Merrell CanadaChances are if you’ve ever set foot on a dirt trail, you’ve heard of Merrell. That’s because these folks have been the patron footwear saints of granola-munching, weekend-hiking, GORE-TEX-wearing good times for four decades! Founded in 1981 by Clark Matis and John Schweizer, Merrell was conceived with the goal of bringing something new to the hiking boot market. Both founders served as executives for Rossignol, so they knew their way around the great outdoors. To create their hiking boots, Matis and Schweizer teamed up with renowned bootmaker Randal Ivan Merrell, who was best known for his high quality bespoke leather boots. A year later, Merrell had their first big success with the release of the Moab, an affordable performance hiking boot which quickly became a brand signature.
Merrell’s next evolution occurred in 1997 when they were bought by Wolverine World Wide. Part of Wolverine’s vision was to expand Merrell’s offering beyond just hiking boots. Their first attempt was the Jungle Runner, a lightweight trail runner which was met with disappointing sales. With the next design, however, Merrell struck pure gold. Matis had the bright idea to slap a trail running outsole onto a slip-on suede upper, thus creating the now-legendary Jungle Moc. Suffice to say the Jungle Moc was a success—today it’s Merrell’s flagship model, and in 2009, Merrell sold its ten millionth pair! Somehow this peculiar pigskin suede technical loafer became one of the most beloved (and polarizing) trail shoes of the 21st century.
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