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  • Merrell - Wilderness USA Backpacking Boot - Men's - Black
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Merrell Wilderness USA Backpacking Boot - Men's


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    30 Reviews


    Get classic backcountry style and comfortable, sure footing when you backpack in the Merrell Wilderness Boots.

    If you don't prefer the techy space-boot look, you'll appreciate the Merrell Men's Wilderness Backpacking Boots' sleek Italian style. Waterproof leather uppers and grippy Vibram Roccia soles protect your feet from the perils of planet Earth's backcountry surface by keeping them dry in wet weather and stable on slick, steep trail. Merrell gave the sturdy Wilderness Boot a dual density, microporous midsole for shock absorption and breathability. When your trek leads you to a low-angled ice field, take your strap-on crampons from your pack—the Wilderness boots are compatible. Merrell recommends wearing this boot with a midweight hiking sock or a liner/midweight sock combo.
    • Item #MER0026

    Tech Specs

    Upper Material
    [body], 3mm Waterproof full-grain leather, [lining], Tesivel 3-bar knit
    Vibram Roccia
    Claimed Weight
    [pair] 3 lb 8 oz
    Recommended Use
    backpacking with a medium to heavy load (35lb +, 15875g +)
    Manufacturer Warranty
    1 year

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Legendary for Casual to Moderate Hiking

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 10.5
    • Height: 6'1"
    • Weight: 185lbs

    I don't do multi-day hiking treks for dozens of miles. The most I do is maybe three days, less than 20 miles. Otherwise I engage in your typical day hikes and the like, and my job. I am a fairly frequent hiker, going anywhere from once to twice per month. My first pair of Merrell Wilderness were just retired after 14 years. The soles are worn and smooth (resoled once), leather is cracked, inside of the heel cuff are rotted away, and one of the eyelets has popped out. But after 14 years, I have no complaints. These boots are amazingly sturdy and the step is sure. Since I've owned them, I've never bought boots with glued on soft rubber souls and soft leather/canvas uppers. I also use these boots for work (loading boxes) and of course they excel at that as well. I can also confirm the obvious of what other reviewers are saying: these boots aren't waterproof if submerged. Wear plastic bags around your feet or seal socks if that's what you want. Be sensible and avoid water hazards. That said, if I have walked through standing water that didn't go over the boot top at a brisk pace, my feet haven't gotten wet. But of course If you stand in water for a bit then water will seep in. Not sure why anyone is expecting these boots to be impervious to water.

    I served in the Marines issued basic leathers, jungle boots, and Gor-Tex boots. They weren't half the boots that the Merrell Wilderness are.

    I won't even go into the break-in required for these boots, because if that's a con for you, then you know nothing of what boots of this construction entail. These are not Timberlands.

    So I just bought my second pair for another decade or more. So happy with these boots.

    Not water proof

      Love the boots, style, comfort, quality materials. However, the sole seam leaks like sieve. Worse than non water proof. I took one step into two inches of slush and socks were immediately wet.

      Best boots

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: 9
      • Height: 5'8"
      • Weight: 168lbs

      I originally bought these boots for riding motorcycles in cold and wet weather. I have ridden in severe storms in Japan and the Pacific Northwest. Each time with no wet feet because of these bad boys. So far these boots have seen trek in Japan, Thailand, the forest of Malaysia and and the trails around Washington they have never let me down. I only wish I could afford another pair thats how much I love them. The only con I have had with them was the break in time but once you break them in they are supper comfortable.

      Not Waterproof

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size

      I've had these boots for maybe 6 weeks, and have worn them probably 20 times walking around town, sometimes in snow, but no actual hiking. Today I stepped on a pile of snow that turned out to have two inches of standing water underneath it, and my foot was instantly wet. The water appears to have come at the stitching that attaches the sole to the leather. Kind of blown away that $300 boot can't stand up to day old sidewalk slush in Midtown Manhattan. Glad I figured out their limitations before taking them backpacking.

      Not Waterproof

      Norwegian welt boots will leak at the welt if submerged or in very wet conditions. Now you know what it was like to hike in the 1950's, 60's & 70's, everybody hiked with wet feet. You can seal the welt with Sno-Seal Welt Seal, works pretty good.

      I do not believe these boots are Norwegian welted. According to the Merrell website they are good Goodyear welted, which will be considerably less waterproof than a Norwegian welted boot.

      Great winter boots.

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      Good for a night on the town during the snow, or a day on the trail. Comfortable and true to size. Metal rings are harsh on the laces - get backups. Highly recommend this boot.

