The thing that’ll grab you instantly about the Merrell Siren is its light weight – at 326g in a size 6.5 it’s over 100g lighter than some of the others on test, which is really noticeable when you’re wearing the shoe, packing it or carrying it on a harness for a walk off a climb, for example.
The light weight comes from sacrificing some elements of protection, so you need to work out what you’re planning to use the shoe for. If it’s for scrambling or hiking over more difficult terrain I wouldn’t feel happy wearing it as it comes slightly lower down the ankle than most hiking shoes – not much, but enough to make me worry about rolling my ankle.
The sole is also quite flexible, and it doesn’t offer much support on the top of the foot either – the tongue’s so big it’s hard to make the laces stay on it. But for flatter hiking, especially in warmer climates, the Siren Sport GTX would be a Godsend. The upper’s mostly made from mesh, to keep the weight down and so it’s extra breathable, but it’s Gore-Tex lined so it’s waterproof; there’s good extra protection on the toe too.
The Siren Sport has Vibram soles giving good grip, and to walk in they’re extremely comfy: if I said I was walking on air I wouldn’t be exaggerating, because it has what’s called Air Cushion in the heel. What Merrell describes as a ‘molded nylon arch shank’ means it offers support to the arches of your feet too. The midsole is called a QForm Comfort midsole and apparently provides women’s specific stride-sequenced cushioning – whatever it is it makes walking comfortable, although my heel was a bit loose and I think this comes from the tongue getting in the way of the laces. If you don’t have that problem, I’d imagine this would also be a good shoe for trail running because of it’s light weight but high level of support on the sole of the foot.
Looks-wise this is a goodie – a bit different without doing anything too drastic – and there are lots of colours to choose from too; you can check them all out on the Merrell website.
In a line: A great-looking shoe for light weight hikers
Marks out of 10
Value for money: 8
For more information, see www.merrell.com