Regardless of whether you are planning a day trip or a multi-day hike, there are some items that are necessary. One of the most important and individual items that a hiker needs are your hiking shoes. It is vitally important that you find a shoe that is comfortable, not to heavy, and suited to the terrain in the areas that you will be hiking thru. A quality and well-fit hiking shoe will make the difference between a hike that is enjoyable and one that is miserable.
While there are a large variety of hiking shoes, one of the newest and most popular trends is toward a hiking shoes that is made of lighter materials, while still offering support and great features like waterproofing. These shoes tend to look much more like a tennis shoe or sandal, opposed to the leather ankle length boot that some first think of. While there are many companies utilizing this popular trend, the Merrell brand is embracing this design aesthetic and adding some great innovations of their own.
Merrell Hiking Shoes are considered by some the best hiking shoes made. The company has been around since 1981, and they strive to design an innovative yet affordable hiking shoe, instilling their four core principles of Comfort, Durability, Design, and Versatility. Their shoes are incredibly well made and their company collaborates with other leading companies such as Vibram insoles to make shoes that bring superior comfort and usability. With a wide variety of shoes to choose from their company has something for everyone’s needs.
With all they have to offer, how do you know where to start?
We’ve put together this reviews to help you out with the process. Listed are the top 10 shoes (5 men’s and 5 women’s) from the Merrell website. These are listed based on the highest reviews and most purchased.
Table of Contents
The quick and dirty (A quick list, without the fluff):
The Moab Ventilator is constructed of performance suede and leather mesh uppers. A protective rubber toe cap is incorporated as well as a nylon arch shank. Breathable mesh is added to allow for air flow. An added arch and heel support are incorporated. A Vibram® TC5+ sole added allowing a comfortable walking experience. The shoe for men is available in: a standard height, mid-height, wide width and a waterproof version; and a variety of colors based on the style chosen. The women’s version is available in a standard height, mid-height, wide width; and a variety of colors based on the style chosen.
Pros: Good arch and heel support
Cons: Some customers dislike the change in lacing structure of the shoe. Some say that it is difficult to keep the shoe tight on the foot, and lacks structure around the ankle.
Alternatives: Merrell Men’s Phoenix Bluff Shoe or Eddie Bauer Men’s Lukla Pro Waterproof Lightweight Hiker
Best For: This hiking shoe seems like a good all-purpose hiking shoe in drier/cooler climates. There is full coverage on the foot, and with the protective cap and leather uppers the shoe would do well in rugged terrain. This shoe would be great on established trails, rough trails, and off-trail trekking.
Tetrex Crest Wrap
The Tetrex Crest Wrap is constructed of synthetic and textile uppers. The shoe has a traditional lace closure and is perforated at the foot bed for moisture control. A Lycra® neoprene lining and EVA midsole are added for added comfort and stability. Designed with a webbed design near the heel for airflow. This product also incorporates the M Select™ WET GRIP sipped lugs, which are designed for greater traction. The shoe is available in 2 colors for men, 3 colors for women.
Pros: The sole liner is removable for easy cleaning or drying out. Customers state that traction is good in wet and dry terrain.
Cons: The lacing might be considered a little long.
Alternatives: KEEN Men’s Rialto H2, Sandal for The Outdoors or Teva Mens Men’s M Omnium 2 Sport Sandal
Best For: Due to the design of this shoe, I would categorize this as a hiking sandal. The design would best work within an environment with very little brush, as the sides of the feet are not as covered as other hiking shoes are. This shoe is designed well for water exposure as well. This shoe would be great on established trails.
All Out Blaze Aero Sport
The All Out Blaze Aero Sport shoes is constructed of a breathable synthetic material with the Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing System for a great fit. The Vibram® TC5+out sole and a heel counter is added for comfort and stability. The shoe is available in 3 colors for men and 2 colors for women.
Pros: The shoe is versatile. It looks and feels like a tennis shoe, but drains well and is airy.
Cons: Customers state they run large. Order down!
Alternatives: Merrell Men’s Proterra Sport Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe or Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoe
Best For: This shoe is similar in design to a tennis shoe. It would be an easy transitional shoe from an urban setting to a dday trip and may have a place within everyday shoe wear. It would be best suited for paved settings and established trails.
All Out Blaze Sieve
The All Out Blaze Sieve is constructed of a waxy waterproof leather upper for water shedding. It also showcases a Vibram® TC5+ out sole for comfort. It has a Lycra™ neoprene stretch collar for easy shoe removal. The shoe is available in 3 colors for men and 2 colors for women.
