Merrell Hiking Shoes
In this article, we’ll break down how Merrell’s shoe technology improves your hiking experience.
Then we’ll help you choose the right hiking shoe to fit your experience level and the type of hikes you plan to take.
How Merrell hiking technology improves your performance
Merrell Moab 2 Vent -- Merrell’s breathable, versatile day trekker
The Moab 2 Vent is Merrell’s most popular hiking shoe.
This model is known for its breathable upper, made of suede leather and mesh. Its vent system is airy to keep your feet from getting sweaty.
This shoe is decently supportive for a day trekker. It has a stability band in the upper that adds extra structure, reducing your chances of rolling an ankle.
The Moab 2 Vent is a hybrid between a standard hiking boot and a trail running shoe. It’s sturdy enough to protect you from rocks, and yet flexible enough to let your feet move freely.
Because of its low-cut and vented upper, this wouldn’t be the best shoe for keeping out the elements on long or wet hikes. For a real waterproof option, the Moab 2 Waterproof might be the right shoe for you. And while the Moab 2 Vent is perfect for day hikes, it lacks the ankle support needed for backpacking trips.
What you’ll notice:
- Comfortable Fit.
The first thing you’ll notice when you slide this shoe on is how the insoles adapt to the bottom of your foot, giving you a molded fit. It’s meant to be snug in the heel and roomy in the toe box. The signature air cushion in the heel absorbs impact and provides lasting comfort. All of this together makes this a super comfy shoe.
- Remarkable support (for a day hiker).
One thing fans of this shoe love is the amount of support it has, particularly for a day hiker. The stability band in the upper holds your feet in place nicely. This gives you great confidence, whether you’re climbing rocks or sprinting trails riddled with debris.
Merrell Ontario 85 -- A vintage-inspired boot with the comfort of a sneaker and the support of a hiking boot.
The Merrell Ontario 85 is a lightweight hiking boot designed to keep out the elements. Made of full grain leather, it’s a stylish and weather-resistant option for longer hikes.
The Ontario 85’s flexible, sneaker-like sole makes for a comfy fit out of the box. But you’ll also find solid support, with a higher cut to hold your ankle in place on uneven ground.
This boot is light but will protect your feet from cold and wet conditions. The M Select Dry technology will keep your feet dry even in ankle-deep water. And an added fleece layer in the upper gives extra warmth. The bellows between the tongue and top of the shoe keep you safe from trail debris and water. All of this keeps you comfy for the duration of the hike, no matter what weather you encounter.
The Ontario 85 is the lightest option for a mid-cut hiking boot, so they won’t weigh you down on longer hikes.
While his boot is great for extended hikes, it might not be the best choice for overnight backpacking. If you plan on carrying a heavy load, you might need an outsole with less flex and more cushion.
What you’ll notice:
- Stylish & vintage aesthetic
This edition of the Ontario is designed with Cordura mesh panels, allowing for a pop of color. The 85 in the name is in reference to the year 1985 and celebrates Merrell’s long history with a throwback design.
- Grippy traction
The Vibram outsole is optimal for traction on both wet and dry surfaces, with 3mm lugs to allow for maximum grip. This allows you to grab the ground beneath your feet on uneven terrain.
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof -- A versatile hiking boot with the support you need for longer adventures.
Here’s a pair of hiking boots that will feel comfortable from the moment you put them on. The Moab 2 Mid Waterproof is a sturdier version of the Moab 2 Vent. These are great for short distances, lighter backpacking trips, and anything in between.
This boot gives your feet a lot of support, with a mid-cut to stabilize your ankle on steep and rocky ground. It is also waterproof, keeping you comfortable and dry all day long. An added heel counter keeps your heel from sliding around on downhill trails. And a wider toe box leaves room for your toes to move and breathe.
What makes this boot stand out is how versatile it is. It is comfy enough to wear all day but sturdy enough for almost any trail or hike. Some flex allows your feet to move dynamically over rocks, up and down steep trails, and through creek beds. And it is built to last for years of use in wet and rocky conditions.
If you are expecting cold weather, the breathable leather/mesh upper might not be right for you. In that case, I'd choose a full-grain leather model like the Ontario X SK Wool. Its extra flannel layer will keep you warm as well as dry.
