The first Merrell shoes were hand-made to order by cowboy and shoe maker Randy Merrell in Vernal, Utah. Merrell used a cowboy shoe hoof to make his hiking boots. The first Merrell boots, as well as a good pair of cowboy boots, had to fit perfectly without the aid of laces, so as to protect the heel from bruises, fasten it to the instep to ensure stability when walking and prevent foot movement. Compared to European manufacturers' shoes made for European feet, Merrell shoes are designed to accommodate slightly wider feet. To this day, all hiking and barefoot shoes use a version of the original Merrell hoof.