In this article, I’ll be sharing my own experiences on what makes Merrell Shoes good and what doesn’t, and explain what purposes and situations they’re good for. Also, this isn’t just a shoe review. Instead, I’m talking about the whole brand of Merrell in general.
I’ve owned the Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoes for almost 3 years now. Initially, I purchased them only to use on my hiking trips, but since then, I’ve been using them for nearly anything – every day walking with my dog, outdoor work, traveling, and even a bit of trail running. And after all this time, they’re still in a good condition.
The Main Benefits Of Merrell Hiking Shoes
1. They’re The Most Comfortable Hiking Shoes That I Own
I’ve used all kinds of hiking boots, trail runners, and hiking shoes from many different brands. And so far, I haven’t worn anymore more comfortable than my Merrell hiking shoes.
They’re so good because they’re perfectly shaped for my feet, they’re wide enough in the toebox, and they come with plenty of padding and cushioning all around the shoe. When you’re wearing Merrell shoes, after a while, you forget that you’re wearing them because they’re so comfortable.
Their hiking shoes are also really breathable. Of course, they aren’t as breathable as thinner and lighter trail runners. But for hiking shoes with this thick construction, they’re surprisingly breathable, due to the choice of fabric and the breathable mesh panels.
2. Merrell Shoes Offer A Good Amount Of Support, Stability, And Protection
Compared to my other hiking shoes and trail runners, My Merrells offer very good heel and arch support. The heel is lifted fairly high from the ground with plenty of cushioning underneath. And the arch (the middle part of the feet) is made with a nice curve, which is very beneficial for people with flat feet.
They’re also very stable and provide plenty of protection, due to the very rigid and wide Vibram sole and the raised toe and heel protector caps. I can pretty much hit my toes against a rock with a reasonable amount of force, and I won’t feel any pain in my toes.
Read Next: How to Keep Your Feet From Sliding Forward in Hiking Boots
3. They Come With Vibram Soles That Offer Good Traction On Most Surfaces
Merrell shoes usually come with Vibram soles, which are known in the footwear industry as very durable and well-performing. Even after 3 years of hiking with them, the soles are still in really good condition and they haven’t started performing much worse than when I purchased them.
The only downside to the Vibram soles is that they’re very rigid, which means that they don’t perform very well on slippery rocks and on wet surfaces in general. Most trail runners will have a much better-gripping sole, but it will wear off and become worse than Merrell within 200-300 miles of hiking. On the plus side, if I step on anything sharp, it definitely won’t poke through the sole.
4. Merrell Shoes Last A Long Time
I don’t know the exact amount of miles I’ve put into my Merrell shoes, but I would say it’s over 1000 miles. And they’re still wearable and in a good condition. It could be because I’m mostly wearing them on shorter hikes and easier activities, but even then, it’s still a very impressive result. Compared to most trail runners, Merrell shoes will last 2-3x the amount of time due to a very rigid construction.
Of course, there are a few defects in my shoes, like chipped-off parts of the sole, worn-down fabric near my ankle, and worn-down insoles. But overall, they still perform very well.
5. Their Prices Are Affordable
Merrell’s shoes aren’t the cheapest ones out there, but they definitely aren’t expensive. For the comfort and durability that you get from them, in my opinion, it’s hard to find a better deal.
The Main Disadvantages Of Merrell Hiking Shoes
1. Merrell Shoes Are Ugly
Not everyone will agree with me, but in my opinion, most of Merrell’s shoes are somewhat ugly. They seem to follow closely the rugged, bulky hiker look, which I think is a bit outdated. When you look at their shoes, you can instantly tell what they’re meant for and what kind of audience they’re aimed at.
That said, over the last few years, it looks like Merrell is starting to change their looks, and they’re now offering a few fairly good-looking hiking shoes (for example, the Merrell Moab Flight and the Merrell Moab 2 Edge).
2. Their Shoes Are Bulky And Heavy
Merrell prioritizes comfort and durability over weight, so pretty much all of its footwear is usually heavier when compared to most of its competitors. And when walking long distances, this can be considered a fairly big downside, because carrying extra weight on your feet is much worse than on your back. However, you do have to remember that most Merrell shoes will outlast other brands because they’re built to be much more durable.
What Merrell Shoes Are Good For
- Hiking. I’ve been using my Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoes on shorter hikes (day hikes and several-day overnight hikes) for a very long time, and they’re still going strong. They’re super comfortable, I don’t get any blisters with them, and they’re also really breathable. The only downside is that they’re pretty heavy, so on my thru-hikes, I usually choose something lighter.
- Walking. I think general everyday walking is where Merrell shoes tend to perform the best. I use them to walk my dog, go on short weekend hikes, and much more. I’ve also used them in many different conditions, from dry, rocky areas, to light snow and rain, and they provide good enough traction pretty much everywhere.
- Working. I also like to use my Merrell shoes when working, because they’re comfortable, breathable, and provide very good protection for the heel and the toebox. The upper part of the feet is the only exposed part, so they may not be ideal for construction. But for light work, they’re perfect.
- Standing all day. Because Merrell shoes provide very good stability and support for the heel and arch, they’re also really useful for jobs where you have to stand and do physical work all day.
