Merrell MTL Cirrus Trail Running Shoe

7.9
7.9 score
[Editors rating (7.9)] = Runnerclick score (7.9)/10

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Merrell MTL Cirrus Trail Running Shoe Review Facts
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Merrell’s MTL Cirrus is a simply-designed yet highly effective trail running shoe. All of its carefully engineered features enable its wear to be equal parts protective and lightweight. From rocky trails and thick forests to rain and snow, runners can stay secure in all types of environments.

The Vibram Megagrip outsole provides durable and precise traction, and a compression-molded EVA midsole cushions while absorbing impact. Both features are enhanced further by the inclusion of a TrailProtect rock plate, which safeguards against jagged surfaces. While its mesh upper enables plenty of ventilation, synthetic overlays work with the Hyperlock heel counter and the lacing system to keep the foot locked into place.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Eye-catching design

-Plenty of underfoot cushioning

-Incredible traction

-Generally fits true to size

-Highly breathable wear

-Feels surprisingly lightweight

 

Cons

-Unusually stiff wear

-Only one color option

-Expensive price tag

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Just like many hiking and trail running models on the market, the MTL Cirrus utilizes a Vibram Megagrip outsole for highly durable traction. According to one review, it even provides protection against sharp and jagged trailing hazards. This material covers the entire length of the underfoot and even curls up over the toe area for added protection against accidental impact.

Aggressive multi-directional gripping lugs are placed throughout the forefoot and heel to ensure a secure grip on many different challenging surfaces. These prove to be particularly useful in rainy weather and during uphill or downhill runs. Several flex grooves are also included to encourage easier movement.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The MTL Cirrus' midsole is made from compression-molded EVA, which is quite common amongst hiking and trailing footwear. An enhanced version of standard EVA foam, the act of compressing it increases its overall durability and greatly enhances its shock absorbing properties.

A TrailProtect rock plate is layered between the outsole and midsole to further shield the underfoot against sharp and jagged surfaces. A polyurethane insole is also included to enhance cushioning, and it can easily be switched out for a custom insert if the runner prefers.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The MTL Cirrus features a mesh upper for a lightweight and breathable wear, which is enhanced greatly by the seamless mesh fabric lining. They are held in place by synthetic printed-on overlays, which maintain the shoe's structure and protect against damage while still allowing plenty of room for ventilation.

Greater stabilization is provided by the Hyperlock TPU heel counter, which wraps completely around the back and works with the traditional lacing system to lock the foot into place. As an added bonus, M-Select FRESH technology is included to eliminate the risk of foot odor.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The MTL Cirrus seems to be within the average weight range for a trail running shoe. Men's sizes average out at 11.4 oz. while women's come in at around 8oz., which shows that it definitely has some substance to it without being cumbersome.

Surprisingly enough, multiple reviews have stated that this shoe's wear is actually very light. This is particularly noteworthy since it does have several protective elements that the average running shoe doesn't include. This can be credited to its lightweight upper, lack of heavy overlays, and the overall careful engineering of its materials and features.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

While its wear is durable and protective, the MTL Cirrus also provides runners with an incredibly breathable wear. Its upper and inner lining are made from different types of mesh fabric, and overlays leave the top of the forefoot and much of the sides exposed. As a result, proper ventilation is encouraged and air can reach hotspots wear they most occur.

It also receives a great deal of help from the lining's seamless construction as well as the brand's M-Select FRESH anti-microbial agents, which actively work to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. All of these features together create an airy feel that keeps the foot cool and comfortable all day.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Almost all online reviews show just how happy buyers are with the MTL Cirrus's level of comfort. The compression-molded EVA midsole gives a substantial amount of support and cushioning, and it easily absorbs impact to reduce the likelihood of injuries. The removable insole further enhances overall cushioning and can easily be replaced with a custom insert if needed.

The different air mesh fabrics and seamless construction of its upper ensure a highly breathable wear that greatly reduces the risks of irritation. And greater stability is offered by the Hyperlock heel counter and traditional lacing system. All of these features combined provide incredible comfort and support as well as protection.

The only known downside is that its wear is known to be more on the stiff side, even after it's been broken in for some time. It's unclear if this is due to the midsole and outsole material, the platform's substantial height, or a combination of the two.
Style
Style

Style

The first thing the buyers notice about the MTL Cirrus is its incredibly vibrant color scheme, which Merrell lists as Flame Orange/Turbulance. Most of the shoe is colored a bright orange, from its upper and laces to the back portion of its midsole. This is offset by the heel counter, inner lining, and the front half of the midsole, which are a cool mid-toned grey, as well as the lighter grey of the outsole.

These contrasting colors, as well as the shoe's maximalist outsole and lack of heavy overlays, create a truly eye-catching piece of footwear that runners can't wait to use.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the only color option that buyers have to choose from. While most don't seem to mind at all, it would definitely boost sales if the brand gave buyers an actual range of selections.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Given that it's a trail running shoe, it would be greatly disappointing if the MTL Cirrus wasn't durable. This proves to be especially true for its Vibram Megagrip outsole, which is highly resistant to abrasion and even punctures from jagged surfaces. The compression molded EVA midsole is able to maintain its shape even after constant wear, and the inclusion of the TrailProtect rock plate further defends against damage and potential injuries.

While the mesh upper might not be all that durable on its own, it's been greatly reinforced by a series of printed-on overlays as well as the Hyperlock TPU heel counter. Not only do they help the shoe maintain its structure they also help the material better resist wear and tear.
Protection
Protection

Protection

As with any good trail running shoe, the MTL Cirrus provides the runner with a great deal of protection against all the usual hazards. It all starts with the Vibram Megagrip outsole, which not only safeguards against hazardous surfaces but also provides an extremely secure grip in all forms of weather. The construction and overall height of its compression-molded EVA midsole ensures that the runner won't be affected by constant impact.

