Best Merrell Shoes & Boots Reviewed for Overall Quality
This brand is known for consistently providing customers with all that they need in terms of technical terrain running shoes, as well as trail boots. They have a variety of rather popular models, such as the Pace Glove, the Trail Glove, and the Moab. All three of these (and more!) have underfoot protection and traction which a normal shoe would not be able to provide. This is especially crucial in situations where you would be running outside. No need for a treadmill here... unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 105 hrs of research
Siganture Vibram Traction
Several Styles Offered
Water Resistant Leather
Ventilated Mesh Panels
- Moab 2 Ventilator
- Siren Edge Q2
- Encore Gust
- All Out Blaze
- Trail Glove 4
- Moab FST
- Chameleon 7 Stretch
- Mix Master Move
- Phoenix Bluff
- Bare Access Arc 4 Trail
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Moab 2 Ventilator
Siganture Vibram Traction
Several Styles Offered
Water Resistant Leather
Ventilated Mesh Panels
Much like it’s heavier duty counterpart, the Moab Ventilator provides the wearer with laid-back style and award-winning can-do power... Alright, so they haven't won actual awards... but they made on this list, so close enough! We really can't say enough about this design, to be honest, It's sleek, sturdy, and anti-slip. The low-top ensures that your ankle won't experience any uncomfortable chaffing as some high-top hiking footgear can cause that. Let's look at it a little closer, however! Click that "Expand" button below, and let's go!Read more
Totally tired of loud, obnoxious colors and the crazy phases of today's kids? Okay, settle down, gramps! But, seriously, cutting-edge fashion just isn't for everybody. If you're anything like us, then you know that if it isn't broke, you shouldn't fix it. This brand obviously took this to heart when crafting the Moab Ventilator, which aspires to be a sleek athletic foot apparel but remains true to it's hiking roots. The duo-tone brown combined with light accents provide a wonderful palette for the wandering eye... but it won't steal the show entirely.
Terrifying Levels Of Traction
Alright, so maybe "terrifying" is the wrong word. However, we think it's a mighty spooky footwear with anti-slip grip that's just scary good. You ever have a mini heart attack because you lost your footing for a split second? Honestly, it really feels like your soul is leaving your body prematurely. "Oh no, it's finally happening." But, no, it was just the slippery soles of your shoes giving out on you again. Get your head in the game, and get your feet into the Moab Ventilator. We know you won't regret it.
Cost and Value
C'mon, for the number one product on our list? You've gotta be joshin' us. You damn well know we only provide the best of the best in the #1 spot... But you also know that we keep the price in mind as a major piece of criteria. Sure, the Moab might be a little on the pricey side, but it's by no means unaffordable. Unfortunately, sometimes you need to pay a little more to get the best of the best. This design absolutely provides that.
2. Siren Edge Q2
M Select GRIP Outsole
Triple Zone Arch Support
Partial Plastic Construction
Think salty waves, and lovesick sailors... or, at the very least, seasick sailors. The Siren Edge sounds like it could be the name of a mighty ship barreling through the seven seas. In this case, however, its one of the top picks on our list. The colorways offered are absolutely reminiscent of the ocean in many different ways. Whether this was a total accident or purposeful marketing, we may never know! However, its time to get down to the specifics on the Siren. Click that "Expand" button for more!Read more
If you're a lover of all things aquatic, this is the shoe for you. The Siren Edge comes in five colorways, and all of them are ocean inspired. Their black option, which is shown above, features blue and gray highlights that remind us of the Mariana Trench. Their "Purple Jewel" option is the brightest and has the same color scheme as a royal blue Tang. "Frost" is like looking at the arctic circle come to life in the form of durable footwear for the fashion-savvy hiker.
Fits Like A Glove
Me, oh, my! You're going to absolutely swoon over the fit this pair provides. The Siren was crafted specially with Q Form 2 in both the insole and the midsole. This is especially ergonomic, and the brand states that it was designed to provide a more natural alignment for women specifically. You can probably see that this is where the last part of the name comes from. It's a good indicator of both support and comfort in any shoe by this brand.
