Verdict from 2 experts and 24 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Responsiveness: Many runners admired the soft and responsive cushioning of the Rubato. They said it is surprisingly bouncy for a trail shoe.
  • Comfort: For most testers, the shoe is very comfortable because the upper wraps the foot smoothly and the underfoot feels soft in each step.
  • Toebox: The toebox is very roomy, especially for those with wide feet.
  • Fit: Medium and wide-footed runners find the overall fit "nice and secure."
  • Traction: Satisfied reviewers mentioned that the sole grips well on wet, rocky, and muddy surfaces.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Lacks stability: Some reviewers shared that the shoe is not stable and supportive on uneven surfaces, especially when stepping on hidden rocks or tree roots.
  • Too loose for narrow feet: According to some user comments, the forefoot is too spacious for narrow-footed runners.

Bottom line

The Merell Rubato is a zero-drop, max-cushioned shoe that lets you run as fast or as slow as you please. The shoe is heavily focused on providing a bouncy and comfortable ride for high-mileage or quick-paced runs. The luxurious cushioning of the Rubato will make your feet happy on light, less demanding trail surfaces, but it is not suitable for those looking for extra support and stability.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Merrell Rubato: Max cushioning, bouncy ride

A max-cushion shoe from Merrell, the Rubato offers long-lasting performance, miles after miles. Everything on this shoe, from the upper to the outsole, aims to keep your feet comfy as you hit the trail eagerly. 

Who is it for?

The Rubato is best-suited for trail runners looking for a pair of zero-drop shoes with plenty of cushioning. Designed for less aggressive trail surfaces, the shoe performs well on long-distance runs and uptempo training.  

Likable features of the Rubato

  • Maximum, bouncy cushioning - It features the FloatPro Foam that gives a springy ride in each stride. The soft, maxed cushioning delivers underfoot protection for long-distance runs.
  • Comfortable, locked-in fit - The upper offers a smooth, cushioned coverage. The internal bootie and external rear strap hold the foot securely from the forefoot to the heel.
  • Sturdy, grippy outsole - The Vibram MegaGrip sole unit offers durability and traction on both dry and wet surfaces.


How Merrell Rubato ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 11% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 20% Merrell running shoes
All Merrell running shoes
Bottom 8% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes


The current trend of Merrell Rubato.
Compare to another shoe:
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.