Made of lightweight materials. They don't have much top-of-the-foot coverage so they're mostly suitable for well-maintained trails and summer hikes. Also useful for crossing rivers and streams. They come in open and closed-toe designs. See the best hiking sandals.
The low-cut equivalent of hiking boots. Comfort is paramount in the creation of these shoes so they often have flexible materials. Generally used for day hikes. See hiking shoes.
Mid to high-cut models designed for more aggressive hikes and backpacking. See hiking boots.
Specialized footwear. Often insulated and used in technical routes, ice climbing or expeditions. See mountaineering boots.
Good to know
For hikes that won't last for more than a day, go with hiking sandals or hiking shoes. Tackling trails with greater challenges will require hiking boots or mountaineering boots.
For multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Manufacturers emphasize durability and support in the creation of backpacking boots. See backpacking boots
Designed for users who want to cover a greater distance by going fast, usually with a light pack. See speed hiking shoes.
Boots that grant insulation to the user during hikes. See winter hiking boots.
Mainly sandals. Aside from hiking they can be used for other purposes such as water activities. See multi-sport hiking sandals.
Good to know
Casual hikers can choose day hiking footwear or multi-sport sandals. More info here.
Shoes with a cuff that goes below the ankle. See low-cut hiking shoes.
Good to know
Generally, for trails that are easy to tackle, go with low-cut shoes. Go mid to high if there are more trail obstacles.
WeightMen: 9.6ozWomen: 9.5oz
WidthMen: NormalWomen: Normal
Experts are hikers, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.
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90 / 100 based on 5 expert reviews
This shoe is designed by a team of our ambassadors to be everything you'll need in the mountains—part runner, part trail hiker.
We love this shoe because it's super versatile, and it allows us to move quickly in the mountains with ease.
The MQM Flex isn’t a one-quiver mountain shoe as advertised, but it’s perfectly capable for hiking and the occasional trail run.
It stood up to every test I put it through and did honestly live up to MQM, Moving Quickly in the Mountains.
Updates to Merrell MQM Flex
- The Merrell MQM Flex blurs the line between athletic shoes and day hikers by combining technologies that give it lightness and flex performance. Chief among these technologies is the FLEXconnect which consists of the Hyperlock heel, dual-directional flex groove midsole, and the outsole's anatomical lugs.
- Its grippy outsole is the M-Select Grip, a Merrell exclusive sole technology. It comes engineered with the TrailProtect pad which provides extra underfoot protection and support.
Merrell MQM Flex size and fit
Merrell’s MQM Flex is a low-cut day hiking gear for men and women. Its generally true-to-size fit is designed for hikers with standard-width feet. It comes in half and full sizes. The shoe’s classic lacing system enables wearers to achieve a personalized lockdown.
M-Select Grip is the outsole that lends users the ability to remain surefooted on unpredictable terrain. It is reinforced with the TrailProtect pad (another Merrell exclusive) to bolster the support and protection the shoe offers. Its 3.5-millimeter lugs produce grip no matter if the surface is dry or wet. These hardwearing lugs are also self-cleaning, which means they are designed to shed most types of debris with every step. The unit slightly encroaches the upper’s toe box for extra protection from trail obstacles.
The MQM Flex has a dual-directional flex-groove midsole for stability and underfoot cushioning. Since it is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), this component gets to withstand wear and tear for a considerable amount of time. Its heel section is engineered with Merrell’s Air Cushion technology which ups the footwear’s ability to absorb shock upon every heel strike.
For an even more comfortable ride, Merrell designers gave this hiker a removable footbed. It is also made of EVA, leaving it fairly resilient and stress resistant.
Constituting the majority of the MQM Flex’s below-the-ankle upper is a combination of mesh fabric and TPU overlays. Its interior is lined with breathable mesh. Its tongue has its sides sealed to wall off intrusive debris. It has a heel counter called Hyperlock which improves the shoe’s overall rearfoot security.
Giving the foot a firm lockdown is the gear’s classic lace-up closure. A set of plated eyelets and a flat synthetic lace make up its entirety. A strip on the tongue is sewn at strategic points, giving the shoe two lace keepers and a pull tab. Then there’s another loop at the back for easy on and off.
- MQM stands for “moving quickly in the mountains.”
- Merrell’s MQM line is the answer to the request of their athlete ambassadors for nimble and flexible footwear that has enough protection to tackle the three stages of a mountain: up, over and down. Products in this collection are built with hiking, trail running, scrambling and climbing in mind. The MQM Flex was born from this effort.
- This shoe comes in a waterproof version. It is lined with a Gore-Tex membrane.
- Merrell built a shoe that’s designed for city streets from this silhouette. It’s called the MQM Flex Luna.