Breaking the Cycle

Merrell’s Evera MJ pump allows women to ride in style.

With gas prices showing no signs of dropping dramatically any time soon, not surprisingly bike racks in metros across the country continue to get their fair share of use as commuters increasingly ditch their cars in favor of more affordable two-wheeled transportation. For women, however, the trouble has been finding a shoe that they can comfortably and safely ride in, but also be stylish enough to wear around the office.

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Merrell’s Evera MJ pump allows women to ride in style.

With gas prices showing no signs of dropping dramatically any time soon, not surprisingly bike racks in metros across the country continue to get their fair share of use as commuters increasingly ditch their cars in favor of more affordable two-wheeled transportation. For women, however, the trouble has been finding a shoe that they can comfortably and safely ride in, but also be stylish enough to wear around the office.

Enter Merrell’s Heels on Wheels collection for Spring ’12, which offers female riders a combination of fashion and function. Named “Best in Show” by GearJunkie.com at the recent Outdoor Retailer show, the stylish Evera MJ pump is a sleek heeled, peep-toe Mary Jane (available in red and black) packed with features perfect for cycling, including the right amount of rigidity in the sole, super grip rubber and reflective details for safety.

“There’s a big trend out there,” says Manon Belley, Merrell’s vice president of product development, noting the number of people riding bikes to work has increased 29.8 percent between 1990 and 2007, according to a report conducted by the Alliance for Bicycling & Walking. “It’s something the entire world is talking about and it’s not going to change tomorrow, so we thought, ‘How can we apply this?'” Belley believes the new silhouette will result in more women riding—and talking. “As an outdoor brand, it’s controversial to do a heel,” she says, “But controversial product is good.

It makes people react.” She adds that even though Merrell’s roots remain in outdoor, the brand needs to diversify and adapt to its consumer’s changing needs. “Our customer wears multi-sport shoes, but she doesn’t wear them all day long.”

According to Belley, the reaction from women so far has been great, and she sees the brand expanding the collection. The Evera MJ will arrive on shelves this February, with a closed-toe version to follow next fall, she says. “A lot of people want a heel, so we’re trying to integrate that little something more into the product.” —Meagan Walker

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