Best Merrell Shoes & Boots Reviewed for Overall Quality
Merrell is known for creating and consistently providing customers with all that they need in terms of durable and functional trail and technical terrain running shoes. They have a variety of rather popular titles, such as the Pace glove, the Trail Glove, and the Moab. The fascinating thing about the designs of their shoes is that they really work to give underfoot protection and traction when one is doing what they love to do; which is to run along trails and other things that normal shoes are simply not equipped to handle; their shoes are equipped with outsoles that provide a higher amount of grip and that, due to the way that they are positioned can really “dig “ into the surface that it’s used on.
- Merrell Bare Access 4
- Merrell Trail Glove 4
- Zero Drop
- Merrell Pheonix Bluff
- Air Cushioned Heel
While all of the shoes on this list may not function in the same exact way, as some are designed for general technical terrain use while others work to provide wearer’s 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 that Merrell signature of quality that the brand is known for. Materials such as the Vibram placed in the outsole and the thick mesh that is placed on the upper of the shoe are some of the reasons why customers seek these shoes. Our list of the best Merrell shoes is based off of their endurance, price, and style.
10 Best Merrell Shoes
1. Merrell Bare Access 4
The Bare Access 4 features a sole unit that allows the shoe to really provide for the wearer on terrains such as roads; the sole unit, despite being so thin really works to provide the wearer with a high level of grip when in use. The sole unit is designed from the famed Vibram material that simply works wonders when put to use on roads. The material comes in a pod-like shape, which works even better to give the wearer what they may need in terms of grip when in use. The Sole unit also moves relatively easily due to the incorporation of deep flex grooves into the design; this allows the shoe to be both on the responsive and traction filled side for the wearer’s foot.
The funny/ or great thing about the design of the midsole on this shoe is that, even though this is considered another barefoot shoe, the midsole is highly cushioned. The MBound material that is incorporated into the design, really allows the shoe to provide for the curves of the wearer’s foot and, in turn, provide a level of comfort that is simply unseen by so many shoes before it. The upper of the Access 4 isn’t the typical mesh material; the shoe is designed from an air mesh that allows it to really provide the foot with the airflow that they’ll need for their runs.
Cost and Value
All of the features that come with this shoe do so at an extremely reasonable price. The price of the Bare Access 4, when considered alongside both the longevity that the materials hold and their ability to really perform when they’re in use gives the shoe a great level of value. At the price that this shoe can be found for, one doesn’t really have much to worry about in terms of whether or not they’ll really be getting a deal with its purchase.
- Flexible and Responsive
- Attractive design
- Highly cushioned midsole
- Breathable upper
- Outsole isn’t as durable as it could be
2. Merrell Trail Glove 4
For a barefoot shoe to really be considered a barefoot shoe, it must have a design that allows it to bend, very easily to the movements of the wearer’s foot; the upper of the shoe and the thin cut of the materials really allows the shoe to do that. The upper of the shoe is designed from a mesh material that bends extremely easily to the will of the wearer’s foot with disrupting the integrity of the shoe itself; the same can be said for the outsole/midsole of the shoe and the minimal EVA and rubber material that is used in those areas. The shoe’s overall design allows for an extremely high range of motion to be provided to the wearer’s foot during use. The traction achieved by this shoe is decent; considering that the shoe is a barefoot shoe and has very minimal materials in place throughout its design, it doesn’t provide a sticky feeling of grip but, it does handle it’s own on various surfaces.
The best thing about this shoe is that, since it is designed to give the wearer the feeling of truly being a barefoot shoe, it fits absolutely wonderfully when on foot. The Trail Glove 4 features elastic lacing and a primarily mesh upper with TPU overlays that allow it to give the wearer a snug fit when in use. The materials in place throughout the design, such as the Vibram on the sole unit and the TPU/Mesh material that makes up the upper of the shoe really allow the wearer to enjoy the shoe for a decent length of time; the shoe doesn’t break down with continuous wear, which should be a good thing for those who hate having to constantly find replacements for their shoes on a month by month basis.
Cost and Value
To make the shoe a bit more appealing to wearers(not that it really needed it), Merrell fitted this model with a price that was probably a bit too good to pass up. The Trail Glove 4 is sold for a price that makes it a bit on the inexpensive side and justifies the features that are included throughout the design. The fit of the shoe, as well as the inclusion of both TPU and Vibram in the design, make this shoe above average in several respects.
