Merrell vs Salomon can be a tough choice, as both offer great footwear. There are some key differences in the boots and shoes offered by both brands, including waterproof technologies, outsoles and fit.
However, many of these differences boil down to technicalities and preference. While one brand may have one advantage, typically the other will have its own benefit as well.
Knowing what activities or terrain you're going to be in is the first step in choosing. Prioritizing features will help you decide.
Do you need complete breathability or waterproofing?
Lightweight or more insulated?
Are you looking for a high, mid or low hiking shoe?
Getting you comfortably to your campsite or next shelter on the trail is the primary purpose of technical footwear. So, making the right choice before you hit the trails will save you frustration and discomfort.
Choosing the best hiking boot is up to you and your knowledge of different technologies. If you don't know the technology, you won't know which shoe will work best for you.
Waterproofing, breathability, and insulation are what to look for in hiking boots. Summertime will require more breathability, whereas winter will require better waterproofing and insulation.
Let's delve into the different technologies, comparing Merrell vs Salomon.
Quick Answer: Merrell vs Salomon
Best Hiking Shoe for Men - Salomon X Ultra Prime
Best Hiking Shoe for Women - Merrell Siren Edge
Quick Link --> Hiking Shoe Reviews
|Merrell Moab 2 Mid|
- Vibram outsoles
|Merrell All Out Blaze 2|
- Vibram outsoles
|Merrell MQM Flex|
- regular rise
- Synthetic outsoles
|Merrell Siren Edge|
- regular rise
- Vibram outsoles
|Salomon X Ultra Prime|
- regular rise
- Contagrip outsoles
|Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX|
- rubber outsoles
|Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX|
- rubber outsoles
The Merrell company was founded by Randy Merrell in 1981. With more than 30 years of experience, Merrell has achieved an unsurpassed reputation in quality outdoor footwear.
Backpacker Magazine named them "the best hiking boots ever made." Since then Merrell has remained a leader in the industry.
Merrell sets high standards for their products. Comfort, design, durability, and versatility are their main focuses and core values.
Hiking and climbing are tough enough on your body. The quality of your shoes will make or break how well you perform. Merrell strives to provide quality footwear that will guide you every step of the way.
Merrell is truly dedicated to the outdoor lifestyle. Some of Merrell's partners include The Conservation Alliance, Team Rubicon, The American Hiking Society, and Camber Outdoors.
These projects aid in land and trail conservation, provide jobs to veterans, and accelerates women's leadership and participation in the outdoor industry.
Salomon has been around a bit longer than Merrell. Founded in 1947, Salomon has some roots that are a bit more defined than most shoe brands.
Salomon was founded in Annecy, France originally as a family ski shop. Ten years later, the Salomon 'le lift' ski binding was created. This design replaced the standard leather binding.
Salomon, through the years, continued to break the record of effective and innovative products. Salomon built the first self-releasing heel piece. This design revolutionized the ski industry.
Salomon as a brand is dedicated to preserving the planet. Salomon keeps a close eye on their carbon footprint in manufacturing. Actions are always being taken to improve both social and environmental footprints.
In addition to Salomon's efforts to sustain eco-friendly production, all of their stats and data sheets are available on their website to get a real-time view of their efforts.
Merrell vs Salomon Comparison Guide - Find the Right Hiking Shoes
Blisters on your feet halfway to the campsite are no joke. Knowing the proper way to choose footwear will prevent this from happening.
Waterproof Technologies: M-Select Dry vs Gore-Tex
Wet feet can be a contributing factor to blisters. There are several things to consider before you choose waterproof footwear.
What type of terrain, how wet conditions will get, and what are the temperatures going to be?
Merrell M-Select Dry uses a waterproof membrane technology. This technology is similar to Gore-Tex. While water droplets can't penetrate the membrane, your feet can still breathe.
M-Select Dry is an excellent choice for day hikes. It is also good for backpacking if conditions won't be too harsh.
While M-Select Dry is waterproof, it is not submersible. If you plan to cross deeper water, it's not the best choice.
Gore-Tex is the best choice if you plan to submerge your foot. Gore-Tex is the perfect candidate for river or stream crossings.
The main difference between M-Select Dry vs Gore-Tex is the pore size in the membrane. Gore-Tex will be more waterproof, but less breathable. M-Select Dry will be more breathable, but less waterproof.
Climashield is an insulation technology found in Salomon footwear. It is not waterproof, but it is water-resistant.
