Merrell is definitely more than their distinctive shoes.
The Merrell Women's Verta shirt features Opti-Wick technology and a fit that truly is classy as well as utilitarian. I had the opportunity to wear it out on the trail as well as indoors, and it easily passes from one environment to the other without seeming out of place.
Pair with shorts and hiking boots or sandals? You're comfortable and stylish on the trail.
Pair with nice slacks and flats? You'll be quite presentable on casual Friday at the office.
Of the two color choices, Black and Rio, I selected the salmony-red Rio. Black, although of course being a good basic color, seems too hot for warm-weather hiking. Rio is showy, but not bright enough that you can be seen approaching from miles away.
Made of polyester, the Verta shirt is comfortable next to the skin, drapes nicely over the body, and feels light and airy. The use of Princess seams contributes to the Verta's elegant styling, as do the smaller-sized buttons running up the front and placed on the ends of the half-sleeves.
The sleeves land just above the elbow, offering what seems like better upper arm protection from sun exposure as well as a sleek, polished appearance. Sized XS, S, M, and L, the Verta feels roomy and certainly does not hug the body too closely, but it does actually have a somewhat slimmer cut.
For larger-framed or more curvy women out there, sizing up is recommended. I wear the medium and it fits me almost perfectly, but I am on the smaller side.
Besides its basic fit, I was most curious about Merrell's touted Opti-Wick technology, which claims to wick moisture away from the skin as well as dry more quickly. Could this possibly be true?
After strenuous testing on a variety of expeditions, including a 9-mile, 2,400-foot elevation gain hike on a danged warm day, I drew some conclusions about that claim: 1) My back was not sweating bullets, despite having my hydration pack snugged up close to it the entire way. 2) My armpits were sweating, and that area of the Verta shirt was distinctly damp, although not sporting outright sweat patches. 3) The shirt dried darn fast.
So, I'll agree with their claim that Opti-Wick shuns moisture fairly well. Definitely beats ole cotton any day!
The UPF 30+ sun protection was also a welcome addition, at least on a psychological level, when I wore it on intensely sunny days. Does UPF in clothing actually work? According to industry experts and available information, yes indeedy.
Living in a high-desert, high-elevation climate as I do, sun protection rates highly on my day-to-day activities list. Putting on sunscreen is an automatic event. As an outdoor guide who spends an inordinate amount of time under the big blue sky, if I can pull on the Verta shirt and feel that much more protected from the lovely if potentially damaging sunshine, I'll take it.
The only quibble is that it is available in only two colors. All in all, the Merrell Verta is an attractive, functional top that can easily transition from outdoor adventuring to the office to dinner out to running errands.