- Amazing fit
- Responsive midsole
- Flexible design
- Protective features
- Not a whole lot of support
- Not god for long distance runs
3. Merrell Phoenix Bluff
First things first, the design of the Phoenix Bluff is one that allows the shoe to provide plenty of the much cushioning that wearer’s need when using the shoe on rocky terrains; the foot doesn’t have to feel all of the detail that is incorporated into the terrain itself. The shoe has air cushions in place throughout the design which enable it to really give the feet what they need in terms of shock absorption while the midsole does an amazing job of giving the wearer’s foot an added level of cushioning for their feet. The upper of the Phoenix is designed from a mesh material that allows it to provide the wearer with what they need in terms of airflow as well; the shoe makes amazing use of the suede material as well to give the wearer what they need in terms of airflow as well.
The midsole of the shoe is designed from an EVA material that conforms to and cushions the underfoot of the wearer. In addition to this, the shoe makes amazing use of molded arch shanks to give the wearer what they need in terms of cushioning for the arches of their feet. The sole unit is designed from a hardened rubber material fashioned into 4mm lugs; these allow the shoe to provide the wearer with ample traction when traversing rocky terrains simply because they have the length to dig into the terrains themselves.
Cost and Value
The cost of the Phoenix Bluff, when weighed against the functionality and durability of the materials incorporated into its design provides an immense level of value to the wearer of the shoe. The materials incorporated into the design of this shoe allows the wearer to have what they need in various aspects.
- Decent level of grip
- Support is abundant
- Comfortable design
- Stability features incorporated
- Fit isn’t the best
4. Merrell Moab Ventilator
One thing about his shoe is that it has various features that hint at the shoe being of a very high quality; one of these features being that the shoe lasts for a relatively long time. For the duration of the shoe use, both the upper and the sole unit should(and do) work to give the wearer what they’ll need in terms of longevity while in use. The design of the Ventilator is one that really works to promote rigidity for the wearers. With that being said, the shoe provides the user with an amazing level of stability for their feet. Things like the various overlays, high level of cushioning, and the thick sole unit allows this shoe to really do its job to provide the wearer with what they need in terms of functionality.
The Ventilator is also highly cushioned so as to provide the wearer with what they’ll need in terms of comfort. The sole unit of the shoe has a removable insole that allows the wearer to enjoy a certain level of comfort when it comes to the heels and overall curves of their underfoot. The upper of the shoe also works to give the wearer a bit of comfort due to the fact that it is highly cushioned throughout and reduces the overall movement that the wearer’s foot experiences. Something that really makes the design of this shoe stands out is the fact that it weighs in at something that is bit lighter than the average weight of a heavy duty trail shoe.
Cost and Value
The cost of the Ventilator isn’t much when considered alongside the fact that the shoe is just so heavy duty. It provides the wearer with an amazing level of durability without taking away from the functionality of the shoe overall.
- Amazing traction
- Stable design
- Definitely not waterproof
5. Merrell Intercept
This shoe, as was mentioned in that wonderful little introduction is a fashion sneaker as well as a trail shoe, which hints that it is definitely considered to be on the attractive side of things; it is. The Intercept may come in base colors but, the way that those colors are situated throughout the design and the few extra bells and whistles that the design has, really allows the shoe to give the wearer what they’ll need in terms of style from this shoe. The upper of the shoe may seem as though it won’t provide the wearer with anything in terms of airflow(due to the use of the overlays in the shoe’s design) but it does. The shoe has both moisture-wicking features as well as a mesh lining which allows it to really give the wearer what they need in terms of airflow.
The sole unit of the Intercept provides wearer’s with ample support for all of their curves and due to the use of the injection molded EVA material in the sole unit of the shoe. The EVA frame that makes up the base of the shoe does an amazing job of conforming to the composition of the curves of the wearer’s foot. Aside from this, the design also features an Air Cushion tech that allows the shoe to really provide the wearer with what they need in terms of comfort. The Intercept also makes use of the Axis sole unit to provide the wearer with what they need in terms of grip on the various surfaces that this shoe can be used on.
Cost and Value
Here’s the kicker about this shoe; the price that it’s being sold for isn’t anywhere near expensive. The design of the Intercept incorporates several technologies that allow it to provide the wearer with what they’ll need in terms of durability and functionality and so, works to give the wearer ample value when in use.
- Amazing traction
- Comfortable design
- Ample support for the curves of the foot
- Durable design
- Narrow toe area
6. Merrell Siren Edge
First off, the design of this shoe is one that has various features which allow it to really provide the wearer with ample support during use. When using the shoe for activities such as hiking and things of the like, that becomes increasingly important simply because of the fact that wearers are traversing over arduous, extremely technical terrains. A side effect of the support that is provided(and a few other features) is that the shoe stays comfortable even when in use for extended periods of time.
When people first look at this shoe they can’t help but notice how attractive the various materials that make up its designs are; it’s a vibrant shoe that has various aspects that simply make the wearer’s foot pop when in use. They have a sporty look with a few overlays which work to give the wearer what they’ll need to really enjoy the look of this shoe. The upper of the Siren edge is designed from a breathable mesh material that makes those long hikes a bit more bearable. The wearer doesn’t have to deal with a massive build-up of swear while this shoe is in use, which is always something to smile about(unless you like sweat being built up in your shoes).
