I received a pair of Women’s Siren Sport Omni-Fit shoes a few months ago and have been testing them ever since. By coincidence I also received a pair of the waterproof version of these shoes, the Siren Sport XCR Gore-Tex, as well when I went on the Gore trip so I’ll include a few comments on those as well.
“Wow!” I said when I first put these shoes on. They felt so light I checked to make sure they hadn’t given me running shoes instead. They were also immediately comfortable. These are easily the most comfortable shoes I have ever been hiking in.
How I tested these shoes
Ove the course of approximately two months, I wore them:
- on a 3 day trip in Joshua Tree National Park in hot weather
- to local crags with approach hikes from 30 to 45 minutes in length (one way) over varied terrain and including a wet rock traverse and a bouldering climb approach
- on a 5 day Joshua Tree trip in cold weather
- occasionally out on errands, city walking
I also wore the Gore-Tex version on city streets in Philadelphia while on a scavenger hunt and at my local crag as well as around town in the rain and while at a damp climbing area in Northern California (short approach mainly on dirt and it had rained the day before).
Pros and Cons
- Weight (11 oz for a size 7 shoe). These are so light it’s amazing. I would definitely bring these on a multipitch climb as the shoes are not only light but I feel I can squish them down better to fit in my pack.
- Grip. The Vibram TC5+ rubber soles had sufficient grip for me, at times I felt the grip performance was indistinguishable from my pair of 5.10 Insight shoes. However, I felt I could slip on the wet river rock on a local area rock traverse. I’m not sure how the 5.10s would have fared though, as the rock there is usually not wet (so I didn’t get to test that with my Insights).
- Shoe shape. I feel the shape of the shoe fits my feet better than others I’ve had, they don’t seem unnecessarily bulky, particularly around the widest part of my the foot. I have what I believe to be a regular foot width, at least according to those shoe measuring devices you can find in some shoe stores, yet in some hiking/approach shoes I feel like I have too much width in certain parts of the shoe.
- Lugs. I’ve been wary of the trend in approach shoes that has just round circles on the bottom of the shoe instead of lugs. I always feel more sketched out on loose dirt than on rock surfaces and so I like a bit of depth to the bottom of my shoes.
- Little details. I love the pull up straps, the loop is wide! This made it easier to put my fingers through them to pull my shoes on (could even do it with thin gloves on) but it also made it easier to put a carabiner through my shoes as well. I also like the shoelaces, perhaps because of the semi flat design, they seem to stay tied more often compared to a pair of other shoes I own with completely rounded laces.
- Strange design detail on top of the toe area shows wear easily. On the outer part of the shoe (the non waterproof version of the shoe that is) there is a raised ridge around the toe of the foot which also continues along some of the sides (you can see it in the picture I’ve included, taken early during testing). It does not seem to serve any functional purpose but is just decorative. However, this decorative touch is showing some wear after a few months of use. Granted, I did wear these shoes in Joshua Tree and did a bunch of scrambling including going up a downclimb and wedging my feet in a few cracks. But I think if the shoes didn’t have the ridges they wouldn’t show as much wear as quickly since the rest of the shoe was fine.
- Sizing. Sizing seems slightly small. That may be my foot though. However I think for Merrell shoes I’d go one half size higher so I could wear thicker socks (or wear a sock with a liner).
- Wet grip. See my note above, but I had to be very careful on a wet rock traverse (not to be confused with stream rock hopping, this was a large rock formation that we traverse across to get around a pond). This may be an unfair “con” since I am not sure what shoe would’ve performed well enough to not make me feel like I might slip. Note, that I did not actually slip, just felt that it was a possibility.
I wore these shoes in a decent range of temperatures and I didn’t really think about my feet during either extreme. To me that’s a good sign. As I already explained, I prefer approach shoes with at least a little bit of a lug on them so when I say these shoes are light that’s in relation to other hiking shoes, I do own a pair of Evolv approach shoes with low profile sticky rubber buttons on the bottom but I have yet to bring them on a long approach as I am always more concerned about the hike than the down climb on rock (I’m talking things like Tahquitz for those of you familiar with that long hike in).
I’d take these shoes on my next backpacking trip (or the Gore-tex version which is quite similar though they lack the decorative ridge I mentioned). I tend to backpack in light hikers though so your mileage may vary if you generally prefer more serious backpacking shoes with ankle support.
One last thing, the shoes come with an Ortholite® anatomical footbed that is supposed to resist odor. So far that seems to be no problem. I was more concerned with the feel and support. I wear Superfeet insoles with another pair of my shoes but I left the Sirens with the default insoles and so far I have no complaints.
So there you go, a few words about my Merrell’s. I wore my first pair of Merrell’s down until they were almost flat. I have a feeling I’ll be using these similarly.