A new addition to the Merrell line added recently is the Grassbow light weight hiking shoe for men. It hit stores a few weeks ago, and we caught up with Mark Pavsek the Business Director from the Performance Outdoor Footwear department to find out who the shoe’s for, what it does differently and whether it’s the shoe for you.
Hello Mark, can you start off by telling us a short intro about the Grassbow. What is it, and who is it for?
The Grassbow is really for the hiker who is looking to go a bit faster and a bit more athletic. It’s a bit narrower in the forefoot, so offers you a bit more grip and support, with a stiffer outsole than a traditional running shoe. A running shoe melded into a hiking shoe, giving you both balance and speed.
And this is a new line, right?
For men, yes. We launched the women’s Grassbow in Fall ’13, and the line generated so much excitement that we made a men’s version for Spring ’14. We don’t always do this in our shoes – we’re not the kind of company that ‘shrinks it and pinks it’ or vice versa, taking into account foot shape and gait. The feedback’s been really positive so far from both men and women.
Did you factor in user feedback to the design of these shoes?
We often see people hiking in running shoes on trails, but they’re designed for moving without much pack weight on, so it’s funny to see people using them like that. We wanted to have the same fit and feel of a running shoe, but give it that extra torsional rigidity as well as a bit more stiffness so it’s a bit more stable on the trail. We have a trail protection pad placed in there that protects you from rock and debris for added comfort, which you don’t get in a standard running shoe.
What do you think the shoes offer that others don’t?
A wonderful mix of lightweight, breathable, as well as being capable on the trail. A fusion between a trail runner and a hiking boot. Our history is more in hiking, but we’ve spent years studying how people run, their gait cycles and the foams and different devices used in running and this is a really strong fusion of all these things.
Mark, thank you very much for your time.
Not a problem.