Merrell MQM 3 GORE-TEX | Deep Dive - Outdoors Magic

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Merrell MQM 3 GORE-TEX | Deep Dive

Merrell call their new MQM 3 GORE-TEX the ultimate shoe for fast hiking. But what exactly does that mean? Let us explain…

Fast hiking is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s the middle ground between walking and running; where hikers seek to cover ground a little faster, basically in order to be able to take in more in a shorter amount of time. Such an approach can let you fit in a hilltop before lunch or after work, all-the while not forcing you to strain yourself in the same way that you would when running and letting you carry more on your back too – a camera for instance, or some sandwiches for that summit stop.

Over the last few years, the growth of this style of hiking has brought with it the development of purpose-built footwear, essentially hybrids between a walking boot and a running shoe. For fast hiking, you want something that’s light but still supportive and sturdy, you want something that’s grippy but not too overbearing and you want something that’s waterproof but also breathable too. Case in point: the Merrell MQM 3 Gore-tex.

Autumn/Winter 2022 sees the release of the third iteration of this shoe which has now become a hugely popular model for the U.S. brand. New changes include a refined, more locked-in fit and a sole that was developed as part of an exclusive collaboration between Merrell and Vibram.

The Upper

The upper is thin but made from durable materials and there’s padding where you need it, including on the tongue and around the heel. TPU overlays give a bit of added protection to the walls of the shoe, particularly around the toe. The Gore-tex membrane extends throughout the upper and links with the tongue via gussets, so there’s all-round waterproof protection.

The Sole

The sole unit contains a nylon shank under the arch of the foot and a rock plate, so there’s plenty of protection from sharp rocks and roots. Merrell’s proprietary foam brings cushioning and shock absorption to proceedings too, but not so much that it causes a loss of that ‘feel’ for the trail underfoot either.

Onto that rubber sole then. The compound is called Vibram TC5+ and it’s designed to give you traction on all levels of surface and in all conditions – though it will have its limitations on things like super slimy or icy rock. The lugs have an aggressive 5mm depth, with forward facing chevrons on the ball of the foot for uphill traction and backward facing chevrons on the heel for downhill traction. Handily, there’s also a climbing zone around the toe and that’s there to give you that extra reliability when edging up any rocky sections.


To lower the overall Co2 footprint of the MQM 3 Gore-tex, Merrell have sourced recycled plastics instead of relying on virgin plastics across the whole shoe. The mesh lining on the inside, for instance, is made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastics, so too are the laces and the sections of webbing. The removable EVA footbed uses 50% recycled materials.

Merrell have also recently introduced a new recycle and resell scheme called ReTread and this means you can send your used Merrell shoes back to them at no cost, no matter how well-loved they are, and they’ll make sure to either find a new home for them if they can be repaired or they’ll be ground down to make new materials for new products. In return you’ll get £20 off your next Merrell order.


Olympic race walker Tom Bosworth has been using the Merrell MQM 3 Gore-tex in the UK’s mountains recently. Here’s his verdict…

Tom Bosworth using the Merrell MQM 3.0 in the Lake District.

“The first thing I noticed about the MQM is the quality of its construction. This shoe looks athletic and sturdy – a rare combo when it comes to hiking shoes which are usually forced to compromise.

“Whilst you would be able to find shoes elsewhere in the market that you can run, hike, or scramble in better than the MQM, I don’t think I’ve come across a shoe that can do all three as well as this one can.

“Each part of the shoe’s design has a specific purpose in mind and it’s this efficiency which allows it to lay claim to being a running, hiking and scrambling shoe. So, if you’re someone who likes to horde shoes and is looking to create some space on your shoe rack, the MQM might be just for you. One shoe, three times less space. It’s essentially the multi-tool of hiking shoes.”

OM x Merrell
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