Cost and Value
The Siren Edge Q2 has a rather wide range when it comes to price. At best, it's a fairly affordable option... but it can get expensive real quick. For what you're getting, however, it's well worth it. The colorways have a lot to do with the pricing, as is the case with most sneakers. The less popular ones almost always drop in price. So, if you want a sleek stunner like the Frost, you're bound to pay more. All in all, however, these are a fantastic option for almost anybody.
3. Encore Gust
Full Grain Leather
M-Select Grip Sole
This is a little bit of a switch-up from the other designs by this brand. While leisurely activities such as hiking are great, we wanted to give at least one professionally-styled option. The Encore Gust is a fantastic slip-on that can be used by many who work in a professional capacity. Those in the medical field will fall in love with the comfort, traction, and understated class that the Encore Gust exudes. We know those internships and rotations get rough, so let the Encore Gust take a load off of your weary feet.Read more
Perfect For Medical Professionals
Are you a doctor constantly on the move? Or perhaps you work in a lab drawing blood for a living. Either way, you're going to need the right pair to get you through. Slip-on designs are perfect because you waste little time getting them on and off. We're well aware that many students on rotation will catch a few winks in a designated room when they can... but when you wake up you need to be ready to go at a moment's notice. Slip-on shoes give you this ability. You're also going to love the traction and durability provided!
Built For Comfort
When you're on your feet working all day, you need to slip into something that can help you get through. Having the right pair on your feet can mean a world of a difference! The Encore Gust is crafted with some of the best technology in comfort on the market today. From the padded collar to prevent chafing to the air cushion that absorbs shock to the compression molded EVA foot frame, the Encore Gust wears with your comfort in mind.
Cost and Value
Good news all around! Although this may seem on the expensive side, the Encore Gust is very reasonably priced for what it provides. Although you can absolutely go with a less expensive pair, we highly recommend giving the Encore Gust a chance to shine. You pay for what you get, after all. Also, keep in mind that this is a great brand with a fantastic reputation, so while the Encore Gust is a great value, it still carries the price tag associated with the brand name.
4. All Out Blaze
Omni-Fit Lacing System
TPE Heel Counter
Vibran TC5+ Outsole
The All Out Blaze will have you burnin' up! Fan the flames of your fashion desires, while still being totally prepared to face the great outdoors. The All Out Blaze (AOB) is a design to please the masses who may otherwise be missed. While this water sneaker comes with all of the great features the brand is known for, it also has a very traditionally stylish design. Some of the other hiking-inspired products out may seem a little, well, dorky, the AOB has a much different aesthetic. Want your girlfriend, or daughter, to get into hiking? Does she ever complain about the godawful ugly designs out there? Surprise her with this, and she'll send you packing... and go along with you, of course.Read more
Fashion With A Purpose
There's nothing better than a hardy hiking sneaker that can pull its weight and get you up the mountain sans the achy feet. It's even better, however, when you can look good while you do it. The All Out Blaze provides functional fashion, two of our favorite words here at NicerShoes! You know how they say "fight like a girl"? In these, you can hike a mountain like a girl... and if the boys out there try harder, they might be able to, as well.
Good Stuff In, Bad Stuff Out
We're all tired of dirt and debris getting into our shoes. Part of the irritation that occurs in outdoors activities comes from the pebbles and sand that always seem to sneak into our sneakers. The All Out Blaze ensures that this is a problem of the past. It has a billowed tongue that works to keep your feet free of troublesome, problem-causing debris getting lodged where they shouldn't be!
