The Merrell Fluorecein Shell 8 Waterproof boots ($140) have proved to be stellar for me this winter.
Let it be known that I’ve seen my share of holy fails with the Merrell brood. The All Out Charge trail runner turned out to be a let-down. A hiking boot (can’t remember model) refused to break in even after six months of regular use. To say nothing of the shitty fit which was too wide for my feet. Their lifestyle boots are nice, though.
What I like/love
- Tongue is wide and comfortable and doesn’t pinch the top of my foot. I’m currently toying with a pair of Hi-Tec’s that are similar in style (but won’t be available until next year) and have yet to find a comfortable tongue-position.
- Fit is very good. My feet are right in that sweet spot between narrow and medium width so I tend to be the loudest complainer in this department. The uppers are flexible enough to lace the boots to fit a narrower foot while still being comfortable. For socks, all I have been wearing is a pair of Darn Tough Vermont medium gauge merino wool ski socks. I experimented with a bulkier sock but found that the thinner sock was sufficient.
- Warm and dry. Allow me to provide the necessary context. The coldest day in which I’ve hiked outside in these is -3 degrees for five hours in Northern Minnesota. My feet are still attached and all toes accounted for. But at the five-hour mark I was ready to head back inside. I don’t recommend these for your Greenland icecap trek or Antarctica vacay, sorry.
- Tread works well on snow. Merrell says the lug depth is 5mm. I didn’t bust out my metric ruler to validate this claim but I don’t recall issues with slipping on frosty snow or inclines.
- Kahtoola MicroSpike-compatible for walking on a snow-covered iced-over lake or general city street walking on icy pavement.
- With a colorful sock, these boots can jazz up a pair of leggings. Don’t get me started on how well they look with skinny jeans and a bulky wool sweater. Or with a Skhoop down skirt. The faux fur collar is a nice touch.
What I don’t like/love
This is something I never expected to experience reviewing a Merrell product: I can’t find a single point of contention with the Merrell Fluorecein Shell 8 Waterproof boots.
The best I can come up with is if you’re walking in snow that is deeper than four inches, you will need gaiters. The faux fur helps but never underestimate the anti-snow power of the gaiter.
But that’s more of a cautionary no-brainer tale.