This is an unsolicited, uncompensated personal review and recommendation of a product that I use! All views are my own!
When I first became a tour guide, transitioning from being a Vegas chauffeur, I was so happy to finally ditch those stiff, shiny black dress shoes for some nice, comfy Skechers ( or whatever the equivalent was back in 2006).
Finally able to walk long distances in relative comfort. Mile after mile. Going up one hill and down another dirt path. Walking long paths around the parks. Climbing rocks and showing the wonders of the world to my guests. It was great, still is! I was kind of proud of the miles I put on my shoes. Like a weird status symbol of sorts, I was walking so much that I was wearing out several pairs of shoes a year.
Then one tour, when I was out with a group exploring the wonders of Yosemite National Park. I had been there a few times before and always loved taking those of my group who were more adventurous, for a hike up the Lower Yosemite Falls trail. This time, right there, at the start of the trail, my new pair of sneakers decided they had enough and split open. I was now out of service.
Thankfully, a fellow tour guide and friend who was also there with his group handed me a roll of duct tape.(don’t ask why he carried a roll, I did and regretted the answer) That got me back in action. But a lecture was soon to follow about what I was.
Pro or Amateur?
Was I a professional trying to be an amateur or an amateur trying to be a professional? He was referring to my chosen style of footwear. His answer was for me to man up and get a “real” pair of hiking shoes. His recommendation? Merrel’s. Not only was that his recommendation, but he told me to look around at the other hikers and guides versus the tourists trying to be hikers. What were they wearing?
As I walked and climbed, I scanned the footwear of the people I encountered, his point became very clear. A majority of the tourists were wearing what I was wearing while those who looked like they just came down for a week of hiking ElCapitan, were all wearing Merrel hiking shoes. And they were looking good.
Arriving back in Las Vegas, I headed to the local Bass Proshops and was fitted for a nice pair of Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe. Walking out of the store wearing them was like the difference between night and day in their comfort and their fit.
The comfort of new shoes is always nice. But after a few trips down a dirt path, through a few creeks and mud puddles, and up some rocky ruts of a popular canyon trail, how do they feel? For me and my Merrell’s? They still feel wonderful and we continue on.
So instead of buying several pairs of shoes over the course of a tour season, I buy one pair and they last me several years. I alternate between the regular vented hiking shoe and the mid hiking shoe that has a little more ankle support for those more rugged adventures!
If I had to choose one feature of these shoes, it would have to be durability. The ability to get me to where I need to go with comfort and not worrying about falling apart, breaking up, or suddenly creating holes in them that let water or rocks get into the base of the shoe. These are well-built hiking shoes.
And All This Means What?
With the weather cooling off and more people starting to get out into nature, especially around Las Vegas, the more people I see on the trails hurting because they have the wrong kind of shoes on. I hate seeing that. If you want to go out and enjoy the nature you can find around Las Vegas or wherever it is you want to be, do it in comfort and durability.
Please take a tip from me, a professional tour guide who has been where you want to go, get yourself a nice pair of Merrells, and enjoy your hikes more!