Gear Review: Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoes

Hiking and Backpacking Shoes
Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX
$185, 1 lb. 11 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-13, women’s 5-10

The trend toward lighter footwear for hiking and backpacking has generally improved the offerings available—but has also produced a lot of shoes that, frankly, lack the support and cushion for rugged dayhiking or lightweight backpacking. Curious to discover whether the new Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX could hold up to hard use, I wore them on a six-day, 74-mile backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon—which included the very rugged Escalante Route—on which I carried upwards of 40 pounds (a substantial portion of it water). And guess what? Despite falling within the weight class of trail-running shoes, these shoes delivered the performance of a boot at least a half-pound heavier.

Don’t mistake the trail-runner weight and pedigree of the Aerios FL Mid for an indicator of flimsy footwear. A compressed EVA midsole and an integrated TPU shank in the midfoot provide a really nice balance between having nearly as much forefoot flex as a running shoe and the lateral rigidity, support, and cushion of a burlier hiking shoe, plus protection underfoot against rocks and roots. Molded foam around the cuff rises just high enough to protect the ankle bones.


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Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX shoes.
Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX.

The medium-volume fit features plenty of toe space, plus a midfoot and firm, supportive heel cup that prevent any forward slipping when going downhill, eliminating the friction that can breed blisters. Even though we carried heavy packs for 43 hard miles in just the first three days of our Grand Canyon trek—in temps that pushed into the nineties—my feet remained in pristine condition at the end of the trip. That speaks volumes about the fit of these shoes, given the heat, mileage, and my pack weight.

I wouldn’t normally take waterproof-breathable shoes on a dry, hot trip like in the Grand Canyon, but I was eager to test their stability, support, and comfort for backpacking with a moderately heavy load in rugged terrain, so this trip was perfect for them in that respect. Breathability was actually pretty good for a waterproof shoe, thanks to the Cordura mesh uppers: My feet did not get steamy until temperatures rose into the 70s under a hot desert sun. And the Gore-Tex membrane kept water out when I stood for minutes in shallow creeks to test the shoes.

Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX .
Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX .

The Aerios FL Mid are light enough for dayhiking andtough enough for any trail: In the Grand Canyon, I wore the Aerios on a pair of dayhikes from our camp for two nights at Tanner Beach on the Colorado River, one a six-miler, the other an 18-mile, rugged out-and-back hike on the Beamer Trail. I also wore these shoes on local dayhikes in the Boise Foothills, on which they felt as comfortable as sneakers.

Durability seems respectable for such a lightweight shoe, mostly due to TPU overlays and a toe cap protecting high-wear areas of the uppers. But the exposed, soft midsole foam showed wear and tear along the lateral sides of both shoes; those spots could potentially wear more quickly than the outsole, which is often the part of a shoe that ages the fastest. But the Vibram Megagrip outsole on the Aerios FL Mid is similar or the same as what you’d see on many similar hiking shoes: It has decent grip on rock and shallow, widely spaced, multi-directional lugs that bit well in loose dirt. The shoes gave me confidence when we scrambled up the very steep and loose talus and scree in Papago Canyon on the Escalante Route.


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Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX.
Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX.

The Verdict

The Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX delivers unusually strong support and cushion for a shoe in its weight class, making it ideal for lightweight or ultralight backpacking or dayhiking in any terrain.

The low-cut version is the Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX ($170), also in men’s and women’s sizes.

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See all of my reviews of hiking shoes and backpacking boots that I like, my reviews of hiking gear and backpacking gear, and my “Pro Tips For Buying the Right Boots.”

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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.

—Michael Lanza




The Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX delivers unusually strong support and cushion for a shoe in its weight class, making it ideal for lightweight or ultralight backpacking or dayhiking in any terrain.


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Leave a Comment

6 thoughts on “Gear Review: Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Shoes”

  1. Thank you! Very informative and just what I needed to take the next step. I live in Sedona, so I know of what you speak! Extremely thorough and you really put the products through the paces!
    Thank you again!
    I look forward to following you.

  2. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the review. It does seem like some substantial wear on the midsole foam, was that just after that one journey? 80 miles through the Grand Canyon? I get the compromise for the light weight, but it would seem the Vibram would surely outlast the effective life of that midsole.



    • Hi Tone,

      It’s a good question to consider. I wouldn’t describe the wear and tear as “substantial;” you can see in the photos above the extent of the damage, the midsole foam is a bit chewed up. It’s curious that Arc’teryx armored the toe and uppers of the shoes so well, yet left this area of the shoe that can suffer significant abuse on the trail so relatively unprotected. I did some dayhiking in them besides the 80-mile Grand Canyon hike, which represented the bulk of my testing, and the GC can certainly be hard on footwear, but so can other places.

      Honestly, many lightweight shoes in this category are going to be good for 500 to 700 miles of hard use, before you see the midsole get packed out or damaged on the exposed sides (the kind of damage we’re discussing here), or the outsole wear significantly. I think the Aerios FL Mid will probably go that far, although the midsole foam may suffer more wear than the outsole.

      I do think this Achilles heel of the Aerios FL does not diminish its strengths. However, if you want a more durable shoe or boot, there are models within this price range that are more durable; they’re also usually heavier, too. See all of my reviews of hiking shoes and backpacking boots.

      Hope that answer helps. There’s certainly variably in wear patterns, not least depending on where you typically hike. Good luck.

  3. Thanks for reviewing these shoes — seems as though they aren’t super ‘popular’ yet since this is one of the few reviews I’ve seen. Looks like a solid lightweight shoe that’s quite versatile and reasonably priced, especially considering they’re Arc’teryx. Do you recommend these for a relatively light 25 lb load over 4 days? I’d prefer staying away from midweight clunkers whenever possible (which isn’t always the case).

    • Hi David, yes, I would recommend these shoes for lightweight backpacking, they’re excellent for that. As I wrote above, I carried up to about 40 pounds at times while wearing them, and although that might not work for everyone, I’m very confident 25 to 35 pounds is within the comfort range for these shoes.