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  1. #1

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    Clarks vs. Merrell shoes

    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. #2
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    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.
    The fastest thing out of New Jersey since Tricky Nicky in a Muscovian handbasket

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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
    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.
    I've had better luck with shoes from Payless

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    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. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I've had better luck with shoes from Payless
    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. Merrell hiking boots were also too narrow for me, and my salesperson at REI recommended KEEN. I lurrrrve them.

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkl View Post
    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?
    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 by jlai; 01-02-2012 at 02:54 AM.

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    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.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

  8. #8

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    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 by Lacey; 01-02-2012 at 04:15 AM.

  9. #9

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    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. #10

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    Naot and Keen are my favourites.

  11. #11

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    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. #12
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    Honestly, another thumbs up for Naot here. I also like Teva.

  13. #13

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    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. #14
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    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. #15
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    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.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  16. #16

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    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.
    "You just can't underestimate the power of positive underwear." 2013 Fruit of the Loom ad

  17. #17
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    Has anyone tried Dansko?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacey View Post
    because having my heel elevated, and putting the pressure on the ball of the foot, instead of the heel, helped the PF pain tremendously.
    Interesting! I developed plantar fasciitis BAD this summer, first in my right foot and now in both and wearing flats (except for my cute Crocs slingbacks) makes my feet ache.

    Did the cortisone shot help a lot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skate Talker View Post
    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
    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. #19

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    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. #20
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    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

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