Climashield is often paired with Gore-Tex in certain shoes. When paired, these make an excellent winter waterproof boot.
Outsoles: Vibram vs Contagrip
Knowing the conditions in which you plan to hike is the first step in choosing footwear. Outsoles are what keep your feet firm on the ground.
Walking on ice and trail running are entirely different. Thus, you need to want to know which outsole is best for each type of activity.
Vibram is an industry leader in outsoles. Vibram offers it's own Arctic Grip. This is the most advanced winter weather gripping sole that Vibram has created.
Arctic grip is designed to grip better and perform better on wet and dry ice. Vibram's Arctic Grip is an excellent choice for winter backpacking.
Salomon offers Contragrip outsoles. These soles are composed of low and high-density rubber. This design provides durability and unsurpassed grip.
Salomon's Contragrip Winter Grip soles are designed to grip on wet or dry ice. They are very similar to Vibram's Arctic Grip.
Pros of Vibram Soles:
Industry leader for decades, offered in a wider variety of brands, Arctic Grip is designed for wet or dry ice.
Pros of Contragrip Soles:
Designed to grip wet or dry ice, Salomon is a leader in winter technical footwear.
Cons of Vibram Soles:
Weight and some reviewers online also claim the grip isn't as good as it is advertised.
Cons of Contragrip Soles:
Reviews state that these soles tend to wear down quickly.
Midsoles & Upper Material
Mid and upper-soles vary by model and purpose of the shoes. Waterproofing and insulation are the two variables in these materials.
In waterproof footwear, these are several different materials that you'll find in both Merrell and Salomon gear:
- Leather or Synthetic Leather
- Synthetic Nylon/Polyester
- Breathable Mesh
Leather is a more traditional material that you'll find in waterproof boots. It works well, but not if you plan to submerge your foot.
Leather, in contrast to synthetics, is also heavier and takes longer to break in. Consider break-in time and weight if you plan to backpack in your leather boots.
Synthetics (all types) are the most common in today's leading outdoor footwear. Synthetic is durable and much more lightweight than leather.
There are several advantages that synthetics have over leather. For one, they are quick drying. If you plan to hike in wet conditions, synthetic is your best option.
Synthetic material is also more breathable than leather. Many boots have a waterproof treated mesh on the upper that aids breathability.
Footbed: Merrell Kinetic Fit vs Ortholite
The footbed of your shoes can do more than you think. Comfort and support are the main advantages. Some footbeds aid in moisture and odor management as well.
Designed to be flexible and light, Merrell Kinetic Fit allows you to flex your foot naturally. Heel and arch support are another feature.
Having the proper footbed will make all the difference in your hiking boots. Without adequate support, it can affect the health of your foot.
Salomon uses Ortholite foodbeds in their shoes. The advantage these footbeds have over Merrell is the guaranteed longevity. Ortholite footbeds are designed never to change shape inside the shoe.
Merrell also offers M-Select Fit. This foodbed is designed to provide arch and heel support.
While all footbeds are similar, Ortholite takes the win on the best. It has the most extended life and the most engineered support.
Odor control is more important than you think. We all smell bad in the woods, but there's more to it than that.
Most of the time odors come from bacteria. If your shoes stink, it's more than likely because bacteria is growing inside.
Odor control technology is designed to fight that odor and kill bacteria. This feature is pertinent to the health of your feet.
Merrell shoes are available with two odor control technologies: M-Select Fresh, and an organic odor control treatment. M-Select Fresh is Merrell's best option.
Although Salomon does not come with odor control, there are options. Salomon shoes with Gore-Tex have an Ortholite Sockliner.
This sockliner provides exceptional breathability. If your feet can breathe better, the chances of odor are less likely.
Insulation: M Select WARM vs Aerogel insulation vs Thinsulate
Insulation isn't a pressing issue if you're hiking in warmer temperatures. If you plan to hike in colder temperatures, it's a little more important.
Most insulation in hiking footwear is going to be similar. The main differences are weight and durability.
M-Select Warm is Merrell's insulation method. Thin reflective material in the liner retains body heat. In addition to thin insulation, this provides a lightweight solution to winter boots.
Salomon has partnered with Aspen Aerogels to engineer their insulation. Aerotherm is the Aerogel bi-product that you'll find in Salomon's winter footwear.
Aerotherm is a gel-type insulation that is said to be up to seven times as effective than other insulation. It is a lightweight, compression resistant, and waterproof.
