Clarks vs. Merrell shoes

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by jkl, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. jkl

    jkl Well-Known Member

    1,219
    160
    63
    I have plantar fascitis and have been wearing Clarks shoes for support. I have noticed that they have been breaking down faster lately and thus make my knees and feet hurt to wear them. I know that Merrell shoes offer good support but are more expensive. Do they last longer and are they worth the difference in price?
     
  2. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

    12,916
    3,831
    113
    One November I bought a pair of Merrell ankle boots. I wore them daily through the winter. In March they developed a hole in the sole.

    Next winter I bought the same pair of Merrell ankle boots because I liked them. Same thing - hole in the sole by March. I am now done with Merrell.

    Last winter I bought a pair of boots by a Canadian company. They were falling apart by March. Done with them, too.

    Bought a pair of Clarks sandals this summer. Very comfy, but they started ungluing themselves about 3 weeks into wearing them. May buy Clarks again because sandals get all stinky and nasty, anyway, so I'm not as concerned when they don't last for years.

    Here's my not so humble opinion: as long as the shoes are made in China it doesn't matter which brand it is - they're just not going to last. Crap is crap no matter which label gets glued on at the factory (and then falls off within a month).

    PRlady got me onto Naots and while they cost a little more, they are dang comfortable and well-built and are worth every penny.
     
  3. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    24,051
    4,430
    113
    I've had better luck with shoes from Payless :shuffle:
     
  4. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    4,878
    829
    113
    I buy Merrell flip flops for summer. I've had four pairs. I wear them daily all summer--usually alternating two pairs-- and a pair usually lasts two years looking clean and nice and isn't too broken down to wear for messy stuff for a third summer.
     
  5. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    11,214
    1,039
    113
    Also depends where you're wearing them. Any shoes are going to last longer in the dry heat of Southern California than the wet snowy winters of Canada, LOL.

    I'm not really partial to Merrells or Clarks because I have wide feet and narrow heels. I tried getting Clarks in extra-wide through Zappos and even those weren't wide-enough for me. :shuffle: Merrell hiking boots were also too narrow for me, and my salesperson at REI recommended KEEN. I lurrrrve them. :swoon:

    Now, I don't wear them every day so I still have the same pair of KEEN hiking boots as I originally bought, but they do have great arch support. May not work for you if you fit well in Clarks and Merrells though, since it sounds like you definitely have narrower feet than I do.
     
  6. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    9,103
    637
    113
    I have been researching this since summer because of problems on my left foot.

    Not all Clarks shoes have good arch support.
    Merrell shoes I tried in stores seem to have good arch support but I dunno how long they last

    I recently bought a pair of Naot boots on sale ($50) and I haven't found a pair of boots more comfortable. I can't say how long the Naots will last though. I'll tell you after a year or two. :)

    I like Born shoes as they are cushiony and on some days better than shoes with more fitted arch support.

    Dansko shoes aren't bad, but they tend to be hard leather shoes.

    Romika sandals have good arch but that's for the summer.

    Customers at Footsmart.com seem to like Klogs too and I tried on a few and they were very comfy.

    There are specific shoe models recommended for serious Plantar Fascilitis issues though. But for someone like me, a reasonably good arch will do.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    7,908
    1,414
    113
    I think Merrells might have changed manufacturers recently. I started buying that brand about 8 years ago and the shoes were comfortable and lasted a long time. The pair I bought last year aren't as comfortable and are starting to go. Which sucks because for a long time, Merrells was the only brand I could rely on where the arch was high enough and in the right spot. I hate buying shoes. I must have been the inventor of the Iron Boot in a past life.
     
  8. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

    9,001
    873
    113
    Merrell used to be my winter shoe. I have never worn Clarks.

    For sandals in summer, I have worn Naots and Mephistos, the latter are slightly wider than Naots but not as wide as Birkenstocks. Neither Naots nor Mephisto sandals have worn out. My more used Mephistos can be redone so that the footbed doesn't look like I walked around with tar on the soles of my feet, but they have never needed resoling, for about half the price of a new sandal.

