Reviews You Can Rely On

Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX - Women's Review

A soft, athletically inspired hiker with limited stabilizing features but highly responsive traction, perfect for quick transitions from trail to town
arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review
The Arc'teryx FL 2 is as comfortable on rocky mountain trails as it is grabbing lunch and beers with friends in town when you're through.
Credit: Myrha Colt
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $180 List
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 7, 2022
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Support - 20% 6.0
  • Traction - 15% 5.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

With a sleek, modern, athletically inspired style and high-quality construction, the newest version of the Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX is just as lightweight, waterproof, and grippy as its previous iteration. It wears light and fast and proves decently supportive on non-technical terrain over shorter distances. Where it disappoints is on longer, tougher days, where the flimsy, loose upper and mid-range support structures fail to stabilize and cushion the foot enough for a comfortable ride. But for days when you need one shoe to easily bounce between the rigors of the trail and the style requirements of urban life, there's no question this is the fashion-forward footwear that will fit the bill.
REASONS TO BUY
Sturdy mid and outsole
Modern athletic style
Waterproof
Breathable
REASONS TO AVOID
Overly flexible upper
Limited support
Runs long
Editor's Note: The Aerios FL 2 GTX was added to our lineup on November 7, 2022, and is the newest version of the Aerios FL.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $180 List
$180.00 at REI
$109.50 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$55.38 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$104.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
69
86
85
79
71
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Sturdy mid and outsole, modern athletic style, waterproof, breathableGreat traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-pricedExcellent cushioning, roomy toe box, great traction, stable, supportiveSpacious toe box, great traction, waterproof, durable, stableFast, nimble, excellent traction, waterproof, supportive midfoot
Cons Overly flexible upper, limited support, runs longBulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyeletHard footbed, a little heavyHeavy, hard footbed, not the most breathableLimited adjustability, average durability, runs narrow and long
Bottom Line A soft, athletically inspired hiker with limited stabilizing features but highly responsive traction, perfect for quick transitions from trail to townSupportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experienceThe perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive baseA burly, reliable trail partner with a wide base and sticky traction for when trips run long, and durability, stability, and waterproofing are importantThis high-performing modern hiker is impressively stable, supportive, and responsive, well-suited to narrow feet on hard-charging missions across versatile terrain
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Aerios FL... Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Keen Targhee III Low Salomon X Ultra 4 G...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Support (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Arc'teryx Aerios FL... Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Keen Targhee III Low Salomon X Ultra 4 G...
Weight (per pair) 1.6 lbs (size 10) 1.8 lbs (size 10) 2.0 lbs (size 10) 2.1 lbs (size 10) 1.7 lbs (size 10)
Width Options Regular Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular
Upper Recycled Polyester Mesh, 0.4mm TPU Protective Film Leather, mesh Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh Oiled nubuck leather, mesh Synthetic textile
Midsole Compressed recycled EVA EVA Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA Dual density EVA EVA
Lining 4mm EVA Recycled; Gore-Tex Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane Gore-Tex
Outsole Vibram Megagrip rubber Vibram TC5+ rubber True Tread rubber KEEN All-Terrain Rubber Rubber Contagrip

Our Analysis and Test Results

For short hiking excursions, we kept reaching for the Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX. It is lightweight, waterproof, and provides enough space, adjustability, and cushion to deliver a comfortable ride on some of our favorite weekly routes. While not supportive enough for longer hikes, it was an easy choice whenever our missions were quick and light or when we knew we had additional stops to make around our trail outings.

Performance Comparison


arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - we are big fans of the aerios as a grab-and-go town hiker perfect...
We are big fans of the Aerios as a grab-and-go town hiker perfect for dog walks, lunchtime strolls, or after-work pre-happy hour hikes.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Comfort


It's hard to over-emphasize the importance of fit whenever evaluating a shoe for comfort. Fortunately, some shoes offer enough flexibility and give within their designs to accommodate a wider variety of foot structures, perhaps with some degree of aftermarket modification. The Aerios FL 2 is one of these shoes.


