9 best Merrell hiking boots

Based on reviews from 13 experts and 2,937 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Merrell hiking boots. Updated Jan 2019.

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Going on a hike is far more physically demanding than most sports. No matter how fun it is, hiking will test the limits of your body. The same can be said for the gear you’re using. Every piece of clothing, storage item, and survival equipment should last during and after a hike. Otherwise, your performance and safety are at risk. One particular gear that should be prioritized is your footwear. In this aspect, a pair of Merrell hiking boots can go a long way during your outdoor adventures.

  • Lightweight hiking bootsThe brand offers hiking boots that weigh less than 1 kilogram per pair. They’re perfect for everyday hiking through short distances. Merrell’s lightweight hiker, the Moab 2 Mid GTX, is regarded as one of the best boots in this category.
  • Backpacking boots. Heavier and sturdier boots are needed if you’re a backpacker by nature. Merrell’s boot offerings help you perform better and keep your feet protected. The Merrell Phaserbound Waterproof falls under this category.

Reasons to shop for Merrell hiking boots

best Merrell hiking boots

Best Merrell hiking boots - July 2018

  • Merrell has a line of products for different needs on the trail. They have boots for day hiking, backpacking and winter adventures.
  • Merrell takes care of your feet on the trail by applying technologies that protect you, improve your performance and give you comfort.
  • Merrell is an expert at producing hiking boots of excellent quality. They have the iconic Moab line and their Wilderness boot still stands strong from its conception until today.
  • The brand offers quality boots at reasonable prices.
  • Merrell has offerings that cater to specific foot needs. They have normal and wide widths available. There are also ones that specifically cradles the unique contours of a woman’s foot.

Advantages you’ll gain from a pair of Merrell hiking boots

From day hikes to multi-day treks, a pair of Merrell hiking boots can meet your expectations. The brand’s boots offer a number of benefits that will help you hike better.

Stability and support

Merrell’s midsoles are designed to cushion your foot over different ground conditions. This component minimizes shock and impact every time you take a step. The brand usually uses EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate. It is a soft, flexible and lightweight component.

Shanks are another reason why Merrell hiking boots are great on a trail. This piece of hard plastic, nylon, or steel is sandwiched between a midsole and outsole to provide more stability. They’re also useful in lessening calf fatigue and shielding your feet from puncture wounds.

A number of Merrell hiking boots use contoured footbeds to provide zonal arch and heel support. These boots also come with an air cushion in the heel section to absorb excess shock. They’re great in reducing foot fatigue and increasing your endurance on the trail.

Merrell hiking boots are essential when you’re carrying a heavy backpack. The added load on your back can affect your balance, especially on uneven surfaces. The boot’s ankle coverage protects you from sudden twisting or bending that could lead to a sprain. The footwear’s cuff helps lock your heel in place when you’re ascending.

Is ankle flexibility important?

Ankle flexibility is handy when you’re climbing up and down a slope. Less ankle restriction means you have more freedom to move around. But this is only important if you’re not carrying a heavy pack. The added weight on your back calls for more ankle support from your footwear. You’re better off with hiking shoes if the weight you’re carrying is manageable.

Comfort and fit

Comfort is the key to your performance on the trail. Merrell hiking boots are designed to be comfortable so you can focus on the challenges ahead.  You’ll notice right away how cozy your feet are in them. The boot features a contoured footbed that bolsters your every step. The cushioned collar and bellows tongue wrap around the ankle area softly. The brand’s lightweight hikers use mesh uppers to cool down your foot on a hot day. All of this boot components work together to make your hike a comfortable one.

Merrell hiking boots are made to fit you perfectly. You’ll get just the right amount of snug so your hike won’t be affected. There’s a refined insole with a molded heel cup to hold your foot in place too. Here are some additional fitting tips you should keep in mind:

  • Your toes should have enough room to wiggle inside a boot. This is needed to prevent your toes from rubbing against the boot’s forefoot section during a descent.
  • Make sure your heels are secure when ascending.
  • Lean from side to side when you fit a boot. This is a good way to check if your ankles are comfortable. Better look for another boot if they feel suffocated.

What about breaking in these boots?

Depending on their classification, Merrell hiking boots have different break-in periods. Lightweight hiking boots can be worn right out of the box. Heavier boots use stiffer materials so they can’t be used right away. They need some time to sync with your feet. To do that, you’ll need to break these boots in first. Here are some handy tips to remember:

  • Make sure you have your hiking socks on. Before anything else, you need to put on your preferred hiking socks. This will give a true feel of the boots as you’re breaking them in.
  • Wear them first in a controlled environment. Walk around in your house to see how these Merrell hiking boots hold up. Once you’ve done that, you can go out and walk for a block or two in them. The key here is to gradually increase the time and distance until these boots have softened up.
  • Monitor your feet. Be attentive to pain and discomfort when a new pair is being broken in. If you have spent some time in these boots and there are lingering issues, you might need to check with a footwear specialist. You can also ask for help from the store that sold you these Merrell hiking boots. It’s crucial to solve these issues before going on your next trip.
  • Don’t take any shortcuts. Avoid soaking your new Merrell hiking boots in water to soften them up. You’re just going to ruin them. Plus, don’t use these boots to walk for long distances. Your feet will definitely be sore afterward.