    But when I got Plantar Fasciitis, I discovered that I had to switch from any variety of Merrells (no arch) and Mephistos to Dansko open back clogs. The closed back clogs made me arch my foot awkwardly, squishing up my toes to try to keep them on, can't wear those, the open back clogs work. I found that I had to wear clogs because having my heel elevated, and putting the pressure on the ball of the foot, instead of the heel, helped the PF pain tremendously. I looked a little weird wearing clogs in summer, but it had to be for the pain that others caused.

    I also have some Merrell and Naot cross-trainer type shoes. They never wear out. I wear them for working out. But again, the flat bed of these types bothers me.

    Everything mentioned above is a fairly informal type of shoe. For more formal wear, I used to wear the atrociously expensive Taryn Rose or Anye Liu, but their arch support, while good, doesn't work for my very very flat feet. I recently discovered Beautyfeel heels, they seem great and are a little funky styled.

    I finally got a cortisone shot and wore a night boot, and the PF has subsided. When it flares up, it's back to the Dansko open back clogs for me. I have just mailed off for some arch protectors to see if they help when these flareups occur because I want to go back to my Naots and Mephistos for summer.

    Most of these brands I have gotten through The Walking Company in the US, some are available through Zappos. But if anyone can tell me where I can find any of these brands discounted, please let me know.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  9. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    6,030
    561
    113
    Born clogs (closed back) seem to provide lots of good support, and they have plenty of room in the toe box. The bottom sole is plastic, so they're a lot lighter than the Dansko's. The inside of the clog is all leather in mine. I don't need to wear orthotics in them. They don't seem to trigger any recurrence of either P.F. or A.T. in me.

    For dressy shoes, I've got a pair of beautifeel shoes, which are made in Israel. I can wear them for 4-5 hours, but not all day. They are fabulous shoes, though. I wish someone carried their full line locally. (The Walking Company carries 1 or 2 of their styles, and not always that.)

    Clark's don't seem to be made with the quality of sole (or, probably, soul) they had when I was a kid. The uppers seem okay.
     
  10. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

    1,872
    238
    63
    Naot and Keen are my favourites.
     
  11. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Replaced the display under my name

    4,999
    280
    83
    I had such bad PF and multiple cortisone shots for years until I ignored my doctor's advise and went for physio. I followed her instructions religiously and after only 3 months my pain completely disappeared. Not wanting it to come back I had to find shoes that would accept the off-the-shelf arch support/gel-heal inserts that she had recommended. These were so much better and less expensive than the rip off inserts I got from the podiatrist. So anyway, though the Clarks seemed to be the right shape and support for my foot, I went with the Naots because they had the removable footbed just in case I had to swap it out for the insert. I never did have to as the Naots had the right amount of support for me built into their own footbed - and the best part is that even after years of wearing them, everything but the footbed was still in great shape so I just bought a new pair of footbeds and voila, a nicely broken in - just like new pair of shoes.

    That being said, my favourite sandals ever were a pair of Dunhams that I have finally had to relegate to the less than dress=wearable pile. They were instantly comfortable and I wore them extensively on a mostly-walking everywhere vacation. Wonderful. Unfortunately I have never been able to find another pair like them.

    I now own a pair each of Merrill, Mephisto and Naot Sandals, and one pair each of Merrill, Naot, and Clarks clogs. I enjoy the lightness of the Merrills, the great arch support of the Clarks and the solid build of the Naots. I find it best for my feet to rotate through them and not wear any one style for more than a couple of days at a time.
     
  12. myhoneyhoney

    myhoneyhoney Well-Known Member

    1,956
    218
    63
    Honestly, another thumbs up for Naot here. I also like Teva.
     
  13. pilgrimsoul

    pilgrimsoul Active Member

    339
    64
    28
    Another vote for KEEN here. I switched from Merrell last summer and the difference in support for their walking shoes & sandals is amazing. KEEN is worth every cent.
     
