September 9, 2010

Easiest On-Off Walking Shoes: the Merrell Encore Breeze

Shoes on, shoes off. On, Off. Bend over (not my most attractive pose), unlace, dance around on one foot trying to off the athletic shoes. On, off. Find a curb to sit gracelessly to re-buckle the sandals.

Such was the scene whenever, wherever my travels took me no-shoe zones. Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, Mosques, madrassas, private homes, even some restaurants. A typical tourist day in Asia offered an exhausting, and sometimes embarrassing round of shoe shenanigans.

Merrell Encore Breeze comes in a range of colors

That is until, two weeks before a trip to India, I walked into my local Any Mountain store looking for bug spray and saw my dream shoe perched on the sale table. In my size.

With wide feet, high arches and a bad back, I am difficult to fit. Truly comfortable walking shoes are rarer than four-leaf clovers.

“Buying shoes two weeks a trip is nuts,” I told myself. And clogs to boot. You’ll be sorry….”

But I bought them anyway and now I can’t live without them. The are called Merrell Encore Breeze.

Features: Cool mesh exterior that’s surprisingly easy to brush clean.  A half-back – enough to keep me from sliding out – but low enough to step in and out with ease. Removable insoles; I wear them with my own custom orthotics. And best of all, a rugged sole almost like a hiking shoe gives me confidence on rough terrain and slippery steps. And they’re roomy enough to fit wider feet (like mine) comfortably.

The come in a range of colors from beige to navy to back and grey.

After a day of temple-climbing and cave crawling they are as comfortable as house-shoes.

The Merrell Encore Breeze is widely available at Zappos, Nordstrom,, REI and others.

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Anne Sigmon

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