Merrell is one of the well-admired brands among hikers (I also admire it) to give us the right blend of performance, comfort, and style. However, many other brands offer competitive or better hiking shoes taking the price, but still, Merrell has secured places in many hearts.
That is why it becomes important to know who manufactures your beloved Merrell shoes, which country takes the lead, and how Merrell chooses their suppliers so that they remain on track with its upcoming sustainability goals and innovations.
Merrell Shoes Manufacturing: Countries Revealed!
According to the data published in Merrell (WWW) Global Impact Report, 2021. All Merrell shoes/footwear are made in the United States Of America, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Burma, and the Philippines.
However, Vietnam accounts for 31-40% and China holds 21-20% of Merrell footwear production. All other countries mentioned takes 1-20% of manufacturing inclusively (Cambodia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh take the most). It may also surprise you that Merrell’s owner only has 33 core manufacturing partners who manufacture the majority of the company’s shoes.
If you buy Merrell shoes from the USA, then most probably you’ll get USA-made shoes because Merrell manufactures a good chunk in the USA which satisfies most of the market needs but occasionally you’ll find Merrell shoes made in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Indonesia in the USA to fill that void. However, in my case, I looked into dozens and dozens of Merrell shoes but failed to find one that was made in the USA.
As you can see in the images, I’ve found Merrell shoes made in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and China. But that does not mean there are no American-made Merrell shoes. You’ll find many; because the company’s supply chain data clearly suggest that they do have 1-10% manufacturing in the USA. The reason why Asian countries take the most share in shoe manufacturing is because of the production cost, the market needs, and corporate and geographical benefits.
I am literally seeing a great percentage of rise in the Vietnam shoe industry because while writing articles on Hoka, Brooks, ASICS, and Hey Dude, I found that Vietnam is one of the major footwear producers for these brands. Not Joking! Just read those articles and I have all the proof for them.
Like APAC and EMEA will see more Asian-made Merrell shoes than USA or Mexican-made because the economy is not as strong as the USA in many of the countries of these regions. Cheap labor and less transporting costs (to transport in nearby countries), etc make it an economical choice.
That does not mean every piece of the manufacturing puzzle happens only in these countries because the final draft of the Conflict Minerals Policy published in April 2014 says “Wolverine (Merrell Owner) and its third-party suppliers purchase raw materials and parts from a variety of sources”. This means that the raw materials and other components required for manufacturing Merrell shoes may be coming from other countries that are not listed or through the inter-country supply chain. To say, the insole/outsole is manufactured in Country A and then assembly of it may happen in ‘B’ Country.
Who Owns Merrell Brand? (+ Glimpse of Merrell History)
Whether it is Merrell inventory, distribution, market, or manufacturing. They took the decisions only after the parent company approves them. So in that regard, Wolverine Worldwide (WWW) owns the Merrell brand and, hence, is responsible for the decisions, including the supply chain. Now WWW doesn’t only own Merrell but also owns Bates®, Chaco®, HyTest®, Hush Puppies®, Keds®, Saucony®, Soft Style®, Sperry®, Stride Rite Children’s Group®, Wolverine®, and Wolverine® Leathers. And Cat® Footwear and Harley-Davidson® Footwear both are currently licensed.
Wolverine Worldwide bought the Merrell brand in 1997, but they are not the founders. Clark Mathis and John Schweizer joined hands with Randy Merrell in 1981, Vermont United States, and founded Merrell to make hiking boots that are a beautiful blend of comfort, performance, and style this label hold as everyone who loves being outdoors recognized Merrell’s Moab Hiking Boot and Jungle Moc. The current President of the Merrell brand is Chris Hufnagel.
Like Evan Prater, founder of Mount Inspiration, who hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2014. In his interview with Footwear News, he said about Merrell Moabs, ” I think if you can hike 80% of the Appalachian Trail in two pairs of shoes, that’s a damn good shoe. I have recommended that shoe to anyone thru hiking ever since.”
How Merrell Chooses Suppliers For Its Shoes?
As we all know that Merrell is a part of the Wolverine Worldwide brands so it needs to follow the Code of Conduct provided by the company itself. if we put the words of WWW, then they say that For any brand, including Merrell, Wolverine considers many factors in finalizing a factory to work with production which includes reputation, manufacturing capabilities, location, human rights, geopolitical, and infrastructures, and it must comply with their code of conduct.
As their policy, they hold zero tolerance for forced labor, human trafficking, slavery, or involuntary work of any kind. The Conflict Mineral Policy, which Wolverine itself follows, asks its suppliers to not involve in the purchase or use of conflict minerals. The company follows the processes indicated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (the “OECD Guidance”).
Regions Were Merrell Shoes Sells
Wolverine is continuously improving upon Merrell market occupancy, and as of 2022, Merrell shoes are sold in over 32 countries that you can shop through merrell.com. These are countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia.
To make the services more easily accessible, Wolverine has offices in all regions they operate. Like headquarters in Michigan. Followed by corporate offices in London, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Santiago.