Background: Why I Wrote this Merrell Accentor Sport Mid GTX Boots review
It was a particularly damning Hebridean downpour in November, the kind that you just accept will set in for ‘weeks’ rather than ‘hours’, I clenched my fists to wring out my gloves but there was nothing I could do about my wet feet until I got back to base. My Keen hiking boots (a sneakily cheaper boy’s size 5 purchase) were just not up to the job anymore after a good 4 years of service.
I should say that I am not a ‘professional’ hiker (is that even possible?) nor a reviewer of gear, but I realise that perhaps other people who just do ordinary things in wet and muddy places might also be looking to upgrade their footwear and might find my thoughts on the Merrell Accentor Sport GORE-TEX mid-boot useful.
Before I go on, I’d like to point the difference between these boots and the Merrell Accentor Sport GTX; the latter fits into the Merrell hiking shoes range, with a low cuff that gives less support than I need.
First thing to say is that living on a very tight budget, this felt like a big decision for me. My key requirements were comfort, having dry feet and very importantly, good grip. My Keens were wearing quite flat and on muddy hills were spectacularly useless, but the slippery experiences did provide an interesting added adrenaline rush and much hilarity/hysteria as I learnt to mud-surf.
I’ve used Merrell in the past and they have always been comfortable and durable, so it seemed like a good place to start when trying boots. I went for a GORE-TEX boot rather than hiking shoes hoping to avoid trench foot as experienced in November – it was only after reading up on my new boot of choice after purchasing them (nothing like the days of doing no research whatsoever and just choosing something on a whim, and then panic reading afterwards!) that I discovered that other people had found these boots quite leaky – let’s put them to the test.
At this point, I’d just like to say that James really loves his Moab 2 boots, but they’re too brown for me. Like most of his footwear…
…and back to the Accentors which have now done a good 6 weeks of British winter weather that has seen, massive rain, light snow/slight ice and of course, lots of mud! I think that’s more than enough walking time to write a review…
For boot nerds out there, apparently the women’s Accentor have a breathable GORE-TEX membrane that keeps feet dry inside and out (oh, let’s see!), they have a special Merrell rubber sole for extra grip (will I still be mud-surfing into 2022?) with 5mm deep studs, they weigh approx. 740g, there is a removeable, single-density footbed, bellows tongue, sticky outsole for grip on rocky terrain and molded arch shanks.
I am a shoe size UK 5, regular width foot. I chose not to go bigger and purchased the 5s although I planned to wear them with mid-thickness walking socks. The fit was perfect for me, no toe compression at the sides or front and even with two pairs of socks, they do not feel cramped.
The sides of the boots come to mid-ankle and initially I was worried that there was a slight rub on one of my outside ankle bones, but this disappeared with some tighter lacing of the top of the boot.
Tending to turn my ankles from old injuries, I feel Merrell Accentor Sport Mid GTX boots give good support and so far, they have kept my feet and ankles secure and in align.
I have not tried these boots on very rocky steep terrain yet, but being of quite small build I prefer a good flex in my footwear to begin with, otherwise it can feel like very hard work to break them in. From the get-go, these Merrell Accentors did not need breaking in and had a good flexibility without losing any stability.
They have the right amount of give to enjoy that immediate comfort effect, but I would like to test them on more challenging terrain as I wonder if there’s any compromise on durability on steep rocky ground.
An important one for me. I have been so far really impressed with the performance of these boots in terms of their traction. It has been really wet and muddy in the past few weeks and I have not once skidded or slipped across any path. They have felt solid and reliable glancing uphill and skipping down, without so much as a wobble.
It’s a weird thing to say but it’s amazing how slipping easily can affect your confidence when out and about (look people, I’m only in my 40s but women are just going through some ‘stuff’ at this age as any female reader over 40 will know!), particularly when a fall is more costly for our bodies to repair as we age. I am happy to say that with these boots I have regained my confidence on different terrain and have now once more found my purposeful strides restored.
Testing the Merrell Accentors in the bleak, flooded fields (January 2021)
So far, so good! I’ve only had these boots about 6 weeks but have been testing them out daily and today I was walking (kind of hiking) through hugely flooded fields. The only damp I had was from splashes over the top of the boots when wading through boggy land, my socks were nice and dry on my return home – I was overjoyed with this and so far, I have not experienced any leakage at all through the front when the boot flexes (which is apparently where other people are experiencing it).
I will be looking to test them further as the winter progresses and wonder how they would manage in the North-Western downpours – a great place to explore – that we get in the UK where my boot angst really took a hold late last year.
I once owned a pairs of hiking shoes and whilst they give good grip and a smooth ride, the biggest irriation was the amount of water that managed to find a way in.
I have a particular bugbear about women’s outdoor clothing, shoes and footwear often being designed with purple, pink or turquoise trims – just why? Personally, I try and avoid at all costs and the fact these boots are in a sharp black, grey and red design I think looks really good and not at all diminishing.
They are suitably and reassuringly tough looking without being overly ‘clunky’ and the toe-cap blends well into the design without being too obvious.
Verdict: thoughts on the Women’s Merrell Accentor Sport boots
This was a hugely expensive purchase for me, but as a daily walker and, when the chance comes, sometime hiker, the right boots become increasingly important. Although I’m not yet ready to brace myself to look at December’s bank statement – overall I feel so glad to have brought these boots, they are making my winter feel comfortable and allowing me to enjoy being outside as often as possible.
My personal circumstance is quite restricted, and I seldom go to remote places to hike, for me these boots represent a sense of freedom in that when I do get a chance to escape across the flooded fields, muddy woodland or even just the grey ring road, I can do so feeling dry, comfortable and upright at all times thanks to the Merrell Accentor GTX mid construction and support. What more could I ask for?Table could not be displayed.