User Review: Merrell Ridgeline (Women's)
Use: Heavy backpacking/mountaineering
Break-in Period: forever!
Weight: about 4.3 lbs each
Price Paid: $220
I've had these boots about 2 years now. I think they're finally broken in! These are some serious boots, not for the average weekend warrior.
First off, though, pull out the cheesy insole that comes with the boots (boot manufacturers never spend the extra $$ to make a good torque-resistant insole)and put in a Superfeet hiking insole.
I usually wear my Ridgelines on extended backpacking trips when I'm carrying a 50+ pack, usually on some pretty tough (steep and/or rocky terrain). And I've never had any soreness in my feet, back or ankles. I have weak ankles, but haven't had any problem w/ them since I started wearing Ridgelines.
Probably one of my favorite features is that the Vibram sole sticks like glue, even when boulder hopping on wet rock surfaces. With an application of Nikwax every six months or so, these boots are 100% waterproof, even in the very rainy area I live in and in snow. I've even worn these boots with snowshoes, and although heavy, they were comfortable, warm & dry.
Some things you'll need to get used to. The single piece of leather construction (that makes them so waterproof) also means that the tongue is very thick and hard to manipulate. The D-rings are hard on laces, and are difficult to lace up. The good thing is that once you get the laces just the way you want them, they won't slip loose.
The boots weigh a lot, so you're gonna have some heel slippage just because of the sheer weight. But they fit extremely well (I have narrow feet), and with proper lacing, the slippage isn't enough to be very noticeable, and has never caused me blisters.
Ok, these aren't the best looking boots,especially for us girls, but then again, other than a few fashion-conscious bears, who cares?