With the advent of the new Arctic Grip™ by Vibram®, various shoes have hit the market. I was fortunate to try out the new Merrll Overlook 6 Ice+. This boot features the new Arctic Grip compound wedged between standard softer rubber lugs with a waterproof upper and M Select™ WARM lightweight insulation. If you are looking for a winter hiking/ general use boot, you may want to consider this option.
After the recent 2 weeks of true winter weather here in Calgary, I was really able to put the boot through its paces. What I came to appreciated was the warmth and waterproof attributes of the boot.
Fit and upper.
The boot fits slightly larger than size, but not overly so. This is a very good thing as with a winter boot, more room for larger socks and wiggle room keep you warm instead of cramped and cold. At no point did my feet get sweaty even when working hard while wearing this boot. I’m not sure how this is achieved as the boot is also very waterproof. Merrell did a fine job of making this boot warm, breathable and able to resist all elements. Top marks for the upper material. Laces were also standard and did not easily untie. A simple thing, that some manufacturers consistently miss the mark; not the case here. The construction of the boot is also quality. The only comment I have regarding the upper would be the addition of a second set of eyelets to give a more secure ankle fit. Otherwise, the boot is excellent.
With the release of the new Arctic Grip™ compound by Vibram® , I was curious to see what it could really do. The analogy most often used with this compound, is that it is like “sandpaper” on ice. If you are expecting to grip ice like spikes or a crampon, you will be disappointed. However, if walking/ hiking or hitting trails with a mix of wet slush, snow, packed snow, icy snow and ice, you will leave without slipping. Essentially, I would suggest that if your adventure has anything more than 20% ice, you best buy spikes or crampons, otherwise the Arctic Grip™ compound does very well. The design of the lugs may be toned down a bit to allow the sticky rubber more bite, but otherwise the grip was excellent.
The lug depth on the side could be reduced to allow the middle compound a better chance to grip.
I must admit, I did try running in this boot. I figured these might actually serve as dual purpose footwear. Unfortunately, I don’t think Merrell had this in mind for this boot. For walking I did manage to squeak in a pleasant 10km around Calgary’s closest playground- West Bragg Creek. I was comfortable throughout and for a typical winter jaunt, they were great.
I was pleased with the construction fit and materials of the Merrell Overlook 6 Ice+. Overall this is a worthy option for a winter hiking boot. With a few minor tweaks to the ankle collar and outsole I think, some functionality could be improved. Nevertheless, this is one tough boot for what appears to be a tough winter ahead!
The Merrell Overlook 6 Ice+ retails for $180 at most Canadian Retailers. A fair price given the features packed in this boot.