Cost and Value
Versatility, hardiness, and superb comfort are three things you can expect from almost any design by this brand. The All Out Blaze takes this to the next level, however. This athletic-looking water sneaker fits like a glove, wears like a cloud, and makes you look like you know what you're doing while looking good doing it. Fake it 'till you make it, baby! And get the best pair for that job specifically. They are rather expensive, but they'll last you a lifetime. If this pair doesn't have you sold, however, keep reading for more great styles...
5. Trail Glove 4
Mselect Fresh Lining
Vegan Friendly Option
Built With TPU
Not A Heavy Duty Option
We are very excited to introduce the Trail Glove 4 to you all. This is a signature look for cyclists, and the brand obviously sought to imitate. Whether you're somebody who actively rides bikes, or you just love the look, the Trail Glove 4 will meet your every expectation. They come jam-packed with all of the same features a classic sneaker by this brand should have, and then some. Click "Expand" to find out more...Read more
A Minimalist Dream
If you're tired of all the fancy bells and whistles some of these designs come with, then this is lucky #5. The Trail Glove is sleek, with minimal design elements which lend it a subdued vibe. Some of these designs come with extra texture in the form of cut-outs or raised patterns. This is not so with the Trail Glove! Instead, you can enjoy a totally flat, but still stunning, fabric option which capitalizes on the current "minimalist" movement.
Because of its subtle design, you can rock this pair almost anywhere. You may want to avoid doing so regularly as this is an expensive, use-specific style. However, it won't look garish when you go out on the stops between home and your naturalist destination. The different colorways range from loud and proud, to smooth and cool, so it'll fit any taste or wardrobe. Step in the Trail Glove, and fall right in love... rather than in the dirt.
Cost & Value
... Speaking of falling into the dirt, we're gonna kick this section off by talking about traction. The real value of the Trail Glove is in the superior anti-slip outsole, as well as the skintight fit that keeps you on your feet. Combine this with the other two fabulous features we just spoke about, and you're probably already adding this to your shopping cart... and if you haven't, what's stopping you?! No matter. We're absolutely sure that if this isn't the right value for you, that at least one item on this list will be. So, keep reading!
6. Moab FST
Traditional Lacing System
Undoubtedly, the Moab FST is the obvious choice for those who like to take the trail less traveled by. So, if you happen to be a fan of Robert Frost, take a page out of his book and take these home with you. You'll appreciate the protection provided, and the incredible traction that comes along with it. So, let's dive right into what makes the Moab FST so fantastic that it ended up on our list, shall we? Click "Expand" and keep reading!Read more
Traditional Naturalist Gear
Thus far we've mostly talked about gear that is modernized and appeals to a less traditional approach to hiking. However, we obviously would like to include this fantastic footwear that is a total throwback to the days of old. The chunky design will delight those who need a more rugged style to get them through tough terrain. Wherever you go, the Moab FST will give you an easier way to beat your way through the bush.
Zero Drop, Zero Problems
The Moab FST has a zero drop, which means there is no difference in height between the toe and the heel. This is important to have because it gives you a consistent grip between your foot and the ground. This added level of traction gives you ample ability to feel your way around, and stay alert as to the condition of the ground. Those with flat arches or generally achy feet may want to steer clear, however. Zero drops can prove problematic for those that require extra support.
Cost and Value
This is most likely one of the most expensive picks we've laid out today. However, with that price you are getting a helluva lot. We suggest this to those who are serious about the outdoors and need the extra support they provide. If you're just looking to do short hikes that don't involve rugged terrain, then perhaps a less expensive choice might be better. The Moab FST doesn't mess around, and neither do those that wwear them.
7. Chameleon 7 Stretch
Full Grain Leather
Vibram TC5 Outsole
Handy Heel Loop
Yes, yes, we know. This is what you'd imagine anytime you think "Dad shoe". And you are totally right about that! These are the style of choice for nature lovin', fun havin' dads everywhere! There is absolutely nothing wrong with stereotypical fashion choices. After all, there's a reason dad style has in style for so long. Dad always knows what's best! So, whether you're a dad who knows what's up, or looking to buy a gift for the father figure in your life, the Chameleon Prime should be at the top of your list.Read more
Nothing Better Than Leather
While some may have reservation about the ethical questions surrounding leather, it really is a great material. If you're okay with cowskin then it really is the way to go. Most leather is durable, and resilient against a lot of wear and tear. You just can't get the same amount of life out of synthetic materials as you can with full grain leather! It adds that "special something" that puts the Chameleon 7 Stretch right on our radar.
