Merrell Olmec: The Right Shoe For The Job

I have been walking and working for almost a year now.  A big part of my success on my DIY treadmill desk has been wearing the right shoes.  Specifically for me that is the Merrell Olmec slip-on shoe.  These shoes have been a key component of my success!

My well-worn pair of Merrell Olmec shoes (foreground) and the brand new pair.

My well-worn pair of Merrell Olmec shoes (foreground) and the brand new pair.

I bought my first pair of Merrell Olmec slip-on shoes after reading some great reviews about them online.  I had been wearing a pair of similar shoes that were made by Born but they would wear out very quickly leading to some very painful and long days on my feet.  I purchased my Olmecs in August 2012 shortly before a mission trip to the island of Dominica.  I walked miles and miles on that beautiful island on that trip.  Shortly after I returned home I built my DIY treadmill desk and have walked hundreds of miles in my Merrell shoes.

A few weeks ago I started experiencing some pain in my lower back in the SI joint.  It wasn’t unusual to come home with twinges of pain all throughout the night.  I was afraid my time and high mileage on the DIY treadmill desk was starting to catch up with me.  I started back on some core strengthening exercises and did some stretching throughout the day.  This helped some but the troubles still persisted.

One day at home our 6 year-old daughter pointed out how worn out the inside of my shoes looked.  I hadn’t really thought about how old my shoes were and how many hundreds of miles the Vibram soles had on them.  They were over a year old!  Right that moment I logged onto Amazon and had a new pair shipped to the house.  The new shoes arrived the next day and there was a world of difference in the way they felt.  I had simply worn out the support system of these wonderful shoes.

Walking and running shoes must be replaced often.  An article about the subject on About.com suggests that walking and running shoes should be replaced every 500 miles.  I followed this strategy when I was running marathons and avoided any serious injuries or long-term effects.  It should have been obvious to me that I needed to follow the same guidance for my walking and working shoes.  WorkWhileWalking.com, the go-to site for treadmill desk information, has a great article about the importance of quality footwear and some tips/suggestions for reducing fatigue and pain.

A closer look.  New shoe on top.

A closer look. New shoe on top.

I have been in my new pair of Merrell Olmec shoes for two weeks now and any SI joint pain that I was experiencing has completely disappeared.  In fact, it was gone after just one day.  Just this week I walked and worked 9.62 miles in one day.  (Note: Walking and working is not about speed or distance.  I just had a really long day at the computer.)  I have set a reminder in my iPhone calendar six months from now to check my shoes.  I am also using DailyMile.com to track my walking and working, so this could be useful in keeping track of mileage.  If I wanted to get really hardcore I could just set up a ‘subscription’ on Amazon for my Merrell Olmec shoes and have a new pair automatically shipped to my house every six months.

Why do I like the Merrell Olmec shoe?  The biggest selling point for me was the Vibram sole.  I have always heard good things about Vibram and I have to admit there is something very amazing about it.  The sole is not ‘cushy’ like a pair of running shoes.  It is supportive while providing a certain amount of firmness.  The leather topside is very durable, which is good since I am not gentle with my shoes.  During my time on the Appalachian Trail, many fellow hikers loved their Merrell boots.  I can wear jeans to work so the Olmecs were a perfect fit for my work attire.  I also wear them with khakis and they look great.  For my money…feels great, durable, and looks great are a winning combination.

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