Bicyclists take care of their bikes, equestrians care for their horses, and subsequently hikers must take care for their feet.  I have tried hiking boots, hiking shoes, running shoes, tennis shoes, and even my vans for hiking… and I have yet to find anything that I like more than my new Merrell Mix Masters. I will give my first impressions review.


Having tried both boots and running shoes, I thought I was either doomed to swamp feet or sore soles. I love the way boots make you feel stomping on rocks, twigs, small animals, etc without feeling a thing, but I cannot stand “swamp feet.” You know what I am talking about… When you take off your boots at the end of a day of hiking and the stench makes you want to just sleep with the boots on! To avoid the horrid putrification, I tried just my running/tennis shoes. I loved the lightness, but the shoes were not happy about the abuse. It must have been only a few weeks before they were splitting apart.

I wanted to find something that would breathe well while still protecting my feet, but I was always skeptical of Trail Runners. At $70+ a pair I was not rushing to buying a pair and I didn’t want to spend less money and waste my time with a bad pair. Then I came across Gear Trade, which allows individuals and corporations to sell used clothing at discount prices! Backcountry had these Mix Master 2 Runners just at my size and price range, so I bought a pair.

After a few weeks of having used them running on a treadmill, casually around campus, and on the trail these shoes might be my favorite piece of gear. I have hiked in 15 F weather as well as 45 F weather with wool socks as well as athletic running socks and my feet have neither been sweaty nor cold.


As you can see, the front part of the shoe is hole-punched breathable foam lined with mesh. The midsole is 9mm EVA foam, which has a nice, light feeling and there is an absorption pad where the balls of your feet are. Another thing that I love is that they weight a mere 9 ounces per shoe! Switching from boots to trail runners, I feel like Forest Gump when he runs out of his leg braces.

Since I have switched to trail runners I have been rolling/twisting my ankle less! I can hike much faster. And I don’t want to vomit when I take them off!

Over the next season of hiking I will be looking next at their durability. I expect to need an insole after a few months. I will also be trying them out for 20 to 30 mile days later this year, so I will testing how they (my feet) hold up after that much abuse!

Thanks for reading! Happy Trails.


5 thoughts on “Gear Talk: Merrell Mix Master 2 Minimalist Trial Runners

  1. It looks like a very good, comfortable shoe. Isn’t it dangerous that it doesn’t reach over your ankle area? This could lead to injuries, couldn’t it?

    1. Everyone has different requirements for foot protection. For me, I have not rolled my ankle once since I switched to lighter shoes. When I wore my heavy over the ankle boots, I tended to drag my feet more and trip over things.

  2. I will consider that! I was doing ankle exercises for a while- that helped a bit. I have been having less trouble when using these shoes though; I think it is because they are lighter so I don’t drag my feet as much.

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