Merrell Mix Master Tuff Mid Waterproof
Great entry-level footwear for ultralight and minimalist…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $59.97
Great entry-level footwear for ultralight and minimalist beginners.
- Very light weight
- More support than I expected
- Sized accurately
- Waterproofing is good
- Don't see any yet
- Just be aware that these boots are not for people carrying 35+ pound packs
The Mix Master Tuff Mid Waterproof is one of Merrell's first attempts, if not their first serious attempt, at meeting the needs of the ultralight and minimalist markets. In some ways, it's neither fully ultralight or minimalist by today's top tier standards.
For example, a typical minimalist would not like that the overall sole thickness of this shoe is too thick by their standards. While that's a bad thing for that person, it's probably a good thing for someone that is just starting with ultralight / minimalist hiking. So, don't let that sway you away.
If you're new to either ultralight or minimalist hiking then you might consider this as a shoe / boot that helps your transition. Personally, that's where I think this boot really shines.
The 3.5mm lugs on the bottom are smartly angled for best traction at the different parts of the outsole. Good design.
Here are some details:
Size: I usually wear 11W for my shoe size. For boots, I order 11.5W to accommodate thick socks and that turned out perfect. There is even a little extra room, which I'm sure my feet will fill as they swell during longer hikes. Long story short, these seem "true to size".
Weight: The Merrell website says these shoes are 22 ounces per pair. I'm sure that's for a smaller size. My size 11.5 shoes weighed in at 29.21 ounces on my digital postal scale (for the pair). That's not quite the 22 ounces (or less) that typifies the ultralight / minimalist category, but they certainly are not heavy by any stretch. My last pair was over 47 ounces, so I'm pretty happy with 29!
Break-in period: They arrive ready to go. No break-in necessary.
Outer design: These are small shoes compared to typical hiking shoes. Here are a few pics to compare how the Merrell is a fraction of the size of the boots they are replacing.
Inner design: Merrell has certainly earned their reputation for making outstanding footwear. Rest assured, this boot is no exception. While I don't have many specifics to point to, please note that you can't expect this boot to wear the same way that a more fortified boot does. For example, there's minimal arch support which likely plays into reduced weight. If you don't need a lot of arch support, then no worries. If you do, then you'd likely use inserts anyway. No loss for either buyer.
Otherwise the support is sure-footed, and the inner mid-sole provides a basic pivot point for when you're hiking with a load. This earns top marks, provided you're not trying to carry a 40lb+ pack. So, they're designed for "fast and light", but they won't hold up to heavy loads. Whether they hold up to distance is a whole different question, and one that I still need to put to the test. After I get back from a longer trip I'll come back and add to this review.
Insulation: These boots have nearly no insulation. They certainly provide more protection than sandals, but don't expect a whole lot more insulating support compared to a pair of tennis shoes. Your thick wool socks will be your friend.
One last thing: Why only 3.5 stars? These seem like they'll earn a better rating than that. Until I can report back on distance hiking, I want to keep the rating neutral.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
Although the Merrell Men's Mix Master Tuff Mid Waterproof Shoe might look imposing, its low heel offset and lightweight midsole materials will make you feel light on your feet when you're out on the trail. A burlier version of Merrell's popular Mix Master, this shoe features high ankle support and a waterproof membrane added to the same, nimble chassis. Run across dry creek beds and over loose trails and let the 12mm of cushioning soak up foot strikes and the impact of rough surfaces. This shoe works for an intermediate or advanced trail runner who prefers the natural feeling of a low-drop shoe combined with thicker cushioning and added weather and ankle protection, and this shoe also does wonders for the fast-paced hiker who's looking for a minimal, lightweight hiking shoe.
The lightweight Merrell Mix Master Tuff Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots stay true to minimalist design but give you extra protection where you need it so you can hit the trails and have fun rain or shine. Mesh and synthetic leather uppers have waterproof membranes to keep your feet dry when you're caught in the rain. Tongues are bellowed to keep debris out. Footbeds are treated with Aegis Microbe Shield(R) antimicrobial treatment to deter odors from developing. 4mm heel-to-toe drop encourages a natural midfoot or forefoot strike to promote forward momentum and reduce the impact of heel striking. Low-profile Merrell Float(TM) EVA midsole is a touch thinner than previous Merrell midsoles for enhanced feel and responsiveness; Air Cushion heel pockets help absorb shock. 3.5mm deep lugs provide good feel and traction on streets and trails. Reflective hits increase visibility in low light. Overstock.
With extra ankle support, a waterproof membrane to keep feet dry, and a pared-down profile, Merrell's Mix Master Tuff Mid is a superlightweight minimalist hiker that delivers an agile ride with a 4 mm drop for better ground feel. Sticky outsole lugs propel you on pavement and packed trails.