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73% say it's true to size.
Overview of this review
Merrell Bravada notable features
-The Merrell Bravada shoes are made with ballistic knit uppers that offer protection, flexibility, and support without the added bulk.
-It has a cushiony and durable midsole designed for women that efficiently absorbs shock.
-Lastly, it's equipped with the Merrell Quantum Grip rubber outsole that provides mountain-grade traction on wet or dry terrain, particularly rocky trails.
Size and fit
Constructed using a gender-specific last, this hiker is meant to provide the fit and comfort female hikers need. The stretchy knit upper offers a sock-like fit just like a sneaker and a comfort collar that hugs the ankle without stiffness or pinch points. It also comes with a removable contoured insole for flexible support and a traditional lace closure for a secure fit.
With a lug depth of 5mm, the aggressive outsole of the Bravada hiker is expected to survive challenging terrains, including muddy trails, loose dirt, and rocky boulders. The lugs are also multidirectional for enhanced grip on wet and slick surfaces. At the same time, it's high-traction outsole also suits concrete surfaces, such as those in urban settings.
For the midsole, this shoe uses EVA - a very lightweight yet durable foam that has good shock-absorbing qualities and a high bounce rate. Made of thousands of air bubbles compressed together, there is no wonder why EVA makes an ideal cushioning material for hiking shoes. Specifically, it is ideal for female feet because generally, women's feet are more prone to fatigue.
Lots of good things can be noticed on the shoe upper. One is the quality knit fabric that stretches and hugs the foot like a glove. Another is the Merrell Air Cushion in the heel which absorbs shock and keeps the shoe stable. One downside though is that this shoe doesn't have a waterproof lining. Thus, it is more suited for hiking in the summer. The Merrell Bravada also features a removable footbed that is contoured to the foot for added support and comfort.
The tongue is attached to the upper, preventing the entry of debris. Completing the upper is a traditional lace-up closure for a secure fit.
Merrell Bravada vs. Merrell Siren 3 Ventilator
Both these hiking shoes from Merrell are specifically designed for women. They are built using gender-specific lasts to ensure that each pair perfectly matches a woman's feet. The Bravada and the Siren 3 Ventilator are both non-waterproof models which means they are highly breathable and perfect for summer hikes. They also fall within the same price range.
Nonetheless, they have distinct features that set them apart from each other.
Style. While both these models are low-cut styles, the Bravada shoe has a sleeker construction. The collar is cut much lower than the ankle but the tongue is longer, providing ample coverage on top. This model is a great choice for hikers who want a sleek shoe that nevertheless provides enough protection. On the other hand, the Bravada hiker features a bulkier constriction. Both the collar and tongue are well-padded for extra cushioning and there are webbing loops to support the structure of the upper. It makes a nice option for hikers who want more cushioning and support around their ankles.
Weight. In terms of lightness, the Siren 3 Ventilator is slightly ahead. Despite looking bulkier than the Bravada, it remains super lightweight. Perhaps the reason why the Bravada is slightly heavier (although it still remains lightweight for its class) is the addition of other features, such as the Merrell Air Cushion in the heel.
Use. If you're looking for a woman-specific hiker that you can use in moderately challenging to rugged terrain, the Bravada fits the bill as it offers more traction. Thanks to the Quantum Grip - a mountain-grade outsole designed by Vibram, this shoe is aggressive enough to tackle varying terrain, from hard-packed surfaces to soft mud. This hiker also has deeper lugs as compared to the Siren 3 Ventilator. Note, however, that both these models aren't waterproof so they may not be suitable for harsh weather conditions.