Merrell sent me a pair of their brand new coyote MQC boots to attempt to destroy on the trails of North Carolina. These lightweight tactical boots feature a suede and non-wicking textile upper along with a breathable mesh liner. Authorized for wear by Army and USAF members, these boots are both traditional in nature and upgraded for maximum performance.
Boots For Life
When it comes to boots, Merrell is certainly one of the experts. Not long ago, productivity expert Tim Ferriss casually mentioned the company as a favorite for hiking and outdoor shoes, and their sales skyrocketed. Known for hiking, fitness, trail running, and casual wear, the footwear company is also one of the top manufacturers of tactical boots.
Merrell first launched in Rockford, Michigan in 1981, where terrains and weather are known to be tough year-round. At the time, Mr. Merrell was selling custom boots for $500 apiece. Then, Clark Matis and John Schweizer, two executives of Rossignol ski company, joined the team, and together the trio built one of the most well-known footwear companies in the world.
Merrell has proven themselves over and over again in the world of footwear. With their MQC (Moving Quickly in Combat) Tactical Boots, there is a suede and abrasion resistant, a non-wick textile that features a breathable mesh liner. In order to keep debris away from your foot, a bellows tongue was also installed.
The boots arrive in a custom black box with specialized cardboard inserts to protect the shape of the boot while shipping. At first glance, they’re soft where they should be soft and sturdy where they should be sturdy. The laces are thick desert tan paracord, built for speed lacing.
With the soldier in mind, Merrell created medial venting for optimal airflow, a mid-foot molded nylon arch shank for flex support, and a removable contoured insole for the ultimate in comfort. The Kinetic Fit Advanced removable insole is built with an enhanced heel and arch structure. Like many of their trainers, there is also an integrated cushion pad.
The company also doubled-down on shock absorption with the Air Cushion Viz and high rebound EVA foam. Flip the boot over and you’ll notice the custom Select Grip outsole that provides traction on most any surface.
The boots are far from steel-toe but study for day-to-day work. As such, they’re also AR670-1 compliant for wear with OCP and Multicam uniforms and compliant with AFI 36-2903 for wear with OCP.
When first putting on the Merrell MQC boot, it felt a little off-balance. Initially, just standing, it felt like the bottom section near the toes was shaped like a watermelon rind. But, after moving around, it became clear that this is part of the functionality of the boots. After all, MQC does stand for “Moving Quickly in Combat.”
They’re durable, lightweight, and comfortable in warm or cool weather. They look great and feel like they’re built to last. As someone generally found in running shoes, the size felt correct to me, with minor room for any swelling that might come from long distance running, walking, or hiking. They felt snug around the ankle, with great support, but allowed some room for the toes to move around.
Lacing up the boots wasn’t terribly difficult, but it is necessary to unlace about halfway down the metal loops to slide a foot in. The cord laces are particularly functional, considering how often military personnel usually have to replace laces.
All in all, the boots are comfortable in the field, on the trail, and in urban settings. The hug from the boot is lightweight and flexible, but also comfortable and durable. In some ways, the boots mirror an athletic shoe. Again, it’s best to be moving, but they’re equally comfortable standing still.
Indoors Versus Outdoors
In the house or shop, there wasn’t any problem with the boots. The grips on the bottom do gather some mud, but a quick shake or stair kick will remove debris. Plus, the boots are actually comfortable enough to wear in various situations.
Outside, the boots performed well in a variety of weather. During a rainy spell, no surface seemed particularly slippery. Mainly, I stuck to trails, grass, and pavement, but there wasn’t a problem on any wet surfaces.
The sole is also flexible and soft, but the no-slip grip still feels secure. While walking through a low level creek near Hanging Rock, there wasn’t a moment that felt particularly dangerous or slippery with the boots on – and there was no water penetration.
On steeper surfaces, the boots felt comfortable and durable. It never felt like the heel lifted or slid while moving across multi-surface terrains. They also seemed broken in after about a week of wear.
All in all, the Merrell MQC Boots held up while being worn in various terrains and in various types of inclement weather. In my short time with the boots, there wasn’t any noticeable damage, despite the suede exterior. Overall, I was impressed with the boot, which is both durable and comfortable. I have high hopes that these boots will stand the test of time!
The MQC boots are likely best built for those who require military boots or enjoy military-level boots in day-to-day life. Currently, there are size options between 3 and 15 in regular and wide boot width, sized for men. The current price is $139.95 and these boots are well worth the money.
Personally, I give the boots 4.5 stars. During my short time with the boots, I didn’t notice any problems but suede generally takes more time to clean. Additional mesh may have been a better option in terms of long-term cleanliness and overall airflow, but the current style is more durable and necessary for military regulations.