Merrell Avalaunch Tough Mudder

8.0
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Merrell Avalaunch Tough Mudder Review Facts

The Merrell Avalaunch Tough Mudder is a neutral trail running shoe that is popularly used for obstacle course races. It was designed for traction, comfort, and protection on race day. Its outsole has M-Select GRIP technology for durability and traction. The 5mm lugs have excellent grip when going over mud, water, and trails. The inside of the shoe has M-Select Fresh antimicrobial agents to kill bacteria and eliminate odor. The TrailProtect pad supports and protects the foot when going off-road and the UniFly midsole protects the foot when going over rough terrain, absorbs shock, and returns energy back to the wearer. The Integrated EVA footbed supports the foot while absorbing shock and softening landings. The Lycra collar and Neoprene heel lining add comfort. The mesh and fabric upper has a Bellows tongue to keep out debris and a Bungee lace system for an easy-to-adjust and precise fit. If you are looking for a shoe for your next cross-country or obstacle course race, continue reading to see if the Avalaunch Tough Mudder is the right choice for you.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Comfortable, stable and protective fit
  • Great traction on mud and trails
  • Wide toe box
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonable price
  • Great for obstacle course races
Cons
  • Only available in black/orange
  • Sizes run slightly large
  • Bungee lace system instead of regular laces
  • High drop for a trail shoe
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The rubber outsole uses M-Select GRIP technology. It was designed for durability when going over rough surfaces and stability over trails. The 5mm lugs have a sticky grip that allows wearers to easily run through mud, puddles and streams. The pattern allows for easy ascending and descending of hills, and the light flexibility makes it easier to maintain speed while going over technical terrain.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole uses and Integrated EVA footbed, UniFly technology, and a TrailProtect pad. The Integrated EVA footbed supports the foot as it goes over technical terrain, cushions landings, and absorbs shock. The UniFly midsole adds a layer of protection against bruising when going over rough terrain and also absorbs shock and bounces the foot back into the air, returning the energy that was put into it. The TrailProtect pad is a TPU film that protects against sharp objects and supports the bottom of the foot when going off-road. The midsole is durable enough to last for many runs in various weather conditions, flexible enough to move comfortably, and stable enough to allow the wearer to land without having to worry about rolling or sliding. The level of arch support is neutral and the drop is standard for running shoes but high for trail shoes.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper is made out of mesh and fabric. The mesh allows the shoe to ventilate so it can stay cool and dry. The overlays provide support and light stability around the midfoot. The heel loop allows the shoe to be put on and taken off easily without damaging the heel. The Lycra collar has padding and the heel has Neoprene lining for comfortable takeoffs and landings. The Bellows tongue keeps debris out of the shoe. The Bungee lace system allows the fit to be adjusted easily and precisely. The M-Select FRESH antimicrobial agents help kill bacteria to eliminate odor and keep the foot feeling fresh. The upper is stable and supportive, yet still allows the foot to move quickly for races.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The men's shoe weighs 9 oz and the women's shoe weighs 7 oz. This is lightweight for a trail running shoe, making it a great choice for obstacle courses. The heaviest component is the rubber outsole, but all of the shoe's parts were designed to be as light as possible. In the midsole, the TrailProtect pad is very light and the UniFly midsole and Integrated EVA footbed are slightly heavier but light to average compared to other foams. The upper material is heavier than minimalist shoes because of its supportive nature, padded for comfort and sturdy for durability and protection against debris, but light compared to stability or other trail shoes.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Avalaunch Tough Mudder has pretty good breathability. The mesh in the upper allows the foot to stay ventilated, cool, and dry. The overlays around the midfoot are not too large and are in a zigzag pattern to still allow air to flow around them. There are also M-Select FRESH antimicrobial agents to keep bacteria out of the shoe so it stays odor-free and feeling fresh.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The fit is very comfortable. It has a medium width and a wide toe box. The sizes run slightly large, so some testers suggested sizing down, especially if they are wearing thin socks for obstacle course racing. Supportive overlays go over the midfoot, which are tied together by a Bungee lace system that provides a precise fit, although some testers preferred regular laces and others took a while to figure out how to use the lacing system. The Bellows tongue keeps debris out of the shoe for a more comfortable ride. The heel has Neoprene lining and the Lycra collar has padding for comfortable movement. The heel loop makes the shoe easier to put on and take off. The light weight and responsiveness make it a good racing shoe and the outsole's lugs make it easy to go through mud without struggling or slipping. The midsole has great cushioning with an Integrated EVA footbed to cushion landings, a UniFly midsole to cushion against rough terrain, and a TrailProtect pad to comfortably go over sharper objects and debris.
Style
Style

Style

The Avalaunch Tough Mudder comes in a single color for both men and women: Mudder Orange. The outsole, heel loop, and inside logo are orange. The midsole, upper, and lacing system are black. The logos on the tongue, inside back of the heel, and sides of the heel are white. Most testers thought the shoe looked okay, but some did not like the lack of color choices and would have preferred blue or green instead of orange.
Durability
Durability

