My search for a cold weather travel boot began as soon as my husband and I made the decision to spend the winter in the mountains of central Mexico.

A previous winter stay in Cusco, Peru, where I’d given away a favorite pair of boots, had taught me that I wanted a boot that would provide stability on uneven, cobblestone streets, was warm and comfortable and versatile enough to be worn with jeans or dress pants, leggings or skirts. 

The Veranda Mid by Merrell ticked all the boxes. Sleek and chic, they look fabulous and felt like a natural fit straight out of the box. 

Ultimately though, I balked at the hefty price tag ($160) and assured myself that I could do without. Instead, I decided to give the money to a friend who works hard and rarely splurges on herself. 

I’d waited until the evening before our Mexico departure to slip a check into a beautiful card and give it to my friend. It felt good to have forfeited something I desired. To give instead of get. 

So imagine my surprise when my friend—the same friend who’d patiently endured my quest for the perfect travel boot—gifted me the Merrells as an early birthday present. We'd laughed and hugged and delighted in the serendipity of our exchanged gifts. 

Two months have passed since then and now, each morning as I slip on the boots, I smile, thinking of my generous friend. And just as I’d suspected, the Merrells, with their grippy outsole and supportive footbed, are perfect for the steep, uneven stone streets of Guanajuato, Mexico. They go with everything, and in a city where stopping to get your shoes professionally shined remains a time-honored ritual, the rich, buttery leather stays shiny and beautiful.

I'm told a well-made, well-cared-for shoe will outlast its owner. I'll never know because some gifts are best played forward. 

Are you familiar with, a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing? 

Favorite feature: Rear zip entry for easy on/off and snug fit.


Not-so-favorite feature: Price. Although well worth the money, the $160 price tag could be prohibitive.

Bottom line: The Merrell Veranda Mid offers adventurous travelers a sophisticated look in a durable, comfortable ankle boot.

The Merrell Women's Veranda Mid Boot is available in brown and black at , in selected retail shops and at The Travel Store at EllenBarone , a carefully curated selection of my travel favorites powered by Amazon. Suggested retail price, $160.00 USD.


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".