  14. Bev Johnston

    Bev Johnston Well-Known Member

    1,169
    81
    48
    The absolute best thing I ever did for my PF was go to a podiatrist and have custom orthotics made. Pricey, yes, but I've been pain-free for five years now. (Plus, my insurance covered most of it at the time, which was a surprise to us all.) My doctor also recommended avoiding flip-flops and walking in bare feet. I feel best when I wear a shoe with a two-inch heel with my inserts. So, thanks to the orthotics, I can buy just about any shoe I want as long as they fit my fat feet.
     
  15. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    13,419
    1,883
    113
    I have had plantar fasc. and bone spurs, and I wear Mephistos, Merrells, and Munros (with orthotics in the Munros) for office and MBTs for walking.

    My MBTs are far and away the best for plantar issues, but they are fitness shoes and aren't great looking/suitable for some office dress codes. I highly recommend them though. I do wear them in the office sometimes with pants, and if anyone raises an eyebrow, I make sure they know I have injury issues.

    I have had no issues with the soles wearing out in any of these brands, and I typically wear the same pair of shoes 4-5 days a week until they get scuffed looking, then I retire them to weekend use.

    Munros have a shock-absorbent heel and there is enough room in them for orthotics. They also come in wide sizes, which is good for me because a lot of shoes are too narrow for me.

    My friend who has narrow feet likes her Naots because they are narrow, but she kept getting plantar fasc. so she switched to Merrells and Munros and stopped having problems. Her Naots were sandals so they perhaps didn't have enough support.
     
  16. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    4,800
    1,176
    113
    I wear Merrill open backed clogs just about every day in New England. I have tan fabric ones for summer and black leather for the rest of the year. I can get about two years hard wear out of the leather ones. I buy them either through The Walking Store or Zappos which means pretty much full price. Once I did find a pair in Marshall's for about half price but I've never found them since.

    I've had just about every foot problem you can have and my chart makes orthopedists wince. Merrill's fit my feet the best of any shoe I've ever tried.

    Which reminds me, I need to stock up on another black pair. If I have to pay full price, well so be it. I figure I'd rather have a pair of good shoes I can wear every day for a year than a hundred cheaper pairs that I have to take off after a couple of hours.
     
  17. myhoneyhoney

    myhoneyhoney Well-Known Member

    1,956
    218
    63
    Has anyone tried Dansko?
     
  18. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    7,665
    1,257
    113
    Interesting! I developed plantar fasciitis BAD this summer, first in my right foot and now in both :mad: and wearing flats (except for my cute Crocs slingbacks) makes my feet ache.

    Did the cortisone shot help a lot?

    Would you mind sharing the advice? I find arch support inserts make my pain worse, not better. I do a few stretches daily and it only seems to help for 5 minutes.

    OT: I had a pair of Clarks for one day. They were very comfortable in store and the width was perfect. However, the toe box was too shallow, and my chubby toes were completely squashed. Also, the backs rubbed my heel like crazy. Too bad, because the soles were so soft and supportive. They actually looked like shoes that might last a while instead of falling apart.
     
  19. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    3,563
    679
    113
    I have a pair of Dansko clogs with a closed back and they are very comfortable. They're not as cushioned as I would like if I'm walking a distance in them, but normally they're fine.

    I have several pairs of Merrells, all the same model. My first pair, I got more than 5 years ago. They are falling apart along the inner seams on the top, but I still wear them. I just got another pair over the weekend, only $62, which is a bargain for me.

    I had a bout of plantar fasciitis myself, and the Merrells have not caused me any problems. I do make sure not to wear the same pair of shoes on two consecutive days, and I think that helped as well. It's been years since I had any trouble.
     
