The MQM here stands for ‘Moving Quickly in the Mountains’. Sadly, the coronavirus lockdown put paid to my plans to rigorously test the Merrell MQM Flex 2.0 GTXs up gnarly, rocky mountains near my home in the Lake District. But, luckily, I have a few small fells on my doorstep with just enough ruggedness and steepness to put a pair of shoes through their paces.
Watch Hill (254m) near my home in Cockermouth, for example, has grassy slopes, a large forest with muddy tracks and trails, and a section of exposed bedrock near the summit. This is where I tested the Merrell MQM Flex 2.0 GTXs during my daily Boris-mandated walks and runs, safely and responsibly adhering to social distancing rules. It wasn’t quite Great Gable or Blencathra, but it still proved a good testing ground. This is what I learnt:
As with most Merrell walking shoes, I found the MQM Flex 2.0 GTXs to be comfortable straight out of the box. Due to the trainer-style design, they fitted like a glove and I immediately felt at ease with them on my feet. They were true to size for me, there was no rubbing or discomfort anywhere and I was immediately eager to get out in them. They were pretty lightweight too. At 708g per pair, they were far lighter than many other pairs of approach shoes I’ve owned in the past, which made me feel fast, light and nimble on my feet.
“At 708g per pair, they were far lighter than many other pairs of approach shoes”
The original MQM Flex GTX shoes and boots were a flagship product for Merrell, designed as a hybrid to combine ‘hiking, trail running, scrambling and climbing into one shoe’. This bold aim was clearly ambitious, risking being a jack of all trades and master of none. But the footwear brand managed to strike a fine balance and created a good all-rounder of a shoe, with strong grip, reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing and a comfortable, supportive structure.