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Merrell Continuums

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Merrell Continuums

Postby GH-Dave » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:39 pm

I've needed a good pair of hiking boots for some time, and since I'm determined to get back into backpacking again, I finally broke down and bought a pair of Merrell Continuum Vibram Ortholites. I'm trying not to have this nagging feeling that I've made a $110 mistake.

Here's the backstory. My 18-year-old son just completed Basic Training, which is the first phase of his year-long adventure with the International ALERT Academy (alertacademy.com). It was an extremely rigorous nine weeks, part of which includes about 200 miles of hiking with full backpack loads -- culminating in a 50-mile, continuous 24-hour hike in the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area, Oklahoma. Those guys were really moving! And it wasn't all touristy trail stuff either. They finished in 23 hours, 15 minutes by the way.

Anyway, point is that he wore his Merrell Chameleons, and had fewer foot complaints than virtually any of the other 42 guys in his unit. So, when he got home for his four weeks furlough, he insisted I buy myself a pair of Merrell trail hikers. Only problem was, his model had just been outdated, and replaced by the Continuums. I tried them on at Cabellas, and found them to fit like a part of my foot. (Caveat -- It took a full-size larger than normal to get that good fit. Don't know why. I'm a 10 1/2, and had to take a Merrell 11 1/2. Note to myself: Don't ever order shoes over the Internet.)

Couple of questions:

I argued with my son about the boot vs. shoe issue for backpacking. He basically said that he gave his shoes the extreme test and came back with flying colors. He said others in his unit who wore boots mostly all regretted it. They developed blisters and other foot complaints. He didn't.

I'm worried about the lack of ankle support. I've been wearing these shoes extensively around our property (we live in the mountains), and elsewhere. And, I've been on a couple of practice day hikes around Yosemite Valley. They seem to do OK so far. But, what about getting off onto some high-country trails, scrambling over rocks, etc.?

These really are cool shoes. You only have to lace them up once. The laces are like little bungies. They stay put, and you put the shoes on and and take them off like slip-ons. This worked great for my son because the unit would get scrambled in the middle of the night for a night hike and they were given only seconds to be ready. I like that feature because I don't like the tedium of tying laces. :(

Second question is I'm wondering if anybody else has these Merrell Continuums, and has had a problem with the back of the shoe where it contacts the Achilles tendon. My son's shoe has a little cutout there that accommodates his Achilles tendon. In Merrell's wisdom, they eliminated that feature in the new model, and there is a constant pressure against my Achilles tendon. So far, with constant wearing, and a couple of short hikes, I haven't developed a blister there ... but the pressure against my Achilles tendon just plain feels uncomfortable. Has anybody experienced this? And, if so, what have you done about it?

I'm planning a busy backpacking summer and fall, so the questions are not just academic.

Sorry for the long-winded post. I'm a writer. I get wordy. :)

Thanks,

Dave



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Re: Merrell Continuums

Postby oldranger » Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:28 pm

Dave,

I was a big fan of the Merrill Pulse Mids until my second pair showed signs of the mid soles separating from the uppers. A little shoe goo and they have hung together for another year and 3/4 as a day hike boot and a yard work boot. I never liked the Chameleons because the sole felt too narrow and made the boot feel unstable to me in the store. I have not seen the Continuum boot yet. My advice is to try the boot on a day hike with at least a 1000 feet of uphill in a couple of miles. If, after going up and down with no issues, then you have a keeper! I, too feel a bit insecure in mids, with their lack of ankle support but when using them have had no problems, even doing demanding off trail routes. My wife does significant trail hiking and generally wears running shoes or low top hikers in order to avoid blisters and does ok that way but will not venture off trail with me anymore.

Not exactly an answer to your question but I did dance around it a bit~ :)

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Merrell Continuums

Postby GH-Dave » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:58 pm

Hi Mike,

I called Merrell and clarified somewhat the model of the shoe I bought. It turns out that there is no "Continuum" model, per se. When I gave her the model number she said that this is the Chameleon 3 hiker. She verified that it replaces the Chameleon 2, which is what my son has.

As to the Achilles tendon problem. She said that if I find a replacement shoe that works better for me Merrell will take my shoes in return and give me a voucher for the new ones. Pretty good service, I'd say.

Before I do that, I'll be taking your advice and going on a couple more practice hikes. No problem finding 1,000 feet to climb, as I live about 30 minutes from Yosemite's Big Oak Flat entrance. :)

Thanks,

Dave
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Re: Merrell Continuums

Postby jeevak » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:06 pm

Hey dave!
Greetings from India.
I chanced upon the merrell continuums in singapore. My feet. Are really big (US 13) compared to most Indians so I usually shop for shoes abroad. When I tried the shoes on in the shop I had issues. They were comfortable and light. Walked around a bit and really enjoyed them. I chose them over a pair of lace up merrells. In fact I took off the shoes I was wearing and left the shop with these. Within about an hour my achiles tendon started bothering me. The back of the shoe kept digging into it. It was too late to go back to the shop and I was leavinng next day. I felt terrible. I had paidd through my nose for the shoes!! Anyway I came back to India with the shoes. What I did was to wear the shoes for a week or so after I removed the inner ortholite sole. The shoes started getting better. I then put in the sole. Last month I went for a four hour hike. They performed really well!! The tip of the shoes showed a little peeling off of the sole which was disappointing. What I have found is that if u wear the shoes after a couple of days, I feel that discomfort oon my tendon but it disappears after about 5 10 min or so.

All in all its a good shoe but I wish they had done something about the back of the shoe...

Jeevak
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Re: Merrell Continuums

Postby hikerchick395 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:51 am

It is strange that the Merrell representative stated that there was no Continuum model because it is right on the boot. This boot is a little too lightweight for me but it has a great fit. Seams started separating within the first summer season (2009)...that said, I just wore them Monday and I wore them in Alaska last year (lighter for packing in the suitcase.) They are fairly Shoe Gooed up. They survived longer than my previous year's boots...La Sportivas, which started coming unglued and seams split after just about 8 days of backpacking (unfortunately on the JMT. Those boots are really Shoe Gooed...ready for an ugly boot contest.) I finally got smart and purchased Vasque boots that were made in Italy (not China or Viet Nam) and they have performed well and have stayed intact. It appears that the sole will wear out first, as a good boot should. (I had Technica boots, made in Italy, prior to the La Sportivas and Merrells and those were worn about three seasons to a much worn down sole.)
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