User Review: Merrell Men's Wind River
Use: dayhikes, shorter multi-day, lighter packs, better-manicured trails
Break-in Period: 15km, give or take
Price Paid: $150
Over the years, I've owned several pairs of these boots and I've always found them to be pretty solid boots, often lasting several years. I typically hike in the Canadian Rockies (though Nothern Sheild and Costal Mountains aren't unheared of) and these are my go-to boots for day trips, shorter multi-day trips and trips on gentler trails.
I'm a fairly heavy guy, 220lbs, and these boots always seem to offer a strong balance of support and comfort, which is really nice on shorter hikes where fatigue isn't really an issue. Furthermore, the boots offer decent water-resistance and good grip in a variety of soil/rock/weather conditions.
However, these are not the most supportive boots on the planet. I find that when either hauling a heavey pack or negotiating rougher terrain (or both), these boots do not offer enough support and it is rather easy to get the feeling that you are about to roll an ankle. Granted, these are not meant to be really heavy-duty boots as there are substantially heavier ones in Merrel's line up, so this is more of an observation more than anything. Also, the uppers tend to hold up well for quite a long time, but fail catastrophically (often collapsing completely) once their time is up which has left me scrambling for new boots.
All in all, this is a great heavy hiker/ light pack boot. It offers solid weather-proofing, a secure yet comfortable fit, excellent grip in most conditions (anything out there grip well on slick wooden bridges?) and have good support FOR THEIR INTENDED USE!!!
Though these look similar to a heavy pack boot, they really are just a hiking boot on (a little bit of) steroids. That being said, I will be continuing to use these as my "light" boots for the 7th season in a row.