I may soon switch my footwear allegiance

I’m a bit of a hiking boot snob. I like a particular brand, and more specifically, a certain model of that brand. But I’m about to change allegiances.

I’m pretty particular about what I put on my feet. For a couple of decades, I’ve only bought Merrells for my hiking boots. I like the way they fit, I like how durable they’ve been, and I like the price. They’re not the cheapest boots on the rack, but they’re far from the most expensive, either.

But I ran into trouble a few years ago when the company discontinued what I consider its best model ever. The Merrell Perimeter was the perfect hiking boot. It was light but strong, flexible but sturdy, and it didn’t have any of those stupid lace loops made of fabric. I always burn through those in a matter of months. But the Perimeter had all metal lace eyelets.

Unfortunately, Merrell stopped making them a while back. When I heard they were shutting down production, I bought three pairs in my size. I’d have bought more, but I couldn’t find more than three.

I’m hard on boots, though. I finally wore out the last extra pair of Perimeters I had, and I started looking for a new favorite boot. I found a new version of the Merrell Perimeter at the local Sportsmen’s Warehouse. The new version is called the Parkton, and it seemed almost perfect. It had one set of fabric lace loops on each boot, but I figured I could live with that. And it turns out, that wasn’t the problem, anyway.

I don’t know what’s happened to Merrell, but the quality doesn’t seem to be there anymore. I had those boots for about a month, and the sole started separating from the upper. Sportsmen’s Warehouse was great about replacing them, though, so I got a new pair. But it’s barely a month after I got that second pair, and that pair started falling apart, too. I took them back to Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and they put another pair on my feet. If this set starts wearing out prematurely, I think I’m going to switch to Danners. I’ll let you know how it turns out.