Winter Running Shoe Recommendation: Merrell Mix Master 2 Waterproof Trail Shoe

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.

Mix Master Mid

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.

Merrell Mix Master 2 WaterproofMerrell Mix Master 2 side

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. Merrell Mix Master 2 topMerrell Mix Master 2 sole

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!

The Merrell Mix Master 2 waterproof trail shoe is available for purchase at Running Warehouse and Merrell.com.

The Merrell Mix Master Mid multisport shoe is available for purchase at Amazon.com, Road Runner Sports, and Zappos.

You can read my original Merrell Mix Master 2 review here.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. wait your beagle was ok, right? We need closure on this anecdote!

  2. I don’t see female equivalents to these shoes, are they not made?

  3. Not so much a running shoe but the newly released Vivobarefoot Synth Hiker is a great winter hiking boot (we had a first real snow 2 weeks ago so I had lots of opportunities to test). I also have a toddler on my back.

    I had the MMM2wpfT on my list, too, but discarded it for its 4mm drop. I got so accustomed to my zero drop Trailroc 235 and Bare Access that I can’t stand a drop anymore. 4mm does not sound much but I live in the mountains and walking/running downhill is quite different with only a few mm of drop.

    While I can somehow understand the rational for a elevated heel for running shoes I do not comprehend this for hiking boots. Hope we see more alternatives in the future.

  4. Hey Peter, great review as always!

    I was looking for a minimalist shoe with enough cushion for mountain hiking during winter. I found the lowtop version yu show here could be a great solution.

    Using 43.5 on Trail Glove/Road Glove, do you think my feet would be happy on a 43.5 Mix Master or should I get 44? (using mountain socks on the Gloves seems to be ok on 43.5)

    Thank you for your input :D

  5. Glenn Hough says:

    Can anyone comment on how suitable that lugged sole on the Mix Master Waterproof is for running on asphalt? I’m looking for a waterproof for wet slushy, snowy runs here in Russia but will also be going over some road surfaces. I was looking at the Inov-8 Terrafly 313 GTX but then noticed these. Thanks.

  6. Francois L'Abbe says:

    I love those shoes. Used it for hiking in Acadia Park trails in october. They were a bit slippery on wet rocks (I think Merrel can do better with the sole), but light and fast. They will be my winter running shoes in Quebec city!

  7. Dave Uejio says:

    So at the risk of sounding like a total wierdo, I forego waterproof shoes in favor of water resistant bicycling booties: link to rei.com… I’m sure there are reasons not to do this, but they work fine for me with or without showshoes.

  8. I’ve never used waterproof shoes. Don’t see the point, you are going to get wet. I did a 3 hr. run with friends in rain on trails and we all wore sandals!

  9. Here in Germany, Merrell is selling the Embark Glove GTX. Zero drop, rock plate, water proof for a hefty 150 euros.

    • Pete Larson says:

      We had that one in the US as well, but the price was too high I think, and shoes with minimal sole don’t do so well in standing water since there is minimal height till it spills over the ankle.
      Sent from my iPod

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