Total 8.9 / 10
Value for Money 1.8
The Merrell MQM Flex is going to go down as one of those shoes that ‘got away from me’ due wholly to my yeti like size14-15US (wide feet). So what’s the issue and could this shoe be for you?
First lets start with the positives. Over the past 18 months I have been using as one of my two main shoes the Merrell Moab FST and the newer Merrell Moab FST2 lightweight hiking shoes. I have been meaning to try the Merrell MQM trail running shoes just to see if they were an option for me. I have found over the past three years from using a number of brands of shoes that just because one model within a range works, it doesn’t necessarily mean that others will. Point in case here is that the Merrell Moab (i.e. the original Moab’s not the FST) just don’t do it for me.
First up even before putting these shoes on it was obvious that they are a trail running shoe as the foot bed is very obviously padded. It surprised me that they actually weigh round 100 grams lighter than the FST2 and this means the weight saving is in the shoe upper. In putting them on the biggest thing I noticed was the visibly thicker padding is not just cosmetic it is actually there and while I swap out the stock inserts in the other Merrell shoes, the stock inserts with this shoe are excellent. This is only to be expected given they are a trail runner they have to cope with some heavy impacts. The MQMs are really comfortable and even after using them for over 300km in a variety of conditions the cushioning underfoot is still there and hasn’t collapsed.
The lightweight upper is breathable and even on hot days my feet didn’t overheat. I also found that the shape of these shoes overall was excellent. The padding on the heal and side of the feet is also comfortable. The grip on these shoes is good in both powdery dry conditions as well as in the wet, even on steepish slopes.
Now for the downside. My feet are average width at the rear and midpoint but are wide at the forefoot – this is where I need to have space. I love these shoes when walking uphill and on the flat. Unfortunately for me issue arise when I walk down steeper gradients – my toes on both feet end up jamming into the front of the shoes. Now my left foot is one full size bigger than my right so I know from experience, my right foot feels OK but my left foot is tight even when going up a size. Unfortunately going up to a size 15 (the largest made in this model) while it would suit my smaller foot still would not work for my larger left foot. The narrower forefoot on this shoe also doesn’t allow my toes to spread like they do in the FSTs and its for this reason that this shoe won’t work for me.
This shoe contains a lighter weight toe and heel guard than other heavier hiking models but even with that there is enough protection for all but the heaviest rock kicks. The lacing system is also lighter and shorter than the hiking models which is neither here nor there. However, this lighter lacing system limits the ability to become creative with the lacing to achieve a tailored fit.
Ultimately this shoe works very well as a lightweight hiker for those with smaller feet who have the ability to go up a size or for those who don’t have a wide forefoot. They are one of the most comfortable shoes out of the box I have used and they deserve a place in your hiking kit.
You can purchase Merrell MQM Flex Men’s Shoes online from Merrill Australia
If you live in the USA you can also try Amazon USA
Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our gear reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!
If you have worn the Merrell MQM Flex Men’s Shoes or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
Merrell MQM Flex
Merrell MQM Flex sole
Merrell MQM back showing heal guard and front showing toe guard
Inside Merrell MQM Flex. The built in cushioning on these shoes is excellent
Merrell MQM top view showing lacing
Merrell MQM Flex inserts. These stock inserts, while nothing special, work well with this shoe
Merrell MQM Flex outsole view
Merrell MQM Insole view
Merrell MQM Flex (left) versus Merrell FST2 (right)
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker