In our Merrell Mix Master 2 review we gave it a top score of 98/100. Runners who like to run on both smooth and rugged trails with a bit of road running mixed in will find a lot to like in the Merrell Mix Master 2. This is a minimalist shoe that provides more protection from rocks and rough terrain than a barefoot style but less bulk and cushion than a conventional trail shoe. There are 8 good reasons this shoe is a good choice:
Merrell Mix Master 2 Photos
1. The Merrell Mix Master 2 works on anything from road to rugged trail. The sticky rubber sole, nubby traction and rock plate work well on rugged trail. But the cushioning lets runners move from road to trail with ease.
2. The shoe’s snug fit hugs the foot with little friction or excess room to cause blisters. It is designed to be snug in the heel and midfoot, with a bit more room in the toe area (toe box). This allows the shoe to stay in place while you navigate tricky terrain or steep hills. The shoe could benefit from Omni-Fit lacing for an even tighter fit but the current lacing system does a good job.
3. The Merrell Mix Master 2 is close to the ground, with minimal cushioning to really move with the foot and feel fairly natural. The shoe has a 4mm drop or toe-heel differential. This gives you a feeling of being close to the road but with some cushioning from rocks or other debris.
4. The shoe is flexible despite the rock plate and some arch support. This is key to letting you move freely uphill, downhill, or on rough trail. Both a heel strike or midfoot strike runner will find the shoe offers flexibility in the midsole.
5. 3.5mm lugs and sticky rubber allow the Merrell Mix Master 2 to grip trail. Trail runners need the grip good lugs provide and these shoes have them. The soles can handle a variety of weather and trail conditions from snow to sand, groomed trail to rock mountainside.
6. This shoe can transition from road to trail. Not every trail shoe can do that. Some trail shoes have too much traction to be practical on smooth road conditions while road shoes don’t provide enough grip on steep trails. This shoe offers a good mix of both features. They will wear out faster in road conditions but are designed for a range of conditions.
7. The Merrell Mix Master 2 offers durable but breathable upper construction. Recently redesigned, the upper is sturdier than the previous model but still allows for breathability and drainage in wet conditions. The Bellows tongue, which is connected to the shoe close to the opening prevents dirt and rocks from finding their way in the shoe. The shoe also has Aegis antimicrobial treatment to cut down on bacteria and odor, a nice feature for smelly feet.
8. Lightweight design balanced with a cushiony insole allows the shoe to feel minimalist but still offer support. With 9mm of cushioning and a total weight of 8oz, the shoe gives support without weight.
This shoe is well constructed with some great features. It’s a great choice for the runner looking for a shoe somewhere in between conventional trail shoes and running barefoot.