Survey shows at least half of Americans hold perceptions that keep them from hiking, despite known benefits of getting outdoors
ROCKFORD, Mich. (July 19, 2019) – Merrell, the brand that exists to give you all you really need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail, found in a survey of 2,500 adults that 53 percent don’t hike because of perceived barriers like not living close to trails or not having anyone to hike with.*
While on the surface, hiking and outdoor adventure seem to be flourishing, the reality is only about one in five people (19%) identify as avid hikers, and 22 percent say they’re not fit enough for hiking. Ten percent, or one in 10, say that not seeing people like them on the trail keeps them from hiking. Another 10 percent say they’ve never hiked and don’t know how to get started.
“We’ve seen firsthand how people doubt being fit enough or outdoorsy enough to go hiking. But Merrell believes the trail is for everyone,” says Merrell CMO Strick Walker. “All you need is air in your lungs and a good pair of shoes.”
Merrell ambassador Ambreen Tariq is a hiker and founder of Brown People Camping. Through her outlet, she tells stories that empower people of every background to experience the outdoors and build a diverse community of people who will challenge the barriers that stand in the way of all Americans accessing the outdoors.
“I struggled with feeling like an outsider in the outdoors for so long because I rarely saw people who looked like me on the trails and campgrounds,” says Tariq. “But that’s changing. As diversity advocates, we are disrupting the normative narratives of what it means to be ‘outdoorsy.’ By increasing representation in storytelling and media, and boldly celebrating the experiences and barriers of diverse communities, we are making space for ourselves and signaling to all of America that we are here, and you can be too.”
Dan Kosick, another Merrell ambassador and adaptive athlete since he was 15, shows it’s possible to overcome what could be perceived as a physical barrier to the trail. He’s a supporter of ROMP (Range of Motion Project), which provides prosthetic and orthotic services for people around the world, and in 2018, summited Cotopaxi with 15 other amputees.
“Many people who have a physical disability or who have to adapt their lives to be able to do everyday things see ‘the outdoors’ and hiking as an uncharted environment and become used to avoiding such activities because of perceived challenges,” says Kosick. “I see the outdoors and activities such as hiking as an opportunity for growth and gratitude. Once a person, especially those who are required to be adaptive, learns to change their mindset and embraces the outdoors, it positively impacts the rest of that person’s life.”
In addition to shedding light on hiking barriers, Merrell wants to inspire more people to experience the unifying powers of the outdoors. The brand recently released the second installment of its One Trail campaign which seeks to celebrate and promote diversity on the trail around the globe.
For more trail inspiration and films featuring everyday people doing unique things outdoors, visit https://newsroom.merrell.com/.
Merrell® exists to give you all you really need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail. We believe the trail is for everyone. Our goal is to provide thoughtfully designed, rigorously tested products that over-deliver on performance, versatility and durability. Because when you’ve got air in your lungs and good shoes on your feet, you’ve got everything you need. Visit Merrell.com or follow us on social at @merrell.
*Survey methodology: An omnibus survey of 2,535 American adults 18+ was designed and conducted online by Finn Partners Research, utilizing an online survey panel, developed by ORC International, between May 8 and May 10, 2019, on behalf of Merrell.