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Merrell Phaserbound 2 Tall Waterproof

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Merrell Phaserbound 2 Tall Waterproof backpacking boot

Nice, lightweight, and WATERPROOF.


  • Light on the feet—no swing weight
  • Sturdy upper
  • Molded external heel cup
  • Merrell EVA midsole—famous for comfort
  • Great insoles
  • Zero break in


  • Not sure they're sturdy enough for backpacking (will update)
  • Vibram sole is THIN
  • We'll see how the materials hold up over time (will update)
  • Round laces—seriously?

OK, so I was skeptical, but I couldn't walk away from the sale price. This was a bargain!

Qualifying Background Info: I've run the gamut of name brand, off brand, high rise, low cut boots over these past 46 years of backpacking and trail hiking—everything from one-piece leather French SuperGuide boots to American made sneaker company attempts at boots. I also wear several different styles Merrell shoes to the office every day of the week.

So, since Merrell makes a decent quality shoe, I thought I'd try out their boots. These were recently on sale at a local supplier, and the savings was significant.

In the store, I immediately noticed that they are about half the weight of my regular hikers. They were comfortable on the incline ramp, felt even better doing flex tests (deep knee bends), and the Merrell reps at the store even let me soak them in a kiddie pool they had set up. No leaks, dry socks, and I was sold!

The maiden voyage was a day hike. Lots of ups and downs and a few light stream crossings—and NO BLISTERS! The swing weight of each boot is just over 23oz and they do not "feel" like boots at all. More like a high-top sneaker on steroids. However, the ankle and footbed support are amazingly supportive with just the right amount of flexion for day hikes and weekenders. Newer design and tech than my other boots, these may quickly become my "go to" boot—if they hold up. Excited about this zero break in—they just feel good on the feet. 

Compare these to my regular and winter (brand names removed) hikers and it's a win win. Yes, the other boots are "real" Gore-Tex and the tongue gussets, soles and construction are more substantial, but the cost there is weight. I'll thoroughly test them this season and update this review as needed. 

Update - as promised:

After a weekend hike on a rocky section of Pennsylvania's AT, they held up well. I was again delighted with the comfrt of these boots. We didn't have a wet hike, but the few puddles we tromped through did not stain my socks or produce any blisters. The sole of my left foot near my heel got a bit of a "hot spot" on the way out, but that was likely more the old sock than the insole of the new boot. Still happy with the purchase.

Next up...a concert in a field of tall grass (at a vineyard).

Spill the wine...dig that, girl!


A few day hikes (so far)
Weekend trip - 22.6 miles of Rocksylvania AT - and they still look new.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $121 with Spring Tech Day discounts

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Price Current Retail: $180.00
Historic Range: $89.98-$180.00
Reviewers Paid: $121.00
Price Historic Range: $84.83-$170.00
Product Details from Merrell »

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