Durability

This shoe has great durability. The M-Select GRIP outsole and lugs were designed to go over tough and slippery terrain without breaking off or wearing down. The midsole offers great cushioning, responsiveness, and protection for many miles over trails and obstacle courses with objects in the way. The upper also has good durability with the Bellows tongue and fabric overlays to keep out debris, and tightly woven mesh so it does not wear out easily and can keep out dirt better. The heel loop also improves durability because it helps prevent the heel counter from being crushed.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Avalaunch Tough Mudder protects against debris, heat, wind, and bacteria. The outsole protects the bottom of the foot from debris as well as from slipping on muddy terrain. The midsole has an Integrated EVA footbed to absorb shock, the UniFly midsole to protect against bruising and shock, and the TrailProtect pad to protect against off-road sharp objects. The light arch support adds a little protection against rolling the ankle. The M-Select FRESH antimicrobial agents in the inside of the shoe protect against bacteria. The upper has mesh to protect against heat, fabric for the wind, and the midfoot overlays, Bungee lace system, and heel counter to protect against rolling or sliding. The Bellows tongue, fabric, and tightly woven mesh help protect against dirt and debris.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

This shoe has excellent responsiveness and is often used for obstacle course races. The outsole provides good ground feel over a variety of surface types because of its lightly sticky grip. The midsole's EVA foam adds a small bounce to the user's step and the UniFly midsole springs the foot back into the air. The drop and roomy toe box help with forward momentum. Like the rest of the shoe, the upper is lightweight and flexible enough to pick up speed, yet stable enough to safely go over technical terrain.
Support
Support

Support

The Avalaunch Tough Mudder surrounds the wearer's foot with support. The Integrated EVA footbed provides foot-shaped support and adds a neutral level of arch support. The TrailProtect pad also adds support underneath of the foot. The upper has padding in the Lycra collar, Neoprene heel lining, and Bellows tongue to add support to the heel, ankles, and top of the foot. The midfoot is supported by fabric overlays and the Bungee lacing system that can be adjusted for an exact fit.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This is a trail running shoe, although it has also been used for everyday runs as well as obstacle course racing. This shoe is perfect for running off-road such as on trails, paths, technical terrain, mud, rocks, and even through water. The lugs make it not a good road running shoe, but it can go on short dirt road runs on the way to a trail.
Price
Price

Price

According to reviewers, the Avalaunch Tough Mudder has a reasonable price. It started out at the upper end of the average range for a running shoe price, and can currently be found for 33% off in some stores. It has great traction over technical terrain and is also lightweight and responsive, making it popular among trail runners and obstacle course racers. Its low price makes it a great shoe for someone who is new to those sports.
Traction
Traction

Traction

This shoe gets great traction on mud, trails, going through water, and going over rocks, roots, and debris. The outsole has M-Select GRIP technology that provide excellent traction over most surfaces. The lugs are distributed throughout the heel and forefoot, allowing the wearer to easily ascend and descend without having to worry about slipping or sliding downhill.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Avalaunch Tough Mudder has a light amount of flexibility in order to pick up speed. The outsole has small grooves in the heel, toe, and sides of the forefoot to allow users to ascend or go over rocks or objects. The midsole has flexible cushioning, especially in the Integrated EVA footbed that forms to the shape of the wearer's foot and the UniFly midsole that bounces the foot back into the air. The TrailProtect pad has light flexibility. The upper is padded and flexible to allow natural movement.
Stability
Stability

Stability

This shoe has good stability for a neutral running shoe. The outsole is stable as it goes over technical terrain or descends down hills. The midsole stabilizes the bottom of the foot as it lands, especially the TrailProtect pad. The amount of arch support provides light stability for neutral runners, but is not enough to slow over-pronation. To prevent rolling of the ankle, the upper stabilizes the rearfoot with the heel counter and the midfoot with the overlays and Bungee lacing system.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The heel is 20mm high and the toe is 8mm high, giving the Avalaunch Tough Mudder a drop of 12mm. This drop is a bit high for a trail shoe, as a lower drop provides more stability when descending or going on rough trails. A higher drop does have the advantage of more heel cushioning for shock absorption, as well as bouncing the foot forward to improve speed.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

  • M-Select GRIP provides durable traction with its 5mm lugs

  • M-Select FRESH antimicrobial agents keep the foot fresh and odor-free

  • Bungee lace system adjusts the fit easily

  • Bellows tongue helps keep out debris

  • Lycra collar is padded for comfort

  • TrailProtect pad offers off-road support and protection

  • Neoprene heel lining adds comfort

  • Integrated EVA footbed offers a supportive, comfortable, shock absorbing fit

  • UniFly midsole protects against rough terrain while absorbing shock and returning energy

  • Mesh and fabric upper
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Merrell Avalaunch Tough Mudder is a great shoe for everyday trail running or obstacle course racing. It has great traction over many types of surfaces so it can be used over any obstacle, whether it be climbing, going through mud or streams, over technical trails, and more. It is durable enough to last for many runs and stable enough that neutral runners do not have to worry about rolling injuries. It has a comfortable fit, a wide toe box, good responsiveness, and feels lightweight when running. The design looks nice, but some people would have preferred more color choices. It has a reasonable price for a trail running shoe, and on sale it is an excellent deal. The sizes run a little large, which means that some people ordered a size down due to wearing thin socks for obstacle course racing. The Bungee lace system provides a snug fit, but some people took a while to figure out how to use it properly. Its high drop promotes forward momentum during races, but can mean a little less stability when descending or running on trails. It has good shock absorption, breathability, and odor control. Overall, the Avalaunch Tough Mudder is a good choice for neutral runners who like running or racing off-road, or want to try it for the first time.