27 best Merrell hiking shoes

Based on reviews from 29 experts and 14,364 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Merrell hiking shoes. Updated Oct 2019.

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    $110 $77 Save 30%
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    $120 $89 Save 26%
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    $100 $67 Save 33%
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    $100 $31 Save 69%
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    $110 $79 Save 28%
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    $150 $82 Save 45%
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Along with products geared for running, biking, and casual purposes, a pair of Merrell hiking shoes are among those offered by the American footwear brand for people with an active lifestyle. Outdoor enthusiasts all over the world have sworn by the brand’s low-cut hikers, thanks to their protective features and technologies geared towards performance. But before Merrell started on gear for the outdoors, they made their mark in the industry by producing quality hiking boots. Hikers everywhere were smitten by how well-made and long-lasting these Merrell boots were when they first came out in 1981. Over the decades, the company improved their offerings to correspond with the evolving needs of outdoor enthusiasts across the globe. Merrell products use an adventure-based design philosophy to deliver the support, comfort, and performance that hikers need when they’re outdoors. As such, Merrell hiking shoes continue the company’s tradition of excellence by dominating in these areas.

Why should I choose Merrell?

best Merrell hiking shoes

Best Merrell hiking shoes - June 2018

As compared with backpacking and mountaineering, day hiking is less stressful. Even though the physical demands are less, you still need a pair that can take you from point A to point B comfortably. There will be a lot of obstacles along the path, such as jagged rocks, slippery surfaces, or muddy puddles. Fortunately, Merrell hiking shoes are available to protect, cushion, and enhance the performance of your feet.

Merrell hiking shoes fulfill the company’s mission of helping people experience the outdoors like they have never done before. Footwear models, including the Chameleon and Moab, all represent the brand’s quest to empower hikers in their outdoor endeavors. When you need a lightweight option that doesn’t compromise, you can count on Merrell to deliver.

Benefits you can get from the best Merrell hiking shoes

Comfort

Merrell hiking shoes are constructed to be as comfortable as possible so you can reach your hiking goal. The midsole unit is one of the sources of comfort. This component is sandwiched between the outsole and insole to cushion your every step. It is usually made of either polyurethane (PU) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The former is resilient and durable while the latter is flexible and lightweight.

Merrell hiking shoes also use a mesh lining that promotes breathability (another factor that contributes to comfort). A cushioned collar and a supportive footbed are also present to softly wrap every corner of the foot. All of these hiking shoe features work together to give you lasting comfort during your outdoor adventure.

Weight

Outdoor junkies appreciate the lightweight design of Merrell hiking shoes. They are more substantial than trail runners but lighter than traditional hiking boots.

Thin but durable fabrics help reduce a hiking shoe’s overall weight to 400 grams or lower. In comparison, a hiking boot starts at around 500 grams. This decrease makes Merrell hiking shoes the perfect partner for day hikes. As long as the load you’re carrying is reasonable, you’ll be fine wearing this footwear.

Traction

A good reason to upgrade from hiking sandals to a new pair of Merrell hiking shoes is for better traction. In the same way Gore-Tex is the industry’s choice for waterproofness, Vibram is in a comparable situation when it comes to outsoles. A good number of Merrell hiking shoes use Vibram outsoles for reliable traction in diverse terrain conditions. These outsoles feature 5mm-deep lugs to reduce slippage. The strategic positioning and depth of these lugs help you through dirt, mud, and rocks. They also shed off debris as you move.

Breathability

Choosing a pair of breathable Merrell hiking shoes is the best gift you can give your feet in a warm environment. Your footwear should allow air to circulate inside or it would sweat uncontrollably. The brand’s hiking shoe incorporates breathable mesh linings for maximum airflow and to get rid of excess moisture. In fact, Merrell has a line of ventilated shoes. Among them are hiking shoes which include their iconic Moab line.

The same logic can also be applied to wet trail conditions. The finest Merrell hiking shoes are infused with breathable materials so they can dry faster after being exposed to water. Extra moisture is eliminated effortlessly from the shoe’s insides to prevent any foul odor from being produced.

