Merrell has been making shoes a long time, and we've been right there with them. We have a pair of their original slip-on leather clogs that just hit twenty years old, and the sole is just finally starting to separate. That's after two decades of serious abuse, and never bothering to perform even the most basic of maintenance. So we were psyched to try out a new pair of Merrell Freewheel 2 shoes, and… well, it's a mixed bag, so read on.
We were looking for a shoe that could walk all day and would pair equally well with shorts or slacks. Seduced by the sexy pictures on their website, we took a chance and ordered up a pair of Freewheels in kangaroo brown. They showed up a few days later – without the advertised free shipping, because we always get screwed on that here in Alaska – and we eagerly popped open the shoebox. That's when buyer's remorse set in: we saw immediately that the glueline attaching the feather edge of the upper to the sole – the transition between the brown leather and the beige rubber in the picture – was spotty. In plain english, it looked like crap.
The glueline was bad on both the left and right shoes, in different ways. It took what was otherwise a handsome shoe and made it look like it was about to fall apart. Initial bad impression aside, we did try on the shoe indoors for a day and to be fair, it is really light and comfortable to walk in. We have no doubt it would have been a great traveling companion, if the sole stayed attached, but we just couldn't hang with such spotty quality on a $100 shoe. So, back to Merrell it goes.
We should note the Freewheel 2 is designed to be a flat pedal shoe, and while we didn't get any bike time in on it, we're hoping in the future Merrell fixes the quality issue so we can try again.