Tuesday, March 15, 2011




Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Merrell is celebrating the big 30 with some key new additions to its arsenal of performance wear, accessories and kickers designed for the serious and more casual (including urban) outdoorsy consumer.

Three themes in the footwear and the apparel (somewhat) play out in the marketing campaign-the “outventure” (hiking, multi-day treks), “fusion” (daywear for office types, city looks), and “momentum” aero friendly for runners/bikers, on and off the trails- permeated the items we saw at the most recent OR tradeshow ---

As well as re-issued/refreshed apparel (the Origins collection), and trail and casual use brand extension of the seriously buzzed about Barefoot Collection in collaboration with Vibram®.

IMHO Merrell may get marketed a certain way---but intentions are blurred in certain customer minds, (us)---though maybe not retailers who sell the brand. We think Merrell Fall 2011 will appeal to a broad buyer base….

Guise --- with with PrimaLoft® Eco warmth morphs into Adventure Rest™ pillow

Like tech separates by North Face---  worn by seemingly every other NYer (at least), especially this winter, as well as apparel by Columbia---and Patagonia--- and break-out high end labels like Canada Goose and Moncler---

A lot of people just always opt for the most performing and/or pricey garment with a “cool” label that’ll announce it to the world, cause they can, Not because they need it to summit anything more than their front door steps.
Our fav-Keely down jacket transforms into a neck pillow with flattering shawl collar---with snap closure storm flap...in Crystal stripe

We did see some really want-it functional options--- in tech fabrics that make a whole lot of difference in comfort. Often this was because of the usage of Merrell’s own proprietary tech including its  Opt-Wick™ (moisture wicking), Opti-Warm™ (synthetic insulation for warmth without the bulk),

Opti-Shell™ (fully seamed, waterproof, and breathable), Aeroblock™ (wind-proofing)…treatments/textiles.

secure earpieces here

Other performing fabrics include the plush feeling Conductor Fleece and Conductor Ultra-Light, (low bulk, cozy, and warmth)…

...and the Ionic™ fabric-a moisture wicking, stretchy synthetic with a cotton feel…

ECO ALERT: N.A.D.A. ---a dye-free fabric made in a more earth friendly manner. We actually have the HAVEN coat for woman in this very light beige/white non-color---and always get compliments on it in the midst of NYC's sea of black attire.

New for Fall 2011---we first noticed an impressive line-up of wool/poly knits and fleeces with tech features like moisture and anti-microbial…and trend-on design elements like diagonal zippers,

Veltman Vintage feel with cool asymmetrical, exposed metal teeth zip-Ink Heather 


The popular Adventure Rest™ series of jackets that stuff into a convenient neck pillow has some new super warm 650 and 800 premium goose down fills and PrimaLoft® Eco™ (thermally insulating) options

Wilderness Down vintage 80's style 

The premium Tri-Them™--- three in one jackets --- including men’s Steel Bay- and women’s streamlined Biloxi, and Jolene---- with removable Opti-Warm™ liner using Merrell M-Connect™ that employs hidden snaps, not bulky, heavier weight zippers. 

Fav jacket-Jolene Tri-Therm™ with 2 layer Opti-Shell™ waterproof, Opti-Warm™ warmth, storm flap with four tab closures-removable hood adjusts over helmet.

New soft shells made with waterproof, breathable and stretch attributes, includes the MO of warmth where you need it via mapped heat zones--- that add more insulation on the core areas---and made tough with abrasion resistant fabrics,

Removable powder strips
Geneva is waterproof, breathable in undyed plaid... storm flap with hidden snap closure, detachable hood, pit-zips, flap closure oter pockets with button detail, removable powder skirt----NICE. Any snowboarding gal would love this,

Lots of jackets with urban and outdoor appeal---with under arm pit zips for letting off some steam (handy when hopping on/off mass transit),

All cotton, man’s plaid woven tops (Cedrus pictured) with durable double needle stitching.

Vintage flavored long sleeve Parks tees…featuring the original artwork by WPA era artists.


FOOTWEAR was the original break-out product for Merrell (Jungle Moc)…. and we wish we could still wear a pair of the brand’s sandals we wore for years---so comfortable and on a urban friendly platform outsole too.

“Performance Made Beautiful” is the operative mission----and functioning stalwarts like waterproof Gore-Tex®, supportive Orthollte® anatomical footbeds, Vibram® Chameloen3/TC5 Rubber griping cold tough outsoles etc…as well as Merrell’s own supportive shock absorbing technologies to combat foot fatigue (the woman anatomically specific QFORM® comfort midsoles, Spring Motion,™ TrailSpring™, Split™, Trail Bound™) ---

Digging into the archives for inspiration, Merrell’s 30 years old Wilderness Boot gets a 21st century re-boot without sacrificing the performance---it’s now shorter with removable leg warmers too---and Opti-warm insulation.

We also saw a nice leather waterproof lace-up “Natalya” 

-and waterproof insulated pac boots---Artic Fox that has the insulated/warmth/comfort thickness ratios just right. And cute too.

And an American Pediatric Association certified Clog===part of Merrell’s Fusion collection.

New colors for popular styles----Eagle

The ginormous success of the trail running BareFoot Collection---that allows for a “natural landing pad” (not heel strike first)…enabling the body’s motion mechanics via a mid foot landing…

Get Fall 2011 options…that extend Spring 2011’s offerings….

For women---particularly those who think the Vibram Five Fingers are just too friggin' ugly…

Merrell has casual Barefoot leather Mighty Glove - leather Mary Jane, adorable....

---A stylish gladiator Power Play Glove…with soft leather upper that provides a glove-like fit

And the hike friendly Lithe Glove-with Merrell’s Omni=Fit™ lacing system.

For guy’s there’s the mesh DWR treated synthetic leather/air mesh upper Trail Glove,

The Gore-Tex® waterproof Embark Glove, and the soft shell, DWR Sonic Glove.

FYI: We actually hike in Asolos and LOWA...and run in Newton's and Terra Plana---so we cannot vouch for how Merrell's latest deal with uneven surfaces and stuff with ouch potential like stones. Look cool though. And the Gladiator style has ankle support.

ALSO MERRELL ACCESSORIES----we didn't have time!!!