251 users: 4.6 / 5
Weight: Men 328g / Women 268g
Base model: Merrell Choprock
Use: Day Hiking
Cut: Low cut

Verdict from 7 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • A lot of Ontario 85 reviews from confirmed purchasers declare that it is a credibly comfortable shoe for hikers.
  • Countless outdoor lovers agree that it is a versatile piece of gear for outdoor and urban environments.
  • A couple of adventurers commend the traction of this Merrell offering.
  • Numerous users praise the Ontario 85 for being an incredibly lightweight hiking shoe.
  • About a handful of shoppers appreciate the cushioning it gives.
  • A minority of consumers report that its break-in period is close to zero.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several customers say that the Merrell Ontario 85’s arch support is insufficient.
  • According to a buyer, the stitches on its upper come apart after a few uses.
  • Some wearers mention that the footgear’s toe box is restrictive.

Bottom line

Individuals who need a comfy and versatile pair for outdoor trips and urban adventures may be excited about what this Merrell product offers. Indeed, buyers may stand to benefit from its other attributes, such as grip and lightweight design.

However, there are some who find this offering lacking when it comes to arch support. All in all, the Merrell Ontario 85 may still end up as a competent partner for day hikers because of its trail-related strengths, as long as its insole is replaced for more support.

Tip: see the best hiking shoes.

User reviews:

SportsShoes, REI and 17 other shops don't have user reviews

-The Merrell Ontario 85 is a low-top hiking shoe that enables outdoor enthusiasts to tackle trails with comfort. It is  a retro hiker inspired by the brand’s hiking boots from 1985. Its upper is made of suede leather and Cordura fabric for durability.

-The Ontario 85’s compression-molded midsole is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate to give cushioning. Its Vibram Megagrip outsole empowers adventurers to stay stable over challenging ground conditions.

The Ontario 85 is a low-top hiker for male and female adventurers. Its conventional lace-up system permits wearers to gain a secure and personalized lockdown. The brand’s proprietary Kinetic Fit Base insole is crafted with an intuitive shape that adapts to the user’s foot and prevents the heel from moving unnecessarily. Moreover, the shoe’s padded tongue and collar promotes comfort around the ankles.

This trail-centric shoe from Merrell is equipped with a Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole to give traction on most types of terrain. Its profile uses a pattern of triangular lugs that grip on wet and dry surfaces. Both ends of this component feature a grooved design for added control when tackling uphill and downhill conditions. The outsole’s front end extends upward to act as a shield against stubbing.

The Merrell Ontario 85 uses a compression-molded EVA midsole to supply the wearer with cushioning and rebound. It’s paired with an Air Cushion in the heel area for shock absorbency and stability when traversing uneven terrain. 

Merrell included a patented Kinetic Fit Base insole to supply absolute arch coverage and intuitive support to the wearer. Its recycled EVA construction is lined with mesh for underfoot comfort. The component features an advanced heel lock to prevent slippage inside the shoe. It also comes with an organic odor control feature to keep the wearer’s foot fresh during a hike.

Merrell’s Ontario 85 employs an upper made of suede leather and Cordura fabric. The combination of these materials imbues the shoe with resistance to tear and abrasive elements. It is lined with mesh fabric to promote air circulation. 

The Ontario 85’s closure features several eyelets and a lace holder on the tongue. These components enable the user to manage the footgear’s fit. It also has a bellows tongue which prevents debris from entering the shoe.

Both the Ontario 85 and Danner Mountain 600 Low are considered as retro hiking shoes. Shown below are the ways in which they differentiate.

Upper. The Mountain 600 Low features two types of upper construction. One is made of suede, which caters to male and female hikers, while a full-grain leather variant is only available to men. Both of these styles are equipped with a Danner Dry membrane to keep water out while maintaining breathability. For more information on the Merrell Ontario 85’s upper, see the Technical Construction section above.

Midsole. The Danner Mountain 600 Low comes with a Vibram Specialized Performance Elastomer (SPE) midsole. It is composed of a rubberized EVA material which gives cushioning and shock reduction. This component is paired with a nylon shank for rigidity and support. An Ortholite footbed sits atop the midsole to render underfoot comfort and promote air ventilation. It also has a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) frame for heel support. See the content above for the Merrell Ontario 85’s midsole details.

Outsole. This hiking shoe from Danner is equipped with a Vibram Fuga outsole. Like the Merrell Ontario 85, it uses triangular lugs to keep users stable on wet and dry terrain. It is made of a Megagrip compound for durability and abrasion resistance.

Application. Both the Merrell Ontario 85 and Danner Mountain 600 low can be used by male and female adventurers for day hikes. The former is an ideal option for warm environments because of its breathable upper. On the other hand, the latter may be considered for places with wet trail conditions or rainy weather because of its waterproof upper.

-Outdoor lovers who require a burlier pair for an upcoming trek might want to explore the benefits offered by backpacking boots. An option that may be considered is the Lowa Tibet GTX.

-Those who are expecting to encounter adverse weather or wet trail conditions may do well with waterproof hiking boots. Among the choices that may be explored are the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof and the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid.

Size and fit

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How Ontario 85 compares

This shoe: 93
All shoes average: 85
58 99
This shoe: £110
All shoes average: £130
£50 £240
This shoe: 328g
All shoes average: 394g
185g 660g
Paul Ronto
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.