Cost and Value
The fact that this shoe is on the inexpensive side signals to the wearer that there is value hidden in its design. The comfort and functionality that is provided, as well as the style of the shoe itself, gives the shoe the value that is needed to really make this shoe’s purchase one that is worthwhile to the wearer.
- Breathable upper
- Comfortable overall design
- May not be the most durable shoe
7. Merrell Chameleon Prime Stretch
The first thing that must be mentioned about the design of these shoes is that they provide the wearer with a simply amazing fit. The upper is fashioned from a durable stretchy mesh material that allows it to conform to the shape of the foot and really do what it needs to in terms of providing for the unique aspects of the wearer’s foot. The lacing on this shoe even does an amazing job of providing the wearer with what they’ll need in terms of fit. The traction provided by this shoe is amazing as well, as long as the shoe is being used on a dry surface. The fact that I mentioned that doesn’t imply that it won’t provide the wearer with what they’ll need to trek the hiking terrain because the thick tread that is featured on the sole unit does an amazing job of sticking to whatever surface that is used on; again, as long as it’s not an incredibly moist surface.
When it comes to a hiking shoe, this one takes the cake in terms of attractiveness. The Chameleon has a design that is slim and doesn’t look overly outlandish when used; which is something is rare among shoes of this type. Another great thing about this shoe is that, since it on the thin side of things in terms of cut, it can also provide the wearer with what they’ll need on various terrains(not to say that it necessarily should, simply that it can).
Cost and Value
This thing is nothing if not inexpensive. The Chameleon may be rather durable and have various features to make it a top-in-class hiking shoe but, it’s price simply doesn’t reflect that. The price of this shoe and the durability and craft that is incorporated into its design signals to the buyer that there may be an inefficiency and that they should consider purchasing this shoe because of it.
- Great traction
- Amazing support
- Not a waterproof shoe by any means
- Somewhat stiff design
8. Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport
First things first, the All Out Blaze Aero Sport is cushioned to a level far above that generally expected from a trail shoe. The midsole of the shoe is cushioned throughout with a combination of both EVA foam and foam pods which allows the shoe to just conform to the shape and curves of the wearer’s foot with no problem at all. The upper of the shoe uses Merrell’s Omni-fit lacing system which also allows the shoe to provide the wearer with what they’ll need in term s of versatility from their running shoes. Along with being highly comfortable, the material that makes up the shoe is known for being able to last for an unreasonably long time. From the sole unit to the upper of the shoe, the wearer is able to really enjoy the level of longevity that is provided to them through the use of this shoe.
The mesh that makes up the upper of the Aero Sport is lightweight and provides the wearer with a level of breathability that is enjoyable at the least. The material being on the thin side of things really allows it to provide the wearer with what they’ll need in order to enjoy the experience of the shoe during various activities. To be a trail shoe, the material that makes up this shoe is placed in such a way that is unlike that generally enjoyed by a trail runner. The AeroSport features a design that is both bright and aesthetically pleasing, which adds to the versatility of the overall shoe.
Cost and Value
Here comes another great part of this versatile shoe, it isn’t the most expensive shoe on the market. The Aero Sport features high-end materials which result in an inability to really sell it for dirt cheap but, it can still be found at a price that is reasonable. With that being said, there is a fair amount of value that can be gained from the purchase of this shoe; seeing that it isn’t crazy expensive and provides the wearer with both a high level of versatility as well as longevity(among other things), this shoe is still being sold at bargain pricing.
- Breathable design
- Water resistant upper
- Amazing traction
- Doesn’t provide the best support
9. Merrell Moab FST
The upper and the midsole(really the entire design) of the FST are highly cushioned. This makes the shoe extremely comfortable when on foot and really works to justify the price of the shoe. The material in the sole unit of the shoe really works to give the wearer what they need in terms of protection also; the shoe features a sole unit designed from their Premium MegaGrip tech that allows the shoe to really keep the wearer from falling over when using the shoe in the less stable areas; more on that in the next section though.
The FST performs, unlike any other hiking shoe that is on the market. The previously mentioned MegaGrip allows the shoe to really stick to whatever surface that it is used on; this is incredibly necessary when using the shoe in slick or other-wise friction-resistant areas. Not to mention that the design of this shoe is on that allows the wearer to have a lightweight experience while in the shoe; the shoe doesn’t give the wearer the normal feeling of being worn down while in use.
