If you're interested in a short boot that seals at the top, consider the Keen Elsa, an attractive winter boot that performed better in our metrics.
Merrell Dewbrook Zip Review
Cons: Top doesn't cinch closed, not very warm
Our Analysis and Test Results
Measuring 7.5 inches from the bottom of the sole to the top of the shaft, the Merrell Dewbrook Zip doesn't offer as much as its competitors in terms of weather protection; however, this boot is comfortable, easy to take on and off, and has good traction. If you seek a lower cut boot for milder temperatures and you like the look of the Dewbrook, we think it's a fine option (though it is a little pricey at $150).
We were surprised at how warm this boot kept our toes during our warmth tests. Made with 200 grams of Merrell's proprietary insulation, this product would have scored higher if the top of the shaft cinched closed to seal in warmth. We think this product is a good option if you experience relatively mild winters or just use your boots for a quick dash to the car and in to work.
Comfort & Coziness
This boot has a narrow fit that is relatively comfortable. It's nowhere near the coziness provided by the UGG Adirondack II, but the Dewbrook is certainly comfortable enough to wear all day (which our lead tester did on many occasions!). Although the footbed doesn't provide as much support as our winter hikers (the Vasque Pow Pow II, the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium - Women's, and the Ahnu Northridge), we loved how lightweight the Dewbrook is. Finally, because it doesn't have a tall shaft, this boot feels less restrictive than most of its competitors.
This product has a side zipper that makes it easy to slip on and off; however, this side zipper also serves as a point of entry when wading through puddles. The only other product in our review to use a side zipper is the Ahnu Northridge, which has the same problem. Overall, the Dewbrook will keep your feet dry in puddles up to 2 inches deep, but thanks to the wide opening at its top, it won't do much to protect you from sizable snow drifts.
Style & Fit
This boot received mixed reviews in our style survey, earning a five out of ten. We liked its narrow profile, but the mix of leather and synthetic upper just didn't meet the aesthetic standards of some of our testers. The Dewbrook runs just the tiniest bit small. Our size 9.5 tester was happy with her size 9.5, but if her feet were just a smidge bigger, she'd want a size 10. Moreover, this product has a very narrow toe box (more narrow even than the Sorel Tofino).
We're happy to report that this model earned good scores in our traction metric. While hopping through our obstacle course, we felt confident on packed snow and rocks. The Dewbrook performed a bit better on ice than the UGG Adirondack II, but a little poorer on loose terrain.
Ease to Take On & Off
One of the few products we tested with a side zipper, this boot is relatively easy to take on and off (especially given its short shaft). That said, we were continually annoyed that the storm flap behind the zipper would get caught as we tried to zip up the boot. It also could have benefited from a pull tab at the back of the calf.
Best for mild winter climates or as a fall-to-winter transition boot, this short-cut boot works well for around-town errands and walking moderate distances.
We were a bit surprised to learn that this product costs a whopping $150. Unless it truly meets your needs and you really like its look, this boot is not the best value.
We liked the lightweight Merrell Dewbrook Zip for those days when there's just a dusting of snow on the ground or there's a nip in the late fall air that makes it too cold for flats but not cold enough for tall boots with big faux fur cuffs.
— Amanda Fenn