When I traveled back east to the Gore facilities in October (see The Gore-Tex Experience), one of the pieces of Gore-Tex® gear that I got to bring home was a pair of Merrell® Intercept shoes. At first glance, these were a lot like my older Merrell shoes that I’ve been flogging for about two years. After breaking them in for a few weeks, though, I noticed some significant differences.
At first, I thought I had made a mistake and got a smaller size because the new Intercepts felt snug on my foot. On careful examination, though, the Intercepts have a much more athletic cut to them, than my older pair. The Intercepts fit much more like a running shoe or a cross trainer and this worried me, because I thought they would be hotter than my old pair.
After a month of hard use, including hikes in northern California, Catalina Island and Mexico, I’ve broken in the Intercepts and grown accustomed to the fit. In fact, the Intercepts actually run cooler than my older pair, which I attribute to the numerous vents running down the side of the shoe and the vented tongue. My older Merrells, with leather uppers, did not have any venting.
The vents are protected by a Gore-Tex bootie that is sandwiched between the internal construction of the shoe and it does a good job of keeping moisture out, while still allowing the shoe to breathe. It’s not magic, though – if you wear cotton socks on a hike your feet will get damp from perspiration. With wool socks, though, my feet stayed completely dry.
The Intercepts seem to have more internal cushioning than my older Merrell shoes. Once I got accustomed to the snugger fit, I was happy with how comfortable these shoes had become and they no longer felt tight on my feet, even with thick wool socks. The Intercepts also have an aggressive sole lug design that sheds mud and clumpy dirt a lot better than my older pair. In short, I don’t have any complaints with the Intercepts – they may take a bit of getting used to, but once you break them in you will never look back.
I wear it for 2 years and still look in a good shape. Really durable indeed. Highly recommended for every hiker.
I’ve been wearing a pair of Merrell Intercept trainers for about a year now as a casual shoe. I have found them to be a bit warm though. But it’s good to hear that the gore tex version is still breathable. I’m taking up trail running next year, so I may give these a go, or invest in a pair of North Face Hedgehogs.
I found the information about the Merrell Intercept Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes extremely useful. I will check into becoming a online supplier of these amazing hiking shoes. I think I am even replace my old hiking shoes.
I’m glad that you found it informative, Kathy, thanks!
I love me some Gore-tex products. Funny though…I didn’t know Al Gore even had a company in Texas… 😉
Now, now, Mr. Gore has not (to the best of my knowledge) claimed that he invented Gore-Tex 🙂
I need a new pair of good hiking/walking shoes like this and this information was very helpful. After work I went over to Cabelas and they had a few styles of Merrel’s high tops and low. But nothing with the Gore-tex in a model that worked for me. BUT there was a woman there also looking at shoes. We chatted and it she and her husband are going to Antarctica next month and she needed this kind of shoe. I share your information from the post. We both wore the same size shoe so when the shoes came out from the back we tried on the Cabela’s high top hiker that had the Gore-tex liner. It was a great boot, but then we tried on the same boot by Merrell and it was wonderfully more comfortable. She ended up buying the Merrell high top with Gore-tex for her trip and I will keep looking. Dick’s website has a low top with the Gore-tex, which is what I think I really want. I knew I needed this kind of shoe (my old ones are about 10 yrs old.) but you really helped me get some specs on the right kind of shoe to buy. Thanks!
Wow Jenn, what a great story! I’ve met some interesting people in outdoor stores, too. I always thought it would be fun to work at one. The new Merrell is probably the most comfortable shoe I’ve owned – it must have something to do with the air-cushioned mid-sole that they are touting. The shoe really has a lot of cushion, but it doesn’t have a squishy feel. Good luck on your search!
Good info. This is my first comment on your blog, but I’ve been reading for a month or so. I was at Dick’s just the other night looking at hiking shoes. I’m looking for a new pair for some backpacking trips in the spring. My old pair are a full boot Nike. Wondering why you like the athletic cut more than a full hiking boot?
Hi Josh – it’s really just a personal preference. I know several people who prefer the ankle support of a full hiking boot. I like the lighter weight and breathability of a hiking shoe and they’re a bit more flexible for other activities, like bouldering, which I sometimes do with the kids on hikes. I still wear boots in the snow and rain.
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