GTX uses a TPU insert to provide structure and stability to the shoe, and this works well. For such a light shoe, it has good support and protects from impacts on the trail. The laces snug up and allow the upper material to tightly secure the foot in place, although for those with narrower feet, the wide-natured fit may be too much to overcome. Because of that wideness, this shoe felt unstable when edging up rocky steps or side-stepping, and we found ourselves hiking much more consciously so as not to roll an ankle.
The Vibram Megagrip rubber compound used on the Aerios FL 2 GTX is super grippy and durable. The lugs are shallow and wide, making them quite effective in slabby terrain where more surface contact is needed and reasonably capable in softer, muddy sections of the trail.
Armed with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, the Aerios FL 2 GTX was quite waterproof — at first. Their flood height is a relatively low 2.5 inches, but they were still effectively waterproof as we stood in an alpine stream when the shoes were new. Unfortunately, after some durability issues their resistance really dropped down, and we experienced leaking through gaps in rand.
Weight is a metric in which the Aerios FL 2 GTX does quite well. They weigh only 1.68 pounds per pair in size 11 US, which is one of the lightest pairs of shoes in our review. These hardly register when on the feet and make tackling long hiking days much more pleasant.
This is the second pair of Aerios FL shoes we have tested and the most recent iteration. Previously we did not experience many durability issues aside from the shoe's structure breaking down over time. However, with this most recent version, they started breaking down immediately. It took no more than a 55-mile section of hiking to feel like these were getting worn down and in need of eventual replacement. While they are lightweight, experiencing a season's worth of wear and tear within four days of hiking was a bit off-putting.
Should You Buy the Arcteryx Aerios FL 2 GTX?
Whether these shoes are a good value to you depends on what you are using them for. They could be the right fit for one-time use on a long thru-hike, carrying little weight, and trying to maximize weight savings on your feet. But for many, having to retire a pair of shoes after relatively few miles will seem like a mediocre value.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
Without a doubt, the Columbia Facet 75 Outdry is a great option for overall performance, weight, and price. For better performance and also a better price, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is about as good of a hiking shoe as you can get.
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