Waterproofness

Merrell hiking shoes are recognized for their ability to repel water. Your feet are protected from various wet trail conditions and unpredictable weather to help you continue your outdoor passion. The brand accomplishes this feat by offering footgear with waterproof linings. Some Merrell hiking shoes even use leather for the upper to enhance water protection. When these components come together, you can worry less about water and focus more on your adventure.

Do keep in mind that waterproof Merrell hiking shoes should be worn in the proper environment. Using this type of footwear is detrimental if you’re going to places that are devoid of any water-related obstacles. The inclusion of a waterproof membrane is still an additional layer and restricts the entry of air. This extra fabric will make your feet sweat faster and increase the chances of blisters to form.

Durability

Going on a hike starts with a solid footwear choice. Merrell hiking shoes are built using sturdy materials to handle rocky terrains and uneven surfaces. These components all contribute to the shoe’s overall durability in its three major parts–the upper, midsole, and outsole.

Upper. Merrell hiking shoes typically use a combination of suede leather and synthetic fabrics in its upper layout. These two materials provide a balance in weight, durability, and breathability.

Midsole. Merrell hiking shoes are fitted with midsoles with varying densities of PU or EVA. They are durable against constant bending to cushion your every step.

Outsole. The best Merrell hiking shoes are endowed with Vibram outsoles. This outsole brand is known for its resilience against relentless contact with varied ground conditions. In some models, a toe bumper is included in the outsole configuration to protect the shoe’s front section against accidental bumps.

It’s important to note that even the best Merrell hiking shoes are not invincible against damage when they are improperly used. Keep in mind to wear these shoes according to the type of terrain and outdoor activity they were designed for. Otherwise, your pair of low-cut hikers will quickly deteriorate.

Support

Merrell hiking shoes are worlds away from the stiff structure of hiking boots. They are more flexible and agile. Also, they support your feet over varied ground conditions without movement restrictions that their beefier counterparts feature. The brand renders this vital requirement by equipping their hiking shoes with a decent set of features.

Arch support is granted by the hiking shoe’s midsole and insole. The midsole unit provides cushioning while the insole supports the foot’s arch. The amount of cushioning present in a pair of Merrell hiking shoes makes your outdoor experience a total breeze. In turn, the foot arch helps support the total body weight and the load being carried on your back. It’s crucial to choose a hiking shoe that delivers decent arch support or else you’re going to have a hard time hiking.

Heel support is delivered, thanks to a heel border found inside a Merrell hiking shoe. This cup-like part prevents your underfoot from slipping by securing it right at the center. Another support component is the heel counter. This reinforcement holds the heel securely to the midsole.

Ankle support is almost non-existent in Merrell hiking shoes. The design of this footgear leaves the ankles exposed, providing them with little support. What Merrell hiking shoes offer in spades is ankle flexibility.  This benefit is handy when hopping across obstacles, climbing up steep angles, or descending slopes. You can bend your foot without any restrictions when you wear your Merrell hiking shoes. Skilled hikers who are knowledgeable on proper foot placement prefer a hiking shoe for this advantage.

A small number of Merrell hiking footwear feature a mid-cut design. The added shoe height gives ankle support, making it useful if you’re going to carry more on your hike.

Why the best Merrell hiking shoes are in demand

Popularity

Experienced hikers have always turned to Merrell for their high-performance footgear that conquers the trail. The brand has been consistent in delivering quality hiking footwear for over 30 years by demonstrating their expertise in design, innovation, and technology. Merrell has cemented its reputation in manufacturing hiking shoes that perform well for men, women, and even children. A lot of reputable outdoor review websites, magazines, and hiking experts have already posted their findings on how well Merrell hiking shoes performed in the field.