      Built to last... a little while.

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      I have owned these boots for several months now and during that time tested their limits, or so the condition of the boot now would allude to. My initial impressions were very similar to another reviewer's: "cows stitched to a brick". Built solid, with a great old-time style, I was very excited to test them out. I broke the boot in for several weeks wearing it around town and on short day hikes before taking them on a backpacking trip out of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite where I bagged Raffordy Peak at the midway point of a long trip. Boots were holding up fine at this point, and I continued to use them, climbing Brokentop before hiking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and bagging the summit of Eagle Cap itself; this was when I started to see problems. The vibram soles have started to delaminate from the mid-soles, and the toe crease consistently presses on my foot, blistering it. In addition, the tongue of the boot also creases inward substantially, rubbing the top of the foot raw and bruising it deeply. Though I am sure I could have the sole reattached, I think it is time to continue the boot hunt as these just aren't for me. That being said: this might just be my boot, and these could work out great for other backpackers, just not me.


      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      These are the second pair of Merrell Wilderness boots I've owned. They are great boots. They are classic, old school backpacking boots. Light? Yes, for what they are. Stiff? You betcha, prepare for a break in period. Supportive? Atlas wishes he had a pair of these. Waterproof? Not so much. Your feet will stay dry walking through wet grass, but like all boots of this type, they will leak at the welt if immersed. I knew that going in. It is my personal opinion that GoreTex in a leather upper boot is not much more than a very expensive plastic bag. GoreTe membranes mean your feet will stew in their own juices and you will count yourself lucky if your boots are only very damp in the morning. Your feet will get wet in these if you immerse them for long enough. Deal with it, it's the nature of these beasts. They will still be drier in the morning than if you had GoreTex in them. They are very supportive boots that will protect your feet and ankles from many potential ills that could befall you on the trail. Perhaps I'm a catankerous old fart fearful of change but I've logged enough miles to know what works for me and what doesn't. These things work.

      I own several Gore-Tex lined leather hiking boots (Asolo and Zamberlan) and have never had an issue with my feet being wet or soaked due to sweat. Not ever. Merino wool keeps my foot temp regulated in winter or summer, so I think a blanket statement that your feet will definitely be soaked via sweat is untrue, at the very least. Sure, it makes sense that they will not be AS breathable, but I think it's more dependent on the individual and their own body temp regulation. I'll take my GT-lined boots through streams and they're dry throughout. To each his own, certainly, but I find GT lined boots to be exactly what I need and prefer them significantly over non-waterproofed liners.

      I could not disagree more with the negative comments regarding Gore-Tex boots. As the membrane ages, it is possible to get moisture inside the boot, though it is almost always because of poor quality socks, not the GT liner. Using a merino wool sock with a coolmax liner should solve your issues with GT lined boots. I've been hiking, long distance motorcycling, and snowmobiling in Gore-Tex lined boots for years and have yet to ever have cold wet feet.

      How good? .... I have 3 pairs!!!

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      These shoes should only be reviewed by those that truly appreciate well made all leather 'Italian made' Norwegian welt shoe construction as comparing these to other types of hiking shoes is simply 'night & day' and is basically a matter of preference.

      I have bought and used 3 of these boots... black, brown & suede... and all 3 serves me well.

      Just to let you know... I also own and use several pairs of Alico Tahoes & Summits... which also are of similar construction.

      Like anything else... good leather take time to 'wear in' and fully appreciate... no such thing as 'fits good' straight out of a box.

      If it does... I can guarantee that they will not last as long as these 'cows stitched to a brick'!

      Great boot!

      • 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.


      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
      • Fit: True to size

      I bought a pair of these, having done extensive online research and persuaded by the rave reviews. I first wore them on a day hike in the White Mountains and apart from a minor hot spot on the ball of one foot, I was very pleased. Then I wore them on a two-day hike on the Long Trail. Day One was fine, no problems. Then, on Day 2, the problems began. I started feeling very sharp pain on the outside of both ankles. It had nothing to do with friction: this was in the bone, just above the malleolus (the bony spur of the ankle). The weird thing was that I could see no obvious pressure point in the boot. I tried loosening them, tightening them , changing socks, putting on moleskin, all to no avail. Finally, I took them off and hiked the remaining 3 miles or so in my Crocs. It is not a problem with the fit, per se. I bought them in a Size 10 and the length and width are appropriate. I do have pretty skinny calves and ankles, and flat feet, but I typically wear Superfeet green insoles to compensate and they normally work fine, and have done in other hiking shoes I have owned. As a result of this experience, I had painful swollen patches on both ankles that lasted well over a week and even now, over a month later, I still have some pain. I wish I could get back the 300 bucks I wasted on these boots, but even more I would like to find a decent alternative. I did notice that many of the through hikers (doing the entire AT) were wearing low-cut boots or even running shoes, and seemed none the worse for wear after 1,500 miles, so I may try that next, using my low-cut Keens or something similar, and keeping my Crocs or Keen sandals with me for backup, just in case.

