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Merrell Pantheon Waterproof

rated 3.5 of 5 stars

The Pantheon Waterproof has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best trail shoes for 2023.

photo: Merrell Pantheon Waterproof trail shoe

The Pantheon Sport Gore-Tex is a good-looking shoe, it's waterproof, and has the classic Merrell toughness and probably durability.

Unfortunately, I'm disappointed with this shoe compared to previous experiences with Merrell shoes (this is my 4th pair). The biggest problem is fit and comfort. The tongue has overlapping material at the sides (ostensibly to keep water out) but the additional material pinches the top of your foot if you tie your laces securely. For a while I had to undo the laces at my desk because the tops of my feet were in pain otherwise.

Second, the soles of the shoes have problems. They are the typical Vibram rubber compound and they have good grip on dry surfaces. But when they get wet, they get slippery! Walking on smooth surfaces like metal grates or manhole covers when they are wet gets dangerous in these shoes, it's like you're walking on ice in penny loafers... it's not confidence-inspiring.

Also, I had to wash some dog poo off one of the shoes, and 2 months later the rubber still smells like it's wet or moldy. Even the shoe that didn't have poo on it smells funny after washing.

Lastly, the build quality of the shoe is questionable. When I flex my foot in the shoe, it sounds like I've got a plastic bag over my foot instead of a sock. I think it's a combination of the gore-tex and the mesh material on the top of the shoe. It's functional but sounds flimsy.

For ~$120 shoe and with the Merrell reputation I was expecting the greatest trail shoe I'd ever purchased. Sadly, I wouldn't even call this a good trail shoe. I can't wait for these shoes to be worn out so I can justify buying new shoes.

Materials: gore-tex
Use: walking around campus 2-3 miles a day
Break-in Period: 3 months
Weight: my weight? 150lbs
Price Paid: $114

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