Over the past few decades, Merrell has garnered several accolades for their hiking shoes. The brand’s flagship Moab line was given the Design Excellence Award for Outdoor Footwear by Footwear Plus Magazine. The said recognition is a testament to Merrell’s proficiency in producing among the most excellent hiking shoes in the market. Likewise, the Merrell Chameleon was also recognized by Outdoor Enthusiast Magazine as 2014’s Outdoor Enthusiast-Best Footwear. These two recognitions prove that Merrell hiking shoes can satisfy even the most demanding users.

How did Merrell start?

The footwear brand started out in 1981 when former ski company executives, John Schweizer and Clark Mattis, sought out Randall Merrell for his expertise in creating hiking boots. By 1983, Merrell entered the market and started shipping their products to hiking gear retailers. Eventually, the company was bought out in 1987 by Karhu, a sports brand based in Finland. In the following years, Merrell enjoyed rapid progress. At one point, the brand managed to exceed $20 million in sales by exporting their footgear to customers in 22 countries.

Merrell was sold in 1997 to Wolverine World Wide, a footwear company that manages several brands. With the backing of its mother company, Merrell’s earnings reached $500 million in 2010 as its offerings were sold in 151 countries back then. As of now, Merrell has expanded its line to include other outdoor activities while continually improving its hiking footwear. The brand is a constant favorite, not only among hikers, but for runners, bikers, and casual users.

Shoe technologies

Merrell hiking shoes are packed with the brand’s latest technologies. From its conception in 1981, Merrell has made it a point to innovate their footwear to serve outdoor enthusiasts better competently. A couple of decades have passed, and Merrell continues its quest to produce footgear that exceeds expectations. Furthermore, the brand also incorporates technologies from third-party companies to enhance their hiking shoes. When these features come together in your Merrell hiking shoes, you can expect optimal performance and protection during your hikes.

M-Select Dry. Unpredictable weather and various bodies of water are two of the common challenges hikers face outdoors. The brand's waterproof hiking shoes are equipped with the company’s proprietary waterproof technology called M-Select Dry to counter these difficulties. This feature enables Merrell users to have competent water protection for their feet during a hike. Shoes with M-Select Dry are also breathable to prevent moisture buildup.

M-Select Grip. Some Merrell hiking shoes come with the brand’s patented M-Select Grip outsole technology to reduce the chances of slipping. They’re designed with aggressive lug patterns to keep your foot secure on the ground while getting rid of debris from the outsole’s surface.

Vibram. The best Merrell hiking shoes are furnished with Vibram outsoles for maximum traction and ground stability. They are featured not only in the brand’s hiking footgear line, but also in their other footwear categories. Vibram outsoles are known for their high resistance to abrasion and a tread pattern that sticks well to a variety of surfaces.

Gore-Tex. Merrell uses a Gore-Tex membranes in their hiking shoes to increase protection in wet conditions. Gore-Tex is the acknowledged leader in the waterproofing industry. Their products make the best Merrell hiking shoes a force to be reckoned with when the rain falls or the trail is filled with streams.

M-Select Fit.Eco. This is Merrell’s exclusive EVA contoured footbed technology. It has a feature that helps control foul odor from being produced by the sweat of your feet.

Ventilated. Merrell uses vented mesh fabric in their hiking shoes to let air flow. This moisture-wicking material keeps the foot cool and dry. The brand’s ventilated footwear allows you to tackle the hottest hikes.

Pricing

Merrell is well-known for their line of quality hiking footwear. As such, Merrell hiking shoes are priced higher. The added cost goes to the inclusion of Merrell’s patented features to give hikers more protection and performance on the trail. Top-of-the-line Merrell hiking shoes are priced at $100 to $140, depending on the features included in the shoe. Merrell’s entry-level shoes start at $54.99 and offer a lot of bang for the buck.

Vital details to remember when choosing new Merrell hiking shoes

Embarking on a hiking trip without the proper footwear is like going to a gunfight with a knife. Likewise, shopping for a new pair of Merrell hiking shoes without performing any research will end up in a disaster. It’s crucial for you to be familiar with the right process of finding, fitting, and purchasing a hiking shoe for that next big trip.

