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Merrell | Our Heritage Story

What began in the mountains of Utah, now roams the world.

Since 1981, Merrell has been providing outdoor enthusiasts with quality performance footwear.

A custom cowboy boot maker in Utah by the name of Randy Merrell decided to try his highly skilled hand at making hiking boots as he couldn’t find a pair he liked.

Randy found he had a real passion for doing things for people that they could not do for themselves - taking that pair of feet that belong to somebody that is causing them a great deal of pain and making a much more workable situation for them.

Through word-of-mouth and the small classified ads he placed in backpacking publications, Randy Merrell became known for building boots that – like a cowboy boot – fit perfectly: snug in the heel, precise over the instep, and roomy in the toes.

Merrells heritage original boot | Merrell NZ


It was the Backpacker feature “Trade secrets of the Bootmaster” that caught the eye of Clark Matis and John Schweizer, both fresh from Rossignol Ski Company and looking for a new venture. Already outdoor and footwear enthusiasts, Matis and Schweizer were on a search for the perfect hiking boot and in the process found Randy Merrell.

The three men joined forces and the Merrell boot company was formed. Randy with his skills in product design and quality craftsmanship, Clark Matis contributed his production knowledge and marketing savvy, while John Schweizer added his business acumen and Italian sources. The Merrell boot company launched its first program in 1982 with the goal of bringing Randy’s high-performance hiking boot design to a wider audience.

With the original Wilderness boot, Merrell was born. The simple, comfortable, and durable design revolutionised hiking and backpacking. This early style still remains in the line, providing proof of just how superior this original product was.

After over four decades in the industry, Merrell products are still designed and built to perform for all those who recognise “outdoor” as a lifestyle. Men, women and children look to Merrell footwear to combine outdoor function and performance, progressive style and an independent design vision.

From our very first custom made hiking boots to our latest product innovations, we make all of our products with four core values in mind: Comfort, Durability, Design, and Versatility. It’s all about removing the barriers to enjoying the great outdoors.

Merrells heritage | Merrell NZ

Comfort | Durability | Design | Versatility