Verdict from 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The Merrell Nova GTX has a firm yet comfortable cushioning, according to numerous wearers.
  • The majority of users find the waterproof feature of the shoe to be highly reliable.
  • Several runners claim the Nova GTX to have excellent arch support.
  • The shoe is described as lightweight, as well as easy to wear for extended periods, by many reviewers.
  • A lot of comments mention the Nova GTX outsole’s excellent traction, especially on uneven and slippery terrain.
  • The roomy forefoot area of the shoe is a positive aspect for various users.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of purchasers have experienced getting a sore foot, particularly with pain at the sides, because of the upper material.
  • According to some reviewers, the outsole is not very durable as it has started to develop holes within only a few months.
  • Aside from the outsole, the upper’s resilience is also doubtful to a few users, as they claim the stitching has fallen apart quite easily.

Bottom line

The majority of runners who have worn the Merrell Nova GTX have shown their satisfaction with their purchase. Positive comments surround the shoe in terms of comfort, support, and functionality. The fit of the shoe was also highly regarded by some. On the other hand, the Nova GTX received poor remarks on durability and craftsmanship, especially in the upper.

Despite the few criticisms, many users still find the Nova GTX to be an average-performing shoe that is worth repurchasing in the future.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

  • The Merrell Nova running shoe model presents an alternative variant in the form of the Merrell Nova GTX. As its name implies, this shoe takes the features and functions of the original version and takes it up a notch with the Gore-Tex membrane as an added benefit. The shoe is built for neutral pronators who frequent moderate trails.
  • The most noteworthy feature of this shoe is the waterproof coverage of the upper. A variant of Gore-Tex called the InvisibleFit protects the shoe and foot from the elements while delivering the feel of a “naked” shoe. It is paired with an abrasion-resistant upper that easily withstands the rigors of trail running.
  • The Nova GTX’s sole unit is comprised of a shock-absorbent foam that cushions for comfort through the miles.

The Merrell Nova GTX is constructed following the standard running shoe measurements, though this does not guarantee a true-to-size fit. It is best to try the shoe in-store to get an accurate sizing.

Because the shoe is designed for neutral pronators, its fit specifications are intended for feet high arches. These specs include the semi-curved silhouette that accommodates normal (neutral) foot biomechanics; and the compression-molded midsole that focuses more on platform and ride and less on stability.

Meanwhile, a secure fit is ensured by the traditional lacing system and the heel counter elements of the upper.

Vibram TC5+ is a rubber compound that is specifically used for trail running. It is paired with 5-mm adaptive lugs that effectively maintain grip and stability. In the Nova GTX, the durability of the TC5+ compound allows it to withstand rugged terrains, as it equips the shoe with traction and power.

A unit of compressed ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam acts as the midsole of the Merrell Nova GTX. The material provides stability and comfort. The compression molding technique employed lends the EVA foam lightweight and comfortable qualities. It also works in shock absorption and responsiveness for a smooth, consistent ride.

The forefoot and heel areas have cushioning pods, which also serve as protective elements, being located in the high-wear areas.

An added layer of EVA serves as a removable insole of the shoe. With this extra cushioning, the runner is encouraged to log more miles.

TrailProtect is a rock plate unit that shields the foot from debris that could cause harm. It also uniformly distributes pressure across the foot. This feature is also present in the Trail Glove 5, another running shoe from Merrell.

The main upper component of the Merrell Nova GTX is a combination of abrasion-resistant textile and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which aims to withstand the demands of the trail. The textile fabric keeps the foot well-ventilated, while the TPU reinforcements enforce structural integrity.

The internal lining of the shoe is a breathable mesh lining that is not only airy but also soft against the skin to counter irritations.

The M Select Fresh is an antimicrobial agent that keeps the foot fresh, dry, and odor-free. It prevents sweat and moisture from building up inside the shoe. The M Select Fresh is infused into the shoe lining of the Merrell Nova GTX.

Gore-Tex Invisible Fit efficiently blocks moisture to keep the foot dry and comfortable during the run. It has a lightweight quality that gives the feeling that it isn’t there.

Other noteworthy details of the upper include a classic lace-up closure system, which allows an adjustable fit, and a Hyperlock™ TPU heel counter that gives a locked-down feel.


How Merrell Nova GTX ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 16% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 25% Merrell running shoes
All Merrell running shoes
Bottom 22% waterproof running shoes
All waterproof running shoes


The current trend of Merrell Nova GTX.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.