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Merrell Engages Women in the Barefoot Movement Through New Women's Barefoot Running Online Resource


Training, Videos, Music and Stories Encourage Women to Unlock Their Natural Potential Defined as "Pretty Strong"

ROCKFORD, Mich., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing their commitment to education around barefoot running and fitness, Merrell unveils a women's-specific online resource dedicated to educating and training women on barefoot running and fitness. The title of the site is "Pretty Strong," captioned with "unleash your natural power, embrace your natural beauty," bringing powerful and personal definition to the natural balance women seek everyday to be strong and embrace their potential.  It is meant to encourage women to set and meet their personal fitness goals through the benefits of natural movement. The site is interactive and engages women to share their personal stories through testimonials, comments on the women's blog and through Merrell's social places.   Additionally, the site reaches women through a video illustrating the real-life barefoot stories of four female fitness enthusiasts in the Merrell family.

There are 16.9 million women runners today, a twenty-three percent increase since 2006, (according to National Sporting Goods Association). Merrell aims to engage with this powerful community and educate them on the total body benefits of incorporating barefoot running and fitness into their routine. The women's resources are built to be inclusive and connect with women of all athletic abilities. Through the page, Merrell invites all women to try natural running and fitness and feel the benefits for themselves. A 180 beat per minute playlist includes fitness music selected by female barefoot enthusiasts on the Merrell team and encourages the natural 180 cadence (feet landing 180 times in a minute while running) of barefoot movement.

The women's resource page offers a women's-specific transition to barefoot and training program with coach Walt Reynolds, professional trainer and President of NovaSport Athlete Development. Reynolds is one of the architects behind Merrell Bareform™.

A video featuring four Merrell women shows that each has a different personal goal and story but all benefit from their transition to barefoot shoes and discover they are "Pretty Strong." Through their different athletic personalities and goals, Merrell hopes to convey the benefit of barefoot movement for any woman, to make barefoot fitness an inclusive experience that all women can relate to and become curious about. To further their story reach, Merrell will dedicate the majority of its advertising efforts this spring on Merrell Barefoot for women.

"At Merrell, we have spent many years watching how the natural beauty of the world outside motivates people to greatness," said Meg Hammond, marketing director at Merrell.  "Not surprising that Mother Nature is both a woman and a force to be reckoned with. From many years of experience outside and a dedicated focus on women's-specific designs, Merrell understands the natural power of women. It is Pretty Strong. Merrell Barefoot is designed to unleash a woman's natural power, her natural beauty and helps her feel the whole body benefits from moving the way nature intended."

"She is really important to us and we will continue to offer female designs that are lighter and more nimble in fit, feel and function, as well as feminine in look," said Snowy Mellish, women's product line developer at Merrell. "What is right for her will be different than what is right for a 200 pound guy. Merrell has had a successful history in the outdoor market differentiating itself by moving away from a 'shrink it and pink it' mentality and we feel the same will benefit us in the running and athletic markets."

Merrell® is a brand within the Outdoor Group, a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. that also includes Chaco and Patagonia Footwear. Merrell believes in encouraging everyone to get outside, be active and have fun. The Brand's mission is to increase youth participation in the outdoors through causes like Outdoor Nation. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is headquartered in Rockford, Michigan.  The company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates®, Chaco, Cushe®, Hush Puppies®, Merrell®, Sebago® and Wolverine®.  The Company is also the exclusive footwear licensee of the following popular brands: CAT®, Harley-Davidson® and Patagonia®. The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in nearly 180 countries and territories.  Merrell, 9341 Courtland Drive, Rockford, Mich. 49351. Phone: (800) 789-8586; Fax: (888) 746-3329. FACEBOOK TWITTER: @merrelloutside.

SOURCE Merrell

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