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Merrell Thermo Overlook 2 Tall WP Winter Hiking Boot Review

Merrell thermo Overlook 2 Tall WP Winter Hiking Boots

The Merrell Thermo Overlook 2 Tall WP is an insulated 400g waterproof/breathable winter hiking boot rated to -40F/-40C. These unisex boots (w/ men’s sizing) come up to mid-calf for maximum heat retention, they have a seamless wraparound waterproof rand, fleece lining, and a gaiter ring above the toes. A pronounced forefoot rocker (curve) makes them great for hiking and they have enough of an arch under the sole to run a gaiter strap if you wear high gaiters in winter.

But what sets the Thermo Overlook 2 Tall apart from other insulated boots is their comfort. The fleece lining is warm and well-cushioned, making them exceptionally cozy for all-day comfort in freezing temperatures. The leather uppers are supple and the boot is wearable out of the box with virtually no break-in. The sizing runs about a quarter size small. Wide sizes are not available and while the toe box is roomy, it’s not as high volume as other brands like KEEN and Columbia.

Specs at a Glance

  • Temperature Rating: -40F/-40C
  • Height: Mid-calf
  • Waterproof/Breathable: Yes
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Sizing: Runs a quarter size small
  • Insole: Wool covered foam
  • Weight: 2 lbs 15.4 oz/pr (men’s size 10.5)

The Merrell Thermo Overloop Tall 2 WP is the kind of insulated boot you want for long winter hikes when your trips start before the sun comes up and end after it goes down. Rated to -40F/-40C, they are insulated with 400g synthetic insulation, which is a highly compressible synthetic insulation similar to Thinsulate and used in many of  Merrells’s products. These Thermo 2 Overlook Tall 2 boots are also mid-calf height, which traps more body heat than mid-ankle height insulated winter boots which cover less of your lower leg (See: 200g vs 400g Insulated Winter Hiking Boots).

The upper cuff and tongue are covered with a soft fleece liner while the exterior is covered in leather with ballistic nylon in high flex areas such as the tongue. The bottom half of the boot has a wide seamless wraparound rand that provides great toe and side protection while helping to ensure that the boots stay watertight for the long haul. While that makes them look a little like PacBoots, (See: The Problem with PacBoots), they are anything but, with an aggressively rockered and curved sole which makes it easy to walk and hike in them.

Merrell Thermo Overlook 2 Tall WP Boots

Foot Protecton
Water Resistence

Very Warm and Comfortable

The Merrell Thermo Overlook 2 Tall WP is a fleece-lined leather winter boot with excellent traction that is wearable out of the box. A seamless waterproof rand provides long lasting waterproof protection.

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The Merrell Thermo Overloop Tall 2 WP’s have beefy Vibram outsoles that provide great traction on a variety of surfaces including slush, dry snow, wet snow, and wet leaves. I’ve had these boots for over a month and they grip well on all of those surfaces, although there’s no substitute for good hiking footwork.

Multidirectional Vibram Arctic Grip Lugs provide great traction
Multidirectional Vibram Arctic Grip Lugs provide great traction

Merrell includes thermal insoles with the Thermo Overloop Tall 2 WP boots, which are covered in wool for warmth but do not have a reflective aluminum coating. The insole is easily removed if you want to replace them with a more durable or supportive insole like Superfeet.

There is also a noticeable arch in the boots, worth mentioning because most winter boots have such poor arch support. I got used to it very quickly, but it is a distinctive departure from the norm. If the arch is too much for you, try removing the boot’s wool-covered insole and replacing it with a flatter one. I’ve found that that makes the arch much less noticeable.

Having a front toe kick allows you to kick steps into the snow in steep terrain.
Having a front toe kick allows you to kick steps into the snow when climbing in steep terrain.