      You have to break them in! You can't expect to do a two day hike on a new pair of all-leather boots and not have issues. Patience. If you expect everything to work right away, get a cheap pair of cemented sole synthetic boots. If you are willing to put in the time, these will eventually be wonderful.

      Didn't Last

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: Runs small

      I got these boots about two years ago and was initially pleased through a half dozen trips. However, over time they just haven't held up. I did a 150+ mile trek through the Scottish highlands with a fully loaded pack - the boots did virtually nothing to keep the water out. My feet were perpetually soaked and got tore up as a result. Two weeks ago I set out for the West Coast Trail in B.C. Prior to leaving, I gave them a thorough sealing and thought that might help the leaking. Not so. The seams around the instep may as well have been open holes. Again my feet got trashed. I've now learned my lesson and Backcountry has been good enough to allow a return. It's worth noting I take great care of my gear. In this case, I thoroughly broke them in and properly conditioned them. As a whole the boots look great and for casual hiking and around town wear, they are more than adequate. However, if you plan to do serious multi-day/week backpacking trips in extremely wet climates, I would look elsewhere. For $300 the bar has to be set high and for the money, you can do better - unfortunately, they likely won't look as good.

      Very Happy

        Just got these boots. They broke in and were comfortable after wearing them to work for a week and taking a short day hike. Went on a two night backpacking trip in Pisgah National Forest this past weekend and the boots performed flawlessly. Much of the trail was very wet with deep mud and standing water and my feet stayed bone dry. Excellent traction when stream crossing and on steep muddy inclines. Very comfortable. No blisters. I was wearing smartwool socks and using smart feet insoles. Highly recommend.

        Great Boot

          Break in is a bit of a pain with this boot but once there they are comfortable and exceptionally tough. The classic look is great as well.

          Out of the box mine remind me of my first circa 1984 military issue boots. Old school stiff, thick and durable leather. I'm hoping for the same break-in experience and longevity that I got out of my first issue boots as well. I bought these to be my last pair of hiking boots (resole-able) and the styling didn't hurt my decision either.

          Stiff at first but break in easy; classic look

            I bought these primarily for work. They were a little stiff at first but broke-in in about two weeks of casual wear. I would highly recommend these if you are looking for a classic look. I didn't care for the blue laces, so merrell sent me a pair of beige after I emailed them. You can't beat backcountry and merrell.

            Bought a Second Pair

              I had a pair of these 10 years ago. Wore them into the ground in scree fields in the Himilayas. They lasted three trips, each of which were about 3 months as well as daily use when stateside. When I no longer was looking at that type of extreme use I bought a few other brands and had nothing but problems. I bought three pair of Asolo GTX in the last 10 years as well as a pair of Solomons. I was on the verge of going to an orthapedic surgeon due to re-occuring ankle pain. It wasn't from rubbing or anything like that. Turned out it was the Asolo's lack of stability causing horizontal tremmors as I walked. I've never had ankle problems. Looking back, it coincided with the purchase of the Asolo's. I had been blaming it on a posthole through a glacier I did on Ranier with a full pack possibly causing a compression issue. Figured out it was the boots while wearing flat driving shoes this summer. No more pain.

              Bottom line: these are fantastic boots. You will not be disappointed.

              Unanswered Question

              What widths do you have in 10.5 and 11 men's? Also, I wear a size 10.5 D shoe, is that the size I should order in these boots?

              Several reviews stated this boot as having roomy toebox and wider fit. Has anyone with wider foot tried this? I have a really wide foot due to some toe injury.

