Arc'Teryx Acrux FL GTX Review
I am a giant pain when it comes to shoes. It took me six months of research before I bought my last pair of running shoes, (the Saucony Peregrine if you’re curious) so it was no surprise when I hesitated to pull the trigger on my most recent footwear purchase, the Arc’teryx Acrux FL GTX.
What shook my procrastination was blowing my ankle two months prior to hiking season. Even with proper rehab it kept swelling so I was unable to wear ankle height boots.The only choice was to wear low-cut shoes and risk spraining my ankle, again. I had used the Salewa MTN trainer before and loved it but wanted to try something new. Enter Arc’teryx. This spring they took their first step into the shoe market. Me being a Canadian I had to check them out, and Arc’teryx being the innovator that they are, couldn’t do it with just any normal shoe.
The outdoor shoe world is already filled with good quality offerings so in order to make waves Arc'teryx had to innovative rather than just put their fossil logo on a pair of Scarpa look-a-likesm, and innovate they did. Eschewing traditional leather, the uppers are made of a water resistant one piece upper made of a coated nylon textile and the traditional tongue has been cut out using a neoprene like sock, called the Adaptive Fit GORE-TEX® liner.
As this shoe was new to market, most testers submitted reviews based on a week's worth of use at most. Some of the early testers mentioned the stiffness of the shoe and others worried about the nylon upper being too hot in summer months. I got my pair late July and have but a solid 3.5 months of wear on these shoes and feel that I can give an honest review of them, so here goes!
The Adaptive Fit liner:
I wear a size US 10 / EU 44 and these shoes fit exactly how I would want them. Extra room in the toe box, not too narrow nor too wide, a classic D width fit. The adaptive fit liner rocks. It is a bit of a pain in the ass to put on as it's quite tight but there has been more than one occassion that the laces have come undone and I haven't noticed until I've gone to kick a step and my toes hit the end of the shoe. I wish more shoes came with a liner like this. I have rarely worn them with thich sock, having only worn Injinji toes socks woith them, and think it would be quite tough to put on these shoes with traditional thich hiking socks. I also feel you don't need thick socks with these.
Some people have recommended wearing them without socks. That's not really something I'm interested in. Wearing these day-in day-out they will get funky enough, never mind if I wear them without socks.
There is also an Acrux2 model of shoe. The Adaptive Fit Liner on this model is removable so it can be worn as a hut shoe or dried in case it gets wet. I thought of getting this model as I could then buy a non-Gore-Tex liner for hot days, and wear the Gore-Tex liner on wet days. Unfortunately, you cannot buy the non-Gore-Tex liner sperately and there is no non-Gore removable liner model.
Heat and the One Piece Upper:
Not a problem. The sides of the shoe are perforated and the liner breathes really well. Despite my toes being totally covered in nylon my feet rarely got hot. I wore it on trail in 30 plus temps and never had sweaty feet. I've also never gotten a blister, even on 20km days, but that may also have something to do with the Injinji socks I wear. I did not have any hotspots or heel rubbing either, which is also a testament to the liner.
Outsole and Stiffness:
These shoes have a new Vibram sole called the Vibram Arc'teryx Approach Outsole. These shoes have grip and could climb and descend any type of rock I could walk on. They excelled on rock. That said, being a hiking guide I'm not always on rock and often find myself in mud. With the fairly tight spaced and low depth lugs these shoes became slippery. I'd love to see a more mud friendly option in the future.
In hand these shoes feel stiff. Once on my feet, they felt great. A nice balance between a solid trail runner and a boot. I didn't need any break in with these shoes, the wore and walked great straight out of the box. With a lighter wearer (I'm 88 KG) these might need a little more wear before they become comfortable. I also wore them with 15 kg in my pack and they still provided excellent support.
There has been some seperation between the outsole and the midsole. I hit it up with some shoe-goo and all is well.
No matter how I tied these shoes, I could not keep them tied. This has never been a problem for me with any other shoes, but perhaps I just need to learn how to tie shoes better.
I've really enjoyed wearing these shoes. The Adaptive Fit liner was definitely my favorite part of this shoe and I will look for similar features in other shoes and boots from here on. Side-hilling was decent for an approach shoe and with a little adjustment to my stride I was able to side-hill relatively well. They are light on on foot and after three months wear the uppers still look good. Not a scratch on them despite being heavily used. The sole hasn't softened in the least and feels the same as the first day I wore them, which is great. They also show relatively little wear and tear on the outsole. The biggest thing of note is a broken lace, but if that's the biggest problem these shoes have, then they don't have any real problems. My only regret? I didn't buy them in Orange.