Verdict from 3 experts and 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Comfort: Most trail runners agree that Merrell Nova 2 is very comfortable.
  • Weight: Many users admire the lightweight built of this trail running shoe.  
  • Durability: Several reviews mention that it has a durable design, from top to bottom.
  • Traction: According to a few users, the Nova 2 is grippy especially on wet, muddy surfaces.
  • Design: Some runners say that it has a nice-looking design.
  • Use: Based on a few user reviews, the Merrell Nova 2 is a versatile running shoe that can be used on local trails and city streets.

1 reason not to buy

  • Fit: A few mention that it has a narrow, tight fit in the forefoot.

Bottom line

Best for moderate trails, the Merrell Nova 2 delivers a good blend of durability and comfort. It has a grippy outsole that anchors well into dirt and mud. It is equipped with a rock plate that feels a bit stiff but offers plenty of protection. Because it is comfortable, cushioned, and protective, this running shoe will not disappoint on long-distance, easy trail runs. 

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Merrell Nova 2: Hiker-like durability

This Merrell running shoe blurs the line between casual sneakers and typical trail runners. It has a lightweight, comfortable, sneaker-like design and durability of a trail shoe. The shock-absorbing foam, gripping outsole, and protective design help runners tackle the trail with confidence. 

Nova 2: Minor Tweaks

The first version of the Nova was generally a success. Since it is working well, Merrell only made a few updates to the new Nova 2, particularly in the shoe's upper.  The previous version used a textile upper and it is now replaced with a breathable mesh, which still delivers added support and comfort.  The midsole and outsole of the Merrell Nova 2 remain the same. 

Good to know

  • The Merrell Nova 2 is also available in low-cut and mid-cut waterproof versions.
  • If Nova 2 is meant specifically for men, the Merrell Antora model is built specifically for women. This women-specific trail shoe has a more subtle and softer midsole than the Nova model.


How Merrell Nova 2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 45% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Top 35% Merrell running shoes
All Merrell running shoes
Top 40% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Merrell Nova 2.
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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.