I was offered a pair of Merrell Siren shoes to try out recently. They are a far cry from my recent spate of minimal running shoes but as I had a planned expedition to the Peak District I thought they’d be ideal for a few rough walks.
I’ve worked my way through many pairs of Merrell women’s shoes in the past, they look great and feel extremely comfortable but I’ve always felt let down by the soles which have proved to be very slippy on wet rock and pavement. These Siren shoes have very sturdy Vibram soles so I was hopeful that things might have improved in the intervening decade or so and with a lining of Merrell Gore-Tex they are clearly designed to be worn in all weathers.
We were in the Peaks for my birthday so my folks joined us for our first walk. We’d picked accommodation by the highest pub in Derbyshire which was fine when it came to drinking real ale with a view but became a bit hairy when we tried to descend the valley through a jungle of Gorse.
After 429 metres of moaning we abandoned the descent, got back in the car and headed off to Grindleford for the obligatory chip butty and a walk up and around the Longshaw Estate.
This is one of my favourite walks around the Peak District and it isn’t all about the chip butty.
It’s a steep climb up through the woods with a stream cutting through the valley to the right. When you reach the Estate the fields there are always teeming with an amazing variety of fungi.
The most exciting point of the weekend came when we spotted a clump of Stinkhorns. At least I thought so, the others appeared somewhat less impressed.
The Merrel Siren shoes held up extremely well but then they are so sturdy it is only to be expected. They were fairly clumpy for day to day pavement walking but on the trails they offered a degree of confidence that you only usually experience with a good walking boot.
When I think of ways to describe them I come up with words like, solid, dependable, secure. I really felt as though I could bound along the trail oblivious to the conditions underfoot and the shoes would get me through. The protective toe area was much appreciated in the rocky conditions.
The Merrell Siren shoes are an excellent alternative to the full walking boot. They are solid yet light enough to walk in for hours and provided you don’t get them submerged above the ankle line they’ll remain dry.
It started raining with a vengeance when we’d cleared the cover of the woods, so I got to try out the performance of the Vibram soles on the wet rock.
I didn’t end up on my arse once!