- Running. Not all Merrell shoes are good for running, but they do offer some lighter models for trail running and regular running, which have gotten positive feedback. They’re still a bit heavier when compared to other running shoe alternatives, but they provide plenty of comfort, support, protection, and durability, which is better for some people.
- Plantar Fasciitis. For Plantar Fasciitis, you want shoes that fit your feet perfectly, have a good amount of cushioning and padding, and have plenty of heel and arch support. Merrell shoes usually perform really well in these categories, and from my own experience – they’re the most comfortable shoes that I’ve worn. So if you have Plantar Fasciitis, then going with Merrell shoes is a really good option.
- Wide feet. Merrell shoe’s regular sizes are pretty wide in the toe box. However, they also offer wide sizes for most of their hiking shoes, which are even wider at the toebox and at the heel, which is really useful for people with wide feet.
- Flat feet. Because Merrell shoes have a pretty bent arch curve, they will be perfect for people with flat feet, as the arch of your feet will be lifted up and supported from the sides.
Read Next: How To Lace Hiking Boots For Wide Feet
The Verdict: Are Merrell Shoes Worth The Money?
I would say that Merrell’s shoes are definitely worth the money. They’re priced in the lower end of the medium price range, and for that price, it’s hard to find something better than Merrell.
Their shoes are the most comfortable ones that I’ve owned, and even after 3 years of using them, they still feel comfortable. Merrel’s shoes usually come with a lot of padding, cushioning, support, and protection, so they’re really good choices for hiking, walking, and everyday physical work.
They’re also really durable. After 3 years of regular use, I’ve only lost a few chips from the sole and it’s only barely worn down, and I’ve worn down the fabric near my ankles. But other than that, everything else has held up really well. They’re much more durable than any trail runners that I’ve worn.
The only downside to Merrell is that their shoes are a bit heavy, and in my opinion, a bit ugly as well. Because of the heavier weight, I don’t use them on my thru-hikes, and instead, only on shorter ones.
Frequently Asked Questions About Merrell Hiking Shoes
Which Merrell shoes are the best for walking?
For everyday walking, I would say that Merrel’s most popular hiking shoe – the Merrell Moab 2 Vent – is also the best-performing one. It’s very breathable, comfortable, and provides plenty of protection around the heel and the toebox. It also has a really well-made and durable sole, that provides traction on most surfaces. I’ve been hiking with them for 3 years, and I’m still using them today.
Are Merrell shoes waterproof?
Not all Merrell shoes are waterproof, but they do indeed offer a lot of waterproof variations of their models. for example the Merrell Moab 2 waterproof hiking shoe.
It’s coated with a waterproof coating, and upon first arrival, the shoe will indeed feel like it’s 100% waterproof. But over time, this coating will wear off and the shoe will start to get wet in really wet conditions. This happens with pretty much any hiking shoe that isn’t Gore-Tex, and for prices this cheap, you won’t find Gore-Tex Shoes.
However, even after it wears off, the Merrel waterproof shoes will still provide really good resistance to water. For example, if you’d hike with them in wet grass, they won’t get immediately wet, as typical trail runners would.
That said, Merrell also offers a few Gore-Tex models, which will be much better at resisting water, like the Merrell Mqm Flex 2 Gore-Tex hiking shoes.
Which Merrell shoes are vegan?
Merrell does offer quite a few vegan hiking shoes, which are marked as 100% synthetic. The best ones for hiking are the Merrell Moab Edge 2 and the Merrell Altalight Waterproof hiking shoes.
They’ve marked all of their 100% synthetic shoes as vegan because they aren’t using any leather within these models. However, it’s still unclear whether animal products haven’t been used within the glue, coatings, and other parts of the shoe, so shop them at your own risk.
Do Merrell shoes run big or small?
From my experience, my Merrell Moab shoes are true to the size. Most of my shoes are 44 EU / 10.5 US / 10 UK, and my Merrell 44 EU shoes fit me perfectly. The heel and ankle feel snug but not too much, and there’s plenty of room left in the toebox.
By going through the reviews on most of Merrell’s shoes, it seems that for most people, their shoes are true to size. Though some people reported that they run a bit small. So if you’re buying Merrell’s shoes, expect them to be true to your size or marginally smaller.
Has Merrell seen a quality decline over the years?
Some people have reported that Merrell’s footwear quality has declined over time. However, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.
For most products that have been around for such a long time, you’d find people complaining that the quality is dropping over time, just because everything seemed better in the good old days. And while that may be true for some products, I don’t think it’s true for Merrell.
My Merrell shoes have lasted me a very long time (over 3 years), and they’ve outlasted all the other trail runners and hiking shoes that I’ve owned. Merrell still makes some of the most durable functional footwear on the market.
Where are Merrell shoes made?
Most of Merrell’s shoes are manufactured overseas in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and other countries. But they also have manufacturing facilities in the USA, although it is not revealed what parts of their shoes are manufactured here.
Merrell is owned by Wolverine Worldwide, which also owns many other footwear brands, like, Bates, Chaco, Wolverine, Hush Puppies, Sperry, and others. In the 2021 Wolverine Worldwide sustainability report, it’s mentioned that 31-40% of their footwear is manufactured in Vietnam, 21-30% in China, and 1-10% in the USA, Mexico, Argentina, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.