The Merrell MQM Flex 2 GTX (opens in new tab) is a walking shoe to do it all, from urban exploring to hitting the trail in earnest. This eye-catching and dynamic walking shoe is the clear winner of this year's T3 Award 2020, and sits at the top of our rankings of the best walking shoes for men and the best women's walking shoes right now.
Merrell's newest tech-laden offering delivers where it counts, offering comfort and minimal weight alongside durability and protection on tougher trails, as well as masses of traction.
- Buy Merrell MQM Flex 2 GTX walking shoes (men's)
- Buy Merrell MQM Flex 2 GTX walking shoes (women's)
None of that is an accident, of course; Merrell has a long track record in effective outdoor footwear. The Merrell MQM Flex 2 GTX illustrates this very well indeed, boasting a kitchen-sink approach to outdoor shoe problems. There's a Gore-tex liner to shrug off dew and dampness, which is bonded so that there's barely any bulk to it at all. It's almost invisible, as well as being as breathable as a membrane can be.
Then there's the sole unit, armed with frankly enormous 5mm lugs that'll bite deep into mud and general choss, finding grip where few others dare to tread. Speaking of tread, the Merrell sole has undergone a bit of an upgrade here, renamed by the company as a ‘Quantum Grip' pattern. This means in practice that you get those deep lugs, but also an almost retro ribbed toecap and more robust-rippled heel area that grip amazingly well on mixed terrain.
Merrell has also packed in an Air Cushion heel, a protective rockplate and FLEXconnect dual-directional flex-grooves in the midsole, which give lots more groundfeel than you'd expect from a fairly chunky shoe. Yet another technical twist is hidden in the lacing, which incorporates a horizontal strap across the arch of the foot, adding support and distributing load more evenly without adding much weight – indeed, at 354g a shoe these are no heavyweights by any measure. That tongue-strap material is also used to create a separate, generous heel finger loop, handy for easing shoes on in the confined space of a tent entrance, and clipping to a harness on more technical ground, approach shoe style.
Arguably you're unlikely to need all these features on a single day, but the fact is that in almost any outdoor situation you'll be appreciating some of them at any one moment, which is a good indicator of a strong all-rounder. These are walking shoes that'll take you from your local pub to the Alps and back again, looking the part all the way there and back. A 2020 classic.
Full shortlist: Merrell MQM Flex 2 GTX, Arc'teryx Konseal LT, Inov-8 Roclite 280, Keen Venture Vent, Columbia Vitesse OutDry.
- Browse the rest of the winners of the T3 Awards 2020