Gear Review: All Out Blaze Aero Sport water shoe
When it comes to adventure paddling the gear requirements are markedly different from the average outing on the water. For me, the word adventure is synonymous with gear and over the years I’ve come to appreciate having the right items to suit the task. The right gear should accentuate your outdoor experience. It should help you go further and have a more complete adventure. And when the task at hand is paddling down a rocky river or exploring a rugged section of coastline, no single water shoe I’ve tried is more suited to conquer as wide a range of terrain than the Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport.
As the name suggests, the All Out Blaze Aero Sport is built on Merrell’s highly versatile All Out Blaze platform. Unlike the other models in the range, the Aero Sport package is a full coverage shoe weighing in at a mere 1 lb 6 oz. For those of you at home, that is ultra-light for a full coverage adventure water shoe. Merrell achieved this by creating an all mesh upper which has the effect of instantaneously shedding water. The shoes have a bellows tongue to help keep out debris and a grippy Vibram outsole with 5mm lugs. You can easily go anywhere with these on your feet. Perfect for adventure paddling and whitewater trips.
I’ve worn my pair on an exploration of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and can’t imagine doing the trip without them. The All Out Blaze Aero Sport have a secure glove-like fit that doesn’t slip around when wet. Wear them just as you would a pair of sandals, e.g. no socks, and paddle along rugged terrain without worrying about cutting your feet or jamming your toes. I also used them on multiple paddling trips down the Los Angeles River with equal success. Footwear is essential when paddling on a river due to increased likelihood of coming in contact with rocks and other obstacles. The lightweight of the All Out Blaze Aero Sport water shoe does not inhibit your movement on a SUP and worked well in conjunction with the deck pad on my Hala Radito.
Great shoes for an aquatic environment – they’ll go anywhere!