The All Out Blaze Sieve by Merrell

July 5, 2015 · 19 comments

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

It seems that we decided we had had enough of getting cold, dirty feet and grit between our toes between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago. The hide of animals seems likely to have been the most favoured material early man used to clothe his feet and it has stood the test of time, although only the poshest shoes now have leather soles.

Shoe construction has become very sophisticated. In the last few years walking shoes and boots (I know, “What’s a non-walking shoe?” , you ask, but you are just being picky) have become very high-tech and very funky. Leather and synthetic, stretchy, breathable and very colourful materials are combined to produce works of design art. Jimmy Choo eat your heart out.

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

For me, a decent walk is around 10 miles and although I do appreciate an “easy” surface, I am happiest on upland and coastal paths, which can be rocky and are often uneven. Up to now I have always worn a walking boot that comes up to just over my ankle, providing it with support and protection. These are called “mid” boots. Why “mid” I don’t know.

I have two pairs of such boots, one made by Merrell and one by Berghaus (see my blog of 2012). In fact my Merrells have already been replaced since my post and I now have a pair of their Chameleon Evo Mid Synthetic. They are light (about 550 grammes a piece) and jolly comfy, although I think the wider fit of the Berghaus ones suit me slighter better.

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

But sometimes if I know that I am doing a walk on an easy, relatively flat surface I had thought it would be nice to have a shoe that was lighter still and better ventilated. Although my mid boots are Gore-Tex lined and so are waterproof and breathable, they don’t breathe as well as they would if they had holes in.

So it came at just the right time when those nice people at Merrell wrote recently to ask if I would like to review one of their new shoes that appear to tick this box.  I went for the quite strangely named Allout Blaze Sieve. The flyer that I was sent showed the shoe in a shocking pink which I thought just a little too funky so I chose the rather more subdued Castle Rock/Green Oasis version.

 

At just 297 grammes these are really light for a walking shoe.  They are a “pull on” fit, with a Lycra neoprene stretchy collar and a clever little sliding toggle to adjust their tightness. They immediately  secure and comfy.

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

The Vibram (good for grip) sole has an incredibly complicated design of all sorts of lumps and bumps and incorporates a yellow zig-zag that will be much appreciated by fellow walkers when you have your feet up on the table or if you are careful to leave the shoes upside down when you take them off.

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

To test them out before doing a “proper” walk, I wore them for several days of just being “out and about”.  I wore them with socks and without socks. A comfy shoe is one that you don’t really notice and socked or otherwise they were fine though  I preferred them with socks as without they felt a little sticky. I don’t think of my feet being particularly sticky and I don’t have that sensation when wearing my Clarke’s leather sandals so I assume that  the sticky response must be to the material that the sole is made from.

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

They have some support for the arch of the foot and according to the blurb they also have an “aggressive responsive trail platform”. They may well have been aggressive but I never felt they became angry, which is just as well cos who wants angry shoes? Life’s got enough hassles as it is.

Having passed the initial test of being comfy and well-tempered I decided to test them on a proper walk. Having nearly completed the Wales Coast Path I have been wondering what to try next. Wales  has so much fabulous countryside and since I also live there is very conveniently placed for trekking. I came across the website of the Cambrian Way and immediately felt drawn to the coast to coast (from Cardiff to Conwy) concept and the description on the website as it being “a tough high level coast to coast walk through wildest Wales”.

I asked my friend Neil (who you will have seen several times if you follow my blog) if he fancied undertaking the path as a joint project and he was well up for it, so on a warm day in June we met in Cardiff to do the first 10 miles or so to Castell Coch.  These were not a very tough or high level 10 miles – in fact they were a very pleasant doddle on the banks of the River Taff.

Merrell Allout Blaze Sieve walking shoe photographed by Charles Hawes

Because it was warm I wore them without socks and within 4 miles or so I noticed I was getting a bit sore on the ball of  one foot. By 5 miles I had got a blister and at around 8 miles the balls of both feet were blistered and really quite sore. This was rather disappointing. When I got home a found two near identical blisters of around an inch and a half across. I’ll spare you the pictures.

I hadn’t had a significant blister from my long walks for ages. I put this down to a fairly strict regime of  usually powdering my feet before putting my socks on and then wearing a thin liner sock and a walking sock of variable thickness on top depending on the weather.

These new shoes declare themselves to be “water ready” and suitable for “multi purpose hydro trekking”.  Now generally speaking I tend to jump over streams rather than walk in them and if its raining I hope my boots will keep my feet dry.  Wet feet walking is a new concept to me. Perhaps if my feet had been sweating profusely I might have been alright.

Perhaps, then, I should have reserved using these for a day of deluge, though the chances are that if I had a choice I would probably turn over in bed and go back to sleep if  had earmarked such a day for a walk. I can’t think that I am going to risk them again on a proper walk come rain or shine. But I will continue to wear them when I am “out and about”. And if you ask nicely I’ll show you their snazzy soles.

