39 best Merrell competition running shoes

Based on reviews from 108 experts and 17,525 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Merrell competition running shoes. Updated Oct 2019.

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According to 100, 000 shoe reviews from professional and casual runners, Merrell shoes perform well in competitions on the trail and track. The collection of Merrell competition shoes features the best formula for speed and performance. Learn more about the brand and its shoe technologies to take advantage of their top-notch shoe products.

Why should runners spend on the best pair of Merrell competition shoes?

  • A pair of race shoes has a minimal construction since it needs to be lightweight enough to prevent dragging the runner down. Some of the best Merrell race shoes merge the outsole and midsole material to create a light yet responsive platform for speed work. The upper is also limited to 1 or 2 major features, like a breathable cover and race-specific lacing system.
  • The best Merrell competition shoes are not bulky as standard shoes. The minimal construction might compromise protection against impact forces and debris. Waterproof properties are also rare in race shoes.
  • The cushioning in race shoes is limited, given that more cushioning would weigh the shoe down and mess up with the natural range dynamics of the runner. Expect a firm underfoot with adequate comfort and support for technical trail and track routes.
  • Competition shoes are not as versatile as standard shoes. They are recommended for advanced runners and athletes who want a speedy and light platform for their performance running, cross training and racing. Casual runners can use race shoes, but they need more cushioning to get the right protection against impact forces and debris on the road or trail.
  • Since racing is a technical activity, there are race-specific shoe technologies available today. You can observe spike configurations for track race shoes and anti-debris resilient mesh upper in trail race shoes.

Aspects to look at when choosing a pair of Merrell competition shoes

  • Weight. Most race shoes in the market have a minimal structure. It is expected that these platforms have lighter weights as compared to standard shoes because they are designed for speed workouts and racing. If you want to ensure a speedy performance on the track or trail, you should invest in a lightweight platform that does not go over 200 grams. The best Merrell competition shoes have race-specific features, such as the Uni-Fly midsole and spike configurations.
  • Responsiveness. Cushioning affects the level of responsiveness in the shoe’s midsole. In the best Merrell race shoes, you can expect a firm underfoot feel that does not compromise cushioning and energy return properties. A firm midsole will ensure a responsive and stable ride, so make this a major consideration when choosing race shoes. From Merrell, there is the Uni-Fly midsole.
  • Fit. The best Merrell competition shoes feature an adaptive fit. Upper technologies influence the fit of the shoe, so avoid features that are not breathable, resilient and flexible. You would need a wider toe box and a close heel fit if you want to pursue racing. An adaptive fit could also mimic the foot closely, allowing runners to be more natural in their running movement. Merrell features a fine range of upper technologies, such as Ortholite Comfort Foam, Air Mesh and Omni-Fit Technology.

15 best Merrell competition running shoes

  1. Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex
  2. Merrell Trail Glove 4
  3. Merrell Vapor Glove 3
  4. Merrell All Out Crush 2
  5. Merrell Vapor Glove 2
  6. Merrell Trail Glove 4 Shield
  7. Merrell Bare Access Flex Knit
  8. Merrell Bare Access Flex E-Mesh
  9. Merrell Bare Access XTR
  10. Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit
  11. Merrell Trail Glove 5
  12. Merrell Vapor Glove 4
  13. Merrell Bare Access Flex
  14. Merrell Bare Access Flex 2
  15. Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D
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.

This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a CoreScore.
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78. More...