Merrell Fanatic

This trail-running shoe is a very low-priced option for those who want a general off-road running shoe. It does not offer extremes of performance but manages to provide an all-round package of benefits. The upper is mesh and exceptionally breathable. There is some reinforcement around the toe and heel but there is more mesh on this shoe than most others. You get a speed lacing system that can be tucked away to prevent laces from snagging. Underfoot there is plenty of cushioning from both EVA and air channels, so running on roads should not be too hard underfoot. A good level of stiffness provides support on stony tracks too, while the toe flex is good for running. The outsole lug pattern is aggressive and ideal for general grass and mud. Use this for a mix of road and off-road running in the valley, and it should be ideal.  But the rolling action, flex and support of the sole are not quite as natural as other more dedicated running designs. There is lots of mesh on the top so this will potentially allow a lot of water into the shoe. The toe is not as well protected as others, so this is not ideal for descending steep slopes or clipping boulders.

 

Upper: breathable mesh and synthetic reinforcement
Sole: Vibram Trail Balanced sole with EVA cushioning
Sizes: 7-13 (men’s); 4-8 (women’s)
Trail fit profile: forefoot 2; heel 2; volume 2; length 2
Weight: 744g (pair, size11)
Made in China
Stores in UK: England 25; Wales 0; Scotland 1; Ireland 2

Verdict: Buy it if you want a good all-rounder that is low in price and good enough for taking you running along roads or forest tracks.