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Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > MERRELL MENS POLARAND 8 BOOTS > Owner Review by Michael Pearl

MERRELL MEN'S POLARAND 8 BOOTS
BY MIKE PEARL

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OWNER REVIEW

May 01, 2017

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 43
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

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Manufacturer: Merrell
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: www.merrell.com
MSRP: US$175.00

Listed Weight: 3 lb 1 oz (1.4 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lb 4 oz (1.5 kg)

Sizes Available: US 7 through 15
Size Reviewed: US Mens 9

Colors Available: Black (red laces/accents), Granite (green laces/accents) and Carbon (blue laces/accents)
Color Reviewed: Granite

Other details:
1.5 mm (1/16 in) thick waterproof leather upper IMAGE 3
TPU molded heel for snowshoe compatibility
400 grams (14 oz) of Thinsulate insulation
M-Select FRESH odor control
bellow tongue
air cushion in heel
grade 3 nylon insole
Merrell active heat EVA insole
M-Select DRY
6 mm (1/4 in) lug height
M-Select ICE GRIP

The Merrell Men's Polarand 8 are boots specifically designed for winter use. The amount of insulation along with several other winter minded features make these boots ideal cold weather footwear.

FIELD USE

I have used the Polarand 8 Boots for three winter seasons now. They have been used in temperatures ranging from 40 to -15 F (4 to -26 C) on numerous day hikes and eight overnight backpacks. I have traveled through snow, ice, sleet, slush and water in the Polarands. My feet have been warm and dry in all but one of the conditions experienced. That would be when my feet were too warm bordering on hot when the temperature was 35 to 40 F (2 to 4 C). At these temps the Polarands provide just too much insulation. Below freezing the boots have worked very well for me.

The level of insulation was the most important feature when I was looking for new winter boots. I have worn boots with 200 grams (14 oz) of Thinsulate and below 20 F (-7 C) I feel the cold in my feet. What I find impressive is that the Polarand 8 is not overly bulky. On overnight backpacks to prevent the boots from freezing I will sleep with them in my sleeping bag. They are just the right size to fit in a grocery store produce bag. I can then put them under my knees and/or at the foot of the sleeping bag. This is not disruptive to my sleep and I have pliable, warm boots in the morning.

While heavier and slightly larger than my three season boot the Polarand 8 does not feel clumsy or restrictive. They are a taller boot, 8 in (20 cm) from bottom of sole to top of the ankle and are stiffer than a three season boot. However they do not negatively limit my range of motion or stride. If anything I feel this makes them more compatible for use with winter traction equipment. I have worn the Polarand 8's with microspikes, snowshoes and crampons. All three match up with the boots nicely and the extra stiffness helps when utilizing winter traction.

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I also like the ring at the bottom of the laces which is handy when using gaiters. Additionally there is enough of a heel on the boots for the underfoot strap of the gaiter to be well protected. The soles have a different pattern and density at different areas. They provide very good traction across different winter conditions from rock, frozen ground, snow and ice. In very deep snow or sheer ice they need traction assistance.

The fit is quite good and the boot is comfortable all day. But not perfect for my foot which tends to be a little wider. The Polarand 8 is just a bit long and narrow for my foot. When wearing thicker socks this is somewhat minimized and only noticeable for the first several minutes of wear. This has never felt uncomfortable or had a negative impact.

The lace hooks at the ankle of the boots are one thing I do find to be a minor annoyance. Or maybe this is a problem with the laces. If I do not pay attention when running the lace into the hook sometimes I get the lace pierced by the hook. The lace is then stuck at this point and cannot be tightened. It can take some effort to unhook the lace as the hook bulges on the underside after the point of the hook. When lacing the hooks I found I need to pay attention to side the lace close to the boot to get behind the hook. The lace then slides into the hook without getting pierced and allows the lace to be tightened.

SUMMARY

The Merrell Men's Polarand 8 are great cold weather boots. They have well thought out features that complimentary to winter hiking. They provide stable traction and all day comfort on their own or with snowshoes, microspikes or crampons. And most importantly the Polarand 8's have kept my feet warm and dry in some very cold and snowy conditions.
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THINGS I LIKE

Amount of insulation, super warm
Snowshoe and gaiter friendly
Good traction
Waterproof
All day comfort

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

A little narrow for my foot
Laces can get caught on lace hooks

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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