Who should buy the Merrell Hydro Runner

Ease of use is written all over the Hydro Runner's proverbial face. Purchase it if:

  • You're ready to fully embrace water encounters on your daily hikes.
  • Slip-on hiking shoes with a sneaker-like design are what you prefer.
  • You've always wanted the Hydro Moc Bloom to have a bit more upper protection.

Merrell Hydro Runner buy

Who should NOT buy it

Trade the Hydro Runner for the Merrell Hydro Moc if you want a more long-lasting pair. And if extra flexibility is what you're after, look in the direction of the Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport instead.

Merrell Hydro Runner flexa

Planted feet in the Merrell Hydro Runner

Arguably, it's in the traction department where the featured water hiker shines the most. An experienced trail-goer, who also happens to be a professional brewer, says that it delivers a "really good grip dry or wet."

Merrell Hydro Runner gripb

Accurate sizing indeed

The Hydro Runner is true to length, and many reviewers completely agree. It has "perfect sizing," says one of them.

Merrell Hydro Runner ttsa

More wiggle room for your toes

This water hiker from Merrell is adored by adventurers for its non-restrictive toe zone. It has "plenty of room," says a trail-seeker.

Merrell Hydro Runner toe

Hydro Runner: For the water explorer on the go

When it comes to drying and on-and-off access, the Hydro Runner is quite exemplary. About the former, the shoe only takes an hour to dry completely. About the latter, it's "an easy slip on/off," says a backcountry roamer.

Merrell Hydro Runner access

The Merrell Hydro Runner's flimsy outer shell

There are those who question the durability of the featured kick. "This shoe needs to be reevaluated," says someone who's been keeping a close on the shoe's TPU cage. Another one says, "hopefully, Merrell improves these shoes down the road."

Apparently, the hiker's synthetic cage deforms easily and will show early signs of wear and tear. Its heel strap also snapped on a couple of hikers, leaving them with a wobbly rearfoot experience as a result.

Merrell Hydro Runner heel

Not the bendiest pair

Based on reports, the Merrell Hydro Runner could use a bit more flexibility. "These felt stiff and flat," says an unimpressed trail-goer.

Merrell Hydro Runner stiff

More like Hydro Looker

Numerous adventurers applaud the overall design of the Merrell Hydro Runner. One of them says that it's a "cool-looking shoe!" "The design is incredible," says another. Yet one more trail-goer says, "I love the way they look."

Something for the masses price-wise

Hikers find the low asking price of the Hydro Runner pretty incredible. It undercuts the average price of water hiking shoes by $25. For other affordable options, click here.

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 8.5oz / Women 7.4oz
Use: Water hiking
Cut: Low cut
Features: Lightweight / Eco-friendly, Vegan / Breathable / Antimicrobial
Width: Normal
BRAND Brand: Merrell

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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.