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Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX Review

This lightweight hiking shoe is great for fast and light hikes where weight is the greatest concern
arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review
Credit: Arc'teryx
Price:  $180 List
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 1, 2022
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 6.0
  • Support - 20% 6.0
  • Traction - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 9.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 5.0
  • Durability - 10% 3.0

Our Verdict

The Arcteryx Aerios FL 2 GTX is a very lightweight shoe that we were excited to try, given the success of its predecessor. It is nearly a trail running shoe, though it features a grippy Vibram sole and a Gore-Tex liner. We had issues with the longevity of this model, however, and so we feel like it is a niche shoe that ultralight hikers will appreciate, while the average hiker might find a more useful (read: durable) shoe elsewhere in this review. With so many other models that are also light but excel across more review metrics, be sure to take a look at the other top-ranked hiking shoes we have in this year's lineup.
REASONS TO BUY
Very lightweight
Good traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Below average durability
Average water resistance
Editor's Note: This shoe was brought into our lineup on November 1, 2022, and is the most current model available in the Aerios FL line.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Very lightweight, good tractionExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportSuper comfortable, durable, stableSupportive, great traction, lightweightSupportive, versatile, well-cushioned
Cons Below average durability, average water resistanceCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNot great for off-trail, average tractionStiff, lacing is hard to tightenAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightly
Bottom Line This lightweight hiking shoe is great for fast and light hikes where weight is the greatest concernThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsThese super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfacesThis is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrainA comfortable and versatile pair of budget-friendly hiking shoes with a casual look that's great for both the trail and the town
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Aerios FL... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salewa Mountain Tra... Columbia Facet 60 O...
Comfort (25%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Support (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Water Resistance (15%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
3.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Arc'teryx Aerios FL... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salewa Mountain Tra... Columbia Facet 60 O...
Weight (per pair) 1.68 lbs (size 11) 1.76 lbs (size 11) 1.79 lbs (size 11) 2.16 lbs (size 11) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5)
Upper Polyester recycled mesh Synthetic, textile Nubuck leather, GTX Textile Synthetic Seamless mesh
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Extended Comfort OutDry
Flood Level 2.5 in 3.25 in 3 in 3.5 in 4.25 in
Last Board/Shank TPU ADV-C chassis Not specified Nylon Not specified
Midsole Compressed EVA EnergyCell Compressed EVA EVA Techlite+
Outsole Vibram MegaGrip Contagrip MA rubber Vibram MegaGrip Pomoca MTN trainer Lite Omni-Grip rubber

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.

Performance Comparison


arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - long(ish) days with light packs and big elevation change. this calls...
Long(ish) days with light packs and big elevation change. This calls for a lightweight shoe like the Aerios FL 2 GTX.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - mostly even terrain was where these shoes did best, as the fit was...
Mostly even terrain was where these shoes did best, as the fit was not snug enough for us to feel really comfortable in more demanding situations.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Support


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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - the aerios fl 2 gtx had a hard time in the boulder fields. it's not...
The Aerios FL 2 GTX had a hard time in the boulder fields. It's not that the traction was bad, they just didn't have enough structural support for us to feel nimble and confident.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Traction


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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - note the wide and shallow lug pattern on the aerios fl 2.
Note the wide and shallow lug pattern on the Aerios FL 2.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - light pack, light shoes. this is where hiking shoes are really useful.
Light pack, light shoes. This is where hiking shoes are really useful.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Water Resistance


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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - even though they have a shallow flood height, the gore tex does its...
Even though they have a shallow flood height, the Gore Tex does its job and keeps the water out.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Durability


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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - besides the structure of the midsole softening, the connection...
Besides the structure of the midsole softening, the connection between the rand and the upper began delaminating within days of use.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

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 60 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.

arc'teryx aerios fl 2 gtx hiking shoes review - moving fast and light has a price, are you willing to pay it?
Moving fast and light has a price, are you willing to pay it?
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter
 
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