10 Best Merrell Running Shoes Reviewed & Tested

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Merrell began in 1981 when Randy Merrell joined forces with American Olympians Clark Matis and John Schweizer. Between Merrell’s craftsmanship and Matis and Schweizer’s athletic background, the three were able to develop an affordable high-performance hiking boot.

Today, Merrell continues to be a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and runners alike. Their mission to keep athletes moving forward has let nothing stand in their way when it comes to developing new innovative ideas to incorporate into their products.

The exceptional design, comfort, durability, and versatility of Merrell running shoes make them a great option for all runners. Below you will list of the top ten best Merrell running shoes currently available. We hope to help you find your next pair of running shoes!

Last Updated: August 17, 2018
By EJ Callanan:

Our most recent update has a new top 3. We've also added information on selecting the best shoes based on your needs. We consistently strive to provide our readers with the most current information, which is why conduct updates on a regular basis.

Pace Glove
  • Pace Glove
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Trail ProtecPad
  • Price: See Here
Trail Glove 4
  • Trail Glove 4
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here
Bare Access Arc 4
  • Bare Access Arc 4
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Integrated EVA footbed
  • Price: See Here

13 Best Merrell Running Shoes

9. Pace Glove 3

9. Pace Glove 3
What are your top priorities in a running shoe? Whatever they may be, the Merrell Pace Glove 3 trail running shoe has the perfect match for you. Distinctive by its ‘TrailProtect pad’, this model of shoe is ready to welcome your precious feet.
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Comfort/Stability:
First and foremost, the all-around synthetic sole and fine fabric give you a smooth and comfortable feeling in association with highly breathable mesh and padded collar. The ‘Omni-Fit lacing system’ efficiently keeps your feet tightly gripped without any harsh feeling. Considering the next thing in comfort, the mesh liner is the perfect inclusion as it undoubtedly keeps your feet free from sweat and temperature build-up inside the shoe.

Quality/Durability:
This is a highly durable running shoe made with quality materials that will last a long time.

Protection:
The ‘TrailProtect pad’ is the new addition in this Merrell running shoe model that protects the underfoot excellently from any kind of external injury and sudden shock.

Cost or Value
Although very few of its users have complained about this model of running shoe being overpriced, most of them have admitted that the features that have been included in the price are quite not so bad in spending for.
Pros
  • The Omni-Fit lacing system ensures a secure and confident fit
  • TrailProtect pad provides underfoot protection over various types of terrain
  • The lightweight, breathable mesh
  • Upper non-stitched overlays for added support and durability
  • Very Flexible
  • Vibram TC 1 outsole is highly durable
  • CMEVA provides cushioning
Cons
  • The sizing seems to be a bit off 
  • Some thought they could be more snug
  • Sizes may run small

8. Trail Glove 4

The Trail Glove 4 is part of Merrell’s notable minimalist trail shoe series and a great example of why you should choose a Merrell shoe. This easy and comfortable shoe has many of the benefits runners look for from a minimalist shoe and many attributes that might surprise even a minimalist veteran.
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Comfort/Stability:
The Merrell Glove 4 a is comfortable and lightweight shoe with short break-in time. The Trail Glove 4 also has a mesh lining to promote breathability, keeping the wearer's feet cool. Many have also said the Trail Glove 4 is surprisingly stable and supportive, an uncommon trait in most minimalist shoes, and a boon to those who pick up The Merrell Trail Glove 4.

Quality/Durability:
The high quality of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 isn’t just based on looks alone. The Trail Glove 4 grips the trail very well, a somewhat decent toe box allowing for a solid spread. The shoe also reportedly washes easily, contributing to the longevity of the shoe as a whole.

Cost or Value:
The price of the Merrel Trail Glove 4 is within a moderate range but the many attributes contributing to the value of the running shoes make them more than worth the price.
Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive, especially for a minimalist shoe
  • Great grip
  • Lightweight
  • Dry quickly
  • Good looking
  • Short break in
  • Easy on and off
  • Breathable mesh lining
Cons
  • Shoes may be too firm
  • May be too narrow for some

3. Bare Access Arc 4

3. Bare Access Arc 4
For those that have always been big on style and practical use, you know we have you covered with these running shoes.
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Comfort/Stability:
In the long checklist of comforting features, the Breathable mesh lining comes in at the top. Next in the list comes its 2mm lug depth followed by the Integrated EVA footbed. Although a few runners did not like the new arch support and extra cushioning of this shoe, most were quite satisfied with the comfort level.

Quality/Durability:
Most of its satisfied users have expressed that the overall durability has surprised them and is up to par on a level they are very satisfied with.

Cost or Value
The price is unbelievably low in consideration of the features which have been included with these shoes.
Pros
  • Great feel and responsiveness
  • Excellent breathability
Cons
  • Soles may be slippery when wet

5. Vapor Glove 3

5. Vapor Glove 3
Are you looking for a running shoe without the stereotypical running shoe construction? Well, you may very well be impressed with what we have here.
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Comfort/Stability
The premium quality rubber sole gives the feet an extremely comfortable and cozy feeling. The lace-up vamp along with the pull-tab at the counter are nice additions for this low profile trail runner!

Quality/Durability:
The Vibram outsole offers a significant benefit in its traction and is accompanied by an exceptionally durable insole.

Protection:
It has good toe protection from debris. The upper is constructed to withstand rocks and other sharp objects.

Cost or Value
It’s not easy to find a runner who doesn't think every penny spent on the Vapor Glove 3 is well worth it.
Pros
  • Excellent ground contact
  • Soft microfiber footbed for comfort
  • A true minimalist design
  • Good toe protection against debris 
  • Highly breathable
  • M Select FRESH odor-wicking technology keeps odor away
  • Highly durable
  • CMEVA provides cushioning
  • Rear Foot Sling supports the heel
Cons
  • Some durability issues with the toe area of the shoe's upper
  • Sizes may run large
  • Some thought the responsiveness of the shoe could be better

7. All Out Charge

7. All Out Charge
This is a running shoe that is extremely breathable, has an easily detachable footbed, and has an exact proportion of stack height.
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Comfort/Stability:
The synthetic textile gives your feet a very smooth feeling. The synthetic upper sole gives you comfort while the mesh liner protects your feet from displacement, slip, and moisture. The removable footbed is another feature for the orthotics. The Hyperwrap 360 degrees fit system keeps the foot in place even when sweating vigorously.

Protection:
The All Out Charge is more versatile, very rugged, and protective than many of the past models. It is a running shoe that assists in finding a lot of sweet spots. It will be great for traditional runners and minimalist runners. You'll dig into the ground with the protection of the lugs. The Unifly midsole will help to absorb shock which will protect your feet when they hit the ground.

Quality/Durability:
Along with proving a superior grip for the feet, the Hyperwrap 360 degrees fit system increases the durability of the shoe too. The proportionate combination of 6 mm drop, 12 mm heel cushion, and 27 mm of heel stack height support the feet while increasing the shoe's durability.

Cost or Value
The price of trail running shoes in general can be quite pricey because you get extra protection where you need it.
Pros
  • Hyperwrap 360 degrees fit system provides support
  • Several different colors to choose from
  • The removable footbed allows the addition of custom orthotics
  • Reflective detailing for safety
  • Added cushioning provides comfort
  • Gives you great take-offs
  • 5mm multi-directional lugs provide great traction
  • UniFly midsole provides great responsiveness
  • Highly breathable
Cons
  • They seem to run a little narrow
  • Sizes run small
  • May be seen as expensive

10. All Out Peak

This is a neutral trail running shoe that will provide great stability, protection, and grip on rough trail runs.
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Comfort / Stability
There were a few runners that suggested the shoe runs a bit narrow in size, otherwise most agree this is a highly comfortable and stable running shoe. This is a highly breathable running shoe that keeps sweat away. It has reflective components that allow others to see you easily while you run. Its HyperWrap 360 Degree Fit System provides stability, its Uni-Fly midsole absorbs shock when your feet hit the ground, its Air cushion on the heel provides comfort, and its Nylon arch shank provides flexibility.

Durability / Quality
A very slim amount of runners thought the durability of the outsole should have lasted longer. The Megagrip Outsole has great traction and according to most is quite durable and made with quality materials.

Protection
The All Out Peak has TrailProtect technology that provides great protection to your feet when running on rough terrain. It is also great on wet and dry surfaces.

Cost or Value
Trail running shoes are typically higher priced, because of the added protection they provide your feet. We think they'll be worth every penny.
Pros
  • Highly Breathable
  • Reflective components allows others to see you easily
  • HyperWrap 360 Degree Fit System provides stability
  • TrailProtect technology provides great protection
  • Megagrip Outsole has great traction 
  • Great on wet and dry surfaces
  • Uni-Fly midsole absorbs shock
  • Air cushion on heel provides comfort
  • Nylon arch shank provides flexibility
Cons
  • Sizes run narrow
  • May be seen as expensive

2. Mix Master Move

2. Mix Master Move
This is an excellent road running shoe that comes with reflective features for safety.
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Comfort/Stability:
These shoes are really lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. The heel has additional cushioning for additional shock absorption and the tongue and collar are also both well-cushioned.

They also have a removable footbed, so you can insert your own insole or orthotic if you'd like.

Quality/Durability:
As far as quality and durability these shoes have both. They feature a protective toe cap for added protection and a rubber sole for increased durability.