  20. skatemomaz

    skatemomaz 4 More Years

    4,595
    1,274
    113
    I love Clarks (their Indigo line has some great looks), I just bought a beautiful pair of black boots with a very comfortable heel. My Naots are great in the summertime, but my go to shoe in the winter time is Tsubo. They make a fantastic short boot that I can walk in all day. I have two pair, one grey and on red.

    I usually buy through Zappos or endless.com
     
  21. nyrak

    nyrak Active Member

    689
    43
    28
    I have a couple pairs of Born shoes which are excellent, one pair I bought on sale at the Bay about 5 years ago, have worn them a lot since, and there's only minimal wear on the sole and the leather looks almost new. I've since bought another piar (same style, different colour) on ebay, and they're just about as good too. Definitely worth the money :)

    I'd never heard of Keens until about 3 years ago when I was in the Shoe Company and saw these shoes that were so wide. I have super wide clown feet....I tried them on just to feel what shoes that wide felt like. After about 5 seconds I didn't care what they cost, I had to have them. I've since bought a few more pairs & love them all. Again definitely worth the money, for quality, but mostly for fit/comfort.

    Back to the original question ;) I have a pair of Merrell slip-on shoes that are 3-4 years old, while still comfortable enough to wear for short periods of time, they are broken down and basically look like crap.

    And I have one pair of Clarks too, a wide-width pair I bought in a Clarks factory outlet store in the states a couple years ago, they're comfortable and still in perfect shape as I don't wear them much....they're dress shoes and I don't dress up much, but they are comfortable and I'd wear them more if they went with my sweats ;)
     
  22. Lurking Skater

    Lurking Skater Ms Lurker if you're nasty

    1,025
    256
    83
    I've had cortisone shots for PF in both feet and that was the only thing that got rid of my pain. I've also done the night splint (which I hated).

    Like Bev, I had orthotics made from the podiatrist and that has kept me pain-free.
     
  23. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Replaced the display under my name

    4,999
    280
    83
    My experience with cortisone shots was - well mixed. The first time the doctor gave me the shot he didn't say anything about the pain of the shot. I have an exceptionally narrow heel and it felt like he was plunging a spear into my bone. I spontaneously yelled blue murder, which made him laugh but I'm sure scared the heck out of everyone in the waiting room. He really hadn't prepped me for it properly or I would have had someone else there with me as I had to drive home to the country flexing that foot on the brake and gas and I don't know how I didn't pass out from the sensation. By the next morning I wondered if I had imagined the whole thing - no more needle pain and also no more PF pain - gone like magic.

    After almost 12 months I noticed the PF pain was gradually returning. That's when I went to a podiatrist. After numerous expensive visits and a set of what I am now sure were fake off the shelf orthotics at a custom price, the pain was only increasing rapidly. The doctor's explanation was that the inflamation must have already set in too much for the orthotic to help and that if I would just get another cortisone shot from my GP, I should never get the pain back again provided I kept up with the orthotic.

    Well I fell for that so back to the doctor. This time I arranged for someone else to drive. I reminded him how much the previous shot had hurt so he made sure to super-freeze my heel before the injection. This time the injection was bearable, though I could still feel incredible pressure, but I spent many more hours in excruciating pain than I had the first time when the freezing started to come out. I think it took almost a day before my eyes stopped watering in pain.

    This time the shot didn't seem to work as completely and the pain started to increase after only 10 months, plus the other foot was starting to get twinges. The GP had always told me that physio would be of no use but I decided to give it a try. Usually you need a doctor's referral for insurance coverage but fortunately he agreed to sign off on it after the fact. I told the physio my goal was to avoid any more cortisone shots and she felt she could accomplish enough pain management to make that a reality but delivered so much more.

    You asked about the advice. Sorry I really meant the treatment and exercises. Each visit she would show me additional exercises to do at home to simulate the treatments she gave. We always started off with a 10 minute period of warming up the feet in heated water. At home I used a foot bath. Then a series of exercises. Her treatment included ultrasound and some sort of electric stimulation, which I couldn't of course simulate. Each session finished off with 5 minutes of icing off each heel. I really cannot remember specifics anymore but there were of course many stretches and also one where I rolled my heel on a golf ball, and another where I picked up towel with my toes many times over. That one was the hardest for me.