Find a pair that best fits you

When getting Merrell hiking shoes, the way they fit you should be checked thoroughly first. Do not rush this part. Remember that a shoe that fits you well is a good investment in the long run. Make sure that you wear your actual hiking socks so you can get a true feel of the shoe. Wear the pair and lace them up nice and tight. Afterward, try taking them for a few steps to see how well these shoes fit you. If you feel they’re too tight, it might be wise to talk half a size up. Otherwise, a tight-fitting shoe will cut off blood flow to your feet and restrict your mobility.

Another thing that you should be wary of is getting a shoe that’s too spacious for your foot. The added space will generate friction as the foot will continuously rub against various sections of a shoe’s interior. Your chosen pair of Merrell hiking shoes should have enough toe box room. Around half an inch of space is ideal. This way, the toes won’t hit the front when you’re descending.

Determine your preferred terrain

Your choice of footwear depends on the kind of outdoor activity you’re going to undertake. Knowing which to wear is essential to having a good experience outdoors.

Lightweight hiking is when you’re going on a short trail with a minimum load to carry. Since you won’t be going far and obstacles will be few, you can wear hiking sandals for maximum breathability and comfort.

Hiking entails conquering a medium trail in one whole day. You’ll also carry a mid-weight pack that doesn’t exceed 13 kilograms on your outdoor excursion. A pair of Merrell hiking shoes or day hiking boots works well for this activity.

Backpacking means you’ll spend three to ten days on a trail while carrying a load full of gear and essentials. Wearing burlier backpacking boots help protect and support your feet on this trip.

Trekking is often done in remote areas and can take more than ten days. You will surely be carrying more load in this endeavor, so a pair of heavy backpacking boots is a must.

Take some time to break the shoes in

Before you take your Merrell hiking shoes outdoors, it’s a must to break them in first. This should be done so that your feet can get used to these shoes and prevent any foot problems during your hike. The process of breaking a shoe entails wearing it in a controlled environment until they soften up. Once this process is complete, you can now take your pair on your next outdoor adventure.

Frequently asked questions about Merrell hiking shoes

Which sock goes best with my Merrell hiking shoes?

Socks made of merino wool are the undisputed choice of hikers everywhere. Merino wool is great in keeping your feet warm without absorbing too much moisture and water. If you’re conquering wet trail conditions, these socks will protect your feet better from blisters and foul odor. Avoid wearing cotton socks with your Merrell hiking shoes because they absorb and keep moisture for a prolonged amount of time.

Can I easily find a pair of Merrell hiking shoes?

Merrell is a trusted name when it comes to outdoor footwear. As such, you can easily find a pair in a physical store or an online shop. The brand has numerous branches around the world, making their products accessible to a lot of people. As stated earlier, Merrell hiking shoes are sold in over 150 countries so finding a pair is very easy.

How can I make sure my Merrell hiking shoes will last for a long time?

Cleaning your shoes after a hike is crucial. The first thing you should do is get rid of surface dirt using a soft brush. Once you’re done with that, wash your hikers using mild soap and warm water. Make sure to clean all the soap off because it might damage the footwear’s quality if left unchecked.

When drying your Merrell hiking shoes, remember to keep them away from direct heat. Remove the insole and laces to dry off separately too. After they have dried, applying a treatment solution to these shoes will go a long way in preserving them. Just take note of the materials used in this Merrell footgear and the corresponding solution applicable to them. Otherwise, you will damage these components and make them susceptible to wear.

15 best Merrell hiking shoes

  1. Merrell MQM Flex
  2. Merrell Moab FST 2
  3. Merrell Moab 2 GTX
  4. Merrell Chameleon 7 Stretch
  5. Merrell Chameleon 7 Limit
  6. Merrell Moab FST
  7. Merrell MQM Flex GTX
  8. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator
  9. Merrell Moab Edge 2
  10. Merrell Alverstone
  11. Merrell Choprock
  12. Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof
  13. Merrell Waterpro Maipo 2
  14. Merrell All Out Blaze 2
  15. Merrell Ontario
Author
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Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.

paul@runrepeat.com
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