Ankle Look For Easy Wear
It's no secret that hiking wear can be hard to pull on. Luckily, the Chameleon 7 Stretch comes with a handy loop on the back of the heel. This allows you to easily pull it on using leverage. This is also incredibly handy for those who may have a lot of wisdom under the belts, and some arthritis to show for it. Anybody who has trouble putting their boots on will find it much easier to slide these on.
Cost and Value
The Chameleon 7 Stretch is right in line with the cost of the rest of these options. The actual prize is determined by the colorway and size you choose. As always, the less popular ones will be the cheaper options. However, any good dad knows value when he sees it! The Chameleon 7 Stretch offers quite a bit for what it costs. It is a very specific style, however, that doesn't exactly appeal to a wide audience. It's on our list, so you know it's great, but it may not be the boot for you... unless you like this sort of thing. It also isn't waterproof, so if you need that you probably should keep looking.
8. Mix Master Move
Air Cushioned Heel
Rubber Lugged Sole for Traction
M-Select Fresh Technology
Insufficient Arch Support
Mix it up with some fresh and funky fashion with the Mix Master Move! This easy wearin' sneaker will make you feel like the coolest cat in the woods. It's effortlessly athletic, and absolutely a sight for sore eyes. We're a huge fan of rad fashion with a purpose ourselves, and we know that there are those reading this that will agree. These add a pop of color that is seldom seen in this realm of the shoe industry that we are absolutely diggin'. So, if you're also diggin' their wicked style and off the wall color scheme, keep reading for more.Read more
Within the Mix Master Move trail runner lies an air-cushioned heel, helping to minimize impacts from gravel, rocks and tree stumps you encounter along the trail. Stability and support are found with the nylon shank at the arch of the sneaker, firm for those who need extra support when running. M-Select FRESH technology helps to keep the Mix Master Move smelling like new, as it helps to prevent any odor build up over time.
Uppers of the Mix Master Move is created from a breathable fabric, and sturdy synthetic, which helps to support lateral movements of the foot from angle surfaces or sidesteps. With a Heel to toe differential less than 4mm, it’s considered minimalistic and helps promote utilization of the foot muscles in a more natural stance and gait to support your running style. Grip and traction are maintained in the rubber lugged sole, with traction patterns in the areas of foot strike to help keep you pushing uphill.
Cost and Value
For a quality brand trail running sneaker, the Mix Master Move is quite reasonably priced. Supportive throughout, both running enthusiasts and lovers of the brand will adore this sneaker. Full of technical design for support and comfort, it’s also built to withstand varied terrain, gravel, dirt, rocks, and still outlast your toughest of training. A wonderful option to consider if in the market for a trail running sneaker.
9. Phoenix Bluff
Provides Ample Stability
Sizes Run Small
Subtle. Powerful. Steady. Persistent. These are all words that could be used to describe our next-to-last product on this list. The Pheonix Bluff is no joke, although the second part of its name may imply so. We aren't bluffing when we say that this is one of our favorite choices out there as far as hiking gear goes... but then again, so are all the other shoes on the list! What can we say? With so many great products it's always hard to choose. Anyway, let's get down to business and talk about the fundamentals of the Pheonix Bluff. Hit that "expand" button for the full rundown!Read more
Don't Mess With Mesh
The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly applies here. While some may shy away from a breathable option, it's absolutely indispensable on the trail. Having adequate airflow is essential to keeping your feet healthy and happy. Soggy, sweaty shoes make your trip unbearable. We've all been there! Blisters, rashes, skin irritation... it all comes with having footwear that lacks breathability which is crucial to hiking and other athletic pursuits.
