Verdict from 5 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Waterproofness: After wearing the shoes in wet conditions and snow, many runners claim that their feet were kept "warm and dry" in the Nova 2 GTX. 
  • Fit: It fits like a glove — it's neither too tight nor loose. 
  • Grip: Testers have tried the shoe on rocky, snowy, muddy, and wet surfaces. All of them agree that the shoe really digs into the ground. 
  • Lightness: Unlike other trail shoes, the Merrell Nova 2 GTX is not bulky on foot. 
  • Comfort: There's no break-in period required. The shoe's cushion is " extremely comfortable" right out of the box. 

3 reasons not to buy

  • Poor durability: After one or two uses, the shoe's tread already ripped apart and the lace loops detached. 
  • Slippy insoles: "They won't stay put." Trail runners had to replace or glue them. Otherwise, they slide back and leave a gap at the toes. 
  • Problematic outsole: It's very inflexible and narrow, creating pressure that ends up in the ankles. 

Bottom line

The Nova 2 GTX from Merrell is a trail runner that serves a versatile purpose. Whether you're going for your daily trail runs or hikes, this shoe can do it for you. 

For a waterproof shoe, the Merrell Nova 2 GTX is a good choice. But as a trail shoe, in general, it's simply lagging behind its competitors, especially given its poor life span. 

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Merrell Nova 2 GTX: Your trusty waterproof trail shoe

The Nova 2 GTX has the necessary features that make up a reliable waterproof trail running shoe. Despite being loaded with all these specs, the shoe still maintains a featherlight construction: 

  • Gore-tex membrane to make the shoe impermeable
  • Vibram outsole for pronounced durability and grip
  • A rockplate to complement the outsole for extra underfoot protection from sharp and hazardous ground elements

What is it for? 

There are a lot of activities the Merrell Nova 2 GTX can handle both on and off trails, just as it can handle various terrains and conditions. If you want to find out more, read further. 


  • Daily runs
  • Hikes
  • Jogs
  • Walks


  • Dirt
  • Snow and ice
  • Rocky terrain 


How Merrell Nova 2 GTX ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 35% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 44% Merrell running shoes
All Merrell running shoes
Bottom 37% waterproof running shoes
All waterproof running shoes


The current trend of Merrell Nova 2 GTX.
Compare to another shoe:
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.