The Evolution of Merrell Shoes

The first pair of Merrell shoes was a custom-made set of cowboy boots by Randy Merrell, an industrial shoe-maker. He made the switch to handmade hiking boots to keep a small group of outdoor lovers supplied with hiking footwear. Word of his incredible skills spread quickly, helped out by Backpacker Magazine which called his boots the most functional and comfortable in North America.

How the Merrell Shoes partnership started?

By 1981, he needed help to meet the increasing demand for Merrell mens shoes. That’s when he joined forces with Olympian Clark Matis and ski company executive John Schweizer. Their collaborative effort produced an inexpensive high-performance boot. Merrell shoes were now more affordable, but the trio made sure that quality never suffered.


Merrell mens shoes brought the expert craftsmanship while his new associates added athletic instincts as well as experience in marketing and production to this successful partnership. Schweizer also contributed significantly by bringing Italian sources to the table. The high-quality design approach combined the process of Italian manufacturing with cowboy boot technology. Because it incorporated ¼-inch-thick heel counters, the footwear was constructed to last a decade. The Wilderness boot with its signature blue laces was one of the earliest Merrell shoes by this trio and remains part of the current company’s lineup.

The innovation of the brand

The first Merrell shoes produced by the three appeared on the market in 1983. Incidentally, that’s when the company introduced its first hiking boot that was designed exclusively to fit the unique bone structure, stride and profile of female hikers. In 1985, the company presented a shoe that united back-country performance with the effectiveness of running shoes. 

Known as the Eagle model, it was designed to usher in faster and lighter trail footwear. In 1993, the company introduced its first cross-trainer product. In the decades to follow, Merrell shoes continued to exhibit innovative features and started selling on-line at

Choosing between distinct characteristics

What makes Merrell shoes unique is that they are made to accommodate socks, so they’ll fit properly as soon as they come out of the box. Additionally, the company uses forms that relate to specific outdoor activities. This means that hiking shoes will function according to how hikers’ feet perform inside the shoes. Women also get a superior benefit because the shoes designed for them have a higher in-step, narrower heels and elongated toes.

In addition to boots, the company offers slides, sandals and kids footwear. While initially designed for the rugged Utah mountain terrain, people all over the world now wear Merrell shoes.