Cost or Value
These come at a pretty average price when compared to other running shoes.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Breathability and permeability
Cons
  • Sizes may run small

6. Trail Crusher

6. Trail Crusher
The Merrell Trail Crusher carries on where the Mix Master Glide left off, being the minimalist trail running pair for the brand. Although not minimalist by barefoot standards, this pair is a reasonable pick in between minimalism and full-support. This line is available in 4 colors for both men and women with the latter selection more vibrant compared to the muted mens selection.
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Comfort
The Trail Crusher delivers comfort we all know and love instantly without the days and blisters of breaking in. Beware, however, of a few reviews on the women’s version being too high on the heels causing discomfort and rubbing. Its upper layer is primarily mesh for breathability and permeability in both wet and dry terrain. Balancing this out is the protective toe cap to shield you from debris.

Support
The air cushion in the heel is designed to “absorb shock and add stability” to your run. This allows for a spread of energy through the system from landing to launch. It’s safe to say that this pair would be a good starting point for anyone considering minimalist footwear as it is significantly “minimalist” by trail running standards but also supported by barefoot standards.

Grip and Traction
Although the outsole has a distinctly less-aggressive tread, it retains grip and traction even on slick surfaces. User reviews have also confirmed this same performance for mixed-terrain running, and paved, urban running. Couple this with the overall flexibility and you’ve got a great trail-to-pavement or work-to-gym footwear.

Cost
A great pair of shoes for not a lot of money!
Pros
  • Little to no breaking in needed
  • Breathability and permeability
  • Supportive enough for all-day use
  • Grip and traction for mixed-terrain running
Cons
  • Rubbing around the heel area for the women’s version for some

4. Agility Peak Flex

4. Agility Peak Flex
The new Agility Peak Flex is one of Merrell’s newest trail running shoes. Unlike other current trail running shoes on the Merrell line, it sports the Omni-Fit lacing system which “provides a precise glove-like fit.” It also has a distinctly modern design which was welcomed by Merrell users both old and new.
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Comfort/ Support
Requiring little to no breaking in, whether for hiking or just everyday use, this pair definitely carries the comfort that the Merrell brand is known for. With its snug toe box, those with wider feet may want more wiggle room.

Design
Despite some issues with squeaky soles (customer service suggested talcum powder), design-wise, Merrell gave us a refreshing look with the Agility Peak Flex as it’s made available in 5 contemporary colors and patterns for both men and women providing
you the option between more discreet and bolder palettes but all versatile nonetheless.

Adaptability
Secured with the M Select GRIP+ outsole with skeleton inspired lugs (they really do look like the feet of a human skeleton) this pair is aggressive on wet, muddy and dry trails and conditions. You can expect to do lateral movements and descents with ease, thanks to the Hyperlock molded TPU heels. Water is a non-issue as the mesh upper material allows permeability in whatever weather or terrain.

Durability
With EVA material in its midsole, M SelectTM FRESH antimicrobial agents to reduce shoe odor and topped with mud-resistant mesh, you can count on this pair for its durability.
Pros
  • Comfort right out of the box
  • Versatile design
  • All-weather, all terrain performance
Cons
  • Not enough toe-room for wider feet

1. Agility Charge

The Agility Charge trail running shoes are an excellent option to take out on the rough terrain you enjoy running on.
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Comfort / Stability
These shoes have virtually no break in period and provide ample room in the toe box--perfect for those of you with wide feet. They are lightweight for a trail shoe and feature a removable footbed for a more customizable fit.

Durability / Quality
These shoes were built to last and provide you with the stability and protection you need. Their rubber sole increases their durability and allows them to take on the rough terrain.

Protection
While out on the trails these shoes are sure to protect you from the natural elements you may encounter. They have a breathable upper as well as an EVA midsole, for additional shock absorption.

Cost or Value
These are little pricier than other options on our list. However, given their features and durability, they are well worth the cost.
Pros
  • Great for trails
  • Wide toe box
  • Removable footbed
  • Provides stability
  • EVA midsole
  • Shock absortion
Cons
  • Only meant for trails
  • Not meant for speed

We really hope that this buying guide is helpful in your search. Remember, there is a wide variety of shoes to choose from. The trick is to consider your needs and practical uses to find the best possible pair for you.


The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of the Best Merrell Running Shoes

We spent hours, days, and even weeks researching reviews from runners all over the world to provide you with the most accurate top 10 list. Below is some of the criteria we used when deciding which shoes will make our top 10.

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Protection

If you are looking for a pair of Merrell running shoes then you are most likely a trail runner or outdoor enthusiast. Merrell trail running shoes provide you with the protection, stability, and support you need when braving the great outdoors. Our thorough reviews will highlight how much protection each shoe provides as well as specify what they can or can’t withstand.

