These low-cut, low-profile walking boots are comfortable and surprisingly tough given the fairly low weight. They combine the looks of a modern ‘mid’ style boot with the solidity of a traditional leather boot. The main part of the uppers is made from one piece of leather, with just one side seam that is turned inside so the stitching is hidden to protect it from abrasion. There are hard synthetic overlays at the heel and sides for extra support and protection. The side overlay links to an off set lacing loop (the lacing has five rows of fabric loops below two hooks) so when the laces are tightened it pulls the boot in around the instep. The fit is reasonably wide at the forefoot with a snug heel.
I can just wear them with thin socks. As well as the reinforced heel the boots have a hard toe bumper. The low-profile sole means your feet are close to the ground for a good ‘feel’ and good stability but also means that cushioning is thin and less effective than on many boots. There is some cushioning in the footbed, especially at the heel. The footbed is also reasonably supportive. The Vibram sole has deep lugs which, although close together, don’t pick up much mud and which grip very well. The flex is soft at the forefoot but the boots are stiff side-to-side.
Merrell uses a non-branded membrane in these boots. I can’t really tell the difference with branded ones, which is to say that in hot weather my feet quickly get sweaty.