As part of the Outdoor Bloggers Weekend earlier this summer, each of the bloggers who attended were gifted a pair of Merrell’s new All Out Blaze Sieve walking sandals to test. It was lovely to have the support of Merrell for our inaugural event, and as one of the organisers I was pleased that I was also able to get hold of a pair of these new shoes to try out.
I am not new to the idea of walking sandals, although I tend to keep my KEEN Turia Sandals for when I’m specifically walking somewhere where my feet are likely to get wet. However these Merrells came at an opportune time – being small and lightweight they made the ideal footwear to pack for my motorcycle tour of Europe. They are quite a bit more dainty than the KEENs I am used to. I knew I would be doing a bit of walking up on the mountains but definitely did not have space for hiking boots or even my favourite walking shoes. As far as I could tell the All Out Blaze Sieve offered a suitable compromise; a decent sole for walking, but something that would pack easily.
Hiking on Hohe Mut in the Austrian Alps. What a place.
Merrell say these are designed as a “water-ready agile hiking shoe” to allow for fast hiking on trails that include stream crossings. The waterproof leather and fabric upper is waxy in its finish, allowing it to shed water and dry quickly, the lycra neoprene collar means you don’t have to touch the elastic laces to put them on and take them off, and the “unifly” midsole means your foot can feel the terrain while remaining protected.
Mountain ready hiking boots these are not, but for the kind of hiking we did in Obergurgl these did the job really well. My feet had cushioning and support from the vibram sole, which meant I could bound along the path quite happily – much more sensible than a pair of converse that was my other choice (they also pack into a motorcycle pannier really well!). The upper hugged my feet and felt secure; while these are sandals they are “holey” and light, you aren’t going to slip out of the shoes (flip flops are NO good for any kind of mountain path!). The really low slung back was also great, very comfortable, and so there was no rubbing on any part of my foot or ankle from the fit.
I did wonder the complete lack of ankle support would be a problem for me, as I’ve always struggled a bit with my ankles, but it wasn’t on this occasion. We hiked for three to four hours, along the peak and also up (up up up) to see a waterfall, covering around 10-12 miles in total, and these felt great. No, not as supportive as boots (and I was definitely more careful because of this), but ideal as they meant I could actually go on the hike confidently and had an awesome time without worrying about my feet. Oh the holey shoes kept my feet really cool too, of course.
Just sitting, taking in the views, in the same spot I sat earlier in the year. Looks so different in the summer. Hohe Mut, Obergurgl, Austria – you must go.
Merrell have designed these with summer walking in mind, but also walking where your feet might get wet. Think walking along the beach, following rivers and streams, scrambling up waterfalls. The sole is really grippy and the water drains right out of the shoes so you’re never squelching along. I wore these with hiking socks in Obergurgl (don’t judge me for sandals and socks!), and without for walking along the beach, and that works for me.
Walking sandals such as these Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve are a great alternative to walking shoes for the hot weather or where space is a premium.