Perhaps the greatest form of protection comes from the Trail Protect rock plate, sandwiched between the outsole and midsole. It's this feature that not only safeguards the midsole from potential damage but also prevents sharp and jagged objects from causing injury.

Even the upper is able to be protective in some way, as its breathable wear prevents irritation and blisters from forming. And the Hyperlock heel counter pairs well with the lacing system to stabilize the foot and prevent accidental removal.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Not only does the compression-molded EVA midsole provide substantial amounts of cushioning, but it also gives the MTL Cirrus its responsiveness. The act of molding this feature greatly enhances its shock-absorbing properties. This then results in the runner feeling not only less pain but also a lot less fatigue by the end of the day.

With all of this said, however, it's unclear how it performs when it comes to energy return. Therefore, it's difficult to determine how fit this shoe is for long distance running.
Support
Support

Support

Many reviewers have taken note of the MTL Cirrus' supportive wear, which is no surprise considering how substantial its midsole is. With a heel height that measures in at 30mm, as well as a drop height of 5mm, buyers are given not only a great deal of heel support but also a substantial platform that keeps them comfortable and doesn't impede with the natural gait cycle.

The removable polyurethane insole further enhances this shoe's supportive wear. And, as stated before, more customized support can be achieved by swapping out this insole for an insert of the runner's choice.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

As one would expect, the MTL Cirrus is able to perform incredibly well in a number of different environments. Not only is its sole able to safeguard the runner against jagged surfaces, but its tread pattern ensures a strong grip on both rocky and forest trails in all forms of weather. The lugs positioned along the edges of the heel and forefoot prove extremely useful during uphill and downhill runs.

Furthermore, its lightweight and breathable wear makes it the perfect choice for runs during warm weather. However, it's safe to assume that this shoe provides no water repellency. It's also not quite clear if it can easily transition onto paved roads, based on reviews alone, but the overall design of its outsole suggests that it might be able to.
Price
Price

Price

One of the MTL Cirrus's few drawbacks is its expensive price tag. Across all online retailers, from Running Warehouse and Holabird Sports to the Merrell website, it's listed at $160. Even compared to most of the brand's other shoes and boots, this particular model costs noticeably more.

It's also worth noting that even sites such as Amazon or eBay, which are known to have incredible deals, do not currently offer this shoe at a reduced rate.

Despite this, its many positive reviews have shown that this model is well worth every dollar that buyers spend on it. Between its durability, secure traction, protective cushioning, and surprisingly lightweight and breathable wear, buyers are sure to get more than their money's worth when they purchase this shoe.
Traction
Traction

Traction

All good trail running shoes have to provide runners with highly secure traction, and the MTL Cirrus does exactly that. While the outsole's Megagrip compound already enables a secure grip on its own, it's the shape of its tread pattern that really makes it effective on challenging surfaces. The multi-directional gripping lugs grab tightly onto rocks and roots in both wet and dry environments and prove especially useful while the runner moves up and downhill.

While similarly designed outsoles have been known to become clogged easily, with either mud or small rocks, it's unclear if this particular shoe has had this same issue.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Since it focuses so much on protection and durability, the MTL Cirrus doesn't provide a very flexible wear. In fact, many have claimed that it remains unusually stiff even after they've broken it in for a couple of weeks. While it doesn't have any substantial overlays, other than the heel counter, this can be attributed to both the Vibram Megagrip outsole and the compression-molded EVA midsole.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Buyers greatly appreciate how much stability the MTL Cirrus provides them. While the Vibram Megagrip outsole ensures a strong grip on multiple surfaces, the compression-molded EVA midsole absorbs the impact of each landing to keep the runner's movements as smooth as possible.

Synthetic printed-on overlays allow the upper to maintain its overall structure and integrate with the lacing system for a more secure fit. And stability is greatly enhanced by the Hyperlock TPU heel counter, which wraps completely around the back. It not only prevents in-shoe wobbling but also works with the lacing system to keep the foot from slipping out.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Just like most other trailing shoes on the market, the MTL Cirrus also features a low drop platform. This is typically desired in more tactical footwear, as it promotes better posture as well as a greater sense of balance. Measuring in at just 5mm, this particular drop height is especially low and even more stabilizing as a result.

Of course, this definitely doesn't mean that is shoe lacks any sort of cushioning. With a heel height of 30mm and a toe height of 25mm, the runner is still given plenty of underfoot support for their runs.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-Vibram Megagrip outsole
-Compression-molded EVA midsole
-TrailProtect rock plate for added safety
-Breathable mesh upper with synthetic overlays
-Seamless mesh inner lining for comfort
-Stabilizing Hyperlock heel counter
-M-Select FRESH to prevent foot odor
-5mm heel-to-toe drop height
-Only available in Flame Orange
-Expensive $160 price tag
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Although it may not be a best-selling model, the Merrell MTL Cirrus has still garnered plenty of positive reviews thanks to its incredible traction and surprisingly comfortable wear. Not only is it able to provide buyers with an incredibly safe and secure run across challenging surfaces in all types of weather, but its breathable wear also makes it an ideal choice for runs in warmer weather.

It's not completely perfect, however, as its wear can be unusually stiff and its color range is extremely limited. Yet almost all reviews show that this particular model is definitely worth every dollar that buyers spend on it.