The Fascinating Journey of a Pair of Merrell Shoes
We know that Merrell shoes are designed in the United States and made in China, but what else do we know about this footwear? Where are Merrell shoes made? How are they made? To find the answers to these questions and more, we’ll need to travel back in time to visit some of the company’s most interesting milestones.
Where Do the Materials Come From?
There are many different materials that go into creating a pair of Merrells, and they’re all sourced from different locations around the globe. In order to create their sandals, shoes, hiking boots, and more, they need raw materials. The leather for their shoes comes from various tanneries across America and Europe.
Their mesh is made in China, as is most mesh for footwear and clothing items these days. The rubber soles come from Brazil, while some of their insoles are manufactured in Vietnam. The list goes on and on; there’s no way you can make a single product without having it sourced globally. If you want to know where your products come from, then it’s important to check labels carefully!
How Are They Made?
This journey begins not in a factory, but on farms in South America. The rubber for our shoes comes from sap that oozes out of trees tapped by local villagers and is then harvested and transported to processing plants where it’s turned into latex. Next up is an even longer journey:
Once in Italy, our shoes are meticulously crafted by artisans who have dedicated their lives to crafting quality footwear—and it shows! It takes more than 200 steps to turn rubber into a finished product. Each pair ends up with around 50 different pieces sewn together by hand, including 20 different materials sourced from as far away as Japan, Italy, and Germany.
Finally, they’re shipped off to retailers all over Europe, Canada, and the U.S., where you can find them in stores like REI and Zappos. For more information about how your favorite products get made, check out our Behind-the-Scenes series on YouTube!
What About the Cost?
Unlike many types of materials, shoes do not get downcycled when they are worn out. There is no such thing as upcycling shoes; once they become unusable, they are simply thrown away. However, their lifespan is extremely long and can last for years after being discarded by their original owners.
Perhaps if discarded shoes were collected and redistributed to people in need instead of simply thrown into landfills—we could increase their longevity. This would significantly reduce waste overall. It also might create some brand-new possibilities for what we do with worn-out goods in our society.
Before you throw away your next pair of old shoes, consider donating them to someone who could benefit from them more than you ever did! You’ll feel great about helping others while saving money on new shoes at the same time. Since its inception:
Merrell has been around since 1989, which means it has spent decades developing an understanding of customer needs and preferences in order to provide excellent products that meet those needs. In fact, so much time has passed since its creation that one pair of Merrells will probably last longer than any given person’s lifetime!
That said, we shouldn’t think about durability as something reserved only for long-lasting products like these—it’s something all businesses should strive for in everything they make. Whether you’re creating software or manufacturing shirts, striving for durable design will save you time and money in customer support costs (or lost sales) later on.
What Happens Next?
Here’s where our three pairs of shoes live for two weeks. Each pair will be worn by a different person during that time: Brandi, Colin, and Todd. As soon as we hit publish on this story, we’ll send each person pictures and measurements (in centimeters) so they can start wearing their pair. The first thing that happens is that Brandi will take her measurements—that means she’ll get out her tape measure and see how long her feet are, starting with heel to toe.
Then she’ll check in on Twitter or email us again to let us know how it’s going. After that, she’ll put on her shoes and wear them wherever possible over a two-week period while taking notes along the way. She’ll also update social media sites like Instagram and Facebook with pictures from day one to day 14. We’ll post some of those updates here, too. On Day 14, she’ll take off her shoes and shoot another set of photos for comparison purposes.
She’ll also fill out an evaluation form about what it was like to wear each pair of shoes over a two-week period. That will include things like comfort level; ease/difficulty putting on/taking off; any pain points; whether or not they got dirty easily; what kinds of socks worked best with them; if they were waterproof or not; whether or not anything rubbed against her skin uncomfortably; etc., etc., etc…
When Do They Arrive at Their Destination?
If you order shoes online, it’s likely that they will be shipping from another state or country. For example, if your new hiking boots are coming from Portland, Oregon to New York City and you want them as soon as possible, there is no way to get them within two days.
If you absolutely need them in 2 days 2 hours! call up UPS or FedEx and see what kind of guaranteed shipping options they have. They can charge extra for those options but at least you know that your shipment is making its way to NYC as quickly as possible.
And even if it’s not quickly, it’s on its way. You can track packages by entering tracking numbers here. Sometimes it might seem like your package is lost in transit, but it could just be delayed. Give it time; if you don’t receive your package after 7-10 business days (UPS) or 14-21 business days (FedEx), contact customer service.
Can They be Recycled or Upcycled?
It’s possible but unlikely. The key to knowing whether your shoes are recyclable is figuring out what they’re made from. Unfortunately, most shoes these days aren’t 100% leather (it can vary anywhere from 1-90% depending on what kind of shoe it is) and most shoes are glued together. That doesn’t make them impossible to recycle – just difficult and pricey.
If you do take them to a recycling center, you should be able to get paid for them as scrap rubber. In other words, if you have some old pairs of Merrells that you don’t wear anymore, consider dropping them off at a local recycling center before throwing them in the trash or giving them away. You never know until you ask!