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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Merrell a good shoe, trainer and boot choice for ethical shoppers?

Our independent team of researchers have assessed Merrell across 15 criteria, which ascertain this brand’s business activity and ethical (or unethical) practices. Unfortunately, Merrell does not yet reach The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Benchmark and therefore cannot be counted as a good, ethical brand for consumers conscious about the Environment, Animals and People.

To compare Merrell with other Shoes & Trainers brands, see our Ethical Shoes & Trainers Ratings Table.

When was Merrell founded?

Merrell was founded in 1981 in the US as a high-quality hiking footwear brand. In 1997, Merrell was bought and now is currently owned by Wolverine World Wide Inc. This parent company also owns the shoe brands Hush Puppies and Saucony.

Though Merrell has been known for its practical outdoor hiking boots and trainers, the recent rise of the ‘Gorpcore’ aesthetic (a fashion trend popular on sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok) has boosted this shoe brand’s popularity amongst style-aware demographics.

But is Merrell a sustainable brand? And why does this brand not reach our Ethical Benchmark?

One of the criteria that The Good Shopping Guide assesses is a brand or company’s Environmental Report. Whilst there is a Global Impact Report 2021 from Wolverine World Wide that focuses on many brands and what they’re doing to become more sustainable. But for such a sizable corporation, this report is insufficient and lacking in information and detail.

The Good Shopping Guide was pleased to see that Wolverine World Wide does have a Code of Conduct, allowing consumers and consumer information guides to hold brands to account for their labour practices.

However, in an assessment by the Fashion Transparency Index, brands owned by Wolverine World Wide received a score of 11%, indicating that while some attempts are made to control and enhance its supply chains, there is little publicly available supply chain information. The highest score was 73%, and the average was 23%.

How could Merrell improve its Ethical Score and could this brand apply for Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide?

Merrell could improve its Good Shopping Guide Ethical Score by working with parent company Wolverine World Wide to improve both its Environmental Report and its Animal Welfare Policy and practices. As an outdoor brand that equips consumers to go out into nature, Merrell should be striving to protect and conserve the Environment, Animals and People. Merrell has many unethical business practices to address before it would likely be considered for Ethical Accreditation by The Good Shopping Guide.

If your shoes & trainers brand values ethics and sustainability, why not check out The Good Shopping Guide‘s Ethical Accreditation? Increase customer and investor confidence and stand out from the greenwash.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Nuclear Power


  • Sustainable Materials


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegan Options



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Ethical Trading Schemes


  • Human Rights



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating