I prefer shoes over boots to save on weight. These shoes are great. Good to go right out of the box. Lightweight and waterproof, what more can you ask for. I was worried the Goretex would keep my feet hot and sweaty, but i've hiked in 90 degree heat and haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary. The soles are very good for hiking. Have used them on dry rocks without a problem, but would exercise a little more caution on wet rocks. Just from hiking alone, i've put on approx 90 miles on these shoes and they are not showing any sign of wear on the bottom yet.
One thing about Merrell's- they are very shaped on the bottom of your foot. Make sure you get the correct size, these are not shoes where you can get away with a half size up or down because of the shaping of the arches and toes. I find these run pretty true to size and I have what I would consider "average" shaped feet, but I've noticed that when I try on Merrell's in different sizes, they feel awful. Get the right size however, and you will be very happy.