Warm feet when the ground is frozen is a luxury not to be taken lightly. Through the snow of this Dunedin winter, I have experienced this luxury. Merrell’s new Aurora boots will keep your feet warm, dry and stable beneath you. They are well padded and I found them comfortable from the get-go, yet not too bulky or heavy: 1050g for the pair.
Tidy enough to wear to work on frosty days, the boot’s flat profile keeps the ‘Arctic Grip’ sole in maximum contact with the ground; this provides traction on frost, snow, and wet, slippery surfaces. ‘Arctic Grip’ is a textured rubber, designed by Italian outsole manufacturer, Vibram, specifically for wet ice, and I found these boots to have better traction than most in winter conditions. It is difficult to go for a slide even if you are trying to.
They were ideal boots for exploring snow-covered tracks on short day walks and for getting around on the ski fields.
While the boots’ overall soft design increases comfort, the soft soles can make them a bit more tiring for feet on longer trips and steep hills.They can also get too warm once the sun comes out.
Not once did my feet get wet though while wearing the boots. However, the rubber design means that, once in, water is not going to get back out easily.
I did enjoy the gimmick of having a boot that could tell when it was cold enough to be icy. The ‘thermochromatic’ lug on the sole did indeed go blue in icy temperatures. Which once allowed me to divine the presence of ice before getting out of the tent in the morning, but the practical application of this feature is limited.
The Aurora performs well as a general use winter boot in most situations but they are not a designated tramping boot.