Merrell Morphlite Review: terrific for trails, reliable for the road

The Merrell Morphlite is officially my new favourite running shoe

Merrell Morphlite review: a picture of the Merrell Morphlite outside on a wall
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Merrell Morphlite bridges the gap between road and trail, so you can do the best of both worlds – run on the road and divert off onto more rugged (yet still easy) terrain. It’s a first from the brand and they’ve done a decent job; the shoe is incredibly comfy, and lightweight, breathable, with good energy return and has an affordable price tag. Kudos Merrell!

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Breathable and comfy

  • +

    True to size

  • +

    Great grip

  • +

    Great colour section

  • +

    Good value for money

  • +

    Wide cushioned soles, good for over-pronation and under-pronation

  • +

    Made from sustainable materials

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Take a (very small) while to break in

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If you don’t have time to read our entire Merrell Morphlite review then all you need to know is this – it’s a fantastic road-to-trail running shoe, that’s super lightweight, supportive, grippy, and affordable. It’s easily become one of my new favourite running shoes and if you’re someone who often runs on the road, but also likes to venture off the beaten track onto easy forest paths, or cycle routes, it may well become yours too.

Merrell has a hiking heritage and over the last few years the brand has ventured into trail running shoes with the likes of the Long Sky and SkyFire 2, but the Morphlite bridges the gap between road and trail. I think it’s a smart move on Merrell’s behalf, as more people are running and spending time outdoors, like myself. It’s £100/$100 is intriguing too, especially as these days, new trainers just seem to be getting more and more expensive, but not the Morphlite.

Read on for my full review…

Merrell Morphlite Review: Price and availability

Merrell Morphlite review: side view of the Morphlite

(Image credit: Future)

The Merrell Morphlite launched in February 2024 and is available to buy directly from Merrell UK for a recommended price of £100. They’re also available at Merrell US for $100 and Merrell AU for $159.99. Both shoes are available in a women’s and men’s version and come in four to five colourways. 

Merrell Morphlite Review: Specification

  • Best for: Long runs (HOKA’s most cushioned shoe to date)
  • Tested weight: 12.6oz/ 357g (women’s US 8/ UK 5.5)
  • Drop: 6.5 mm 
  • Stack height: 26.5-20mm
  • Cushioning: FloatPro Foam midsole 
  • Sustainability: 100% recyclable laces, webbing, lining, footbed cover and 50% recycled EVA foam footbed

Merrell Morphlite Review: Design and materials

Merrell Morphlite review: a close up of the Morphlite material

(Image credit: Future)

You’re bound to receive a few compliments wearing the Morphlites, as it’s a great-looking shoe that comes in a selection of fresh colourways. The shoe itself is ridiculously lightweight, with a mesh upper, and plenty of ventilation holes, and has been crafted from (mostly) sustainable materials, so you can feel good about what you’re wearing. Inside you’ll find an ‘internal bootie’, which helps keep your foot locked into place and snug, but in a good way.

The midsoles are made from Merrell’s FloatPro Foam and there’s no carbon plate in them, helping them to feel springy underfoot. On the rubber outsole you’ll find deep 3mm lugs, which also have little tread patterns on each one for superior grip. They’re also very wide too, so whether you’re someone who over-pronates or under-pronates, these shoes should accommodate you nicely. With a moderate 6.5mm heel drop the Morphlite also has a little arch support, but definitely nothing major.

Merrell Morphlite Review: Performance and comfort

Two things I immediately noticed putting on the Morphlites: they fit perfectly (with a nice amount of wiggle room) and the soles are slightly hard. However this isn’t a big problem, as within 20 minutes of wearing them to run a few errands they had completely softened up.

Merrell says the Morphlite is a road-to-trail shoe, designed for light trails “with rare obstacles with light to no debris”, so I took them out for a couple of easy 5k road runs and down my local cycle path, which extends into a wood. They were an absolute joy to run in 

The FloatPro Foam had just the right amount of energy return feeling soft and springy beneath my feet, but still stable enough that I still had enough control over my movement. 

Merrell Morphlite review: the sole of the Morphlites

(Image credit: Future)

They’re incredibly light on the foot too and, needless to say, those deep lugs give excellent grip. Even if I’d (non-intentionally) thrown my foot down into a puddle, and then run over some hard-ish mud, the grip was still top-notch. Thanks to the mesh material my feet didn't overheat and the internal bootie makes them feel locked in and snug, and there's plenty of padding around the ankle too.

I’ll admit, I did try running through a field with these on (I think I became overexcited by how well they performed elsewhere), but I can confirm these really are just for hard terrain, so don’t push your luck like I did.  

Merrell Morphlite Review: verdict

Merrell Morphlite review: a picture of the Morphlites outside

(Image credit: Future)

The Morphlite has quickly become my new favourite pair of running shoes as I think they have plenty to be commended: they’re comfortable, super lightweight, breathable, supportive and (the cherry on top of the cake) they’re affordable too. Not forgetting Merrell has clearly gone to the utmost effort to make the shoe as sustainable as possible as so much of the shoe has been crafted from recycled materials. I think for their first iteration of a road-trail running shoe, they've done a brilliant job and it'll be interesting to see if more models will be on their way later in the future.

If you’re planning to hit more tricky trails, then I’d pass on the Morphlite and advise checking out our alternative section below. But, if you’re looking for a versatile running shoe that can be used on pavement, gravel and light trails, then these are great.  

Also consider

If you’re looking for a similar road-to-trail running shoe to the Merrell Morphlite (albeit a little speedier with a carbon plate), you may want to consider The North Face Summit Vectic 20 Pro. It’s an excellent shoe that can be used on a wider variety of trails, including off-road, forest trails, country lanes, and soft, mixed and intermediate terrain.

Alternatively, the Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 is fantastic if you’re looking to hit more rugged terrain. It received five stars from us and it has excellent grip, great cushioning and stability and is super lightweight. Just note it is a zero-drop shoe though, so it may take some getting used to, but it’s one we fell in love with instantly.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.