Stops The Shock
Tired of feeling the impact of every step you take? Rough roads and tough terrain can take a toll on your tendons and bones. The Pheonix Bluff, however, will keep you from feeling the worst of it. It has an air cushion in the heel which acts to absorb shock before it even gets through to your foot. Now, that's some quality craftsmanship that obviously shows how much they care about the comfort of their customers!
Cost and Value
The Pheonix Bluff is in about the same price range as the rest of the products we've talked about today. The brand is pretty good at keeping their pricing fairly consistent, as well as their quality. However, keep in mind that the Pheonix Bluff is not going to fare well in wet conditions or during water crossings because of the mesh lining. If you've fallen in love and aren't worried about water, then perhaps this is the perfect pick for you!
10. Bare Access Arc 4 Trail
Are you a runner looking to stunt on the competition? Then look no further than the Bare Access Arc 4 Trail. We know the name is a mouthful, but you won't have time to even say it when you're flying past everybody else. The Access Arc 4 Trail is just a sublime, beautiful example of everything a trail sneaker should be. It's curvy sole perfectly hugs every inch of your foot which grants you perfect grip with the ground. Yeah, we're big fans... and we're sure you will be, too.Read more
Low Light? No Problem.
We all know the struggle of trying to juggle being safe and trying to get that workout in after your 9-5. If you're anything like us then you put in some serious overtime in the office. After all, athletes are known for pushing it to the limit in all aspects of their lives. Luckily the Bare Access Arc 4 Trail is heavily accented with reflective tidbits that will increase your visibility. So, even if you're out and about in the twilight hours you can exercise at ease.
Cruelty-Free Is The Way To Be
This is great news for all our animal lovers! The Arc 4 Trail (no way we're typing the full name out again, sorry) is manufactured with synthetic materials. This means that no animals were harmed in the making of this sneaker! It can be difficult to find apparel that lives up to the stringent standards Vegans have. However, the Arc 4 Trail not only passes the bar- it sets it.
Cost and Value
Zero drop, vegan-friendly, excellent traction, safety features... these all come together into a superb example of everything right with this brand. For what they offer we think they're fairly reasonably priced, although definitely on the expensive side. The synthetic materials are what put this at the bottom of our list in the end. Unfortunately, synthetics may not be as durable, and most people prefer real materials.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When it comes to footwear that will be used mainly outside, you need to ensure that durability is a prime feature in your shoe’s design. After all, this is an article of clothing that needs to be able to take a real beating. Your feet are in constant contact with the ground (hopefully!), and so the protection between them and, well, the ground, needs to be ample.
If your sole wears out before it’s time you’re looking at a pretty uncomfortable experience. Have you ever had a pair that went from making your runs feel like smooth sailing, to making them feel like a misery march through choppy water? Yeah. Yikes is all we have to say about it, too.
Let’s face it: if the craftsmanship isn’t up to par, the product is going to wear thin real quick. Luckily, when you go with this brand you go with confidence. They know what it takes to navigate tough terrain, and they’re sharing that ability with all their happy customers.
We know you want to walk confidently through all situations. If you’re trying to get people to crane their necks for a flash of your crazy kicks… then, quite honestly, this isn’t where you’ll find that kind of eye-popping power. Keep in mind what they’re actually for, however.
These aren’t high-fashion, but they are made for a specific function. Also, we really are of the mind that these are the most stylish of this type of sneaker or boot. It’s not Manolo, but it is an understated fashion statement that’s perfect for natural settings and trail running.
We did our best to check for fashionability specifically, especially since this is such a hard style of shoe to shop for (although, the brand did make it pretty easy for us!).