Like many European brands, the Aerios FL 2 seems to run long and slightly narrow. For many, this works great, even if it might require buying half a size down to ensure proper fit if you are between sizes. But what's interesting is once you pull the shoe on, the synthetic upper has such a softness and flexibility to it that the toe box itself feels more spacious and accommodating than it appears out of the box, even for those with a slightly wider forefoot.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - like many european brands, the aerios runs long and narrow but with...
Like many European brands, the Aerios runs long and narrow but with a flexible upper that allows for more volume across the top of the foot.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Weirdly, however, that same soft, spacious upper we were so stoked to slip our feet into out of the gate very quickly proved itself to be a shortcoming once we were in action, just too flexible and loose to secure our foot properly to the base. One tester reported having no choice but to stop repeatedly during a short hike to retighten the laces, calling out the exaggerated pronation, slight ankle rolling, heel gapping, and slippage that developed due to the lack of topside structure. And while the super long laces are easy enough to adjust, the tongue is not padded well enough to protect the top of the foot from such exertion. Not the kind of precision fit we want for a long day on the trail.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - we spent a lot of time lacing and re-lacing the aerios trying to...
We spent a lot of time lacing and re-lacing the Aerios trying to dial in the fit amid a whole lot of volume in a loose structure.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The Aerios FL 2 is lined with a thin Ortholite insole, as is common in many hiking shoes. It offers limited arch support. The compressed EVA midsole is also not as cushioned as a normal EVA sole. So, while the result is a shoe that feels quite responsive, with significant flexion under the forefoot, the flip side is that there's a higher likelihood of foot fatigue on long days. Given the excessive topside volume and this lack of supportive cushioning underneath, we think an aftermarket insole is a great choice to help fill out the shoes and lock in one's feet for greater comfort.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - the lack of support and cushioning made the aerios less of a...
The lack of support and cushioning made the Aerios less of a favorite when long hikes were on the agenda. But for short outings closer to home, or on groomed terrain, it was an easy choice (particularly if there were going to be additional stops on the way home).
Credit: Myrha Colt

Support


The newest update to the Aerios includes a durable 100% recycled polyester fabric upper to make the shoe lighter and more durable than the previous version, which was built of only a single layer Cordura mesh (0.8mm microfibre lining). Given the design's focus on reducing weight, we suspected the shoe might cut corners in other ways. So we were a bit surprised to find the Aerios FL 2 still sufficiently stiff and supportive underfoot for average trail days.


While it doesn't have much to speak of in terms of arch support, the synthetic upper of the Aerios features raised perimeter sidewalls that offer some additional protection and support. Its compressed EVA midsole and integrated TPU shank also do a decent job of balancing grip and stability. Overall, this shoe feels much closer to a trail running shoe than a rugged hiker, emphasizing minimalism over support. So for more demanding hikes, we'd point you elsewhere. Yet on shorter days, its chic athletic functional design is exactly what makes this the perfect shoe, particularly if you are just trying to snag a few quick miles before heading into town and you need to look put together in the process.

The Aerios FL 2 has a whole lot of flex up front and falls midrange...
The Aerios FL 2 has a whole lot of flex up front and falls midrange when it comes to twist through the middle (meaning a decent amount of support underfoot when you need it, but not so much you can't feel the ground and hike responsively).
Check out that bend! The Aerios had far more flex than many other...
Check out that bend! The Aerios had far more flex than many other hikers in the group, but appropriate to its "Fast and Light" name.

Traction


In general, deep lugs will perform best on loose dirt or unconsolidated trails like scree or gravel. So depth and variation in lug shape and positioning are what we tend to look for when assessing for maximum traction. We also know the stickier the rubber, the better handle you'll have on slabs and wet surfaces, and we inspect for this quality as well. The Aerios FL 2 delivers on both fronts, utilizing a Vibram Megagrip outsole with a decent set of lugs across the base made of a relatively soft, satisfyingly sticky rubber.


