Winter, it something some of us look forward to while some of us dread. Regardless we need gear that can tackle the cold, the wet and depending where you live the snow. Check out my lastest gear review on the Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX hiking boots.

Gear Review : Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking Boot

I am an advocate for lightweight gear which first and foremost begins with footwear. The footwear I wear needs to be versatile enough to handle the diverse terrain of the Pacific Northwest. It also needs to be ready to handle the extremely wet winters of Vancouver Island where rain is the predominant form of winter precipitation.

I choose my shoes and boots starting with lightweight as the first criteria as to not fatigue my feet or legs on a long day. I look for a flexible shoe or boot that can move with my foot on varied terrain. That flex also allows me to feel the terrain better and move more efficiently.

Lastly my shoe needs to have superior traction with my typical hikes ranging from dry grippy rock to wet slippery tree roots. At higher elevations snow and ice will be a factor to consider.

Will Merrells newest lightweight winter performance boot meet the task?

Vancouver Island coastal hike wearing the Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX hiking boot

First Look Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking Boots

When my Merrel Thermo Rogue Mid gtx hiking boots arrived at the house I first thought that I had gotten a pair of hiking shoes. At 960 grams for the pair they are exceptionally light, more in the category of a heavy shoe rather than being in the boot category.

Pulling the boot out of the box I was extremely impressed with the very strong and durable design of the boot body. It almost resembled a carbon fibre material look.

Flipping the boot over the large grippy lugs of the Vibram sole. They looked ready for the challenge of whatever I could throw at them. On the toe the grip rolls up the front for enhanced protection and better grip hiking inclines. Then a solid toe protection rubber overlay covers the entire front of the boot, terrific for those off trail detours and enhanced protection from wetness.

The inner body of the boot looked nice and soft with extra thickness of the Primaloft to keep your foot warm. Opening the boot wide revealed the bellowed tonque which creates a completely sealed body compartment from the elements.

Lastly the whole package comes together with the small Gore-Tex badge on the side of the boot that lets you know that you are approved to tackle the wettest of environments.

Looking at the key benefits that Merrell states on their website the Thermo Rogue Mid GTX hiking boot looks great if just going off their marketing department.

The men’s ROGUE THERMO Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots are seasonal athletic hybrids with the warmth and protection for streamlined performance on cold trails. These bulk-less hikers feature waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX membranes. 100 grams of PrimaLoft Aerogel insulation ensures hydrophobic warmth in crisp or wet alpine weather. The mesh and TPU uppers have metal hooks and lacing eyelets, and feature debris blocking bellow tongues. Vibram Arctic Grip Dura outsoles with 5mm lugs stick to ice and early winter trails. FLEXconnect dual-directional EVA midsoles improve your agility and stability. Inside, Kinetic Fit BASE insoles contour to your feet, providing intuitive support.

Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace
Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace
Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace
Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace
Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace
Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace

Putting the Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking Boot to the test

Days were spent with the Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid walking my dog daily for several kilometres on the wettest and coldest days. Other times were spent exploring nearby waterfalls or hiking the nearby coastal mountains of Vancouver Island.

Getting the new Thermo Rogue mid I knew I would be getting a quality boot. I have now put over 500 km running and more than 100km hiking on my Merrell MQM Flex trail shoes. With that kind of durability I had high hopes for this new lighweight trail boot.

I went with an 8.5 in the MQM Flex and chose to do the same with the Thermo Roque Mid. The boot fit just like the shoe and in my opinion is true to fit. The toe box across the widest part of the boot is nice and roomy which I really like, my foot splays out wide when running or hiking. If you have a very narrow foot be mindful of this.

The Vibram soles even with the big lugs felt like walking in a trail shoe not feeling chunky or heavy at all. They were first class in the traction department. From ice and snow days to wet rainy days on the trail I never second guessed my footing.

The laces allowed me to adjust tension in specific zones and seemed to maintain through the hike. I now keep the wide part of my foot wider and really lock in my ankle which I learned in my ultra running training. This allows my foot to function more efficiently and allow for better foot endurance. The laces maintained the tightness although if I didn’t keep the upper hook laced section tight enough I would need to re-tie the top.

I did several kilometres of trail scouting and repair as I do work for the local trail stewardship society. This meant some tough conditions and lots of bushwhacking. In all that time the tough external body of the boot did not show any rips, tears or scuffs. I am extremely impressed on this part and my feet remained dry the entire time.

The only real test left that I wasn’t able to complete yet is I have planned a big snowshoe hike. Previous years my winter boots were ok but not the warmest and I think the Thermo Rogue hiking boot will pair incredibly well with my MSR snowshoes. This doesn’t mean I haven’t seen cold weather as -7 hikes lately have been no issue.

For cold weather performance check-out this story about two men who recently completed the cold and long route spanning 103 miles wearing Thermo Rogues. Two Men Traverse Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail in Winter

Final Thoughts Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid Gtx

Pick up the Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX hiking boot if you want a bulletproof, dependable lightweight winter boot that performs well in any situation. From just casual walking the dog on those cold wet days or punishing them on long hikes in tough conditions.

Gear Review Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking boot Chris Istace

Official Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid GTX Hiking Boot Specs and Details

Retails for $300.00 (Canadian) and is available at Merrell Canada  while other options based on your activity can be found in the Mens Merrell boot lineup at Altitude Sports.

• GORE-TEX® waterproof membrane, exceptional breathability and waterproof performance
• Mesh and TPU upper
• Metal hook and lacing eyelet for secure lacing 
• Bellows tongue keeps debris out
• Protective rubber toe cap
• M Select™ FRESH antimicrobial agents reduces shoe odor
• 100 grams of Primaloft® Aerogel lightweight, low bulk insulation traps in heat even when compressed
• Kinetic Fit™ BASE insole is contoured like your foot and provides flexible, intuitive support for connected and protected movement
• Molded nylon arch shank
• Merrell Exclusive Vibram® Arctic Grip® Dura for added durability and grip on wet ice
• 5mm lug depth
• Weight: 2lb 2oz / 960g


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