              Best Answer

              Well from Merrell's website it is clear that they no longer make wide widths . So, i finally made my way to Limmers customs boots in NH (Intervale) and picked up one of their lightweight boot in wide, Obviously a much higher quality boot, but requires some breaking in as expected. Lucky for me they now stock few standard boots in regular and wide widths. They also offer a mid weight and standard versions with varying stiffness/cushioning and leather thickness, surprisingly at a similar price point. So, if you are like me looking for all leather boots in wide widths do check the

              Well from Merrell's website it is clear that they no longer make wide widths . So, i finally made my way to Limmers customs boots in NH (Intervale) and picked up one of their lightweight boot in wide, Obviously a much higher quality boot, but requires some breaking in as expected. Lucky for me they now stock few standard boots in regular and wide widths. They also offer a mid weight and standard versions with  varying stiffness/cushioning and leather thickness, surprisingly at a similar price point. So, if you are like me looking for all leather boots in wide widths do check the

              Merrell Wilderness... Super nice boot! ...

              Merrell Wilderness... Super nice boot! Made in Italy. As far as I know, Merrell's only style that is made in Italy. So, I highly doubt that Merrell owns its own factory over there, just for producing this one, particular boot. So, who over there makes it for them? Scarpa, Zamberlan, Alico, or someone else? Anyone know?

              They are owned by Wolverine who also owns Bates�, Chaco�, Cushe�, HyTest�, Hush Puppies�, Keds�, Merrell�, Saucony�, Sebago�, Soft Style�, Sperry Top-Sider�, Stride Rite Children?s Group�, Track ?n Trail�, Wolverine�, and Wolverine� Leathers

              ? Licensed ? Cat� Footwear, Harley-Davidson� Footwear, and Patagonia� Footwear.

              One has to assume the majority are made in China.

              If my size was 11 with the Merrell Moab...

              If my size was 11 with the Merrell Moab Vents, would 11 with these be the correct size, or do boot's size vary from lesser shoes?

              You were so wrong. Having always wore 11 Merrells with midweight socks, I tried size 11's. Then I returned them for 10.5's. I'm presently waiting for the exchanged 10's to come. These boots are sized differently than other Merrell. They seem longer, i.e. clown-shoe-like.

              I agree with Riley. I just received mine and I ordered in 10.5 where I wear an 11 in the Merrell Moab, and an 11.5 is Vasque.

              The 10.5s fit perfect with room in the toe box to spare, like Moab Vents in size 11.

              well, im looking for a replacement for my...

              well, im looking for a replacement for my vasque sundowners. i like the look of these but im concerned about the fit. i have a slightly narrow foot, and think that a boot with laces further towards the toe might be more appropriate. these look badass, and i like the reviews on their craftsman ship. can i count on these fitting well and the opposite side lacing eyelets not ending up being stacked on top of each other from the leather breaking in and "expanding?"


              I think you could crank them down, but it will take a little bit of a break in period. The leather is stiff, and extremely durable. I just looked at mine, and I dont think it would be possible for the eyelets to overlap, there is good distance between them.

              Order up, you will love them.. But FYI.. They get better with time and wear... You will need to break them in.

              Hello everyone- could someone please tell...

              Hello everyone- could someone please tell me length of outsole for sizes 9.5 and 10? Not sure if i should size down by 1/2

              This looks like the boot that is going to...

              This looks like the boot that is going to replace the Vasque. This looks like quality. Now I have to find a place to try them on?

              How do the boots do in warm weather? I...

              How do the boots do in warm weather? I am hearing a lot of people talking about using them as winter boots but little else.

              They are a classic year round boot, they do not have a gore-tex membrane so they are NOT overly hot and sweaty in the summer, and if you need some more waterproofing in the winter, you just add some NIKWAX. I feel like they are a better summer boot than winter boot.

              Are they suitable for scrambling? One...

              Are they suitable for scrambling? One thing I noticed is that they don't have a toe protector.

              could you sell it with black laces?

              could you sell it with black laces?

              I usually replace the laces in all my boots and trail shoes with 550 paracord. The color selection is endless, some even having 3M reflective material woven into the cord, which is visible from 500 ft in headlight or high-powered led spot. Just search for 550 paracord on ebay, it's usually a couple of bucks for 30-50 ft.

              What about the size? Do these boots run...

              What about the size? Do these boots run small, or big?

              I've had a pair of these in the past. The length was fine but I have a narrow foot & the medium width was a little too wide. Since then, I have been wearing Asolo's which fit me perfectly right out of the box with minimal break-in.I ordered a pair in my standard 10.5 and the boots were too long. I'd say they are a half size bigger than your normal sizing.

              What about a wide width?

              What about a wide width?

              They used to come in a wide, but Merrell stopped making them. I wish they still did. I've tried a couple of others, more expensive even, but the Merrells are the best. I'm going to get another pair and have them stretched.