5 Best Merrell Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
5 Best Merrell Running Shoes in 2024
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.

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.

Best Merrell running shoes overall

Merrell Nova 3
85
Good!

What makes it the best?

Nova 3 offers an exceptionally supportive and cushioned ride. It’s comfortable enough to be a running shoe while holding the grip and protection of a trail shoe. We found it versatile and suitable for easy hikes to tempo runs. Our lab and run results confirm it’s Merrell’s best running shoe.

Nova 3 features the esteemed Vibram outsole that usually translates to grip and durability. Our lab results confirm just that. It is 11.4% softer than average, with 3.5 mm lugs enhancing traction. Despite the softer rubber, it proves its durability as it shows a shallower indentation than average in our Dremel test.

Nova 3’s midsole balances comfort and support. It offers ample cushioning for longer distances with a FloatPro Foam pod in the heel for softer landings. In the forefoot, Merrell incorporates a rock plate for underfoot protection. 

Overall, the ride feels firm, and therefore, stable. Our durometer confirms it’s a balanced 24.0 HA. This is paired with midfoot walls, which catch our feet like we’re in a bathtub. This keeps us steady on uneven terrains and sharp corners.

Unfortunately, the shoe’s solid construction entails heavier weight. At 10.8 oz (305g), it’s well above the 10.4 oz (296g) average of trail shoes.

Pros

  • Upper crafted entirely from recycled materials
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Versatile for both hiking and walking
  • Superb Vibram outsole with effective Traction Lugs
  • Attractive pricing for its features
  • Integrated rock plate for underfoot protection
  • Secure heel lockdown
  • Really cushioned

Cons

  • Only suited for mild to moderate trails
  • Needs a reduction in weight
  • Not suited for fast paces
Full review of Merrell Nova 3

Best Merrell running shoes for trail

What makes it the best?

Through extensive runs, we've determined that the Agility Peak 5 stands out as the most suitable for diverse trails among Merrell running shoes. Boasting a substantial almost 40-mm stack in our lab, it provides exceptional comfort by absorbing much of the landing impact. Its trusty Vibram Megagrip outsole, with strategically positioned lugs, serves as our traction and defence against various elements encountered on the trails.

Impressively, the AP5 demonstrates outstanding grip across a range of terrains, thanks to its widely spaced 4.5-mm Traction Lugs, making it suitable for even the most technical conditions. Following intensive testing against our unforgiving Dremel, the Vibram Megagrip rubber exhibits durability, showing minimal indentation compared to the average.

In addition to shielding our feet, the heavily cushioned midsole of the AP5 also protects our muscles. Its above-average stack height, notably the 39.2 mm heel, ensured plush comfort. It also provides protection against sharp rocks and protruding roots, further augmented by a rock plate in the mid-to-forefoot areas.

However, due to its pronounced heel and modest forefoot, the significant 13.4 mm heel drop may not be suitable for midfoot and forefoot strikers, making the AP5 more ideal for heel-strikers.

Pros

  • Outstanding Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Easily handles tough trails
  • Performs well on both downhills and uphills
  • Extremely durable upper with numerous TPU reinforcements
  • Suitable for year-round use
  • Loads of recycled, eco-friendly stuff
  • Great for long-distance runs thanks to its cushioning
  • Wonderful for heel strikers
  • Excellent all-terrain shoe

Cons

  • Heavier than expected
  • Actual drop deviates significantly from what's stated
  • Could be more affordable
Full review of Merrell Agility Peak 5

Best barefoot Merrell road running shoes

What makes it the best?

Among Merrell runners we’ve tried, Vapour 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 odour thanks to its material that adjusts to the shape of our feet and its odour-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.

Pros

  • Accommodates wide feet comfortably
  • Exceptional ground feel
  • Fairly priced at £100
  • Highly responsive and agile
  • Extremely flexible design
  • Ideal for those with wide feet
  • Maintains grip, even on wet surfaces
  • Sockless ready
  • Perfect for road running or tackling easy trails
  • Versatile enough for hiking, walking, or even gym workouts

Cons

  • Overly spacious for those with narrow feet
  • Outsole shows wear quickly
  • The cushioned insole detracts from a true barefoot experience
Full review of Merrell Vapor Glove 6

Best barefoot Merrell running shoes for trail

What makes it the best?

Our lab analysis and actual runs led us to the Merrell running shoe that thrives best on the trails with its barefoot feel—and it’s no other than Trail Glove 7. A true minimalist, boasting a low and levelled stack and a highly flexible midsole that keeps it all natural. Its agility and unparalleled traction had us running confidently through diverse settings.

With a mere 16.1/16.0 mm stack height, the TG7 practically offers a zero drop experience, delivering authentic barefoot sensations and heightened surface feedback. This allows us to adapt as we traverse uneven ground. Our durometer reveals a dense 28.8 HA cushion, striking the perfect balance between support and comfort.

Adding to its “barely there” feel is its lightweight construction. Our scales reveal a mere 7.8 oz (221g), 24.8% below the average. Despite its minimalist design, the TG7 feels surprisingly stable, particularly on fast corners. Its exceptional flexibility, scoring significantly above average in our bend test at 10.5N, enhances comfort and versatility.

Supported by a maze-like patterned Vibram outsole with 2.5 mm lugs, the TG7 delivers reliable traction that protects us from slipping on loose gravel and soil. However, its soft rubber composition and mere 1.8 mm thickness raise concerns about durability. We recommend avoiding rougher surfaces like asphalt and concrete to prolong the shoe’s lifespan.

Pros

  • Authentic minimalist experience
  • Genuine zero-drop design
  • Provides a good amount of cushioning
  • Doubles as hiking and walking shoe
  • Sturdy and long-lasting upper
  • Perfect for summer adventures
  • Exceptionally flexible
  • Super quick and agile on corners
  • Ideal for both experts and beginners

Cons

  • Completely unsuitable for winter conditions
  • Outsole durability is a letdown
  • Might be excessively narrow for some runners
Full review of Merrell Trail Glove 7

Best budget Merrell running shoes

What makes it the best?

Running on streets and off-the-beaten paths highlights Merrell FlyStrike’s versatility and all-around nature. Our lab shows its ultra-comfy breathable upper and flexible midsole make it great for various outdoor activities. Plus, it’s only £100, 14.3% cheaper than the average Merrell running shoe!

FlyStrike demonstrates a high level of flexibility, which is why it can smoothly transition into a hiking or casual wear shoe. Our bend test confirms it’s 36.1% more adaptive than average, increasing both agility and comfort even for long-day adventures.

The upper is designed with countless ventilation holes all over, outshining the average trail shoe with a 4/5 breathability score on our smoke test. We’re truly impressed with how our feet can breathe despite the padded interior. The tongue is exceptionally plush at 10.1 mm vs. the 6.4 mm average, removing any traces of lace bite. While breathable uppers tend to lack durability, FlyStrike surprisingly resisted our Dremel and earned a high 4/5 score.

However, the midsole doesn’t match the upper’s level of comfort, especially with its slim 17.0 mm forefoot cushioning. Those who prefer more underfoot protection should look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Great ventilation
  • Durable and cosy upper
  • Ultra-plush tongue
  • Reasonably priced
  • Suitable for casual wear
  • Works well for walking and hiking
  • Can be used as a go-to travel shoe

Cons

  • Excessively high drop
  • Only suited for heel strikers
  • Lacks outsole durability
Full review of Merrell Fly Strike
Author
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.