Comfort and support are the two most important features of any footwear you wish to wear for walking. Everything else, the way the shoe looks and especially the colour, is secondary. But it is rather wonderful when you receive a brand new shoe that offers comfort and support as well as fantastic looks. Meet the new-for-this-season Merrell Verterra Mid Sport Gore-tex women’s hiking boot.
What do you do when you forget to take your “straight out of the box” photos before going on a muddy hike? Take them mud and all!
Described as a “fast” hiking shoe, I did not realise how useful these would become when the arrived earlier in the summer. I used them for a handful of short walks on my favourite local trails, commenting a number of times on twitter and instagram how much I liked both the look and the fit of these approach shoes. But when uneven surfaces were banned and I was confined to flat and wide soft-soled shoes for a couple of months while I recovered from an injury to my foot (an injury with no apparent cause!). These new Merrells had come at just the right time – I lived in them for business and pleasure, rocking the casual-shoes-with-everything look for a couple of months. They have had a thorough, if not slightly unusual, test.
Let’s go back to when I first took them out of the box. I knew what I was getting – the Gore-tex version of these mid-height ankle boots only comes in one colour-way for women, black in the main with pink (“rose”) highlights. As I’ve mentioned before I’m no pink person; I like bright colours but prefer greens and blues, but I genuinely really like the design of these. They are practical in their looks, the black plastic webbing structure on the outside of the shoe is made a feature of, and the pink is good and punchy but not overpowering. Thankfully there is enough black to allow the boots to fade into the background, especially with smart trousers! The pink laces add interest when you look down at your feet.
As for the fit, these have a definite trainer feel to them. That is in fact the point – they are designed to feel like trainers, with the added support you need from a hiking boot. They are light, have plenty of width, and the laces do up securely with enough length to tie in a double bow to keep the fit right all day.
I am a big fan of Gore-tex, as it offers waterproofing without the need for thick or heavy sweat-inducing coatings on clothing. Combined with Merrell’s Connect Fit, in this shoe you have something that fits really well, has the flexibility needed to move smoothly over the trail, and doesn’t get wet on the inside from water or perspiration. There is nothing you can do about water going down the inside of your socks, of course, but at least you can be happy splashing through puddles along muddy trails. Speaking of muddy trails (and you know I’m not afraid of a bit of mud), I like the traction these boots provided, and was very happy with the amount of support offered across the foot and to the ankle.
I’m only just getting back to my walking hobby after my enforced break, and while I admit I used my old faithful walking boots for Spires and Steeples as I didn’t feel I had used these on trails enough, I am loving the way these make my feet feel when I’m walking in them. Autumn is one of the best walking seasons (okay, I think they’re all good walking seasons, but Autumn is a particularly good one), and on Sunday I took a lovely slippery path close to my house for some fresh air and and a bit of a stretch, and can honestly say these boots are comfortable, grippy and waterproof. My smooth-surface testing also proved that they are also perfect for walking man-made pavement as well as nature’s paths.
There are so many different types of walking boots around, and the kind you go for depends on so many factors; the type of walking you are doing and the shape of your feet for starters. These new Merrell Verterra mid-height boots are ideal for those wanting an everyday hiker that is light, waterproof, has a nice close fit, and that isn’t afraid of a bit of mud.
Thank you Merrell for sending me these new Verterra boots to try-out. They have fast become my favourite “I’m going for a quick walk, see you in a couple of hours” boots. Check them out on the Merrell website.