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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Merrell Mesa II Ventilator Hiking > Owner Review by Kara Stanley

Merrell Mesa II Ventilator Mid-Rise Hiking Boots
By Kara Stanley
OWNER REVIEW
April 25, 2008

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kara Stanley
EMAIL: karguo (at) yahoo dot com
AGE: 25
LOCATION: Washington, DC
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

I backpacked for the first time in 2006 and am now hooked on it. I have hiked most of my life, though growing up the in South most of my hikes were flat land or small hills. Since moving to the DC area I have really gotten into hiking, doing both day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips, but warm weather hikes only! Since I am on a tight budget I tend to have heavier gear, but am hoping to covert to a lighter hiking style as money permits.

Product Infomation:

Manufacturer: Merrell
Manufacture Date: 2006
URL: Merrell Boots
Style: Mesa II Ventilator Hiking Boot
MSRP: n/a
Size: Women's US size 11 (Available in women's US sizing 5-11, including 1/2 sizes to 10)
Color: Taupe
Listed Weight: Both boots: 1 kg (2 lbs, 3 oz)
Actual Weight: Both boots: 850 g (1 lb, 14 oz)
Material: 1.6 mm (0.06 in) pigskin leather with breathable mesh panels upper and mesh lining, Benecke CeapreneŽ toe bumper, breathable Ventilator bellows tongue.
Warranty: "Merrell's warranty program applies to defective materials and workmanship and lasts for one year on shoes and boots and 90 days on sport sandals from the date of purchase."

Product Description

These are mid-rise light weight hiking boots which are a mix of gray leather and mesh with a dark green toe and heel bumpers and black and tan soles that have a grippy oval pattern on them. They lace through 4 ribbon loops, one metal loop and finish off with metal hooks, which make them easy-on easy-off.

IMAGE 1
Front View
IMAGE 2
Side and sole view

Field Use:

I purchased these boots in early August 2006 about a month before a 2-day hike. Since then I have worn them on everything from rocks to pavement to gravel trails, hiking over 170 miles in them to date. Most of the hikes have occurred in Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland, mostly along the Appalachian Trail and in Shenandoah National Park. Elevation ranges from about 1,500 to 3,500' (457 m to 1,067 m). I did complete two four-day hikes, one in Glacier NP and the other in the Grand Tetons, total mileage about 70 miles (113 km) in a 10-day period (two off days between hikes).

Product Review:

I purchased the boots because I have weak ankles that often twist when walking on loose rocks and needed a mid-high boot that wasn't too heavy or too pricey. The Mesa II fit the bill and were available in a women's size 11, a size that is often hard to find.

These boots are a mid-high boot that provides a good amount of ankle support for the lower ankle. Before purchasing them, I hiked in running shoes and often turned my ankles on loose rocks. Since I've started wearing the boots the number of times I twist my ankles while hiking has been reduced by approximately 85%. The fit is good, I have wide feet but these fit well even with thick wool hiking socks on. I did not break in the boots before doing a 20-mile 2-day hike and did not get any blisters. For the last half of the hike it was drizzling and the boots became damp, but still did not rub blisters. The only blister I've got was a result of the socks I wore on a 15 miles walk on a hard-packed dirt trail. Since switching sock types I've been blister free.

They are a great 3 season boot as the ventilation mesh allows air to pass through. I would not recommend them for cold weather or cool windy conditions as the mesh allows the wind to cut right through the boot. They are by no means waterproof or very water resistant, even after the application of a fabric and leather waterproofer. That being said I have worn them with wool hiking socks during a spring storm and still found them to be comfortable and not rub blisters even though my feet blister easily.

While hiking I have found that they are great on rocks as hardly anything can be felt through the sole, but what is felt helps me to keep in touch with the walking surface. I find that they are a bit uncomfortable when hiking on hard packed surfaces such as dirt roads and paved paths. This could probably be eliminated with gel-insoles, but since I do most of my hiking on dirt and rock paths I haven't bothered to try this. These boots were great on my two four-day hikes carrying a pack of about 40 lb (18 kg). My friend had horrid heavy boots which gave her blisters within the first five miles of the first day.

My only complaint is that on the right boot the sole has started to separate from the boot in about three months ago. Since I am not good at keeping receipts, I have not tried to return them, I'll just glue it back down. Other then that they show moderate wear considering that I am very hard on my hiking boots and often hike with a 30 to 35 lb (13.5 kg to 15.9 kg) backpack.

IMAGE 3
The toe that started to come unglued


Overall they are a great boot at a great price. They feel more like a tennis shoe than a hiking boot. The ankle support they provide helps to reduce the chances of ankle twisting.

Things I like:

Light-weight
No break-in period needed
Great ventilation
Mid-rise provides added ankle support for those with weak ankles

Things I don't like:

Not warm enough for winter hikes
Sole started to separate after about 6 months of use

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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