isap652128 wrote a review of Merrell Wilderness Backpacking Boot - Men's on October 16, 2013
Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Hi, I've owned a few hikers over the last decade, and bought these as my first truly rough terrain boot. Had not gone the full grain leather route before. It was finally down to the Wilderness boot or a pair of Asolos. I went with the Merrells because I preferred the look, wanted a resolable boot, and had heard that if they fit you right, you'd be hard put to find something better.
The pair I just bought from Backcountry is my second pair, which I grabbed simply to have in case production ceases, or if they quit making them in Italy. That's how much I love these. Comfortable on the trail, and while on a particularly wet hike I had to get through a ton of standing water and the boots let nothing in. Perfect.
Break-in should really be done off the trail at first. It took a few weeks of casual use and then a hefty overnight trail trip to really get them broken in. When they were there however, the excellent leather had really molded to my feet, and the boot had actually come to be way more adjustable and comfortable.
Lastly, I find Merrill's sizing to be slightly in the large side. I'm a textbook size 12 normally, but because of the large toebox on the Wilderness, I found that 11.5 made for a near perfect fit. It took me a while to realize this, so I have a pair in 12, and one in 11.5. Both fit well, the 12's just have to be laced perfectly so that they are snug. The 11.5 pair still has ample toe room appropriate to a hiker, but not too much, and the boot wraps itself around my foot with minimal lift in the heel, and no forward slip when in walking down steep hills etc. When you are trying these on initially, if they feel too roomy, DO NOT hesitate to go down at least half a size. Chances are the boot will feel better.
Other than that, this is an amazing piece to hear to have for your feet. I feel that I see a lot of reviews from folks who don't let them break in or who don't take care of the leather. These boots will last forever if you treat them well.