4 Best Merrell Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
4 Best Merrell Running Shoes in 2023
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

Known for their excellent durability, versatility, and performance-driven design, Merrell running shoes have become a favourite among ultra-distance runners and regular outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Whether you’re into off-road adventures or road running a big fan of the brand, or a first-time buyer, the Merrell lineup offers great options for everyone that would suit their needs.

To help you save time and eliminate the hassle of reading hundreds of reviews, we’ve handpicked, wear-tested, and analysed Merrell running shoes available out there. We brought all pairs to our lab for a battery of mechanical tests and selected our top picks for your quick reference.

Best Merrell running shoes overall

Merrell Nova 2

What makes it the best?

Designed as a traditional trail shoe, Nova 2 focuses on traction and solid protection. It’s flexible enough to be a running shoe while holding the benefits of a trail shoe, making it a great companion for easy hikes to tempo road runs. Our lab and run results confirm it’s Merrell’s best running shoe.

Its midsole balances comfort and support. We’re able to stride our feet naturally with the flexible midsole. Our 90-degree bend test confirms it's 13.6% less resistant than average. With stack heights rising to 35.1/25.8 mm, it's max-cushioned. Yet its foam feels firm, providing added support and stability. Our durometer shows it’s 24.1% denser than average.

It features the esteemed Vibram outsole that’s 3.5 mm thicker than average. This extra defense doesn’t sacrifice grip with its soft outsole (72.5 HC vs. 85.1 HC average) and 4.2 mm deep, sticky lugs.

The upper is exceptionally sturdy with its mesh that doesn’t stretch for durability and protection. Even with robust materials, it’s still really breathable. There’s no discomfort because of the thick tongue and heel collar that hugs our feet with padding.

Unfortunately, the shoe’s solid construction entails heavier weight. At 10.9 oz (310g), it’s well above the 10.4 oz (296g) average of trail shoes.


  • Fits true to size
  • Grip is great in good conditions
  • A decent amount of cushioning
  • Excellent lockdown
  • Sturdy upper
  • Dependable Vibram outsole
  • Good laces


  • Too much ground feel for some
  • Heavier than most
  • Grip isn’t reliable in wet conditions
Full review of Merrell Nova 2

Best barefoot Merrell running shoes

What makes it the best?

Among Merrell runners we’ve tried, Vapor Glove 6 gives the best barefoot experience with its breezy glove-like fit, minimum weight, and maximum ground feel. Its flexibility enhances natural movement, while its Vibram outsole ensures protection. Best of all, it fits the below-£110 budget!

Intended as a trail shoe, VG6 is one of the lightest we've tested. At 5.3 oz (150g), it's almost half the 10.4 oz (296g) average of its counterparts. It embraces minimalism by keeping its stack 6 mm low for maximum surface feedback. This made us adapt quickly to uneven terrains and helped strengthen our legs.

Upping the comfort game is its perforated mesh upper that kept our running experience light. Even if we run sockless, we have no issues with blisters, sweat, and odor thanks to its material that adjusts to the shape of our feet and its odor-control compound.

Below the VG6 is the Vibram outsole that wraps around the heel and toebox for more protection and durability. It's lined with 2-mm lugs arranged in an aggressive tread to enhance grip. We had no slips running through wet and muddy trails and could seamlessly shift to road running without the chunky underfoot feeling.

With its accommodating room for wide feet, runners with narrow feet shouldn’t expect a snug and glove-like fit.


  • Insanely breathable
  • Wide feet-friendly
  • Outstanding ground feel
  • Offers some underfoot protection
  • Responsive and agile
  • Very flexible
  • Grippy even on wet surfaces
  • Comfy for sockless wear
  • Doesn’t stink easily
  • Best for light, non-rocky trails
  • Also great for road runs and workouts


  • Too roomy for narrow feet
  • Questionable upper durability
  • Cushioned insole prevents it from being truly ‘barefoot’
Full review of Merrell Vapor Glove 6

Merrell running shoes with best comfort

What makes it the best?

Having excellent comfort and protection, outstanding breathability, and great versatility—Merrell Moab Flight is definitely the Merrell running shoe with the best comfort.

Nothing bad can be said about the Merrell Moab Flight's quality. Right out of the box, these feel great to run in and the midsole absorbs much of the bumps that come along with our trail runs.

The shoe also has superb breathability due to the loose weave in the upper material. Despite having no dedicated vents, the upper remains well-ventilated. We really enjoyed feeling the wind in our toes, especially on those tough verticals. 

While the Merrell Moab Flight’s Vibram outsole is not the most aggressive, it is very versatile. We obliterated dirt, rocks, and mud with ease. It can also handle going from road to trail easily. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to the weight, it sits just in the middle of the pack. Runners looking for faster shoes will need to look at other options.

Full review of Merrell Moab Flight

Best Merrell running shoes for summer

Merrell Nova 3

What makes it the best?

Nova 3 proved itself as Merrell’s best summer running shoe as we indulged in its unmatched comfort and breezy upper. It’s a great hybrid shoe for mid-distance runs and all-day casual wear, as it keeps us sweat and fatigue-free. Not to mention, it’s made of recycled materials to allow us to contribute to the sustainability movement.

With a breathable mesh upper, our feet remained cool despite running on hot and humid days. We had no instances of hotspots and blisters.

We had no discomfort at all with its soft cushion. The fit made us feel at home even if we tried it fresh out of the box. No complaints here! We enjoyed our runs with every stride caught by a supportive platform. We’re amazed how sustainability and comfort can go hand in hand as Nova 3’s laces, upper, and EVA foam footbed are all made of 100% recycled materials.

Unfortunately, the outsole’s durability, or lack thereof, underwhelmed us. We recommend investing in shoes with tougher outsoles if a long-lasting shoe is a priority.


  • Super comfy
  • No break-in needed
  • Great for short to mid-distances
  • Lighter than the Nova 2
  • Breathable upper
  • Superb fit
  • Sustainable


  • Durability issues with the outsole
  • Poor grip
Full review of Merrell Nova 3

Comparison of the 4 best Merrell running shoes

+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
Users rating
Best price
# of colorways

How we test running shoes

At RunRepeat, we provide our audience with in-depth reviews of the latest releases of Merrell running shoes. We’ve spent hours examining each model at our independent lab and wear-testing them on the road and on the trails. Our entire approach involves:

  • Purchasing all the Merrell shoes with our own funds to avoid bias and brand loyalty.
  • Cutting the shoes into pieces and measuring their essential parts in our lab, including over 30 different parameters from durability, breathability, and softness of the midsole, among others.
  • Logging at least 30-50 miles on each pair to gain more perspective on its overall value, sustainability, and performance.

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.