Back in 1981, Randy Merrell began designing and manufacturing handmade custom boots for a small group of outdoor enthusiasts.
Even back then they were calling them, “The best hiking boots ever made.” Backpacker Magazine named Merrell boots, “the most comfortable and functional boots in North America.”
Since then they’ve come a long way – a journey that has helped shape the products, the people, and the purpose to become one of the world’s top manufacturers of outdoor equipment.
It all started with a custom pair of cowboy boots. Randy Merrell made the jump from an industrial shoe-making school to crafting handmade boots. Eventually he decided to try his highly skilled hand at making hiking boots, and the word spread like wildfire.
In 1981, Randy teamed up with two former ski company executives: all-American Olympian Clark Matis and John Schweizer, who were looking to strike out on their own. Randy’s expert craftsmanship paired withClark and John’s industry experience and athletic instincts would prove to be the perfect combination. Together, they began to design a more affordable modelof high-performance hiking boots.
Each member of the trio had their own superpower. The Original Merrell product designs came from Randy. Clark Matis contributed production management knowledge as well as his marketing savvy. John Schweizeradded his business acumen and Italian sources. Together, the Merrell brand began to take shape.
Merrell applied a “no compromise” approach to their boot-making. The team added American cowboy boot technology to the Italian boot manufacturing process. The ¼-inch thick heel counter was designed to make boots last a decade. In fact the Wilderness boot, one of the earliest Merrell styles with its signature blue laces, still remains in the line today.
In 1983, the first Merrell products were delivered to market. That same year they introduced their first women’s hiking boot with QForm® comfort technology, specially designed to fit the unique profile, bone structure and stride of female hikers, for greater comfort and performance.
In 1985 Merrell launched our Eagle model, that combined running shoe performance with back country utility to create lighter and faster footwear for the trail. It was the first of its kind in Merrell history and marked the beginning of our movement towards ground breaking multi-sport technology.
In 1993 Merrell released their first cross-trainer model.Over the next 10 years they went all out innovation and added the mountain conquering Vibram® soles.
In 2016, Merrell teamed up with Tough Mudder as the presenting sponsor.
Exploration and following their own path has been in their nature since day one. Today, Merrell continues to make some of the world’s greatest footwear, apparel and accessories. It’s the kind of stuff they wear themselves when they’re out enjoying the great outdoors, and we’re happy to see that so many of you have been wearing it too.