The Merrell Capra Rapid is a highly breathable, lightweight hiking shoe. Day hikers will appreciate the reliable traction and comfortable trail feet. Boaters will enjoy having a shoe designed for water immersion while still fully protecting their foot.
This is one of the most versatile shoes I’ve ever tested, and I think it might be a great fit for you too.
How I Tested the Merrell Capra Rapid
This pair of Merrell Capra Rapid’s was tested over the course of 5 months with a wide range of activities, including:
- Backpacking trip to the Cottonwood Lakes in the high Sierras
- Scrambling and hiking in Joshua Tree National Park
- All day standing and walking at San Diego Comic-Con #SomethingDifferent
- Trail running in Montana de Oro State Park
- Long distance day hiking along the Kern Plateau
~65 estimated days worn
~580 estimated miles traveled
Every shoe strikes a balance between being waterproof and being breathable. On this continuum, the Capra Rapid sits on the far side of the breathability end. Mesh wraps around the entire upper side of the shoe, which means that any amount of water you pass is going to instantly get inside. Even a fine layer of dew wetted out my socks within a few steps.
On the flip side, since the Capra Rapid is so breathable it dries extremely quickly and doesn’t accumulate sweat like many other shoes. This high degree of breathability lends itself to trails and activities where you’re anticipating a lot of water ie. hiking the Narrows in Zion or portaging a canoe in the Boundary Waters.
Desert hikers will also appreciate the mesh uppers and traction of this shoe. The high degree of breathability means no more sweaty feet during long summer hikes!
The Capra Rapid uses a lock and lace design instead of traditional laces. Just slide the toggle tight, tuck it in, and you’re ready to go.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of these shoes was how reliable the traction was on both wet and dry terrain. Generally, I find that shoes that perform well in one environment suffer in the opposite. The Capra Rapid was consistent whether I was scrambling on Joshua Tree monzogranite or stepping across tidal pools in Montana de Oro State Park.
Fit & Durability
These shoes fit true to size both in length and in width. Upon receiving these shoes I put them to immediate use and there was almost no break-in period required.
After using my pair for over 60 days and 500 miles, they are definitely starting to show signs of wear. The only notable issue was a broken lock on the lacing system. While putting on the shoes, I pulled too hard and popped the lock off of the laces. I was able to fix the lock myself and haven’t had a problem since, but I’d suggest being gentle when using this closure system.
I’d guess that I’ll be able to get another 300 miles out of these shoes before I need to replace them.
I really like a lightweight shoe. Even on backpacking trips, I prefer to have light feet that might get wet over heavy boots that provide ankle support and more element protection. During day hikes and trail runs these shoes provided enough protection from the ground that the soles of my feet weren’t bruised but also allowed me to feel connected with the trail along the way.
On my 5-day backpacking trip to the Cottonwood Lakes, I carried a 45-pound pack and felt alright in these shoes. The added weight made my feet start to hurt on the longer days. I’d probably opt for a slightly more built-up shoe such as the Ahnu Ridgecrest for future backpacking excursions.
The Capra Rapid comes in three different color scheme; blue, red, and black.
I’d highly recommend the Merrell Capra Rapid for boaters, especially expedition canoers, who are looking for a shoe that can be frequently immersed in water while still providing good traction and protecting the foot. Day hikers will also enjoy it for the high degree of ventilation and excellent trail feel. It’s a good value shoe and will continue to be my go-to footwear for day hiking and the occasional trail run.
Tags: Capra Rapid, footware, hiking shoes, merrell