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Gear Review: Merrell Verterra Waterproof Hiking Shoes
posted by John : December 1, 2014


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Not quite winter


NOTE: Purchasing through the affiliate links here and below will help support moosefish.com. Merrell provided gear for my review and use. All opinions are mine.

Unless this is your first time at moosefish.com you know that bad weather isn't much of a deterrent. We'll head out for adventures in the pouring rain, the driving snow, and the blistering heat. Here in the Northwest, we get some of those conditions more than others, but the point is we don't let the weather dictate when we get our outdoor time.

A big part of being able to go outside on our schedule is having gear that can stand up to the conditions. And since we're so often walking through mud or snow having footwear that can protect our feet is crucial.

The last time I had a pair of Merrell trail runners was years ago. I remember them as being extremely comfortable and capable on the trail, but having such a soft sole they wore out quickly. That was was years ago so I was eager to try a new pair of Merrell Verterra Waterproof "trail-responsive speed-hiking shoes."

Out of the box they fit just like a pair of comfortable tennis shoes. There was no stiffness or rubbing, just a sense of familiarity that made me want to rush out to the trail that very moment. Instead, I tested them in the harshest conditions I could think of.

The urban jungle.

The Verterra is a pretty respectable looking shoe for a trail runner. The leather upper and mostly subdued colors (I tested the Stone/Lime version) didn't stand out with a pair of khakis so I got away with wearing them around a very wet Seattle for a couple of days. Even in the office environment my feet never got hot or uncomfortable. (Plus I felt a sense of freedom in that I could bolt from the building if work got too hectic.)

My first opportunity to get the Verterras on trail wasn't in the sodden Northwest, but actually in the parched Southwest. I was scheduled to be in Las Vegas for a week and found time to hike with a friend in Calico Basin and the Gateway Canyon about 45 minutes off the Strip.

Aside from being blown away by the stunning scenery so different than what I'm used to I was thrilled at the grip the Verterras had on the smooth rock. It was my first experience canyoneering (though it won't be my last) and one lesson I took away was that traction is really important. The M Select GRIP sole did a great job as we scrambled down the canyon and eventually headed back to the flashing lights of the casinos.

From the desert Southwest it was back home to the rain and snow of the Northwest. I climbed to one of my favorite places, Lake Lillian to find some snow. The shoes kept me dry as I crossed creeks and mud down low and warm once I got into the snow at the lake.

I'd repeat this wet to cold pattern on Granite Mountain a week later where it was really cold and the snow was deeper, but the shoes did just as well. I had another great winter experience in Mount Rainier National Park climbing to Upper Crystal Lake with the kids.

I cheated one last time and wore the Verterras to work and they fit right in. Even though they'd seen more than 20 miles of trails, rocks, and snow they were still in good enough shape to pass for a rugged dress shoe at least on casual Friday.

At $140 MSRP the shoes are in line with most waterproof trail runners. They weight 1 lb. 6 oz. for the pair, which is a little lighter than the average, but not so much you'll really notice.

The big value to be found in the Merrell Verterra Waterproof hiking shoe is in its versatility. It's a great all-around shoe that performs in almost every condition.

Merrell Verterra are available at most major retailers. You can buy online through Backcountry.com and a portion of the proceeds will help support moosefish.com.

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