Pros: Customers state that the shoe is comfortable, airy and light.
Cons: Some customers complain about an odor from wetness. The shoe also appears to run small, and may be considered narrow in the midsection of the shoe. Some customers state that they might be slippery.
Alternatives: KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal or Teva Mens Men’s M Omnium 2 Sport Sandal
Best For: I would consider this a hiking sandal/shoe hybrid. It is water shedding, which would be great for high water areas. However, it seems as if the insole does not dry as fast as some other models. It seems designed for areas where wetness may be possible, but traversing water, or trekking in water for long distances is not expected. This shoe would make an excellent hiking shoe for established trails.
Men’s Chameleon 7 Stretch
The Men’s Chameleon 7 Stretch is constructed of a Nubuck leather and mesh upper. It has elastic cord, a lock lacing system and a stretch collar. A protective rubber toe cap is incorporated as well as a Kinetic Fit base for added insole support. A Merrell Air Cushion is added in the heel for shock absorption and added stability. The shoe is available in 3 colors.
Pros: Comfortable and supportive.
Cons: They run about a 1/2 size large. Order down! Some customers state that they can be a little warm on the feet.
Alternatives: Merrell Accentor or Eddie Bauer Men’s Ridgeline Trail Pro
Best For: This hiking shoe seems like a good fit for cooler climate hiking. It has full foot coverage and a protective cap on the toe similar to the Moab Ventilator. In comparison, the stretch color and elastic cord would give it a tighter feel around the ankle. Which would be better for people looking for extra ankle support. However, this shoe does not have the mesh for airflow, and would generally be warmer. This shoe would be great on established trails, rough trails, and off-trail trekking.
Women’s Siren Hex Q2 E-Mesh
The Women’s Siren Hex Q2 E-Mesh is constructed of an engineered mesh upper. It has a Kinetic Fit™ Tri removable contoured insole for arch support, and a Q FORM™ 2 insole with heel-centering technology for alignment and support. A Merrell Air Cushion is added in the heel for shock absorption and stability. Also incorporated into this product is the M Select™ WET GRIP sipped lugs, which are designed for greater traction. The shoe is available in 5 colors.
Pros: The shoes has a high laced tongue for added support. Costumers state that the shoe is breathable and lightweight.
Cons: Some customers state that the heel sits a little low. Some customers state that the mesh is a little fragile.
Alternatives: Eddie Bauer Women’s Lukla Pro Waterproof Lightweight Hiker or adidas outdoor Women’s AX2 Hiking Shoe
Best For: This hiking shoe seems well suited for a warmer, wetter climate. With the removable insole and mesh upper water would drain well, and airflow would aid in keeping feet cooler and dryer. The insole would add good stability and the M Select WET GRIPS suggest water exposure. This is also the lightest shoe on the list. This shoe would work well on established trails with water exposure.
Women’s MQM Flex
The Women’s MQM Flex GORE-TEX shoe is composed of a mesh and TPU upper. It has a traditional lace closure. A breathable mesh lining allows for air flow, and a removable foot bed aids in cleaning and drying. The FLEXconnect™ dual-directional flex-groove EVA mid sole adds agility and the Merrell Air Cushion in the heel helps with shock absorption and stability. An M Select™ GRIP out sole is added to aid in grip and traction. The shoe is available in 4 colors.
Pros: Customers state that the shoe offers good support.
Cons: Some customers state that the shoes are wide in the shoe box.
Performance: Merrell Men’s Proterra Sport Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe or adidas outdoor Mens Terrex Swift R2 GTX Shoe
Best For: This hiking shoe would be best suited for very wet and semi-rugged terrain. With the membrane and the air breathable mesh lining, it appears perfect for warm climates with rugged terrain. The mesh lining would keep the feet cool and dry. This shoe seems perfect for Rough Trails and Off Trail trekking in areas where a fully closed upper is needed.
Overall, any of the above-mentioned shoes would be an amazing addition to your gear. Only by establishing your needs will you really know which one is suited for you. Do you plan on doing short trips or long trips? One day or multiple days? Do you plan on being near water or possibly in water? Are you staying on a designated trail or will you be off trails and in brush and foliage? Is the ground surface sandy, rocky, muddy, solid, squishy?
Knowing where you are going and for how long will ensure that you get the right shoe for your needs. Finding the correct shoe will not only make you more comfortable but make your hike easier. Hopefully, by answering this question as well as looking at the information provided above, you will be able to find a Merrell hiking shoe that will fit your needs.