When playing outdoors I like footwear with a modern styling that is lightweight but offers some ankle support. I am a fussy chap, but as soon as I saw the Merrell All Out Blaze Mid… I knew we were going to get on. Merrell had warned me that the lugs were a bit aggressive but that is all for show!
Quick note about sizing – I am officially a size 9.5 UK and took a 10 UK in these. I would personally go a half a size up, but don’t hunt me down if you take my advice and they don’t fit!
I like the look of them for day-to-day wear but was unsure how they would handle the mountain terrain. I was a bit unsure of the RRP standing at £140 but these are GoreTex and most outdoorsy people know Gore-Tex ain’t cheap. They would also know what to expect in terms of performance. So the price is pretty standard across the outdoor industry but I still want to get my money’s worth. I wore these around the town at first to get a feel for them. No one pointed and laughed at my feet so they passed the day-to-day test. The next test was on a jaunt to Wales camping in a bothy for a few days.
To keep it simple I was looking for two main features – Responsiveness and comfort.
Before the trip, I had confidently splashed through puddles and not got wet and it was the same result when walking a day through long wet grass and boggy terrain of Wales. I was pretty active taking photographs (like the one above) and the All Out Blaze was comfortable and offered good grip, when I needed a quick scramble to take a few snaps higher up. I was also impressed how they handled wet rock and after a while I forgot about them and got on with exploring the mountains which in my book is a good thing.
In summary, they were comfortable and I wore them straight out the box and didn’t need to cover my feet in plasters once I was back from Wales. I was impressed by the grip and the sole unit is flexible for the active hiker who doesn’t require a particularly stiff boot. The chunky (but not heavy) sole unit offers good support for stable footing. Usually, I actually prefer a minimal sole unit (I lean towards the barefoot feel) but had no problem wearing these. I expect the All Out Blaze to last a few years and they are worth the investment.
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