Merrell MQM Flex 2 Hiking Shoe

8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.5)] = ( score (8.5)/10

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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
Merrell responds to its customer need for speed with a combined hiking and trail runner that's fast in the forefoot and protective in the rearfoot. Claiming that the MQM Flex 2 is tear-resistant, cushioned, and breathable, Merrell seems sure this shoe will stand up to the adventurer's test.

Finding the combination of a 'premium' trail running and a hiking shoe in one too tempting to resist, I was eager to put this versatile hiking shoe to the test. Seeing an increasing number of combination hiking and trailing running shoes on the market with mixed reviews, I was curious to see if the MQM Flex 2 hiking shoe lost any of its durability with a lighter, more breathable design.

At first impression, the MQM Flex 2 is an ultralight, breathable and generally comfortable shoe that is best suited to trail running and day-long hikes over moderate and dry terrains. The stylish, athletic design ensures that your feet look as good as they feel. So carry on reading to find out why you can go the extra mile with this Merrell range.
Merrell MQM Flex 2 Hiking Shoe Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons




Flexible & responsive

Choice of 4 designs

Reasonably priced


Not waterproof

Takes a few days to wear in

Durability concerns with the outsole

Key Features


When buying a hiking shoe, you must consider where you plan to use it, and the manufacturer's intended use. For example, you should always expect some comprises when wearing a combined hiking and running shoe. Combination trail running and hiking shoes don't tend to offer the same level of stability or support as shoes aimed at mountaineering.

Considering this, I wasn't expecting Merrell to provide everything I needed in one shoe. However, I found that with a good amount of cushioning, the MQM Flex 2 is comfortably suited to moderate all-day light load hiking trips and trail running over dry terrain. Keep in mind the foam cushioning isn't quite as deep as the Salomon X Ultra 3, so you might end up with sore feet at the end of a long day with a heavy load or multiple-day camping trips.

There was plenty of traction and flexible resistance due to the deep lugs and sticky Quantum M Select Grip rubber, and Trail Protect pad, which offer additional off-road support and durable traction. Lugs like this are handy for holding onto looser surfaces, and the lubber is relatively grippy over large surface rocks.

Some reviewers feel the minimal rigidity in the upper sole doesn't match the support and protection needed for technical terrains and multi-day adventures. As mentioned before, you can't expect this combination shoe to be both a trail runner and a super sturdy mountaineering boot.

My hiking boots don't always take me up rough and rocky terrains, so it's good to have a shoe that's lighter yet supportive on the more moderate landscapes.


There are several ways Merrell makes their Flex range more comfortable for the runner who also likes to hike. First, you'll get a glove-like fit through the integrated lacing system. In addition, keeping out loose debris and stones is surprisingly easy with the Bellows' tongue. This is great, as it's impossible to keep your momentum when you're constantly stopping to fish stones out of your shoes.

In addition, the midsole rock plate and protective toe cap also provide further protection and comfort when running or hiking over moderate to rough terrain. Keeping your toes and heels protected should be a minimum requirement of all hiking shoes, so it was nice to see the basics are covered.

Again, the heel padding and foam cushioning underfoot is potentially thinner than heavier hiking only boots; the breathability and lightweight design provide a different type of comfort you don't get with a heavy shoe aimed at pure stability.


Merrell uses a good combination of synthetic materials to create a breathable, light, and supportive shoe. Merrell responds to the need for security by adding a heel made of Hyperlock printed TPU and combined with a breathable mesh upper lining to create a supportive but cool shoe.

A combination trail runner and hiking shoe needs to be able to hand both situations.

I'm pleased to see the MQM Flex 2 utilizes the Kinetic Fit BASE removable contoured insole, which provides flexible support needed for trail running. Additionally, hiking is made supportive and stable with the mountain-grade Quantum Grip rubber outsole.


A lighter shoe will always raise concerns with durability due to its less sturdy design. The MQM Flex 2 comprises synthetic materials, which are arguably less durable than leather. However, Merrell has engineered this shoe with multiple TPU overlays, which protect the mesh in the long term.

You might notice some wrinkles in the sole and some tread wear even during your first few uses that indicate the EVA midsole is compressing. This is common in lightweight shoes as their fewer durable materials may show a short life span - rest assure that this shoe might endure past the competition.

Comparison to Similar Hiking Shoes

If you're looking for a waterproof shoe, you'll be glad to hear that Merrell make a Gore-Tex version of this model, which does come at an increased cost. However, if waterproofness is a deal-breaker for you, and you're happy to pay this extra price, you might want to try the GTX version.

For the waterproof, low-top version of the MQM Flex 2, you'll be out of pocket by about $140. A Gore-Tex latest Invisible Fit bonds with the waterproof bootie to provide seamless integration and dry wear.

Although I can't control the weather, I always check multiple weather sites to determine if I'll be hiking in rain or sun. On days with a great chance of sun, I prefer to wear a cool and breather hiking shoe that will keep me comfortably cold. So if you're planning hikes in the desert or dry heat, the Flex 2 could be a good choice for you.


In summary, heading out for mild day hikes, light backpacking trips, short trail runs, and even urban travel is the best use of the MQM Flex 2. You'll look as good as you feel with the athletic, stylish design and multiple colors available.

Whereas this Merrell range may lack the support and waterproof features needed for dramatic weather and risky terrain, the flexible lugs and grippy rubber make for a comfortable trail runner. A

lightweight design and lack of a thick waterproof membrane also leave the user wearing a shoe that's very breathable and comfortable for hot, dry hikes.