What you’ll notice:
- Lots of Support
As Merrell’s heaviest boot, this is a great option for light to moderate backpacking. The 5mm lug depth provides great grip, even when carrying heavy loads.
The range of uses for this shoe is why it lives up to its name. As the Mother Of All Boots, these shoes provide great support without giving up comfort. The Moab 2 Mid is great for casual hikes and longer overnight adventures alike. They provide good flex for rocky roads and enough structure to keep your feet happy.
How do I choose the best Merrell hiking shoe for me?
Choose your ideal hiking shoe based the following factors:
- What kind of hikes you’ll be going on
- What weather you’ll mostly hike in
- How much equipment you’ll be carrying (if any)
- Your hiking experience level
Casual day hikes
For a casual hike on a well-maintained trail, the ideal shoe will be light and made of breathable material.
The Siren 3 is a women’s shoe that does just that. It has a mesh upper that makes it light and breathable, perfect for casual day treks. The insole and midsole are designed to cradle your foot, with built-in support for all three of your arch points.
Moab 2 Vent
For a sturdier model, the Moab 2 Vent provides even more support. The upper's stability band and more rigid construction offer greater protection. The Moab 2 is low-cut so it doesn’t provide much ankle support, but the EVA midsole protects your foot and absorbs shock.
If you plan on regularly hiking in wet conditions, they also have the Moab 2 Waterproof. It’s still low-cut like the Moab 2 Vent, but with a little added tech in the upper to keep your feet dry.
If you plan on any canoeing or rafting, you’ll want a shoe that is designed to get wet.
And this is exactly what the Merrell Hyrotech Shandal was designed for. The Shandal has a Hydramorph midsole that lets water drain out quickly. There's also enough structure to protect your feet from rocks and debris.
Merrell Chameleon 8 Stretch
If your adventure includes trail running and more vertical hiking, you need a lightweight yet protective shoe. The Chameleon 8 Stretch is built to, as the name suggests, adapt to many different occasions. It features a handy slip-on design with great grip. Its 5mm lugs make it an ideal choice for ever-changing terrain.
Longer treks & backpacking trips
If you’re gearing up for a backpacking trip, then you need a shoe with greater support. Aptly named the “Mother Of All Boots”, the Moab 2 Mid Waterproof is a best seller. It’s got great ankle support to keep your foot still and balanced.
If you’re more experienced and don’t need rigid upper for support, you’ll appreciate the Zion Mid Waterproof. This boot marries the fit and performance of a running shoe with the protection of a hiking boot. With more flexible support, this shoe allows more movement than other mid-cut boots.
If you’re looking for something sturdy for cold weather, the Ontario X SK is a Women’s boot with a full-grain leather upper. The high cut of this design makes it ideal for backpacking. Plus, the cotton flannel lining gives you an extra layer against the cold. And it’s got plenty of cushioning to support a heavy backpack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear trail running shoes for hiking?
This depends on the kind of hikes you’re going on.
If your hike doesn’t include much climbing, a trail running shoe should work alright. And it’ll help if your trail runners have good lugs.
It’s important to be aware that a trail running shoe isn’t designed for ankle support like a sturdier hiking boot is. They’re not going to protect you against the elements the same way a hiking shoe does either.
So, if possible, it’s better to have a separate shoe for each occasion.
How often should I replace my Merrell hiking shoes?
In general, most hiking shoes should last you about 350-500 miles.
Here are a few signs that let you know you’re due for a new pair:
- If the traction isn’t what it used to be because the tread and lugs are worn down
- If your foot isn’t being held in place as well by the upper as before
- If you’re experiencing any pain or soreness in your joints that you didn’t feel before. This could be a sign that the technology has been worn down and is no longer as effective
I need help deciding: Which would be the best hiking shoe for a beginner?
The Siren 3 Waterproof is a good first shoe for day-hiking, and at a nice entry-level price. It’s one of Merrell's lightest shoes, making it a good beginner model to help you get accustomed to the extra weight of a hiking shoe.
If you’re not looking for a women’s hiking shoe, then the Moab 2 Vent is a good men’s model for a beginner. It's heavier, so it'll be a bit more weight to get used to at first. But a great overall shoe for new hikers.