The Thermo Overloop Tall 2 WP boots have an exaggerated front toe kick for toe protection and a reinforced heel counter to lock your heel in place and prevent pronation. Ridges on the back of the heel help keep snowshoe, crampon, or microspike straps from slipping down and off which is a real plus for more technical winter hikes when traction aids are required. The boots also have enough of a mid-sole arch that you can wear gaiters with a thick stirrup strap, like OR Crocodiles, without worrying about wearing them down from excessive surface abrasion.

Ridges on the back of the boot and along the sides help prevent microspikes and snowshoes from getting pulled off your boots.
Ridges on the back of the boot and along the sides help prevent microspikes and snowshoes from getting pulled off your boots.

There’s minimal time required to break in the Thermo Overloop Tall 2 WP boots which are soft and pliant out of the box. While they are waterproof/breathable, I’d still encourage you to treat them with a product like Nikwax Leather Waterproofing Wax to coat the seams at the junction of the leather uppers and the wraparound rand.

Recommended Insulated Winter Hiking Boots

Oboz 10" Bridger InsulatedOboz 9" Bridger Insulated400g
KEEN Revel IV High PolarKEEN Revel IV High Polar400g
The North Face Chilkat V 400The North Face Chilkat V 400400g
Salomon Toundra ProSalomon Toundra Pro400g
Oboz Bridger 8" InsulatedOboz Bridger 7" Insulated200g
KEEN Revel IV Mid PolarKEEN Revel IV Mid Polar200g
Columbia Bugaboot III Columbia Bugaboot III 200g
Merrell Thermo Chill WP BootsMerrell Thermo Chill WP Boots200g
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX (Unisex)La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX (Unisex)GTX Duratherm
Scarpa Ribelle HD (Unisex)Scarpa Ribelle HD (Unisex)37.5 Tech.


Merrell Thermo Overlook 2 Tall Waterproof Boot 400g winter boots are ideal for men and women who want or need very warm winter hiking footwear. Rated to -40F/-40C, their high mid-calf height helps lock in warmth while a fleece-lined collar and gusseted tongue provide both comfort and additional warmth. Their thick soles provide excellent insulation from the cold ground and deep 5mm lugs provide good traction over a wide variety of surfaces. The sizing is unisex (ie. men’s) and runs about a quarter size small in my experience. These boots are wearable out of the box and require virtually no break-in period, but like all winter boots, it’s best to gradually ramp up your hiking distance and to wear them with winter traction (microspikes and snowshoes) to identify any potential hot spots, so you can tape around them with Leukotape before your hikes.

Do you want 200g or 400g insulated winter boots? See our insulated winter boot FAQ that explains the differences and pros and cons of each.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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  1. I agree on most points here. Except for a couple.

    1. These are not waterproof at all above the rubber rand/shell. Probably fine for snow or even wettish snow, but will drench through in rain or puddles. Treating them with leather waterproofing would help a bit, as well as making sure the leather/rubber seam is water tight, as mentioned in the article. But make no mistake, whatever they put into there as a WP/breathable membrane just doesn’t work once water gets past the outer leather and fabric.
    2. The traction when not walking on snow or ice, but rather wet, smooth, river rocks, for example, is pretty inconsistent.

    But, most people using this boot will probably already be in freezing temps, well below worrying about rain or puddles. Most people probably wouldn’t be going out into the snow when it is raining hard either.

    It just bothers me that the word “waterproof” has no legitimate value in today’s sporting goods. I was absolutely miserable with soaking wet feet with these boots, even though they were still pretty warm.

    • Excuse me,
      1) they’ve been waterproof for me.
      2) Moreover, you wrote in a previous comment that you purchased the mids, not the tall boots. What makes you think your experience with the mids has any bearing on a different model, the tall version. If you want to be credible you really have to walk the walk and test them too.
      3) Wet, smooth, river rocks? Don’t make me laugh. Of course, the footing will be inconsistent.

      • My bad. Didn’t realize there was a huge difference between the tall and mid versions of the otherwise exact same boot with the exact same membrane. Unless I experienced a production issue, there should be no difference between the two. One is just taller with more insulation. If you have evidence that this is not the case, I would be thrilled to know Merrell made good on their waterproofing claims for the tall version. With that said, all versions of these boots, whether mid, tall, super tall (women’s) have reviews online that they leak when exposed to enough wetness.

        I had two pairs of Overlook boots and all of them leaked with enough water exposure. With the thick insulation, it’s nearly impossible to tell when small amounts of water enter the boots. It takes a lot of water getting in before it’s felt as wetness. Most people doing day hikes would probably never notice, even if water was slightly seeping into the insulation.

        And, yes, many of us have to walk through melted rivers and streams, even in the middle of winter. Traction on non-snow surfaces can matter a lot there.

        If one doesn’t see liquid moisture and doesn’t need to walk on rocks, then these are amazing boots. No question.

        Lost credibility, eh? That assumes I had any to lose! haha

        • Well, I don’t read other people’s reviews for various reasons including the fact that
          0) it’d be plagiarism, deliberate or unintentional
          1) many reviews are simply fraudulent written by manufacturers agents (it’s rampant).
          2) most reviews are syndicated across sites and never updated, so it’s very easy to read reviews that are years old but don’t reflect the latest version of a product and any changes made to it over time.
          3) many reviews are published by untrustworthy reviewers who will say anything to get you to buy crap to get their affiliate commission (backpacker magazine, and others)
          4) many are from people don’t know what they’re talking about (ie. who think sweating or condensation is the same as leaking) You see this all the time with rain gear reviews, for example.

          But I think you are leaping to a conclusion that may not be warranted. I can see there being significant design and construction differences in the way that the materials are sourced, cut, sized, and sewn between short and tall boots. You’re making unwarranted conclusions without ever having tried the product. I’m simply reporting my experience.

          You yourself appear to be unsure whether they’re leaking or not. You say “it’s nearly impossible to tell when small amounts of water enter the boots. It takes a lot of water getting in before it’s felt as wetness. Most people doing day hikes would probably never notice, even if water was slightly seeping into the insulation.”

          I say – If in doubt, slap some sealer on the seams and you get yourself a great pair of winter boots that you can walk through shallow streams with.

      • I think Philipmakes some pretty good points. He’s used the product. You haven’t. Reading a bunch of reviews on the internet doesn’t make you credible. Use the product before you make any performance claims about it.

  2. Boys. Boys. Can’t we all just get along?

  3. Phill,
    Thanks so much for your review! I just got done hiking some Adirondacks peaks and set out on an out and back on Mount Marshal. It was about 22° when I started at 6:30 am. I had on my ol’ trusty Salomon Snocross shoes and a day bag and no snow to speak of at the beginning. I’m used to this kind of hiking with these shoes when snow levels are low. But as I climbed up towards the peak, snow levels got ( in some places) above my comfort level. And temperature never went up but rather down to upper single digits. After bushwhacking my way up Marshal, my feet were already wet from a slippery stream crossing and now starting to freeze. By the time I was finished I ended up with very cold, wet and sore feet. So I decided to search for some winter hiking boots. And low and behold you just came out with this article! I just purchased them from your blog and I instantly fell in love with them from the first second I put them on. I’ve never had a more comfortable boot ever. I’m on a short camping trip to test some gear for the Appalachian trail and are wearing these boots (just to try out, not for the Appalachian trail) and I waded in ankle high water and yes you are correct that indeed they are waterproof. But I’m sure if you go over the cutout for the tongue they would leak in. Next I’ve got to wait for more cold weather to see how they do but honestly Phill, your timing could not have been better and I’m so glad you wrote this article. Thanks for all your time and effort to test and write the articles you do. Very well said and I like the no BS point of view, as always. Looking forward to your next blog.

    • You’re lucky your feet didn’t freeze. Got to be real careful this time of year. We’re into full-on winter here in the Whites at elevation even though the streams are still running. I’ll be in full crampons tomorrow on Passaconaway and Whiteface. Glad you like those boots. They are warm!

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