Although the aforementioned pieces of criteria are important, they are even more important together. Along with a laundry list of other details, in fact. There are too many sections to mention here, but we do want you to know that there are some specific guidelines we follow when making our selections. The shoe must come together like a puzzle, and every part must have a perfect fit.
Once you look at the two most important parts to consumers (durability and style), you begin to take note of smaller, minute details that the untrained eye might not see. We won’t give away our specific formula, but know that we look at the upper, midsole, outsole, and more while working through our selection process.
Just know that these are all made with materials and care that brings the entire design together in perfect harmony!
Lastly, it’s the cherry on top of the cake. For this style of shoe, you must first look at the durability under a lens. From there you move on to style, and then you look at how it all pulls together. We did all of that work for you, however… and more.
We also made sure to take price into account, and have made sure to provide a range of products to fit every budget. We promise that you will always find what you’re looking for within a reasonable price range. This is especially important for any foot-related hiking product (or trail sneaker)!
Products with a specific purpose tend to be expensive just because they’re, well, a specialty item. At the end of the day, you need a shoe that can keep up with you when performing this activity. Given the durability and features that the Merrell-brand poses, it will be worthwhile investment that should last for quite some time.
A shoe that breathes is critical to providing the wearer a comfortable and healthy experience when sporting a pair of shoes, sandals or boots. A lack of breathability will create a wet and humid foot, leading to discomfort and possible fungal or bacterial infections that are painful and difficult to cure.
How does a manufacturer ensure their product will allow maximum airflow? There are several ways to achieve this, including using special fabrics in the upper of the product, lining the midsole with moisture-wicking technologies and finally, the good old use of perforations of holes throughout the product.
If a product scores high on this metric, the buyer can rest assured that the manufacturer has used some or all of the above techniques to ensure the wearer a comfortable and dry wearing experience.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Merrell is well known for their line of hiking boots, shoes, and sandals, but did you know that many of these make for great outdoor activity shoes off the trail?
Try out your new pair for kayaking or canoeing, or everyday wear around the town or to work. The brand makes footwear versatile enough for work and play time, so you'll always be covered.
Merrell is a younger brand of footwear compared to some others, having been established in the US in 1981. The initial founders were actually executives from a well known ski brand, Rossignol.
Other Factors to Consider
Some of these are designed for general technical terrain use while others work to provide the wearer with more of a cross trainer feel. With that being said, every single item on this list is important in its own way; they all carry the signature of quality that the brand is known for.
Also, it’s just all the more reason to pick up a couple pairs so you can get both experiences! Materials such as their signature Vibram as well as thick mesh are combined to create a one-of-a-kind package. These two materials are just some of the reasons why customers seek them out so doggedly. Want to know why else people are so in love with the brand? You’re in luck because that’s exactly the topic of the day.
The brand makes some amazing styles for a wide variety of activities. They range in specialization, from outrageously comfortable running sneakers to hardy hiking designs. The recurring theme in this slew of selections is that they all provide ample support as well as excellent craftsmanship that speaks to the creative flair the company brings to the table. This company also takes into account your pocketbook- which is something we all love. Simply put, they try to be as affordable as they can be.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are for walking but they are more ideally suited for hiking. The Vibram soles are extremely long lasting, and the price is more reflective of specialty gear than a simple walking shoe would be. With that said, there are numerous models available and you may find something that works perfectly for making your way downtown.
Generally speaking, yes. Most of them are completely waterproof… so long as you avoid venturing into water that is higher than 1/4 inch. We know that sounds like a low number, but chances are you won’t encounter anything much deeper on a trail. Just be careful over water crossings! The generous, deep-engraved tread gives plenty of traction so that they are mostly slip-resistant, as well.
This is going to depend on the model, but for the majority of the options available the answer is yes.
I don’t think so. I think you mean the instep, not the arch. The outside of the sole on both the 3 and the 4 is flat as a pancake, but the on the inward side of the sole there’s a piece of hard rubber that protrudes into your instep. It’s the same in both models.