Arc'teryx flexes design muscle with this shoe, bringing unique construction to this category. A thermoformed, seamless one piece upper is mated to a stretchy “Adaptive Fit” inner bootie to create a sock like fit that effectively eliminates foot to shoe friction. The injection molded EVA midsole and molded foot bed offer great support and impact protection but the corresponding stiffness hinders climbing ability of the Acrux FL.
Support/Stability The Arc’teryx Acrux FL’s support is rooted in the stiff midsole and three dimensionally formed foot bed. Combined, these form a cradle for the foot and a stable feeling within the shoe. Secure edging and ability to carry heavier loads are also a product of the stiffer midsole. The heel drop is quite high for an approach shoe, at 14mm, and combined with a narrower last, creates some lateral instability compared to other approach shoes.
Protection The combination of materials and midsole stiffness allows the Arc’teryx Acrux FL to protect feet well. The one-piece polyurethane coated nylon mesh upper provides great abrasion resistance, as there are no seams to catch, making gliding off obstacles more likely. The tongue free inner stretch liner provides some impact padding and deflection as it can move independently of the upper when forced. The relatively stiff midsole and substantial rubber toe and heel caps also provide welcome defense against underfoot stones and the inevitable stubbing. The hydrophobic mesh upper provided surprising protection against light precipitation and proved warm enough for shoulder season use.
Comfort The Arc’teryx Acrux FL’s inner bootie provides a sock like feel and mitigates friction, providing great comfort in terms of skin. Both the midsole and outer upper are stiff, hindering flexibility and creating pressure points; they did improve over time, but are still noticeable after ample break in. One minor nick of the inner bootie: more care must be taken placing the foot into the shoe.
Quality and Construction The Arc’teryx Acrux FL has a smooth and seamless upper; all items are thermolaminated resulting in ultra clean bonding and appearance and zero edges to catch or abrade. Single stitches on the inner bootie are tightly spaced, tensioned and straight. The shoe displays the utmost care in material choices and construction techniques.
Performance A custom patterned Vibram Mega Grip sole graces the Arc’teryx Acrux FL and traction on rocky, dry surfaces was excellent. The stiff midsole proved worthy under heavy loads on rough trails but the shallow lug pattern of the outsole struggled whenever the trail was muddy. The toe portion of the sole has a flattened climbing zone that aided both edging and smearing, but stiffness and lack of sensitivity severely hampered climbing ability and confidence. Think of this shoe as a light hiker turned approach shoe.
Seiji Ishii works as a trainer to professional supercross/motocross riders, adventure riding test editor at Dirt Rider Magazine and an AMGA certified rock climbing guide/instructor for White Star Mountain Guides/Austin Rock Gym. He lives in Wimberley, TX with wife Shay, 3 year old daughter Sequoia, 3 dogs and a cat. His personal time is spent rock climbing, any form of dirt biking, cycling, and training for the next mountaineering adventure.