Merrell just completed a new study on barefoot and minimalist running that inspired the company to redesign its barefoot runners, making them wider so that your foot has more connection with the ground. It also inspired Merrell to introduce two new minimalist collections: done-in-a-day Mixmaster shoes (below) and the multiday-hike Proterra shoes (above).
In applying the lessons of barefoot running to hiking footwear, Merrell had two big challenges. The first was figuring out how to create a braking heel—something that would grip the trail on descents to prevent the hiker from slipping and sliding—without using overbuilt and heavy lugs. Merrell’s answer: an inverted lug diamond patter sole that gives traction in the midfoot, where minimalist runners and hikers strike, as well as the heel.