Merrell Morphlite trail running shoe | Tested and reviewed

Merrell’s Morphlite is a new road-to-trail hybrid shoe for the first time trail runner. But with a low RRP of £100, can this shoe really serve both purposes on a budget?

from Merrell
RRP  £89.99
Merrell Morphlite star ratings

by Holly Giles |
Updated on

The new Women’s Morphlite from Merrell is a road-to-trail hybrid shoe, with good grip permitting quick changes in direction with minimal slipping. It’s a light weight trainer with a good balance of breathability and waterproofing. However, the light weight is partly due to missing cushioning as they lack the padding offered by some of their pricier counterparts.

Our tester, Holly Giles, got her hands on these highly affordable shoes, and put them to the test in the Surrey hills. Holly is great at pushing trail running shoes to their limit, and these high-stack hybrids have certainly met their match. Find her full review below...



  • Sole transfers well from road to trail
  • Splashproof upper
  • Good breathability
  • Great grip when changing direction
  • Excellent value


  • Flat footed style encourages overpronation
  • Padding doesn't stack up well on sharp terrain


The lining of the upper sole is thin, offering good breathability when running in hotter temperatures. This is a not marketed as a waterproof shoe but efforts have been made to reduce the amount of water entering when trail running: the tongue has an additional mesh lining to the upper sole, this thin lining does not impact comfort but helps waterproof the shoe when running through mud.

three quarter turn of Merrell Morphlite road to trail running shoes

In addition the toe box section has a double lining to balance breathability with reduce water entry, a challenge which seems well managed in these shoes. The shoes have a simple lace system with an elastic strap across the upper tongue to allow users to tuck their laces in. This is a nice nod to the trail side of these hybrid shoes.


These shoes are light, weighing in at 215g per shoe (UK size 6.5), and whilst this gives a bouncy feeling when running, this is at the cost of comfort. The midsole (made of FloatPro Foam) is very hard and provides minimal cushioning from the terrain below. Over shorter runs this is not a problem, but over longer distances this can become jarring and uncomfortable.

side profile of Merrell Morphlite road to trail running shoes

Merrell shoes have an “internal bootie” (their words, not mine) to provide additional ankle support. This is described online as providing a “locked-in fit” and it does make the runner feel secure and at a low risk of ankle sprains when trail running. However, the design of this shoe is very flat meaning ankles are pronated, which is unsuitable for any runners with hypermobility, tendon issues or otherwise weak ankles.


This shoe is marketed as a “road to trail” shoe: these often fall down in regards to grip as are balancing two different purposes. However, the Morphlite has great grip, with a perimeter trail lug of 3mm and a multi-surface lug of 2mm. This combination means the central smaller lugs are suitable for road or path running, while the larger perimeter lugs provide good traction on trail surfaces.

outsole of merrell morphlite trail running shoe

They stand up well in the mud (even if they are impractical in colour!) and maintain good traction when changing direction. The sole also shows promising durability with no significant signs of wear visible after a month of use.


Merrell as a brand has a good sustainability policy and is taking strides as a company towards better practices. Whilst this shoe is not from their sustainable range, it does offer multiple components made of recycled materials including 100% recycled laces, webbing, mesh lining and mesh footbed cover. In addition, the EVA foam footbed is made of 50% recycled materials.

three quarter turn of Merrell Morphlite road to trail running shoes

Whilst not relevant to every consumer, these shoes are vegan-friendly, which, combined with their good sustainability practices, means you can “lighten your environmental footprint while you experience the joy of outdoor trail running” according to Merrell.

Price and competition

With an RRP of £100, these trainers are at a good entry shoe due to their place at the lower end of the trail shoe price scale. However, the low price is reflected in some of the features and you are likely to want to upgrade if trail running is for you. A shoe like the Saucony Xodus Ultra2 is at a slightly higher price point, but delivers much more cushioning and roughly equal traction.


The low price of these hybrid shoes makes them a good starting option for the new trail runner. However, their low price is in exchange for minimal padding leading to a jarring sensation over longer distances. They have great grip, especially when changing direction, but their hard midsole means they will only be coming out the cupboard for a trail parkrun.

How we tested

Holly Giles expert trail runner and shoe tester

These shoes were tested and reviewed by Holly Giles. Holly is a scientific researcher and is always running as a way to escape the lab. She is a freelance gear tester, parkrun tourist and half-marathon runner. Holly has put these shoes to the test for the last month with muddy parkruns and runs through her local woods in Surrey.

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