This isn’t meant to be an expert in depth review of the Merrell Accentor Sport but rather a real world summary of my experience after 12 months wearing the shoe for everything from dog walking to an accent of Table Mountain.
Since owning a dog I regularly walk 3-4 miles per day, quite often a lot more at the weekend, especially if we go ‘proper’ hiking. One thing that I have realised is that outdoor gear, especially footwear, doesn’t last very long at all if you use it regularly.
In the days before Wilson a pair of shoes would last several years, now 12 months is pushing it. That includes swapping to winter boots or wellies as the weather dictates. Therefore do consider the amount of use rather than how long they lasted!
I bought the Merrell Accentor with some hesitation because I had never worn Merrell shoes before. However, they were on offer and with the rate I have been going through summer walking shoes I always look for discounts! Living on the south coast of Wales there are always streams, pools of water on the beach etc, even in the summer, so, despite its limitations I generally prefer Gore-TEX®, even for summer shoes.
The Accentors are quite lightweight shoes with not as much structure as other similar shoes I have worn, especially in the heal and around the toe area. However, they were immediately comfortable from the very first step. I usually wear a size 9-10 in a regular UK street shoe but have found I am pretty much always 45 in EU sizing for trainers, walking shoes and boots. These were no exception and the fit was perfect.
The shoes remained very comfortable, mile after mile, over various terrain; rock, gravel, mud, sand, tarmac, you name it. This included countless fairly flat daily dog walks to steep hikes in the Brecon Beacons and even a hike up Platteklip Gorge to the top of Table Mountain. This was a very steep rocky scramble and the shoes were grippy and comfortable, performing admirably.
Unfortunately I didn’t track my mileage throughout but I probably averaged a conservative 20 miles per week over the year from September to September and wore these shoes for at least half of that mileage. So minimum 500 miles, possibly up to 600 miles total wear.
This is what they look like after all that:
Despite looking pretty beaten up, they are actually still wearable. The soles have plenty on them but the uppers not so good. The Gore-TEX®actually gave out across the toe crease sometime during the summer and the shoes would let water in instantly. This doesn’t surprise me at all, I have a pretty low opinion of Gore-TEX® relative to the manufacturers claims. Don’t get me wrong, it does work to a point but it certainly isn’t everything it is cracked up to by the advertising. In shoes it has very limited value, it will fail at the toe crease after a few hundred miles of constant flexing.
Gore-TEX® will also fair very badly if you walk through long wet grass even for just a few minutes. This is why, for winter boots, I will always buy leather. You can reproof leather properly and the boots will last for years. Fabrics boots are for the bin after a couple of years of decent use.
There is an argument to just forget about waterproof summer shoes. If there are relatively few occasions that your feet are likely to get wet non waterproof shoes may be better. They breath better, they are cooler and they dry out much more quickly if you do get them wet.
I have found that these shoes have lasted about the same as any other trainer style walking shoes. It seems that if you can get 500-600 miles out of them, that’s about the best you can hope for. A year just doesn’t seem very long but in the days before Wilson, I would have taken several years to cover that sort of mileage and wouldn’t have questioned the durability.
Overall, they were a very comfortable pair of shoes and probably lasted about as long as could be reasonably expected. I would have bought another pair but discovered I qualify for 30% off the Adidas Terrex range with my Outdooractive subscription!
So, the next pair I have on the go are the Adidas Terrex AX4. This time I plan to track the mileage accurately using Strava. I normally use Outdooractive for hiking and walking as it has OS maps and great route planning and tracking. However, for quick daily walks Strava is great as you can log miles against different equipment, including shoes. Outdooractive has a great function where it will link to Strava and pull all your walks across, so you get totals in both.
Update on the Adidas Terrex AX4 to come.