Summary

We spent 7.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • The flexibility of the Merrell Nova Rainbow’s construction allows it to function well in a variety of activities, according to several testers.
  • Those who have tested this running shoe are happy with the versatility of its lightweight structure.
  • The rainbow color scheme is welcomed because it is eye-catching and able to make the product appealing as a casual sneaker.
  • A handful of consumers have exclaimed their appreciation for the responsive midsole unit of this Merrell trail running shoe.
  • The aggressive lug configuration is lauded for having flat ends that still encourage steady steps on even planes.
  • Various testers believe that the forefoot section has a roomy construction that permits the natural splaying of the toes.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The minimal ankle support is lamented by some runners who desire a bit more security from the collar.
  • A few reviews tackle the upper unit and its apparently quick-to-rip nature.

Bottom line

People are generally happy with the Merrell Nova Rainbow and what it has to offer. This trail running shoe is deemed efficient and versatile, especially when handling daily tasks. The colorful facade has been highlighted as the element that elevates the performance-to-fashion capacity of the design. On the other hand, the flimsy collar hug and some instances of the upper fabrics ripping apart make up the negative points.

Enthusiasts of neutral running shoes that are for the off-road paths are the target market of the Merrell Nova Rainbow.

Facts

Terrain: Trail
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 10.9oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 8mm
Fit: Medium forefoot, Medium heel, Medium toe box
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: All-day wear | Jogging
Material: Rubber sole, Vegan, Vibram sole
Features: Breathable | Cushioned | Comfortable
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Technology: Vibram
Heel height: Men: 34mm
Forefoot height: Men: 26mm
Brand: Merrell
Type: Heavy | Big guy | Low drop | Maximalist
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $110
Colorways: Multi
Size
Small True to size Large
Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Toebox
Tight Roomy
Flexibility
Stiff Flexible
Breathability
Warm Breathable
Cushioning
Firm Plush
Durability 7/10
Comfort 7/10
Traction 10/10
See more facts

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, 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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- The Merrell Nova Rainbow is a trail running shoe that is designed for those who like to tame groomed and moderately technical outdoor terrains. The facade is made of a textile that is resistant to abrasion. Printed overlays grace the front while stitched-on layers are placed on the rear section. A ghillie lacing system with isolated fabric eyelets offers a non-irritating wrap.

- Underfoot cushioning is the task of a full-length compression-molded foam. Protection from sharp trail debris and surfaces is given by the TrailProtect™ rock plate. The external pad features the Vibram® TC5+ rubber to deliver all-around traction and durability.

The Merrell Nova Rainbow is crafted to be true to size. Runners are welcome to get a pair with their usual choice of size in mind. However, attaining an agreeable in-shoe experience would warrant initial testing of the shoe.

The fit is affected by the upper unit’s mix of mesh and overlays, as well as the semi-curved shape of the platform. The natural curvature of the foot is the basis of this shoe’s design.

The external pad of the Merrell Nova Rainbow is made of Vibram® TC5+, a rubber compound that is meant to protect against abrasion and the rough nature of the ground. It is touted to last long.

Aggressive gripping lugs pockmark the outsole. These protrusions are designed to clamp onto the ground, but its ends are flat to accommodate the asphalt and groomed paths.

The midsole unit of the Merrell Nova Rainbow is made of compression-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate. This piece runs the whole shoe, offering support and impact protection throughout the gait cycle. It has a lightweight build to accommodate extended running sessions. EVA is used in many running shoe series, including well-known ones like the Hoka One One Clifton roster.

TrailProtect™ is a protective plate that is placed right between the midsole and the outsole. The purpose of this accouterment is to shield the foam platform and the foot from sharp objects on the outdoor environments.

An EVA insole is placed right above the main cushioning system. This add-on offers a soft surface on which the foot can rest. It can be removed or replaced with another shoe-insert if the wearer wants to do so.

The midsole unit of the Merrell Nova Rainbow is made of compression-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate. This piece runs the whole shoe, offering support and impact protection throughout the gait cycle. It has a lightweight build to accommodate extended running sessions. EVA is used in many running shoe series, including well-known ones like the Hoka One One Clifton roster.

TrailProtect™ is a protective plate that is placed right between the midsole and the outsole. The purpose of this accouterment is to shield the foam platform and the foot from sharp objects on the outdoor environments.

An EVA insole is placed right above the main cushioning system. This add-on offers a soft surface on which the foot can rest. It can be removed or replaced with another shoe-insert if the wearer wants to do so.

The upper unit is made of a textile that is able to stave off tears. This multilayered material secures the foot in place yet it offers ventilation through tiny holes on its facade.

The sides and the front feature printed overlays. These incognito sheets bolster durability while also ensuring a secure fit. They connect directly to the lacing system to quickly adjust the tightness or looseness of the in-shoe experience.

The heel part has stitched-on layers to help with the lockdown of the foot. Accidental shoe removals are prevented by this design.

A ghillie lacing system graces the roof of this shoe, and it uses round laces and fabric eyelets to prevent hot spots from building up.

Comparison

Author
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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.

jens@runrepeat.com