Cold Weather ain’t got nothing on Merrell: A Run Oregon review of Merrell Apparel


2006 was a big year in Merrell’s history. It marked the debut of our line of outdoor adventure wear for men and women. Over the coming years the line would grow to include several apparel technologies, like Opti-Shell, Opti-Warm and AreoBlock. Eventually this evolved to the M-Select line in 2013 with M-Select Dry waterproof gear, M-Select Warm insulation and M-Select Wind protection to name a few. Check out the benefits that come with M-Select technologies from Merrell to get outside and brave the elements.

As the weather gets chillier, my running wardrobe is always in need of little update. Since I tend to run hot, I typically workout in short-sleeved shirts with a rain slicker, despite the wet and cold weather. But every year, I find myself on the prowl to add a few more cold-weather items to my running repertoire. Merrell provided Run Oregon with some of their recent releases to try out. We were impressed.

Men’s Fuse Long-Sleeve Tee (retail $55.00): When I think “Merrell” I typically think shoes. Back in 1981, Merrell started out providing high quality hiking shoes and didn’t actually start apparel until 25 years later. But they seem to have carved themselves out quite a niche for the outdoor enthusiasts – including runners.

I have about 5 long-sleeved t-shirts in my closet (not counring the endless race-logo tops). A few of them are going on about 3 years now (and smell like it). I was happy to try out the Fuse style from Merrell if only to give myself another option.

First, some technology:

  • 61% Polyester 39% Polypropylene / 100% Polyester

  • UPF 50+

  • Thermal double knit stretch fabric around torso to warm

  • Breathable mesh at sides and underarm cool to keep you comfortable on the move

  • Thumbholes anchor sleeves and offer extra hand coverage

  • Contrast stitching adds some fast flair

  • Heat transfer logo

If you have seen any of my previous product reviews, you will know that I don’t get caught all up in the technical stuff. If it fits right, looks decent, and delivers what I need then I consider it a success. If not, then I don’t. Simple enough.

I feel that the Fuse delived on what I expected. I found the fit to be top notch. Not too tight, but not too loose – something that is sometimes difficult for a bigger guy(6’2, 185) to experience. With many long-sleeved varieties, I feel I run in “parachutes” or “sausage casings”. The Fuse provided a nice in-between.

During the few runs I have done with the top, I have found it extremely breathable and comfortable. I felt comfortable the entire time. To be honest, I’m probably not the best to vouch for if the mesh at the sides and under the arms kept me cooler than they would have otherwise, or if the stretch fabric kept me warmer than normal. All I can say is I always felt comfortable in it – so I chalk it up to success.

This product also doubles really well as a casual long-sleeved tee with jeans. While I have boxed up most of my short-sleeved cotton race shirts, I still have a closet full of long sleeved ones that I wear around town. I liked that I could throw this on a blustery fall afternoon, or throw it on to go to the store and not look out of place.

Alpino Hoodie (retail $119.00):

I used to wear hoodies almost every day in college. You know, those cruddy cotton ones that are the visual manisfestation of the word “lazy”.  Yeah, that was essentially 90% of my entire wardrobe for a 2-3 year span.

Luckily, I have grown out of that phase of my life. But there is just something comforting and alluring when it comes the hoodie. I feel it is a staple in any Pacific Northwesterners closet (but maybe only 1-2 instead of 10)! But shouldn’t that hoodie be a little nicer and serve a greater purpose than just to cover up that you are still in your pajamas?!

Enter the Alpino Hoodie by Merrell.

  • Hard Face Stretch Tech Fleece

  • 94% Polyester / 6% Elastane mixed with 53% Wool / 47% Polyester (Woolyester)

  • Wool knit blend in the high moisture areas (front and back core panels)

  • Stretch fabric in high mobility areas wicks and moves moisture

  • Performance fit designed for highly active pursuits

  • Drawcord adjustable hem

  • Reverse coil zips

  • LYCRA® bound cuffs

  • LYCRA® bound scuba hood stays put on the move

  • Elbow patches add durability

I am OBSESSED with this hoodie. It has rapidly become my favorite fall/winter item because of its sleekness, comfort, and versatility. It has even replaced my Kansas City Royals sweatshirt(fan for life!) as my favorite, something I have had a hard time coming to grips with.

This hoodie has already served a variety of purposes in my wardrobe. I have used it not only getting to and from races, but also combined into my casual Friday attire at work. It looks and functions as a top for being active, yet easily converts solidly into casual wear. The scuba hoodie is perfect for staying warm and dry on a drizzly day. The hoodie itself is made of a wool-blend stretch fabric, on both the front and back, that wicks away moisture. It is surprisingly warm while giving off a sleek and streamlined appearance. I do not have a single bad thing to say about this product. Not one.

So even if you attripbute the Merrell name to solid boots and shoes, you may want to think twice before overlooking them for some solid running and activewear as well. There are a bunch of great items to think about putting on your Christmas list (or somebody elses)!

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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