The Merrell Agility Peak 4 is a trail shoe for almost every surface

Kerry McCarthy
·3-min read
  • Weight 305g (M) 290g (W)

  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: 6mm

  • Type: trail

  • Price: £120

Buy now - men's

Buy now - women's

RW summary:

A reliable and comfortable steamroller for dirty trails.

General comments

Merrell is perhaps better known for its hiking boots than its trail running shoes, although it has been making the latter for a while. We haven’t tested any of the previous Agility Peak models so don’t have a point of comparison but in its own right this performed well on the feet of our team of trail runners and came out with an average score of 3.8/5, with a few details stopping it from marking higher. In short, there’s much to like about it and with some care and attention paid to the next update, this could be an excellent shoe.

The clue is not in the name

It’s anything but agile. This might sound like a negative but actually, it depends on what you’re after. Time and again our testers described the shoe as feeling heavy and unresponsive on tricky underfoot sections – so it’s not going to be a shoe for nimble fell runners. But in counterpoint to that you can run over pretty much anything in these - even a couple of hundred metres of jagged rock as one intrepid runner did - while remaining completely protected. The underfoot rock plate and the reinforced toe sections did their job excellently.

Photo credit: Merrell
Photo credit: Merrell

Beefed up midsole

The expression ‘Hoka-like’ cropped up more than once in the feedback and it's easy to see why, with a thickened midsole foam section making for an extremely cushioned ride. Heavier runners and those who are less experienced on the trails will love it, as well as ultrarunners. The cushioning combined well with a wide toe box to give plenty of comfort for those who wanted to go long.

How’s the grip?

There’s a Vibram ‘Megagrip’ outsole which does the job superbly in terms of traction and durability. It was tested on every surface you can imagine and emerged the victor on everything apart from two types of terrain: wet rock and long flat sections of hard-packed trail, where the firmness and aggression of the outsole lugs gave for an uncomfortable sensation. This is a shoe that is much more at home crunching its way over the uncertain ground rather than trying to give a smooth ride on the flat.

Sweat the details

Good details: the sewn-in tongue to keep debris out. The loops on tongue and heel for gaiter attachment. The way the outsole grooves don’t retain any mud or small stones. Details to improve: the lack of cushioning on the heel led to pressure on the top of the foot, especially for higher-arched runners or those who tied their laces tightly. The lower cut on the heel section led to some slippage and a feeling of vulnerability at the rear.

Conclusion

Beginner to intermediate trail runners should enjoy slipping these on for runs where reliability, a consistent feel and not coming a cropper are the main considerations.

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