Review – Merrell Intercept Gore Tex® shoes

First trip out on the hills – the Merrell Intercept Gore Tex shoes

“Given their weight, overall comfort and durability – the Merrell Intercept Gore Tex® shoes make for superb all round multi-activity footwear. I really like them and am pleased they’ve proven to be long lasting…”

When out on a trip recently, a friend I bumped into commented “You got some new shoes there to try out?”. He was shocked at my reply.

I informed him they weren’t new at all – having covered around 300 miles at the time. And that scenario pretty much sums up the durability of the Merrell Intercept walking shoe.

They’ve covered many more miles since and still look as though (when clean) they’re straight out the box.

Obviously on closer inspection you’ll note the soles wear and tear and the odd scuff mark, but overall I’ve been extremely impressed with how tough these shoes really are. It was the last thing I expected, too.

Large venting holes help the shoe to breathe

They look pretty cool for a walking shoe – if fashionable outdoors footwear is your thing – and only weigh 925g for a pair of size 10.5.

But it was the large holes cut into the leather that wraps around your foot which initially concerned me. Great for keeping your feet cool – brilliant in fact. But when marching along rough heather moors or coarse grass bogs and fellsides, I was convinced that something would slip through and pierce the inner liner and consequently form a leak.

In some respects, I was careful at first but over time my faith and confidence in the footwear grew and now at the end per se – that fear of a leak from the Gore Tex liner being compromised just hasn’t materialised at all. Maybe I was lucky? Who knows. But even now I’ll march anywhere with them with not a care in the world.

Ironically, I’m rather thankful for this kind of venting too – my feet can get quite hot and sweaty in Gore lined footwear – but this never materialised either. Yes, I’ve had the infrequent occasion where the shoes have been overwhelmed somewhat by bog and crud from a few consecutive days hiking- but they’ve always been quick to dry – though a little difficult to clean (the outer leather can trap a fair bit of mud and requires a cotton bud for removal).

So, the Merrell Intercept Gore Tex® shoes are tough, durable and very cool for a Gore lined bit of kit. Top marks on that front.

However, as with all footwear it’s about comfort (so do endeavour to get a fitting done in a shop if you can) and these Merrell shoes score highly in this department, too.

After 300 miles, they still look in good condition and the sole continues to
perform well for most walks.

Torsion stability is fair. They aint ‘stiff as old boots’ but you won’t feel every bump and hump when marching about. Footholds on scrambles are OK but your lower limbs may feel tired after a while. Not ideal but doable.

However, this lack of torsion stability makes the shoe ideal for walking on trails and even tarmac country lanes – they almost flex and bend at the level you only see in regular trainers but not too much so that you may loose your footing or balance on rocky terrain.

You certainly feel nimble on your feet but never have to stomp or march peculiarly either.

The lacing system is spot on, too – the shoes feel close fitting but not constrictive. Admittedly, I’m wide footed but narrow at the heel so you may disagree on fit. But I’ve not felt the need to have any kind of insole inserts unlike with other shoes and boots I’ve used in the past. For example, the heel cup is snug and comfortable with no slipping even if a peat bog is trying it’s best to consume your feet into it’s depths.

Cushioning, is exceptional – comparable to a running trainer in many respects. I’ve never felt that horrible jar you sometimes get in your heel when racing from rock to rock downhill – or felt any issues with the ball of my feet either. So, if you’re into the odd fell run you may find these shoes to beneficial for more than one activity.

Well done Merrell for a superb all round multi activity shoe

The Vibram sole has nice deep lugs to a depth of 4.5mm with a sensible pattern to grip most terrains but friction can vary somewhat depending on what you’re doing and where you are.

On wet volcanic rock like you’ll find in most places in the Lake District, a solid footing can be hit and miss at times. But on steep grass covered fells the friction is superb. Needless to say in areas like the Peak District grip isn’t an issue when your walking on gritstone but on limestone you’ll have to watch your step – though to be fair, the same can be said of any footwear no matter how good the sole. After a few hundred miles, the lugs are now at an average depth of 3.6mm which is really rather good. Even the heel breast is still in good nick. Clearly it’s a hard wearing sole (which is common to multi activity shoes) but it’s not as slippy as some which is testament to the stud patterns effectiveness.

Special thanks to online retailer Outdoor Look® for supplying me with these shoes. Given their weight, overall comfort and durability – the Merrell Intercept Gore Tex® shoes make for superb all round multi-activity footwear. I really like them and am pleased they’ve proven to be long lasting as I’ll go back to using them when the winter season has passed (they’ll be too cold to use in deep snow and such like).


3 Comments Add yours

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.


  2. Hi Terry,

    Great review! I myself own a pair of the Intercepts, although not the gortex ones. I also found them to be nice and light, comfy, hard wearing, but also stylish!

    I've had mine for a a few years now. They were worn non stop when I worked outdoors at our company's tent show and day to day for various other activities until they were eventually replaced. To be honest they took a battering but they're still going strong!

    I think that's very impressive for several years hard use!



    Taunton Leisure

    edit: deleted previous comment to correct a typo!


  3. terrybnd says:

    @Luke – Thanks. Yes, I'm actually impressed with how tough they've been and will continue to wear them. I'm interested in how well the non Gore one's performed. I'd imagine they'd be even quicker when drying.


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