Last Thursday, I was planning a hike with my daughter. With less than 12 hours before we were to leave, I realized that I did not have any shoes to wear. While I have usually worn my Vibram FiveFingers, going up and down mountains in them do a number on my feet. It’s not so much the going up part as it is the coming down part that hurts my feet the most. I think it has to do with the fact that the pockets of the FiveFingers get jammed onto my toes and just compacts everything. I have been looking at getting a pair of Merrell Road Gloves to try as a hiking shoe, but their cost was a prohibitive factor. Fortunately, I discovered that REI was running a clearance sale on some shoes, so I rushed out the door with less than an hour before the store closed. On my way, the 52-West was closed and I had to go down an alternate route, but I still made it to the store with 15 minutes to spare. Finding what appeared to be the only pair of Merrells that were on sale, I asked for a pair in 9.5 size. The girl came back with one shoe, indicating that the display model was the last 9.5 they had in that style. I grabbed the shoe from the shelf and proceeded to try it on. It wasn’t long before I decided to go ahead and get them because they felt awesome on my feet.
The next day, out on the hike, I could not have asked for a better shoe. I should have been hesitant about wearing a brand new pair of shoes out hiking, but I was not disappointed in the least. These shoes did better than any other shoe that I’ve worn while hiking. My feet were a little sore on the way down, but I think that’s largely due to the fact that I haven’t been hiking as much this season as I did last year. After this last hike, though, I am sold on the Merrell brand. I’ll just have to scout out the sales when I’m looking for another pair.