****************

The British Mountaineering Council are organising a charity Auction for relief in Nepal . Here is a link. Do please have a look.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/celebs-join-forces-with-everest-heroes-in-onceinalifetime-charity-auction-for-nepal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon July 5, 2015 at 6:56 am

Perhaps you should give to your brother? He’s always been a ‘socks and sandalls’ kind of person, as long as I’ve known him!

Reply

Julia July 5, 2015 at 9:09 am

Like the look of them (so many walking shoes look vile) and probably would have picked them out consequently so grateful for your review Charles.

Reply

Charles July 6, 2015 at 7:32 am

Thanks, Julia. Hope you find one that you like.

Reply

Paul Steer July 5, 2015 at 11:31 am

Thank you Charles for an entertaining review – I think I’ll continue to wear boots – but maybe that’s the problem ? Our feet have not hardened up enough to go unsocked and booted.

Reply

Charles July 6, 2015 at 7:33 am

Me, too. Who wants hard feet, anyway?

Reply

Marice Bertorelli July 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Hi as a daily dog walker of 30 years x2 per day footwear is a serious matter. Can’t say I would have fallen for these as shoes with holes are rather a dichotomy.
My preferance is leather and gortex mix but a shoe rather than a boot. Interesting write up though, you do suffer for your art!!!!

Reply

Charles July 6, 2015 at 7:37 am

Yes, footwear is very serious. No room for dichotomies. Might well try a non holey shoe sometime, but for now it’s back to the boots. Off up Moel Heborg today with my self-repairing soles safely tucked up inside a sock with lashings of foot powder/

Reply

Kevin "The Yank" July 6, 2015 at 11:59 am

I was sooooo worried when I saw today’s posting was your review of the Merrell hiking shoes ~ worried that The Mrs would buffet me with “I told you so’s” after I convinced her that mid-boots were the ONLY way to go when in Wales (I even had the voice of The Welsh Yoda backing me up). Needless to say, all is well in the world and looking forward to stepping onto Welsh soil (in my mid-boots) as the first Hughes in my lineage since my ancestors left back in the 1700’s…

Reply

Charles July 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Worry ye not! The reputation of the Merrell mid boot is undamaged. Unless you think that the fact that I have a thoroughly saturated pair in my room is worrying,but then I have just spent 5 hours in the driving rain climbing Moel Heborg in Snowdonia. The rain got through all items of atire.

Reply

Kev "The Yank" July 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Well, now you’ve done it…! The Mrs just read your comment and took me to task… See, back in 2011 we were preparing for a bicycle trip in Scotland. I had convinced The Mrs that only Downhill Elevations existed in Scotland; that there was some geological permutation there that worked like an Escher drawing making everything go downward only…. She quickly learned otherwise once we started pedaling. So, counting on her naive belief in everything I say with authority, I told her that by decree, it is only allowed to Rain in Wales between the hours of 10 pm and 4 am. Therefore there is no chance we will been walking in the rain of getting wet. Maybe just some beads of dew on our hiking boots… Maybe I can convince her your 5 hours in the rain started when you decided to go mountain climbing at 11:00 at night….

Reply

Charles July 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Haha. In fact its all downhill from North to South, so plan for that and it will be a breeze. But you are ambitious if you think you ain’t going to get wet in Wales. We could talk waterproofs but good as mine are I still got very wet from 5 hours walking in hard rain this week. Maybe she doesn’t want to come…..
PS I made that little edit for you.

Reply

Kev "The Yank" July 8, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Thanks Charles! We have actually been prepping for the rain so that’s not going to stop The Mrs! 🙂 Only mistake it seems that I have made is our trek is from south to north…. drats!

rob grover July 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Multi-purpose hydro trekking, indeed
Do Merrell sell jackets and trousers in their Sieve range?

Reply

Charles July 11, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Haha. Jackets with holes just might not catch on.

Reply

alastair August 10, 2015 at 10:51 pm

ive had a pair of keen water shoe sandals for 3 years which look similar to these, had a similar blister experience over 8 miles. they are my fav summer hol shoe, especially good for day trips in warmer climes. the “waterproof” label on the side always made me chuckle given the gaping holes all over. these merrells look the bus. my moab mid gtx pair still going strong after 3 years too. great boots. im guessing mid is somewhere between shoe and full boot and tend to be lighter. gtx meaning gore-tex across most US brands. good review. thanks.

Reply

Charles August 10, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Hey, great comment, thanks. Yeah I am still choosing the Sieves as a comfortable summer after/walk shoe. Funny Idea I know.

Reply

Monish January 7, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Hi Charles, nice review. I’m planning to buy these sandal/shoe and would like a clarification on the colour of the upper where the bright yellow lace loops are stitched to the dark green mossy/olive material as it looks in the pictures. My hiking gear is in military green so I would want it to be in the dark green colour. Merrell customer service says its a dark grey but to me it looks dark green; could you say if its green or grey since you have this Castlerock/Greenoasis coloured pair? … thanks.

Reply

Charles January 7, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Thanks Monish. Its really great to have someone write who has their priorities right. The last thing any of us want to do is to make a mistake on our colour palette. I worry a lot about my bright orange Montane waterproof jacket. Well I can confidently say that its a darkish green. I would call it camouflage green. I think they would look just fine.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)