602g (m), 510g (w)
Features: The MQM (Moving Quickly over Mountains) is a hybrid running and approach shoe that’s distinctive for its specialised Vibram sole: Idrogrip under the toes and forefoot and MegaGrip under the heel. The Idrogrip offers high friction for traction, particularly on wet rock, while the Megagrip is grippy but harder for durability. Sandwiched between the sole and a bonded TPU upper (with almost no exposed stitching) is a rock plate that provides structure. For trail runners, the MQM has a stack height (sole thickness) of 25.5–19.5mm (6mm drop).
Fit: This shoe is of medium width and the sizing is consistent with my usual shoe size. There’s no gusseted tongue, but an internal bootie wraps firmly around the foot arch and provides a sock-like fit that locks your midfoot in place.
Comfort: The stack height of these shoes is at the medium to high end of the range, intended for medium to longer runs (1–8mm is low and 30mm+ is ‘Maximal’). Consequently, they feel quite plush. Aside from fine-tuning the lace tension, they needed no breaking in.
In use: The precise fit, the sole and overall structure give this shoe a nimble feel. I had plenty of control negotiating steep, wet, rocky tracks where foot placement was crucial for efficiency. Running rough trails was fun because they have such a positive interface with the surface. Aggressive lugs on the sole’s edge give plenty of bite when sidling on wet slopes, but the smooth ‘climbing zone’ is a little more slide-prone when levering up on your toes on clay. The rock plate not only stops you feeling sharp stones but also provides stability when edging. My only complaint was that the heel cup felt like it needed to be deeper – for my feet, at least. Possibly Merrell is emulating the collapsible low profile-style heel seen on some approach shoes, but for this hybrid shoe I would have preferred a cup that gripped my heel more firmly.
Value: The MQM is a high-end shoe and priced as such, but it’s not the most expensive in this class of shoe.
Verdict: A top-end shoe that will be perfect on technical trails and mountain scrambles, and will also suit hikers looking for a fast and light alternative, particularly if off-track travel is anticipated.
Plusses: Cutting-edge construction and materials, stable and very structured forefoot and sole.
Minuses: Heel cup could be more supportive, softer rubber compounds wear faster.