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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
I was so excited to hear that Merrell was putting out a minimalist style of hiking boot, that I bought these as soon as I saw them listed on their site. Ever since I started running in barefoot/minimalist style shoes, I've been looking for a boot that would give me a little more ankle support for long distance hiking/backpacking while still allowing my feet to contact the ground naturally without a big drop from heel to toe. Only one other company I've found makes a similar boot and after trying it, I was disappointed with the quality, so I was super excited to see Merrell offer the Proterra boot, as I've always been a big fan of the quality of their products.

First Impressions:
--Very lightweight and good looking. I got my boots in the "Brindle" color which was a little lighter than I expected, but still looked good.
--The 4mm heel to toe drop was not as noticeable as I thought it would be. I thought I would prefer a 0mm drop, but found that the slight heel lift was not concerning to me. I've only been a barefoot runner for about 8 months now, so the veteran barefooters out there may disagree with me on this.
--Toe box was slightly narrower than I would have preferred, but still better than most hiking boots that I've worn in the past. I wish it were slightly wider.
--Insole is removable and I've worn the boots without the insole to get a little more contact with the ground, I've had to wear thicker socks to keep the boots from sliding in my feet which negated removing the insoles in the first place. For my first big hike in the boots, I ended up putting the insoles back in place and work my thinner Injini toe socks.

This past weekend, I wore these boots on their maiden trip to do a 9 mile day hike at Pinnacles National Monument. This was a mostly flat hike with a couple of fairly steep inclines and descents tossed into the mix. The terrain was varied and included sand, soft earth, gravel, and granite. The boots did very well on this hike. I definitely felt much more in contact with the ground than any hiking boots I've ever worn before. Keep in mind that these are boots - you won't get the same feel of the ground in these that you will in the Vibram Five Fingers or even the Merrell Trail Gloves, but still is much better than other boots. I really enjoyed having more ankle support in the granite and gravel sections of the hike. I also really enjoyed how light these boots were. They were extremely comfortable and I had no issues at all with rubbing or blisters, whereas I normally have a terrible time in normal hiking boots.

After this trip, I feel that Merrell has almost hit a home run with this product. However, I do think that there is one very significant flaw that people need to be aware of when purchasing. The sole of these boots is too slick! When hiking on granite - especially granite that is moist or wet, you need to be VERY careful in these boots. I had a couple of close calls that could have ended very badly for me. I do a lot of hiking and have worn a lot of other boots, and none have had the types of issues with traction that these had on this short trip. I'm not sure if the issue lies in the design of the soles or in the type of material that they made the shoes with, but I sure hope they address this issue in newer versions. I'm not sure that I would feel comfortable taking these on a major multi-day trip with steep and narrow trails.

Final assessment 1-5 scale:
Comfort - 5
Looks - 5
Weight - 5
Quality of build - 5
Fit - 4
Stability - 3
Traction - 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2013
So, I got these for hiking and lifting. Was worried about fit due to other reviews but they seem to fit just right. Also the only other gripe I saw from others was re the sole being to hard/not able to get good traction. I find these to be the perfect middle ground between boots and shoes. Only thing to watch out for is make sure to wear high enough socks to cover the back of the ankle from blisters.
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on May 25, 2014
Great shoe. Fit as expected. Very rugged. Super lite. Breathes well. Good traction..looks good.good transition from regular boot to barefoot boot.
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on April 5, 2014
I got these on sale and saved about $40. They will last at least twice as long as a $60 pare of shoes, most likely 3 times as long. They breath very well and the bottoms are sturdy like hiking boot type of material. They have a great foot support design and very comfortable all day long.
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on March 8, 2014
These fit my feet so well, and feel so comfortable that I bought a second pair in a different color. I have weak ankles, and they really give me the support I need.
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on February 17, 2014
Looks and feels great. I initially purchased them for hiking, but now I want to add them to my rotation/wardrobe.
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on December 23, 2013
Well just a little bit large but comfortable as the look. Definetly very cool shoes!! I love them so much!
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on November 25, 2013
i like this shoes so much because is so light fresh and comfort ,Merrell is a excellent brand and i recomend that.
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on November 11, 2013
Awesome trail shoes! love the high tip fit, the material is fabulous and perform incredibly on the trail. I love to run/walk trail and I do not exactly take it easy when I do so, these shoes seem up for the task. as was previously mentioned, they are not the greatest for rock climbing although I had a great climbing experience while sporting them. I may do a bit of work on the sole so that they grip a little bit more but if you are careful, as you should be when rock climbing, you will have no quarrel in these awesome trail kicks!

Not to mention, finding awesome shoes to get in some nature with for under $100 is not easy, great value here. Great for guys like me who love being in nature.
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on November 3, 2013
Wanted something comfortable, minimal heel, and light. These fit the bill perfectly. A quick wipe down with a wet rag each morning keeps these looking brand new daily. The price might be a little steep, but my feet and lower back no longer suffer from clunky boots that have an exaggerated heel. More than enough toe box room for my feet. I feel like I could walk for miles in these sneakers. I chose the Brindle color because of the dust and it hides well if cleaned each morning (takes less than 45 seconds per boot). I was so satisfied I purchased the Gor Tex version as well for those nasty cold snowy wet days. VEry happy with Merrell!!!
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