Merrell M2 Blast Waterproof
Use: Hiking/Light hiking
Break-in Period: ?
Price Paid: +/ -$140 (2 model yrs ago)
These are probably the best hikers i've owned. They're bombproof, and with proper care can look almost new for years. Mine are about 3 yrs old and look and feel post break-in new. They're VERY waterproof all the way up and down, and breathe relatively well. They go on and off very easily. The only drawback i've noticed is that after a few days of consecutive wear, they tend to induce some sore muscle spots or hotspots on the feet that have gone blister a time or two (a permanent, post break-in condition for these boots). It seems to me that there is some subtle structural stiffness, probably associated with the heavy-duty construction of the boot, which is probably responsible for this mild disagreeability to my achy dogs.
These are nice day-hiking and light hiking wheels, and great for sploshing through puddles and muck. Beware of the fully H2Oproof boot, however, as is some applications this attribute may work against you. I made the mistake of making these my primary treds for a 10 day Boundary Waters journey, thinking, "lotsa water, I'll bring the waterproof." Made sense at the time, until I was reminded of the obvious, that waterproof boots are only waterproof for as high as the boot goes. After that, these boots are as good at holding water IN as they are at keeping it out. I spent the remaining 8 days of that trip carrying an 60 Lb, 18 ft canoe over slippery rocks and through mud wearing a pair of Tevas. At least Tevas actually dry out.
Use: heavy boots
Break-in Period: a few days
Weight: 3 lbs
Price Paid: $120-130
Good boots, especially since it has been waterproofed, but additional waterproofing is needed from time to time since it tends to permit a little moisture inside after a while. Has the same features as the M2 Blast, agrresive Vibram soles, ridged toes, and just required a few days of breaking in, if used to wearing mixed (leather/fabric boots).
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