A few months ago I wrote a very positive review of the Merrell Mix Master 2 trail running shoe. It still ranks among my favorites (though the Inov-8 Trailroc 235 is vying for the top spot in my trail shoe rotation), and is suitable for running in a variety of conditions from asphalt roads to fairly rugged trails.
Merrell Mix Master Mid
In addition to the Mix Master trail runner, Merrell was kind enough to also send me a pair of the Mix Master Mid waterproof multi-sport shoe (see photo above; disclosure – the shoe was a media sample provided free of charge by Merrell).
The Mix Master Mid multisport takes the Mix Master 2 sole and roomy last and adds a waterproof, mid-ankle upper. The result is basically a a light hiking boot that I have already grown to love. I haven’t gone on any long hikes in them yet, but I did spend a good number of hours bushwhacking through the woods in search of my lost beagle a few weeks ago, and the shoes were great. I was able to fully submerge my foot in streams without any water leaking through, and they kept my feet nice and dry.
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve worn a hiking boot since the pair of Garmont boots that I have tore apart the skin over my Achilles the last time I wore them and I’ve found minimal trail shoes to be fine for the low-intensity hiking that I do these days (though more often than not I have a 30 pound toddler on my back when I hike). However, there are certain times that a waterproof shoe with a high ankle cuff comes in handy, and I expect these will see a great deal of use this winter once the snow starts to fall (one major drawback of ultraminimal shoes in winter is the lack of a thick sole makes it hard to walk through slush puddles without getting your feet, or at least your pant legs soaked).
Now, I’ve never tried running in the Mix Master Mid (except for chasing my dog), and I’m not sure whether I’d like the potential restrictions caused by a mid-ankle height boot on a long run. I was poking around on the Merrell website the other day and noticed that Merrell has now added a waterproof version of the Merrell Mix Master 2. It appears to share the same sole and last of the Mix Master 2 and Mid, and has a low-top version of the Mix Master Mid waterproof upper.
I’ve only ever owned one other truly waterproof running shoe, the La Sportiva Wildcat GTX. For most conditions, even light snow, I’ve found a simple non-waterproof trail shoe to be fine, but the Wildcats are the shoes I have used when things are really nasty (think cold, standing water and slush). However, they have a traditional heel-toe drop and fit a bit narrow, so they don’t make it out except on those rare occasions when absolutely necessary. The Mix Master 2 waterproof would be a great alternative with a thinner sole and only a 4mm drop from heel to toe.
A number of people have asked me in the past few weeks for recommendations for a waterproof winter running shoe, and I’d have to say that the Merrell Mix Master 2 waterproof would be my top choice were I looking to buy one myself (for now, I’ll probably just give the Mids a try on those rare occasions when I feel the need for a waterproof shoe).
If you have any other suggestions for winter running shoes, go ahead and add a comment!
You can read my original Merrell Mix Master 2 review here.