Looking for durable hiking footwear that can last on the rugged terrain of the woods for as long as you can? We’re comparing two of the top hiking boot brands, Oboz and Merrell, to determine who has the better product.
What did we look for? We did our research and read up on the history of the companies, where they came from, where they have been, and where they plan on going.
We also looked into the quality of materials, customer reviews, and whether or not they were worth the money.
Keep reading to find out which company we think should take the title of the best hiking shoe, then make that decision for yourself.
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Oboz was created by people like you. People who love the great outdoors and exploring everything the rough terrain has to offer. Although it is much newer than many high-quality brands, it has made a name for itself over the last years. Its name comes from “Outside” and “Bozeman”.
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History of the Brand
Oboz official website
Oboz created its first hiking shoe in 2008 near Bozeman, Montana, where the need for durable, quality hiking shoes was high. The founder, John Connelly, was an experienced entrepreneur who had created and run a business before the Oboz shoe company took off.
The company’s location made it pretty easy to test-drive these boots, with mountainous rugged terrain for as far as the eye can see.
Those who work for the Oboz company are walkers, hikers, runners, outdoorsmen, and so much more. They design footwear that they and their customers can use, making sure each pair is comfortable, durable, and safe.
What sets the Oboz hiking boots apart from others is their astonishing respect for the environment and the lengths it goes to every day to make sure the shoemaking process is sustainable and eco-friendly. What’s more impressive is that they plant a tree for every pair of hiking shoes purchased, making an impact on our planet.
As the years go on and technology improves, Oboz finds ways to create an amazing pair of hiking shoes while doing its part not to leave its footprint on the environment.
Materials and Manufacturing
Oboz uses an array of high-quality materials that look different, depending on the style of shoe. Each upper uses high-quality Nubuck, performance mesh, synthetic material, and other options to create the best performing products.
The midsoles are lightweight and rigid, providing a supportive bottom with enough flexibility for easy movement, and the outsoles have a unique tread design for a supportive grip, excellent traction, and balance.
When the materials are ready, they are then hand-made to get every detail just right.
Our Favorite Pairs
Oboz boots offer an array of styles, colors, and sizes, with a unique design created for your specific need. Here are two pairs that we love and think you will too.
Oboz Men’s Firebrand II Low Waterproof Shoe
This hiking shoe is perfect for the trails, made from quality leather and mesh, providing a durable and breathable hiking shoe. It is comfortable, waterproof (B-DRY waterproof technology), and versatile.
Oboz Women’s Sapphire Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
We love these Sapphire Mid hiking boots. They are beautifully designed and a perfect option for those who like to hike on various types of trails. The traction is great, and the waterproof material keeps your feet warm and dry.
Oboz Hiking Shoe FAQs
Need more information regarding the Oboz brand? Here are a few most commonly asked questions.
Are Oboz Hiking Shoes True to Size?
Yes. According to Oboz, their products run true to size. Also, for most customers who have purchased Oboz hiking boots and shoes, you should have no problems purchasing your usual size. As always, it would be best to try them on at your local retailer if possible.
Are Oboz Hiking Shoes Worth the Money?
With the Oboz brand, you are paying more for better quality. If you are looking for a durable, high-quality hiking boot, Oboz is worth every penny in our opinion.
Where Are Oboz Hiking Shoes Made?
The Oboz headquarters is at the corner of Olive Street and Wallace Avenue in Bozeman, Montana; however, their boots are currently made in Vietnam.
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Merrell hiking shoes are now a part of the well-known Wolverine World Wide brand. But before that, they were a small boot company created by hiking enthusiasts. Although the brand has switched hands a few times over the years, the quality of the products has always remained the same.
History of the Brand
Merrell official website
Another brand from the USA, Merrell was first founded by Clark Matis, Randy Merrell, and John Schweizer in 1981. As two executives of the Rossignol ski company Clark Matis and John Schweizer knew what was truly important when it came to quality outdoor boots.
With the help of the already successful luxury boot maker, Randy Merrell, they set off to find a way to make a high-performance boot more affordable and easier to access.
In 1983, high-performance, affordable hiking shoes were packed up and shipped off to a couple of East Coast hiking gear markets.
Although the brand was doing well, Merrell decided he preferred his life of customizing high-end boots and sold his share of the Merrell brand. Then the brand was completely sold to Karhu in 1987, a sports apparel company, which then sold the company to the Wolverine brand in 1997.
Wolverine still owns the Merrell company today and has kept production moving in the right direction, keeping the Merrell name at the top of the industry.
These boots are still being sold with the same excellent quality and materials they started with, now selling not only boots but sneakers, sandals, accessories, apparel, and more.
Materials and Manufacturing
Merrell shoes use top-quality, durable materials including, a full-grain leather upper that is water-resistant and strong, Italian metal hardware, and a slip-resistant, traction control Vibram rubber outsole (Learn more: The Main Types of Vibram Soles).
These boots provide hikers with a rubber sole that supports the bottom of their feet and absorbs a lot of shock with each step, while the cushioned heel provides comfort.
Our Favorite Pairs
Now let’s see two pairs of Merrell boots that really stand out.
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Boot
These Merrell Moab 2 hiking boots are the perfect design and fit for any adventure. They use synthetic material and leather uppers, with a breathable mesh lining, M Select™ DRY waterproof membrane, and Vibram® TC5+ rubber sole. They provide both quality and comfort.
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid GORE-TEX® Boot
The Moab 2 Boot for women comes with a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane, synthetic leather and mesh upper, EVA midsole, and Vibram outsole. A great comfortable pair of hiking boots in our opinion.
Merrell Hiking Shoe FAQs
Here are a few of the most common questions that we hear people asking frequently.
Do Merrell Hiking Shoes Fit True To Size?
Yes, the popular public opinion is Merrell boots fit as they should in most cases, and you should purchase your standard shoe size.
Are Merrell Hiking Shoes Worth the Money?
These boots are fairly priced and of great quality. We believe they are worth the money, and as long as they are taken care of properly, they should last you quite a long time.
Where Are Merrell Hiking Shoes Made?
Over the years, Merrell hiking shoes have been manufactured in many locations. Currently, the majority of Merrell footwear is made in the USA and Asia.
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3. Which Brand is Better?
Both brands sit in the same price bracket and provide high-quality materials and quality products. However, we can’t help but give some extra props to the Oboz brand for their dedication to eco-friendly production, manufacturing, and overall way of life.
Another point for Oboz is that it hasn’t changed owners since they first opened, still being designed and produced by those who envisioned the operations. Merrell has moved from one brand to another over the years, even though we have to mention the fact that it’s an older company.
On the other hand, Merrell offers a wider variety of stylish, bold colors and designs, giving each hiker a chance to purchase a pair of boots to match their unique style. Oboz‘s line is a little more conservative.
Ultimately, we would still have to choose the Oboz brand this time. They offer a great product that is comfortable, versatile, and made for hikers on a mission.
However, the name on the shoe shouldn’t sway your decision about whether or not you should buy the product. The quality, care, and dedication put into each shoe or boot is what makes the difference.
Read next: 9 Italian Hiking Boot Brands: Our Top Picks