Durability

When the going gets tough, your footwear must rise to the occasion. Merrell’s line of hiking boots is designed to endure constant use. Each boot component is made from high-quality materials to last long.

  • Hiking boots made by Merrell are infused with tough uppers. The brand’s lightweight hikers usually have a combination of suede leather and mesh. This combination balances durability, breathability, and weight. Some of Merrell’s backpacking boots come with full-grain leather uppers to provide maximum protection and abrasion-resistance. Leather also adds to the overall style of a boot by making it look more rugged. Merrell also combines TPU overlays with mesh. These rib cage-like component gives structure to the upper.
  • Midsoles by Merrell can withstand constant impacts to cushion your every step.
  • The outsole is always the ones with direct ground contact. They need to be durable to last longer. Merrell hiking boots are fitted with sturdy outsoles to accomplish this feat. They’re made of high-performance rubber so they won’t wear out easily.

What are the benefits of leather during hikes?

Leather is a common upper material used in some Merrell hiking boots. The brand uses several variants of leather for its footwear. These are:

  • Full-grain leather possesses great resistance to abrasion and water. Merrell hiking boots with this type of leather upper are ideal for wet climates, rugged terrains, and backpacking trips.
  • Nubuck leather is a buffed-down version of full-grain leather. It’s less durable but the material still possesses good water and abrasion resistance.
  • Suede leather is often used in conjunction with mesh fabrics. Merrell hiking boots with suede uppers are very light and portable. However, they’re not as good in abrasive ground conditions as full-grain leather boots.

As opposed to synthetic uppers, leather is heavier and stiffer. Leather boots require more time to be broken in. The added weight can lessen your comfort on the trail as well. They’re also more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. If you’re going to hike in a harsher environment, Merrell hiking boots with leather uppers are the ideal choice. Otherwise, go for a hiking shoe instead.

Traction

One of the reasons to get Merrell hiking boots is for improved traction. In contrast with hiking shoes and hiking sandals, a boot’s outsole has a more aggressive lug pattern. Look underneath and you’ll notice how deep its lugs are. The depth of these lugs is responsible for biting into surfaces so you won’t slip. They’re also helpful in shedding off debris under the boot as you move.

The outsole’s tread pattern also incorporates varied shapes in different directions. Look carefully and you’ll see circles, triangles, and square-shaped lugs underneath. These shapes help you move better in certain directions along a trail.

What should I know about Vibram?

The best Merrell hiking boots are equipped with Vibram outsoles to ensure maximum grip. Outsoles produced by this Italian company are highly-regarded by hikers for their traction and durability. Vibram started in 1937 and their products have endured the test of time. Their outsoles are also found in work boots, sneakers, running shoes, and watersports footwear. Consumers can even take their worn out footgear and have it replaced with new Vibram outsoles for a reasonable price.

Protection

The brand’s hikers are remarkable when it comes to protection. There are boots fitted with a rubber toe cap to protect you from sudden bumps. Some have a bellows tongue to keep debris (sometimes water, if the boot has a waterproof design) from entering the boot. The best Merrell hiking boots have a waterproof lining to keep your feet dry. All of these protective features help keep you safe so you can enjoy your hike.

Reasons why Merrell hiking boots are in demand

Popularity

Merrell hiking boots are a common sight in any outdoor gear store. In fact, they’re being sold in over 150 countries all over the world. For more than 30 years, outdoor enthusiasts have relied on the brand’s hiking boots for their adventures. When the first Merrell hiking boots came out in 1981, they were instantly regarded by Backpacker Magazine as the best at the time.

Since then, the brand has continued to improve their footgear. A testament to the brand’s excellence is a number of awards garnered over the years. For instance, Footwear Magazine bestowed its Design Excellence Award for Outdoor Footwear to Merrell last 2013. The company also won this prestigious award in 2009, 2008, and 2007.

Pricing

If you’re crazy about exploring the outdoors, investing in a pair of quality hiking boots is a must. The brand’s footgear comes loaded with technologies to enhance performance and provide protection. Merrell hiking boots are priced higher to compensate for these features. Top-of-the-line boots are priced at $170 while entry-level options start at $110. If there’s a sale going on, you can even get Merrell hiking boots at a lower price. You can check the brand’s Sale page to see which products are discounted.

