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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Merrell Capra Bolt boots > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

MERRELL WOMEN'S CAPRA BOLT WP HIKING BOOTS

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BY KATHLEEN WATERS
December 15, 2016

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 65
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)
WAIST: 28 " (71 cm)
TORSO LENGTH 18" (45 cm)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Merrell, a Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. Brand
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.merrell.com
MSRP: US $130.00
Listed Weight: 1 lb 8 oz (0.68 kg) per pair
Measured Weight: 1 lb 10 oz (0.74 kg) per pair
Colors Available: Bright Red, Grey/Purple, Pine Grove
Color Reviewed: Bright Red
Sizes Available: Women's 5 - 11.5
Size Reviewed: Women's 8

Other details:

• Synthetic and mesh upper
• Metal hook and lacing closure
• Bellows tongue
• Breathable mesh lining
• Merrell M Select™ FIT.ECO blended EVA contoured footbed with organic odor control
• Molded nylon arch shank
• Merrell air cushion in the heel
• TrailProtect™ pad
• 4mm lug depth
Merrell Capra Bolt
Photo Copyright Merrell

FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE

LOCATIONS

Fun, outdoor, out-of-state locations over the last few months have included: the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Banff and Jasper National Parks (Alberta, Canada), Glacier National Park and Custer-Gallatin National Forest (Montana), and Monongahela National Forest and Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia.

Location and condition details for the most recent forays are as follows:

Custer-Gallatin National Forest - Moose Creek Flat
Terrain: we base-camped in a valley besides the Gallatin River, but day-hiked to mountain lakes for fishing as well
Elevation range: 5700' (1700 m) to 7500' (2300 m)
Temperature range: 35 F (2 C) to 65 F (18 C)
Other weather-related conditions: rain every day for varying periods of time from just a periodic drizzle to a dowright downpour for hours (mostly at night). Very little sunshine.

Banff/Jasper National Parks
Terrain: ah, mountains. Rocky, heavily treed mountains
Elevation range: 4500' (1400 m) to 10,000' (3000 m)
Temperature range: 22 F (-6 C) to 70 F (21 C)
Other weather-related conditions: rain every day for varying periods of time from just a periodic drizzle to a downright downpour for hours (mostly at night). Very little sunshine. (Yup, same as the previous week in Gallatin!)

Glacier National Park
Terrain: high, rocky mountain trails
Elevation range: 4600' (1400 m) to 6600' (2000 m)
Temperature range: 45 F (7 C) to 65 F (18 C)
Other weather-related conditions: Sunshine!

Monongahela National Forest and Blackwater Falls State Park
Terrain: Rocky, heavily treed mountains
Elevation range: 2900' (880 m) to 4800' (1500 m)
Temperature range: 40 F (4 C) to 60 F (15 C)
Other weather-related conditions: rain every day for varying periods of time from just a periodic drizzle to a downright downpour.

As can be seen, I spent a lot of time in the rain in the mountains. Different states/countries, but pretty much the same conditions!

Closer to home:

Fremont County, Colorado (my home "range") - this area is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with elevations ranging from 5500 ft (1700 m) to 9900 ft (3000 m). The terrain is mostly rather rough with lots of mud, loose rock and huge slabs of granite rock. Vegetation is scrubby pinon pine, Gamble oak, juniper, cactus and prairie grasses (or weeds, depending on who is talking!).

Weather conditions were pretty much the same through all locations and throughout the entire summer season. Hot, Hot and more Hot! Dry, Dry and more Dry! And for most of this summer, fall and early winter, temperatures have ranged from above 90 F (32 C) to the freezing mark.

PERFORMANCE

There are several models of the Merrell Capra Bolt footwear line. The ones I am writing about are the mid-height, waterproof, women's version.

First off, these are great-looking boots that perform as well as they look!

From the very minute I put the Capra Bolt boots on my feet; they fit and felt just great. My feet are not finicky as to size and the size 8 was a perfect match; exactly "true to size". I needed no break-in period which was good since I had a trek planned for the very next weekend. This was way back in February 2016 and the Capra Bolt boots have been on my feet pretty much since then whenever I've been walking, hiking or backpacking. And since I live out in the "boonies" and walk almost daily to fetch the mail (4 miles/6.4 km round-trip) down our mountainous bumpy dirt road, I'd guestimate a total somewhere north of 350 miles (560 km) of dirt-pounding. At least!

