Merrell Ontario 85 notable features

-The Merrell Ontario 85 is a low-top hiking shoe that enables outdoor enthusiasts to tackle trails with comfort. It is  a retro hiker inspired by the brand’s hiking boots from 1985. Its upper is made of suede leather and Cordura fabric for durability.

-The Ontario 85’s compression-molded midsole is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate to give cushioning. Its Vibram Megagrip outsole empowers adventurers to stay stable over challenging ground conditions.

Size and fit

The Ontario 85 is a low-top hiker for male and female adventurers. Its conventional lace-up system permits wearers to gain a secure and personalized lockdown. The brand’s proprietary Kinetic Fit Base insole is crafted with an intuitive shape that adapts to the user’s foot and prevents the heel from moving unnecessarily. Moreover, the shoe’s padded tongue and collar promotes comfort around the ankles.


This trail-centric shoe from Merrell is equipped with a Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole to give traction on most types of terrain. Its profile uses a pattern of triangular lugs that grip on wet and dry surfaces. Both ends of this component feature a grooved design for added control when tackling uphill and downhill conditions. The outsole’s front end extends upward to act as a shield against stubbing.


The Merrell Ontario 85 uses a compression-molded EVA midsole to supply the wearer with cushioning and rebound. It’s paired with an Air Cushion in the heel area for shock absorbency and stability when traversing uneven terrain. 

Merrell included a patented Kinetic Fit Base insole to supply absolute arch coverage and intuitive support to the wearer. Its recycled EVA construction is lined with mesh for underfoot comfort. The component features an advanced heel lock to prevent slippage inside the shoe. It also comes with an organic odor control feature to keep the wearer’s foot fresh during a hike.


Merrell’s Ontario 85 employs an upper made of suede leather and Cordura fabric. The combination of these materials imbues the shoe with resistance to tear and abrasive elements. It is lined with mesh fabric to promote air circulation. 

The Ontario 85’s closure features several eyelets and a lace holder on the tongue. These components enable the user to manage the footgear’s fit. It also has a bellows tongue which prevents debris from entering the shoe.

Merrell Ontario 85 vs. Danner Mountain 600 Low

Both the Ontario 85 and Danner Mountain 600 Low are considered as retro hiking shoes. Shown below are the ways in which they differentiate.

Upper. The Mountain 600 Low features two types of upper construction. One is made of suede, which caters to male and female hikers, while a full-grain leather variant is only available to men. Both of these styles are equipped with a Danner Dry membrane to keep water out while maintaining breathability. For more information on the Merrell Ontario 85’s upper, see the Technical Construction section above.

Midsole. The Danner Mountain 600 Low comes with a Vibram Specialized Performance Elastomer (SPE) midsole. It is composed of a rubberized EVA material which gives cushioning and shock reduction. This component is paired with a nylon shank for rigidity and support. An Ortholite footbed sits atop the midsole to render underfoot comfort and promote air ventilation. It also has a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) frame for heel support. See the content above for the Merrell Ontario 85’s midsole details.

Outsole. This hiking shoe from Danner is equipped with a Vibram Fuga outsole. Like the Merrell Ontario 85, it uses triangular lugs to keep users stable on wet and dry terrain. It is made of a Megagrip compound for durability and abrasion resistance.

Application. Both the Merrell Ontario 85 and Danner Mountain 600 low can be used by male and female adventurers for day hikes. The former is an ideal option for warm environments because of its breathable upper. On the other hand, the latter may be considered for places with wet trail conditions or rainy weather because of its waterproof upper.

Nice to know

-Outdoor lovers who require a burlier pair for an upcoming trek might want to explore the benefits offered by backpacking boots. An option that may be considered is the Lowa Tibet GTX.

-Those who are expecting to encounter adverse weather or wet trail conditions may do well with waterproof hiking boots. Among the choices that may be explored are the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof and the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid.

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 11.6oz / Women 9.5oz
Base model: Merrell Ontario
Use: Day Hiking
Cut: Low cut
Features: Lightweight / Breathable / Orthotic friendly / Removable insole
Width: Normal
BRAND Brand: Merrell

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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran 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 analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.