Staff Pick: Merrell Alverstone Hiking Shoe
This past summer, I wore the Merrell Alverstones hiking shoeon a 3,000 mile backpacking trip walking along the Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada. Over five months, I wore out four pairs of these shoes, and was continually impressed by their comfort, durability, and performance across a wide variety of terrain. The Alverstone costs well under $100, which is an amazing deal for a lightweight hiking shoe that will provide more support and last far longer than your average trail runner. Though they were light enough that they didn’t weigh down my feet while walking long days through the mountains, they also provided enough rigidity and support for scrambling over rocky knife-edge ridgelines and crossing snowfields in Colorado. The upper mesh material is breathable enough that, though my feet were often wet, they would always dry within a few hours of fording a river or passing through a thunderstorm.
As is the case with most hiking shoes, I would recommend purchasing 0.5 - 1 size larger than what your feet measure to – a week into my backpacking trip, I had to upgrade to one size larger because my feet expanded over long days of hiking. My only minor complaint about these shoes is in regards to the Kinetic Fit BASE insole- though it provided plenty of arch support, the sole of the shoe was thin enough that I could feel every rock through the base of the shoe, which by the end of the day bothered my feet. If wearing these shoes for long hiking or backpacking trips, I would recommend purchasing aftermarket insoles to add to the shoe for a little additional padding and protection. With all this said, there aren’t many shoes I would trust for 3,000 miles of backpacking, but even after an entire summer in these shoes I will continue to wear Alverstones on future hiking trips.