It’s 1981, Clark Matis and John Schweizer come across a Backpacker Magazine feature named: Trade Secrets of the Bootmaster. The pair, fresh from the Rossignol Ski Company and looking for a new venture, read how Randy Merrell has been creating ‘the best hiking boots in the world’ from his home in Vernal, Utah.
Honing his craft on cowboy boots, Randy had taken his expertise over to the world of hiking footwear. The result was a hiking boot that was snug in the heel, precise over the instep and roomy in the toes. The article Matis and Schweizer were reading told how these boots were ‘the most comfortable and functional of all the tested boots sold in North America.’ The three joined forces in a move that would reimagine trail footwear as we knew it.
With original product designs coming from Randy, Matis combined his talents in production management and marketing, with Schweizer bringing a business mind and contacts with Italian suppliers. The Merrell Boot Company launched its first program in 1982.
Throughout the 1990’s Merrell became a staple of the outdoor world. Growing into the Japanese and Scandinavian markets respectively. Collaborating with leaders like Vibram on a series of innovative outsole designs, turning technology into practicality on the trail. This dedication and craft finally culminated with Footwear News naming Merrell ‘1999 Athletic/Outdoor Brand of the Year’ at the end of the decade.
By 2001, Merrell had grown exponentially, aggressively diversifying to meet the needs of an ever-evolving outdoor enthusiast. The release of Chameleon in the spring of that year solidified Merrell’s place in the speed hiking and fastpacking market.
Merrell is a footwear brand for uncompromising individuals who know ‘outdoors’ is not just a style, it’s a lifestyle. This is why the founding principle of Merrell is ‘no compromise’. Since then, this spirit of experimentation without boundaries has gone on to create signature pieces for a vast array of applications as well as forging an entirely new category in outdoor footwear, ‘afterwear’ newly defined with the Jungle Moc in 1998.
With Merrell 1TRL, the journey continues. Combining decades of expertise with contemporary innovations to create a range of trail footwear that sets out to redefine the category. Returning models and new iterations, all united under the pioneering energy originally brought by Randy Merrell when he crafted the first Merrell hiking boot.