Brand: Merrell Gear Reviews
Model: Grasshopper Air
Why we like it They’re light, breathable, and springy enough for daily trail running but supportive enough for big dayhikes.
Stability On training runs and hikes for a (successful) attempt up Mt. Kilimanjaro, these runners became one tester’s go-to shoes on rocky, steep trails outside Boulder, Colorado. She praised the stability, which is enhanced by a TPU heel exoskeleton that connects to the EVA midsole, locking her heel firmly in place.
Protection Miles of trail, zero rock bruises. Credit the thick lugs under the ball of the foot and the aforementioned TPU frame, which also guards against hard knocks.
Traction “The aggressive lug pattern has points that worked almost like spikes, so I could run without slipping on tight, gravelly turns and hills,” a tester says.
Fave feature These low-cuts have a higher cuff than a typical trail runner. “I often have trouble with pebbles and dirt getting inside my shoes and causing friction points,” says a tester. “But the ankle cushioning and high cuff around the Achilles effectively kept out rocks and other trail debris.”
Fit Best for high-volume feet, with enough room to wear extra-thick socks or to accommodate normal long-day foot swelling. People with narrow heels or low-volume feet may experience movement inside the shoe due to its generous sizing.
$100; 1 lb. 8 oz.; m’s 8-14, w’s 5-11; merrell .com