Merrell Avian Light Sport Review
Confession: I’ve never worn a light hiking shoe. It’s not that none have tickled my fancy, it’s that I don’t have enough room in my closet for a shoe for every activity in my life. And truthfully, sometimes hiking shoes are so heavy and masculine that I’m not drawn to them. So often, my running shoes double as my hiking shoes. But times have changed and so have my opinion of hiking shoes. The Merrell Avian Light Sport shoes are a fantastic addition to my shoe rack. Even if I did have to push another pair to the back of the closet.
The Avian Light Sport’s are super light. This may be my favorite feature. When I am hiking breathless, wondering when I will get to the top, wondering who talked me into the hike, having lightweight shoes is a bonus which did not go unnoticed. At 1 lb 4 ounces, I had to remind myself that I had “hiking shoes” on. It also must be said that the shoes are super cute. I’d like to say it’s all about function but let’s face it, it’s not. I had the Dark Shadow color. The other three colors are all fashionably cute; Canteen, Aluminum/Mulberry and Brindle.
The shoes felt very true to size and also had some other features that I’ve come to appreciate like the bellows tongue feature. This bonus feature keeps the small rocks and dirt out of your shoes. Merrell also saw fit to incorporate an Ortholite® footbed. This footbed is cushioned in all the right places and it works to keep the moisture away from your foot which leads to the other nice feature; Aegis® antimicrobial treatment. This treatment is sprayed in the mesh lining to keep your shoes smelling fresh. These light hikers are also waterproof which is a must because wet feet are sad and stinky feet.
The shoe laces were the only things that made me wonder. I think they are shaped such that they stay tied which is super important when coming down a rocky steep trail. But I think the fiber weave also made it hard for me to get them tied tight (without tugging them with super effort). Now, I sometimes push on the door that says ‘Pull’ so it might just be me. Definitely not a deal breaker.
The Avian Light Sport shoes are great for hiking but also great to wear around town, to your kid’s soccer game, to the grocery store and in general a great multi-purpose shoe. They felt very stable and have just enough traction on the bottom to give you the confidence to scamper up rocks on the trail. Besides the trail, I think they would be great travel shoes. Light enough to throw in your luggage; they’d be perfect for roaming cobblestone streets all day.
The Avian Light Sport has definitely earned an up front position on my shoe rack.