Arc'teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Shoe
Put aside the city slicker vibes these shoes may present on first impressions. Whether on-track or off-track, they deliver optimum performance.
Good on all but possibly the rockiest, most extreme terrains
Lightweight and assists with wearer’s agility
Streamlined aesthetics, which has practical, technical benefits
Treat your feet with kindness
Shoes prettiness may prompt accusations of softness from Real Tough Outdoors Folk™

Craig used to reach for high-cut, heavy-duty hiking boots, like many classical hikers before him. So, we figured why not fling him a pair of shorter, dare we say snazzier, Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX shoes and see what he thought.


Mt Kaputar National Park. This far-flung western NSW bush battlefield was where the cruelhearted We Are Explorers Gear Testing Royal Commission flung me to grind a pair of Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX shoes through their gears.

Here, I tripped, slipped and fell my way over the park’s lava fields, its off-track sclerophyll scrub-entangled slopes and on scraps of fire trail, the latter thrown to me as compensatory bones to a stray dog. While I barely survived – as if the WAEGTRC care! –  the Aerios thrived.

I was sceptical, however, in overload when these blue suede hiking shoes just about danced out of their box at me. Smithereens, they looked space cool. Sleek and stand out not because of any outdoors gimcrackery trying to say ‘look at me, I’m super bad,’ but because of their streamlined no-frills chic.


Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoe – Review


Surely, something looking this urbane couldn’t be much chop when the going got tough, could it? Time, and Kaputar, would tell…

It’s All About The Feet

Before heading up to Kaputar I did what any goody two-shoes walker does. I made an effort to break them in, knocking up around 60km of tracks in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Nothing too punishing, mind, but it was the clicks under the belt and on the feet that counted.

Speaking of feet, mine are relatively broad and the slim looking Agriums had me concerned. (As a sidenote, I found the sizing to be slightly smaller than what I would consider normal. If ordering online, I’d be going at least half a size up, possibly even a full size.)

But while they were definitely snug, there was just enough give to make me feel increasingly comfortable in them (they have pre-moulded foam-based midsole to help with cushioning, BTW). And the upside to this, obviously, is there was minimal foot slippage, which is what you want. Because, soon enough, this friction will lead to the dark, unforgiving terror of… blisters.


Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoe – Review


The space cool pair remained smug and unbruised by Kaputar’s rugged off-track terrain. More importantly, my feet felt secure and comfortable.

A protective rubber ‘box’ around the toes kept them happy. That snug fit – facilitated by flexible, moulded foam wraps around the ankles – came in real handy out here.



It’s worth mentioning that on the Kaputar testing field, my body and hence my feet and their coverings were operating under the duress of 16-18kg being on my back.

I did not note any difference in shoe performance between this hard-core scenario and pack-free walking.

Heavy duty?

I’ve been experimenting for a while now with less heavy footwear options than high-cut boots. Clearly, this saves on weight which, on feet, makes a particularly big difference in lowering overall body impact.

Less weight also makes you more agile when the ground gives way which, off-track, it has a nasty habit of doing.

The downside, arguably, is it offers less ankle security. Then again, some have observed having less weight on your feet makes you more responsive to potential ankle-turning situations, so you don’t need the high cut.

These days, I’m tending to side with the latter perspective, but the terrain and a person’s unique physiology will naturally be factors in that consideration.

The ‘mid’ cut of the Agriums might offer the perfect compromise.


Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoe – Review


The FL in the shoes’ name stands for fast and light. Their design is running shoe-inspired. This is clearly apparent. Their upper uses flexible Cordura Mesh with a protective coating. I can’t say this is the cause of the shoes’ impressive breathability, but it seems a reasonable deduction.

I can report that my feet felt less stressed after a day of tough walking than in other shoes I’ve experienced over the past few years. This includes both high-cut boots and low-cut shoes. Just because a walking shoe/boot is light doesn’t mean it will have no negative foot repercussions.

I did wonder whether the — thinner than what I’m used to — upper foot (Cordura) covering might mean my upper foot would be impacted more on heavier impacts. But I have none to report, despite finding plenty of branches to trip over and scree under which to bury my feet.


The shoes and I did a fair amount of exposed scrambling activity at Kaputar, including on 30-metre wide slabs of steeply angled rock and some smaller vertical sections.

These aren’t climbing shoes, but their uncluttered design helped them be handy when dealing with these ‘rockface situations’. I crammed my feet into cracks and crevices that wider boots wouldn’t have been able to gain a reliable purchase on.


Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoe – Review


The word ‘technical’ is routinely used in product descriptions and trekking gear reviews. The word could mean anything, really. It’s not like there are grades of what constitutes ‘technical’.

Certainly, if by technical it’s meant tracks ‘n’ trails that are more than just duckboards or paved paths, then this shoe is absolutely adept at addressing ‘technical’ terrain.

Their reliably grippy Vibram Megagrip sole is not doubt part of the reason for this, while the integrated TPU shank provides the sort of firmness that is a foundation for both reliability and durability.

Keeping Stuff Out

There is no clutter on the shoe itself. Opportunities for being snagged by vegetation are limited. Aesthetics = practicality?

Being a ‘mid’ means there is more opportunity for vegetation, debris and water to find their way inside the shoe than a high-cut boot, but less so than a lower-cut shoe.

For all but the cooler months, I mostly wear gaiters. So the ‘debris invasion’ risk, for me, is non-existent. And long trousers alone will also help mitigate the debris risk.

Personally, if you’re bushwalking in Australia in warmer months without either long trousers and/or gaiters, sorry, I think you’re nuts. But, hey, your call.

I tested the shoes’ Gore-Tex-powered waterproofing capability in La Nina-delivered pools of water in Ku-ring-gai Chase. All seemed good in that regard.


Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoe – Review

Sustainability and Price

Arc’teryx “believe the strongest path to sustainability is durability.” Sounds sensible.

They also have an ethos “to manufacture in a way that all materials and products are resources to be used in repeated loops, rather than disposed of.”

This, and their sustainability and supply chain commitments are all laudable — although, they’re still a few years off their commitment to transition 80% of their products to Fair Trade certification by 2025.

Taking these commitments on faith is not ideal, but until a thorough science-based analysis is done on the sustainability dimensions of all outdoors companies, it’s the best I can offer.

The Agrium’s – both the men’s and women’s versions – retail for $300.


Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoe – Review


Arc says the male shoe weight is 370 grams, but for my UK10 size, they came in lighter than that. Just as light, in fact, as another pair of low-cut hiking shoes I own.

The women’s weight is put forward at 320 grams.

To me, the price presents top-notch value. You may get other mid-cut shoes a little cheaper, but with Arc you know you will get a high-quality product with best-in-class aesthetics.

The Sole Of The Matter

I’ve walked about 200km in them now, which is still too early to say they are long-lasting, but the signs are positive.

In truth, they’ve been a small revelation to me, and I can’t see myself going back to a full boot unless the terrain is super rocky on a consistent basis over a number of days. Less, it seems in this case anyway, is most definitely more.

I am planning a two-week SW Tassie wilderness trek. What I take on this rough track walk needs to be fully reliable.

It’s been observed that a hiker’s footwear is their most important piece of gear and I’ll be wearing my Aerios. That sort of tells you everything you need to know, doesn’t it?

Maybe I could have saved you the time of reading this review if I’d said that at the start. Trust me, I would have. But those We Are Explorers Gear Testing Royal Commission bastards wouldn’t let me.



Craig was sent the Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX shoes and was allowed to keep them afterwards. The views are his own.