    When I said I followed her advise exactly I meant that although this took at least a full hour each evening, I kept up with it religiously and never skipped even a single day. The payoff was worth it as after 3 months I realized the pain had completely disappeared. I then started skipping days and when there was no sign of the pain returning, I stopped the exercises altogeher. I have only had to be careful with shoes and inserts and have not had a recurrence of the PF for 10-15 years now. I can get warning twinges from time to time that warn me to change shoes or take it easy on foot-pounding activity. The inserts I wear are just off the shelf.

    I may have a much different reason for my PF than you though. I have very long, narrow feet with a high arch. Although a damp foot impression will not show the arch, I was told that in fact my arch has fallen, so it must have been very high indeed originally. For that reason I find it very comfortable to wear a shoe with good arch and an added arch insert. I wear shoes with very little heel for the most part and find them the most comfortable. If the shoe is really really flat I can't wear it two days in a row, likewise if there is more than a one-inch heel. I do wear structured footwear at all times when my feet meet the ground. I have not found a reasonable slipper of any kind so always have a designated pair of open back clogs in the winter and slip on sandals in the summer that I wear only indoors. They are on my feet before I let my feet hit the floor each morning. If I am spending more than an hour at someones house I also make sure to take a pair of indoor shoes along whenever I go visiting. I know some people allow nothing but sock feet in their homes but I have always made sure they know why I need them, that they are indoor only shoes and that the soles are non-marking.

    My sister also has PF and other foot problems. However she has always had flat feet and finds she needs a heel to be comfortable. I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all problem or solution. Still I highly recommend going to a physio. Doing the wrong exercises, or the right exercises the wrong way can do more harm than good. If you don't like the way the physio is going, try a second therapist. I have to admit I had a perfect one. She was also very very careful of my money and in the end I am sure I had only about 5 sessions with her. She wanted me to have some of my insurance coverage left since it was early in the year and if at some point things started to get worse again I wouldn't hesitate to see her for some additional help. Also, it is perfectly naturally to find that you actually hurt more after the initial treatment due to all the added manipulation, but a good therapist will make sure you have a quick follow-up visit scheduled to help out with that.

    Good luck to you. The right solution can make life so much more pleasant.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  24. loopey

    loopey Well-Known Member

    2,481
    319
    83
    Being in the shoe industry, I can confirm that many of the "old reliable" shoe companies have recently (over the last 2-3 years) switched to the lower-end Chinese Factories. The amount of arch support, and the quality of the materials used for that arch support is one of the first ways to cut costs. Most of the big names mentioned in this thread Clarks, Dansko, and Merrell have all moved at least some of their manufacturing to these cheap factories. But all of the above have also kept quality of arch and support in some of their styles. The problem is that internet and discount shoppers often go for price and end up with the cheaper versions. People outside the industry just cannot differentiate by looks. If you want the top of the line, you are, I am afraid going to need to visit a knowledgeable brick-and-mortar and ask them for the more supportive styles.

    For PF the very best brands that don't have "cheap" styles are Finn, Naot, and Kumfs. Yes, you will spend more money. Unfortunately, building arch support and arch stability into shoes costs money.

    Shoe industry is a bit of a mess right now. Many of the factories in China that have made shoes for reputable companies have taken those designs and styles, and created their own "knock-offs". These knockoffs used to be easy to spot on the internet. All you had to do was look closely at shoes shipping directly from China and you could bet they would be "fake". Then they got smarter and started setting up shipping warehouses in the US and Canada. Made it more difficult. Now they have even started selling to the internet companies. Internet companies that want to make money can buy some "real" product and some "cheap" product and can make a fortune. Just one of the ways the internet doesn't necessarily benefit the end users. Great bargains, but sometimes you still get what you pay for.