Who should buy Merrell Wilderness

The backpacking boot by Merrell is a premium-priced boot for users who love wearing all-leather footwear during their multi-day adventures. This is an excellent purchase if:

  • You expect wet elements on the trail.
  • Protection from a high-cut boot is preferred

Merrell Wilderness logo

The Wilderness' outsole with cushioning features

Vibram’s Roccia outsole is the Wilderness’ response to tricky and slippery ground. Based on the Newflex compound (still by Vibram), this grippy layer goes beyond traction in that it also doubles down on comfort and contributes to the footgear’s cushioning and shock absorption

Merrell Wilderness outsole

Lug pattern specifically designed for outdoor adventures

Protrusions, more commonly known as lugs, cover the majority of the outsole’s surface. They are strategically positioned to give backpackers steady footing over rugged terrain. These protrusions are absent from the arch zone to make way for the outsole’s heel brake—a feature that gives wearers a level of control during descents. To minimize the occurrence of hydroplaning, Vibram engineers built this outsole with ample channels (tread voids or lug gaps) through which water may disperse. 

Merrell Wilderness lugs

Merrell Wilderness' shock-reducing midsole

Wilderness users got the boot’s sturdy yet cushy midsole to thank for getting a shock-protected backpacking experience. It is made of microporous rubber—a synthetic kind of elastomer that has strong resistance to heat, weathering, and degradation. The boot is also engineered with a part leather, part TPR (thermoplastic rubber) insole and a dual-density footbed for underfoot support and extra cushioning. 

Merrell Wilderness midsole

Durable, all-leather upper

The over-the-ankle Merrell Wilderness backpacking boot has a waterproof upper made chiefly of full-grain leather. It comes with no seams, even the usual gaps between the eyelet flaps and the (bellows) tongue are covered with a bridge material for a level of debris protection. The footwear’s interior is imbued with the Tesivel 3-bar knit lining. It provides a dry and comfortable in-shoe environment for the wearer by wicking away moisture from the inside out. 

Merrell Wilderness upper

Instead of regular eyelets or grommets, the Wilderness has a set of Italian metal hardware in the form of D-rings and speed hooks. They are riveted securely to the upper. Their noticeably beveled and buffed finish makes the synthetic laces move and adjust through them fairly easily. 

Merrell Wilderness leather upper

Merrell Wilderness upkeep

  • Light dirt on the Wilderness’s surface must be brushed away using a soft bristled brush. If extremely caked with dirt or mud, it must be washed with warm water and some mild soap.
  • This boot is resolable. Users can have the heavily worn sole unit replaced to extend the service life of the shoe.

Merrell Wilderness maintenance

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 794g
Use: Backpacking, Alpine
Cut: High cut
Features: Orthotic friendly / Removable insole / Heel brake
Waterproofing: Waterproof
Width: Normal
BRAND Brand: Merrell

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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.