While this wasn't the grippiest shoe in our test collection, it served us well when tackling average day hikes. In below-freezing temperatures, we did notice the base became harder and less grippy to some minor degree (which is not an uncommon result when cold temps and sticky rubber meet). But with most of our trail time logged in warmer temps, we never saw a problem in function.

Sticky Vibram outsoles do well on granite slabs and other hard rock...
Sticky Vibram outsoles do well on granite slabs and other hard rock surfaces, but didn't perform quite as well on loose gravel and steep dirt trails.
We had no problem in testing when we hit hard rocky technical...
We had no problem in testing when we hit hard rocky technical terrain, but the lack of midfoot support and cushioning meant these were never our go-to option for longer days.

Weight


Although the Aerios FL 2 isn't among the lightest hiking shoes we tested, it was purposefully designed to balance weight with maximum performance and style. Extra effort has also been taken to account for durability in materials while still keeping you fast and light on your feet. So, while not our choice for big trail days, this shoe was a tester favorite for short and fast excursions like dog hikes or hikes after work in moderate conditions and seems likely to offer a comfortable ride over a long lifespan ahead.


Water Resistance


The Aerios FL 2 GTX is equipped with a Gore-Tex membrane, as are many hiking shoes we tested, which sheds water completely. So not surprisingly, it performed flawlessly in our five-minute bucket test as well as in all stream crossings we encountered on hikes, with the synthetic upper showing no signs of absorption from the contact.


Keep in mind, if your plans involve hiking in wet conditions on a regular basis, you may want a shoe (or boot) with more height. But for shallow puddles and rain, we trust this shoe to keep our feet dry.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - the aerios handled water testing like a pro, the gore-tex liner...
The Aerios handled water testing like a pro, the Gore-Tex liner working just as intended and the foot staying nice and dry.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Durability


Lightweight synthetic shoes are often seen as less tough and road-ready than their leather counterparts. But newer technologies in material and design have started to shift that narrative. The new Aerios FL 2 is a part of that story. While the overall shoe design between versions 1 and 2 remains essentially the same, the newly updated shoe is constructed of 100% recycled polyester fabric rather than the single layer of Cordura mesh as before. The result: a lighter-weight, more durable hiker ready to tackle all types of road conditions without hesitation.


We took the Aerios out on lava rocks and through pokey bitterbrush and boulders without any sign of snagging or abrasion. We saw no delamination in the welded upper nor any unusual signs of wear in the base. However, the rubber of the Vibram Megagrip is relatively soft, and its lugs are somewhat shallow compared to others in the test group. We suspect regular use on concrete and asphalt could wear down the material quickly and reduce their effectiveness in grip. Something to consider if these are going to become your go-to city hiker.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - although not our preferred shoe for rugged trail days, the aerios fl...
Although not our preferred shoe for rugged trail days, the Aerios FL 2 showed no signs of damage or wear even after many miles under more strenuous testing.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Should You Buy the Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX?


Although not the most supportive hiking shoe out there, the Aerios FL 2 is performance oriented and performs quite well during shorter outings. But it isn't a cheap hiker, nor is it one we'd recommend for technical or long trail days. Arc'teryx is a luxury outdoor brand catering to those looking for top-tier style and performance. As such, the Aerios is a durable, lightweight everyday trail shoe that will look sharp in dirt and in town and would make a great addition to any collection for those who have the budget.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx for women hiking shoes review - the perfect casual hiker for days when your trail time is being...
The perfect casual hiker for days when your trail time is being squeezed in among the rest of life's urban obligations.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


If finding a lightweight shoe is your focus, but you require more support for tougher technical terrain, the Salomon X Ultra 4 would be a great choice. If weight and cushioning are equal considerations, the Hoka Anacapa should be on your shortlist. Or, if you have longer trail days ahead and can accept a small degree of increased weight, the Moab 3 WP will step up your game significantly and leave you a good deal more wiggle room in the toe box.

Myrha Colt
 
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More