Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Enjoy fleet feet for your explorations with these low profile multi-sport shoes that provide plenty of support and cushioning – without the weight. With a flexible sole and supportive arch shank, this waterproof mid will keep your feet dry and comfortable. A lightweight cow suede/mesh upper with bellows tongue keeps out debris, the waterproof membrane keeps your socks and feet dry, and a sticky sole prevents accidents on a slippery trail.

Disclosure: Sole Labz contacted me to try one of several styles of hiking footwear. The one I chose was the Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot. It was provided at no cost to me. My only responsibility was an agreement to complete this review after trying the item. I was not pressured in any way to make a positive endorsement.

 

Feature Set

 

The mid cut upper is made of suede and mesh, making for a lightweight and breathable fit. A bellows style tongue tucks nicely beneath the laces helping to keep trail crumbs and other debris from finding its way into the boot. The heel and toe cap are abrasion resistant, meaning when you continually scuff your toe on rocks and roots when you’re fatigued like I do, that you won’t wear out the surface over time.

The waterproof membrane is treated with Aegis™ antimicrobial solution providing an almost impermeable yet breathable barrier. Don’t expect to ford a creek, but your socks and feet will stay dry in dewy grass. The mesh lining is also processed with the same antimicrobial treatment. Merrell uses their M-Select Dry proprietary waterproofing barrier to protect your tootsies from the nasty moisture that can cause blisters.

Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability with an EVA midsole for additional cushioning in the important arch area. The outsole delivers durable, slip-resistant stability on wet or dry ground and over mixed terrain with the Merrell M-Select Grip kamet sole and sticky rubber technology. The traditional lacing system makes these boots very easy to get on and off as well.

 

Sizing

 

It’s very difficult to buy shoes and apparel online because of sizing. Sometimes experience is the best teacher. A few years ago I purchased a pair of the Merrell Moab Ventilator hiking shoes in my usual size that were extremely comfortable on flat surfaces. However, when going downhill my toes would jam into the end of the shoes creating an uncomfortable situation.

I learned from that experience and requested this pair of Merrell Phoenix one-half size larger than my normal shoe size. That worked out perfectly. I have worn these on two different hikes totaling roughly 15 miles with no sizing problem whatsoever. I did some very steep downhill and had plenty of room in the toe box. No jammed toes. The boots remained comfortable on all terrain and surface gradations.

I mention this to suggest that if you choose this hiking boot you should probably go a half size up from your normal shoe size.

 

Taking the Merrell Phoenix for a test hike.

Taking the Merrell Phoenix for a test hike.

 

What Did I Think?

  • I found the Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof hiking boots to be very comfortable right out of the box. They are quite cushiony and even add a spring to my step when walking. They did not require any break-in at all. I took them straight to the hiking trail with total comfort.
  • These hiking boots are also very lightweight. Because of the mesh membrane built into the upper, precious ounces of weight are saved. That can mean a lot to a long distance hiker who must pick up his feet tens of thousands of times per day.
  • I sometimes have a problem with boot laces coming untied every couple miles on the trail. In fact, I usually wear gaiters to help alleviate that situation. With the bellows tongue and lacing system deployed on these boots, that was not an issue. The laces have yet to come untied while hiking. If I have any complaint at all, the laces themselves are perhaps a few inches too long, but better to have too much than too little.
  • Hiking shoe/boot waterproofing is a very important characteristic to me. I almost never wear shoes on the trail that are not waterproof. You just never know what you’re going to encounter. I took an unintentional step in these boots ankle-deep into a bog that was hidden by fallen leaves. Uh-oh I thought. I never felt a drop of moisture inside the boot. Sure, the outer got wet, but the important part stayed dry. I don’t want my socks and feet to get wet. The Merrell Phoenix protected me from the squishy mud of the unexpected mountain bog.
  • My most recent hike came just a couple days after torrential rain in the area. The ground, the rocks, the roots and leaves all conspired to make parts of the trail a slippery danger zone. But I didn’t slip once in these boots. The M-Select Grip surface on the sole really did its intended job. That will give me a less stressful feeling when hiking around dangerous wilderness features like waterfalls, creeks, and moss-covered granite.
  • The boots are easy to get on and off. A loop on the heel assists with sliding your foot in, then pulling the loop for a secure fit. The lacing included four eyelets and two grommet hooks on each side. It only takes a moment to secure the laces nice and tight.
  • The lacing, in combination with the mid top upper, makes for good ankle support. I have a tendency to roll my ankles in low top shoes if I step unevenly on a rock or root. I found myself a couple times starting to turn my ankle while hiking with these, but the boot kept that from happening. Along with the overall comfort of these boots, that protection is a solid reason for wearing these year-round.

 

How to Get Some

 

The Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot for men comes in two colors: boulder which is a light brown, and the ones I got, chocolate/coriander that is more of a darker brown. See the photos above. They come in half sizes from 8 through 13 and also 7 and 14. They also have two widths: medium and wide.

These boots retail for US$110.00 and you can purchase them directly from the manufacturer at Merrell.com, from Amazon, or from one of the many outdoor outfitter shoe stores online. The ones I received came from an Amazon and Ebay reseller called Sole-Provider.

I suppose the best thing you can say about a hiking shoe is that you don’t even think of them while you’re on the trail. When hiking, you have plenty enough else on your mind. The last thing you want is uncomfortable or painful feet. It will ruin your hike in a hurry. I can say that the Merrell Phoenix meets the “wear them and forget them” philosophy that I search for in my hiking footwear. The only time I even thought of the boots was about how nice they felt.

After I have worn these boots for a year or more, I will come back here and report about their durability.

Update February 19, 2016: I wore the Merrell Phoenix on a three hour hike in the Smokies through three inches of wet snow. Upon completion my socks and feet were still completely dry, and warm. The waterproofing did not leak at all, and despite the mesh upper for breathe-ability in hot weather, my toes remained nice and toasty even in the snow. Good job Merrell!

Disclosure: Sole Labz contacted me to try one of several styles of hiking footwear. The one I chose was the Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot. It was provided at no cost to me. My only responsibility was an agreement to complete this review after trying the item. I was not pressured in any way to make a positive endorsement.

 

This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.

 

Similar Posts: