My beloved first paid or Merrells. Last winter the waterproof layer finally died and it was time to replace them.
I religiously wear Merrell boots. And they are cushy and delightful.
I lucked into my first pair of Merrells. I was working at an outdoor shop at the time and they were on sale (I think the mid weight boots were selling for $70 from $150) so I grabbed a pair. And I loved them.
I started to understand how lucky I was when others couldn't wait to get their boots off at the end of the day. I never felt the need. But I truly realized how fab my boots were when they wore out (after about 5 years) and I started shopping for new ones. Now I can see why others can't wait to get their hiking boots off at the end of the day! Yikes, I genuinely doubt that most hikers need boots that are so stiff!
If you find your hiking boots to be uncomfortable maybe you should try a pair of Merrells next time. I doubt you'd be disappointed.
I'm still trying to convince Mountain Man to get a pair. He wears a pair of Scarpas that don't fit and leak like crazy (probably because the water poof layer broke when he got them stretched). Mountain Man is too stoic to complain but I know his feet hurt on the trail.
How about you, what's your favorite brand of hiking boots?