Merrell Phaser Inferno
The Phaser Inferno has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best trail shoes for 2023.
These must be the most worthless shoes I have ever spent money on! I bought them because they looked nice to me, and with the addition of a nice set of insoles they felt really comfy.
Looks, however, is only skin deep! These shoes started ripping at the seams between leather upper and the soles, not even ONE WEEK after I bought them. I told myself it was my fault, because I had been walking in sharp gravel when it happened, so didn't blame the shoes at all. However, it wasn't much longer before both shoes ripped at the same place, on both sides.
The problem is that the leather upper does not extend long enough downwards to be glued to the soles, but it's rather only the rubberized canvas material used to cover the toes which is glued to the soles. That material is really weak and rips amazingly fast.
I went with Merrell because I had just gotten through a pair of hiking leather boots from them that lasted me over 7 years of hard use, and made me a very happy camper. But I guess I was in for a very disappointing experience. How a reputable company like Merrell lets shoes like these out on the market just boggles my mind!
Materials: Leather Uppers, Vibram Soles
Use: light trails and everyday use
Price Paid: CDN $150
A great pair of shoes, worn continuously for 2.5 years and now, sadly dead.
I live in the English Lake District, a very hostile environment for walking shoes. I have done all types of walk and scramble in these shoes, in all weathers, including mild rock-climbing and I am incensed that they appear to be unobtainable.
Wake up Merrell and redistribute these great shoes!!
Use: All mountain terrains except snow!
Break-in Period: NONE!
Weight: Not known, but light for the support.
I bought this shoes two years ago and 15 days after I bought them I had to exchange them for a new pair cause they were ripping off by the lateral seams. This new pair lasted only about 18 months before having the same problem...they are now unusable!!!
Is a pity cause they were the most comfortable shoes I ever had.
There should be more of this class of shoe out there. It is hard to find in stores because it is a bit stiffer than others in its category. What can I say--some of us girls just like our boots stiff! Ha!
The Phaser is a great combo of support and comfort. Unlike those sneakers disguised as hiking boots, this shoe holds up to steep ascents without reaming on the ball of your foot. Descending is equally comfy, though I would prefer a more aggressive tread--plus mine have lost theirs after a year's use.
I've tried so many boots that claim to be for "backpacking" that don't feel as supportive. They are also light and absorb shock without feeling like a marshmallow. I've taken these out on 8-10 mile hikes and while my friends' feet felt like hamburger, no blisters and no sore feet here.
As a final note, I used to test boots for Merrell, in the day when they had more serious boots to offer. The Phaser stands out as an example of that type of shoe--but one that can be worn every day. Works great with custom orthotics too.
Materials: leather/ cordura
Use: dayhikes and rough trails with light packs
Break-in Period: virtually none
Weight: @ 2 lbs. or under
Price Paid: $55
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