Comfort

Comfort is always an important factor to look for as well. No one wants to develop any discomfort, pain, or blisters during their runs.

Weight

Trail running shoes can run a bit on the heavy side due to the additional features they employ to protect you during your runs. We will let you know if they are too heavy, lightweight, or just right.

Traction

If you are running on trails you’ll want a running shoe that has exceptional grip so you don’t have to worry about slipping or falling.

Breathable

No one wants sweaty feet. We’ve read the reviews and let you know if they think they are well ventilated or could use better airflow.

Durable

A good pair of running shoes should last between 400 and 600 miles. We want you to know if these shoes meet that criterion as far as durability goes, or if they will likely wear earlier or last even longer.

Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Merrell Running Shoes

merrell-dirty

With over 30 years of experience in manufacturing outdoor equipment, Merrell is without a doubt a leader in the market.

The company started designing and manufacturing handmade custom boots for outdoor enthusiasts over three decades ago. Over time their products have been recognized as the best in the market when it comes to outdoor equipment, especially their hiking boots.

The brand follows four core concepts when it comes to manufacturing quality products: comfort, design, durability, and versatility. You will find that Merrell’s running shoes or both comfortable and durable–all while maintaining a great design that gives them custom fit. As the brand focuses on multi-sport technology, the running shoes fit a wide variety of people, for a wide variety of adventures.

Purpose

Since Merrell has so many options to choose from, you will need to first narrow down your specific needs. Are you running short or long distance? Easy or difficult trails?

Also consider the traction you need, the level of breathability you prefer, your foot type, and how much stability you will need.

Environment

Depending on the surface, the climate, and the length of your run, you can choose the perfect pair of trainers. The technology used by Merrell can provide you with the best quality products for a wide variety of running locations. You may need waterproof trainers if you live in a rainy place or if the season is wet and you will need greater grip and stability if you are planning to run on off-road trails.

Personal Level

Merrell offers different technologies so you can connect your feet to the terrain. These 3 technologies lie in 3 categories–cushioning, minimalistic design, and barefoot. Depending on your preferences, you can pick your pair of trainers from a wide variety of styles within each category.

Style

Merrell offers a wide variety of colors and styles, all with different purposes and technologies. They design their shoes for men, women, and children. They are specialists on putting the best performance in every product.

Know Your Feet

This is the most important factor to consider. In order to run comfortably, efficiently, and safely it is important to know what works best for your feet. It’s important to know if you overpronate, underpronate, have flat feet or high arches, and whether your feet are wide or narrow. These are all factors you need to address when choosing a shoe.

For the different levels of pronation, you’ll need the right kind of support. Sometimes the model with the right support may not meet your style expectations, but not having the right support can quickly become a problem.

Regardless of your foot type, you need to know all of these specificities in order to find the most effective running shoes for your needs. pink-run

FAQ

Q: What is pronation and how should I take it into account when shopping for a shoe?

Pronation is the rolling motion that absorbs the effect of landing on the outside of your heel as your feet hit the ground. Understand your pronation, and knowing how you walk in general, is an important point of consideration when deciding on a type of shoe. Many shoes can help or alter your pronation so doing a little reading about your potential choices and how they impact your walk is wise.

Q: What is the difference between the cushioning, minimal, and barefoot options?

The Cushioning line provides a deeper drop (8-12mm) for intense runs where you need more resilient cushioning. The Minimal line provides medium drop (0-8mm) helping you have more connection to the ground, those are the trainers you use if you don’t do intense runs but want to keep the stability. The Barefoot line provides 0mm drop providing full foot contact with the ground in a lightweight, but sturdy design. The Barefoot line is the minimalist line of Merrell.

Q: How do slip resistant Merrell shoes work?

Merrell designs their shoes with the right weight, correct ventilation and appropriate ankle support for each type of trail and level of activity. The slip-resistant technology starts working with the outsole. The brand offers the M-Select™ GRIP traction outsoles with specialized lugs that release dirt and debris or the trusted technology of high-performance rubber soles from Vibram®.

Q: Is Vibram part of Merrell?

Vibram partnered with Merrell to bring us one of the highest performances of rubber soles in the industry.

Q: What should I do if my half size isn’t available?

Merrell recommends sizing up because our feet tend to swell when we run. In the instance that the shoe doesn’t fit, Merrell has easy returns or offers a free exchange.


Here are some sources we used while conducting our Research:

Sources

  1. Merrell, Our Story, Running shoe company,
  2. Runnersworld, Take the Wet Test: Learn Your Foot Type, Running site, Jan 22, 2016
  3. Stretch Coach, What is Pronation and Supination?, Stretching site,
  4. Rei, Barefoot / Minimalist Running Shoes: How to Choose, Feb 12, 2016
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