Right from the first time I saw the Merrell All Out Terra Trail I wanted to try them out. There is something very appealing about their uncompromised rugged design. Just looking at the lugs made me want to jump on a trail and start running.
I only run a few times a month but exclusively on trails. Asfalt just doesn’t cut it. I want the smells, the softness of muddy turns and the crunchy noise of gravel under my feet. I also favor minimal shoes. After going through a few pairs of Merrell’s Bare Access I wanted to try something with more grip. The Trail Glove 2 are good but only when it’s dry and not too rocky or muddy. My pair of Inov8 TrailRoc 245 have died a while ago and have been to this day my favorite trails runners.
Then came out the Merrell All Out Terra Trail. The name is a mouthful, true. But have you seen the lugs on those things? I immediately asked our contact if we could borrow a pair to try and since November I have been using them in almost all my outdoor outings.
Let’s have a look at the specs first. The All Out Terra Trail have a 6mm drop, not very minimal I know. And with the 16mm heel cushion you are definitely well away from the ground. Total stack heel stack height: 24mm. Weight for both in UK7: 551g / 19.4oz. If you want minimalistic, those are not it. But if you want foot protection, traction and all-round performance, keep reading.
What you lose in ground-feel you gain in impact protection. Between the lugs and the cushioning I could not feel even the sharpest stones. Under the heel, the combination of Uni-Fly EVA absorption foam and Vibram Tech is optimal. Under the forefoot the Trail Protect Plate dissipates shocks effectively. The toe guard and reinforced panels are great at keeping your toes protected as well as making the shoe more durable.
Walking / Hiking
A good pair of trail runners is very often also a great choice for hiking. Why use boots when you could use something lighter, more comfortable and flexible? If I am not going to snowshoe or need to use crampons, low ankle trail running shoes are my first choice for going to the mountain. There the Merrell All Out Terra Trail proved perfectly adequate. The construction is very sturdy and has not worn down yet in any visible ways. The outsole, while keeping a bit of flex, is also made of durable rubber. And of course the aggressive diamond-shaped lugs are great on many types of terrain.
However, I found where the Merrell All Out Terra Trail were outperformed by other models is on wet rocky ground. I often slipped and slided if I did not step carefully. There I think the Inov8 TrailRoc and Race Ultra 270 have the upper hand if not by much.
Comfort and Fit of the Merrell All Out Terra Trail
This is another area where the shoes fare very well in general. The main feature is their built-in sock liner. It is a neoprene-like liner that wraps snugly around your foot and keeps it well secured and prevents any debris from getting in. I am happy to report the liner works perfectly. The small downside is with the lacing. Because of the liner, Merrell did not add a tongue. If you fasten the laces too much they will dig into the top of the foot. I quickly learnt to not lace the All Out Terra Trail too tight and trusted the liner to properly old my feet. I’ll have to see if the snug fit will old with the time but so far it is looking good.
The Merrell All Out Terra Trail is built to offer maximum protection from all angles. The toe cap is very stiff though and could have been extended to the side. The fabric used to protect the forefoot is also not that great and does not fold well with each foot flexion. I also found the front too narrow compared to the rest of the shoe. I have very wide feet and although the UK7 size is slightly too long, it could have been a bit wider. This is very personal and you should definitely try a pair at your local outdoor dealer to make sure you are getting the correct size.
Merrell All Out Terra Trail review wrap-up
I like the Merrell All Out Terra Trail. They are great for when I want more protection while running and they are definitely a great choice for hikes. The built-in liner is a great feature that would be even better with some sort of tongue on top to protect against the laces. Grip is best-in-class, you will not be disappointed. If Merrell could shave-off some of the weight while keeping the protection it would be even better. The launch price was around $120 / £110 / 135€, which was a bit steep but you can now find them cheaper if you are prepared to order online.