Back to the fit of the Capra Bolt boots. There is plenty of room in the toe box for my tootsies to wiggle and not get cramped but not so much room as to have said tootsies move around excessively and sport a blister or two. Corded laces snug-up my mid-foot via common eyelets and end at the top with a speed hook which makes it easy to tighten or loosen the boots on the go. For me, the lacing and the comfort of the lacing is a very important feature of my footwear. I tend to be clumsy and I need to have a good supportive lacing system to keep my feet stable. These do. Very well, I might add.

Also regarding the fit of the boots, the mid-height cuff adds to the supportiveness of the Capra Bolt in that it helps cradle my ankle without any rubbing or irritation. Thanks to my ability to tighten the boots appropriately, I have never suffered a blister from any "up and down" motion of the heel of the boots. And I never experienced any rolling of my ankle even when on very rough terrain.
On the Trail
Grand Staircase-Escalante Ntl Monument
Fishing Break on Colorado River
Fishing Break on Colorado River
On trail
Glen Canyon National Park

The terrain I generally hike on is not always a nice packed-dirt trail. I'm very often on hard rock from pea-sized pebbles to bigger-than-a-breadbox boulders to slabs of granite and everything in-between. I'm thankful for the Capra Bolt's stellar tread in keeping me upright even in wet conditions and sticky mud which is a hallmark of my backyard backpacking conditions. The mud seems to squish out from the sides of the outsoles as well as any other boot I've ever worn and the surface of the tread holds well on most rocks. I can honestly say I've never fallen as a result of Capra Bolt outsole failure! (Fell lots of times due to my fault though!)

I never used these boots for a long-backpack, mainly because for me, the boots hit their maximum comfort zone around 20-25 lb (9-11 kg) pack weight. While the arch support is great up to that weight, I felt I needed a bit more of a stiffer and thicker arch at pack weights above that. As a day and weekend/overnight boot, the Capra Bolt did just fine. I didn't have any problems with sore arches or suffering from sharp protruding rocks on the trail. I did switch out the stock insoles for my favorite brand on aftermarket insoles after a couple of months of wearing the boots.

Lastly, I'm happy to say, the Capra Bolt boots are definitely waterproof! I wore them in LOTS of rainy conditions (especially in Montana and Canada) and at no time did my feet ever suffer from exterior wetness. Water did not seep in, even when we had to cross several streams in one day on one hike and, of course, I missed a rock or two and stepped into the frigid water. I certainly could feel the cold, but no dampness. The bellowed tongue helped a lot with that I'm sure. The only moisture ever in the interior of the boots was when my feet would sweat, which they did a lot during our very warm summer. Fortunately, the boots always dried out overnight and shockingly, still don't smell offensively. Right, tent mates? Right?

WEAR AND CARE

I am happy to report that even after a rather brutal hot, dusty summer and some rather cold, wet fall backpacks and hiking, the Capra Bolt shoes have maintained their good looks and structural integrity! The uppers are still a nice bright red and the outsoles still have a lot of tread to wear through. I really didn't do anything special to clean the shoes. When I thought of it - usually after a particularly muddy trail, I would brush away the dried dirt with a soft shoe brush I keep especially for my hiking footwear. After my trip to Montana and Alberta, Canada, (just that once in seven months of wear) I took a wet rag with warm water and a squirt of liquid handsoap and proceeded to give the shoes and gentle scrubbing. A thorough rinse and an overnight to dry and the shoes were as good as new. I did remove the insoles first to wash and dry separately and I always make it a point to pull out the insoles after each wearing to give the shoes and insoles a chance to "breathe".

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) Very comfortable to wear on all surfaces, in all weather conditions.
2.) Good support with a pack weight up to 20 lb (9 kg) or so.
3.) Very good traction on wet surfaces.
4.) Nice looking shoe that can be worn casually as well as on the trail.

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

L) Try as I might, I can't think of anything I don't like about these shoes!

SUMMARY

The Merrell Women's Capra Bolt Waterproof Shoes are great shoes! They are perfect for dayhiking and a weekend overnight backpack. Comfortable, supportive and good traction. What's not to like? I plan on wearing these until they fall apart, most likely, many years from now.

Thank you, Merrell for making quality footwear at an affordable price!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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