Shoe technologies

Merrell boot technologies help improve your hiking performance. They also add to the overall comfort and protection of the brand’s hiking boots. When these features come together, you can expect a better hiking experience.

M-Select Grip. Some Merrell hiking boots use an M-Select Grip outsole to supply traction. The brand’s patented technology is designed to stabilize your movement over mixed terrain conditions.

Vibram. Vibram outsoles are usually found in premium Merrell hiking boots. They’re extremely grippy on various ground conditions. Vibram-equipped boots help secure your footing even on the most treacherous trails.

M-Select Dry. Select Merrell hiking boots endowed with M-Select Dry keep water away from your feet. This technology uses a moisture-wicking feature to cool your feet as well.

Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is the standard when it comes to waterproofness. This technology keeps your foot dry and comfy using a twofold approach. First, the fabric’s microscopic pore design blocks water. Second, it’s exceptional in venting moisture from the boot. There are Merrell hiking boots that feature a Gore-Tex membrane to deliver water protection and breathability.

How can Gore-Tex membranes be both breathable and waterproof?

It’s actually quite simple. The membrane’s surface is filled with nine billion microscopic pores per square inch. These pores are smaller than water droplets but large enough for moisture to pass through them. This microscopic design protects your feet from water and keeps them ventilated simultaneously.

M-Select Fit.Eco. This is Merrell’s proprietary EVA contoured footbed technology. Footwear fitted with M-Select Fit.Eco improve cushioning. This technology also combats odor-causing microbes produced by sweat to help your Merrell hiking boots prevent the unpleasant smell.

Ventilated. Lightweight Merrell hiking boots use mesh fabric uppers. This material allows air to circulate and make your foot comfortable during the hottest hikes. It also lets moisture out from inside the boot.

M-Select Warm. Merrell’s solution to cold feet is their patented M-Select Warm technology. This form of insulation traps heat inside a boot to keep your feet warm. Merrell hiking boots designed for winter trips are imbued with this technology.

Tips on how to choose the best Merrell hiking boots

  • Do your research first. Before getting new hikers, you need to determine some important things first. What kind of outdoor activity are you going to undertake? Are there streams or rivers along the trail? Are you going to carry a backpack? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can then get the appropriate footwear for your trip.
  • Wear your hiking socks when fitting a new pair of boots. Getting the exact fit from your Merrell hiking boots isn’t possible if you’re not wearing the right kind of socks. Ditch your everyday socks and wear something you actually use on a hike. This way, you’ll have an idea of how a boot fits with your preferred socks.
  • Try to fit a boot in the afternoon. Your foot swells a little after 3 PM. Fitting a boot in the afternoon ensures you get the right size. Don’t worry because your feet will return to normal after some time.
  • Check online stores for great deals. Online shopping offers a lot of benefits. One of which is getting a discount from the total price. Be on the lookout for discount codes or wait until an online store slashes their prices. In this way, you’ll get a lot of value from a new pair of Merrell hiking boots. RunRepeat has partnered with various online retailers to present you the best deals.
  • Always check the quality. Some Merrell hiking boots have loose stitches in them. You need to be vigilant in checking every inch of a boot so nothing goes wrong on your trip.

Frequently asked questions about Merrell hiking boots

Is it easy to find Merrell hiking boots online?

Looking for the brand’s hikers isn’t hard at all. You can check from their official website or find their shoes from various online hiking gear stores. If you’re going to take this route, make sure to review their exchange policy first. Some online shops make this process easy if a defect is found.

How can I best preserve my Merrell hiking boots?

To keep your Merrell hiking boots trail-ready in the coming years, you can follow these simple steps.

  • Always clean them after a hike. Wash your Merrell hiking boot using a mild soap and warm water. Rinse until all the soap are washed off. Surface dirt can be easily removed with a soft brush.
  • Dry the laces and insole separately. After washing your Merrell hiking boots, remove the insole and laces so they can dry faster.
  • Apply a treatment solution. The leather on your Merrell hiking boots wears down in time. Applying a treatment solution to the upper preserves them. Use only the treatments that are appropriate for the materials of your Merrell hiker.

What’s a good add-on to my Merrell hiking boots?

Rainy weather and wet trails can be present during your trip. A waterproof hiking boot alone won’t be able to protect you competently. Your solution is to wear gaiters. They are worn over your pants and strapped on the boots. They prevent water from trickling down into your footgear and causing all kinds of mayhem there.

9 best Merrell hiking boots

  1. Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX
  2. Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
  3. Merrell Wilderness
  4. Merrell All Out Blaze 2 Mid Waterproof
  5. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid
  6. Merrell Chameleon 7 Limit Mid Waterproof
  7. Merrell Phaserbound Waterproof
  8. Merrell Moab FST 2 Mid Waterproof
  9. Merrell Coldpack ICE+ Mid Polar Waterproof
This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a CoreScore.
CoreScore
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78. More...