Cost and Value
The price of this shoe varies but, for the most part, the wearer doesn’t have to worry about spending exorbitant amounts of money on the purchase of the FST. Do you know what that means for the wearer of the shoe? That they get a high level of value without having to spend a ridiculous amount of money. The FST is genuinely much different from various other hiking shoes that are on the market and due to the fact that the shoe provides the wearer with what they’ll need in various respects such as flexibility and durability, is a bargain at the price that it is offered.
- Lightweight on foot
- Breathable design
- Amazing grip
- Not very many protective features
10. Merrell Vapor Glove 3
Okay, well the first thing that simply must be mentioned is the use of the new rubber compound in the outsole of the shoe; it allows the design to really give the wearer what they’ll need in terms of grip without taking away from the feel of the overall material. The shoe’s outsole is designed from the famed TC5+ material that gives the shoe a feel that is above that generally provided by the Vibram material that shoes are usually designed from; not to mention that the material in the sole unit of the shoe is also designed using a lug shape that really just allows it to dig into trail surfaces while in use. The upper of the shoe is also knit so tightly and features a few overlays that allow it to be on the more durable side when it comes to intense usage.
In terms of weight, the Vapor Glove has a design that simply allows it to be on the extremely lightweight side; when this shoe is on foot, the wearer doesn’t have to worry about the material feeling as if it’s weighing the foot down, it won’t. The upper of the Vapor Glove and the Mesh that it’s made from also allows it to provide the wearer with a decent level of airflow and adds a few moisture-wicking properties to the shoe’s design.
Cost and Value
The Vapor Glove sells for really close to nothing, especially when factors such as the feel and the grip that the materials provide while in use are considered. The outsole of the shoe may not be on the most durable side but, considering that the rest of the shoe works so well and, that it’s so inexpensive, this shouldn’t weigh in too much in decision making; the purchase of this shoe is still almost like a bargain.
- Traction is insane
- Fits well
- Comfortable when on foot
- Flexes easily
- Outsole isn’t the most durable
Merrell makes some amazing shoes for a variety of activities ranging from hiking to simply running on road surfaces. The recurring theme in the designs of their shoes is that they all tend to provide wearer’s with what they need in terms of functionality and are on the comfortable side of things; they provide the wearer with all that they need in terms of cushioning while, in some cases, keeping the design of the shoe fairly lightweight. Merrell tries to keep the prices of their shoes down while still providing their wearer with what they need in terms of features and quality, which is something that tends to be forgotten by a lot of shoe manufacturers. It’s also important to note, some of their shoes even provide ample coverage in respect to durability as well, which is something that, for the low price of their shoes, can’t help but make them even more of a bargain.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Merrell Shoes
One of the things that can be used to tell if the wearer is receiving any level of value from their shoes is the level of durability that is incorporated into the design. For the shoe to continuously provide the wearer with what they need on a regular basis, the shoe must be able to withstand a lot of activity. Parts such as the outsole mustn’t wear down after only a few trips. If a shoe can withstand hundreds of miles without breaking down, one can tell that it won’t be a hassle to purchase.
Style is an added bonus of any shoe. An aesthetically pleasing shoe or, a shoe that has features that allow it to be used for various activities is one that provides a bit of versatility to wearers. For instance, a shoe that can function on various terrains and does so without breaking/wearing down quickly means that the wearer has the choice of not having to constantly purchase several different designs.
Things such as grip, flexibility, stability, etc. are extremely important factors into whether or not a shoe will provide the wearer with what they need when in use. When the shoe is being used for activities such as trail running and hiking, it must be able to stick to the surface that it is being used on; this is pertinent. Some shoes must also be able to provide their wearer’s with ample support and flex and, if the shoe is able to provide these things, it should be taken note of; which is why it is something that must be mentioned.
The price of the shoe, when weighed against all of the various other aspects of the design, is one of the things that tells the wearer of the shoe whether or not they are truly receiving value from their selected shoe. For instance, if a shoe is highly expensive but doesn’t last very long or isn’t very functional, then it doesn’t provide the wearer with much in the way of value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this brand suitable for city walking or more suited for trails?
A: These are great walking shoes, but they are more ideally suited for hiking. The Vibram soles are extremely long lasting, and the price is more reflective of a durable shoe more so than a simple walking shoe. With that said, there are numerous models available and you may find something that works perfectly for your walks around town.
Q: Are the shoes waterproof and slip resistant?
A: Yes, the shoe is very waterproof if you avoid stepping into freestanding or flowing water higher than 1/4 inch. And yes, the shoes are slip resistant, but only so far as to say the person wearing the shoes is light on their feet, agile and with cat-like balance.
Q: Is the insole removable?
A: This is going to depend on the model, but for the majority of the options available the answer is yes.
Q: Has the rigid arch support of the Trail Glove 3 been changed to something more flexible and less intrusive?
A: 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.