Thinsulate is another insulation available in Salomon hiking boots. This is a synthetic-fill, synthetic fur-lined insulation that is lightweight and packable. Salomon's Aerotherm is the best option if you're planning a harsh winter hiking trip.
Choosing a lacing system is one of the less critical factors, and many are very similar in design.
Merrell boots typically use a traditional style lacing system. This system includes the lace, loops, and maybe some eyelets in most models.
Merrell also offers the Omni-Fit Lacing System in many of their shoes. This is an integrated system that allows the shoe to "fit like a glove." This system is most common in Merrell's Barefoot series.
Salomon offers the same simple system in most of their boots. Some of Salomon's boots also have zippers. You will find this in the waterproof shells.
Salomon offers the Quicklace system. The Quicklace system is designed to speed up the lacing process. These work similarly to a drawstring on your backpack.
Just lace the shoe for the first time, then the rest is easy! Tighten the laces as you usually would up the shoe, then pull through the lace lock!
Although these are a fantastic system, there are many reviews online that says they have to be tightened often throughout use.
Pros of Standard Lacing Systems:
Reliable, many different tying options to relieve pressure from certain areas of the foot, cheaper to replace.
Pros of Quicklace:
Fast tying, easy-to-use
Cons of Standard Lacing Systems:
Cause trips if they come untied,
take longer to re-tie.
Cons of Quicklace:
Come loose often and has to be re-tightened, no options to tie differently to relieve pressure on the foot.
Seamless footwear is a relatively new technology. There are several reasons that this method is used for outdoor footwear.
This technology eliminates stitching and replaces it with a heavy-duty type glue. This process requires much fewer materials in manufacturing.
Seamless footwear provides a smoother interior of the shoe, which provides long-lasting comfort.
Salomon offers Sensifit in many of their seamless shoes. Designed to form to your foot, Sensifit provides more lomg term comfort. Seamless shoes are great for both comfort and resourcefulness.
Pros of seamless shoes:
More comfort, resourceful manufacturing
Cons of seamless shoes:
Cannot be restitched if they wear out, used widely on running shoes more than hiking shoes.
Reducing the negative impact on the environment is always number one. If we have great outdoor products that destroy the environment in production, that's a bit hypocritical.
Merrell and Salomon both go to great extremes to make sure their footprint on the environment is as small as possible.
Merrel is partners with The Conservation Alliance, an organization that provides funding to protect endangered forests. They also own 12 climbing areas, removed or halted over 29 dams, and protect five marine reserves.
Salomon is aiming to reduce their carbon emission by 20% per million € (euro) by 2025. All of Salomon's efforts are available on their website. These resources include economic and environmental impacts.
Making efforts across all of their facilities, Salomon is making sure all waste is reused or recycled.
Both Merrell and Salomon are firm believers in preserving our planet. After all, what's an outdoor enthusiast without the outdoors?
Merrell vs Salomon's style can be both similar and very different. The purpose of the shoe defines the style in both brands.
Both brands are very similar in style when it comes to trail running shoes — usually bright colors with a low cut design, ready to hit the trail.
Merrell's hiking shoes have a very traditional look in most of their products. Usually composed of leather or similar material, Merrell keeps it simple.
Salomon tends to have a more technical or sleeker look to them. With a beefier sole and often seamless build, Salomon looks like the future of outdoor technology.
As with any product, price depends on features. Merrell and Salomon both have shoes in the same price range. In some models, Merrell and Salomon will pass each other in price.
The more features you get, the higher the price. Gore-Tex or insulated footwear will typically be the most expensive.
Merrell will be slightly cheaper for the most part. Depending on what shoe you get, Gore-Tex or Primaloft insulation will raise the price.
Salomon will usually run you a little more, but not by a lot in most cases. Salomon does get a bit expensive with very technical boots, though.
Both brands will have shoes starting at around $110. Again, this is the most basic model. Always be sure of features before comparing prices!
A warranty can say a lot about a company. If a company doesn't stand by their product, that's a red flag for quality.
Merrell offers a "make it right guarantee." This warranty means that you can return the product for any reason in 60 days.
On the negative side, Sixty days is a very short warranty period when compared to Salomon's two-year warranty. However, many reviewers online have claimed warranty repairs after the 60-days, and Merrell gladly fixed the issue.
Salomon offers a limited two-year warranty. This warranty only covers material or workmanship issues. If you damage them on the trail or at camp, the warranty won't cover it.
Merrell vs Salomon: Hiking Shoe Comparison
Merrell vs Salomon is a tough choice when you don't know which features their shoes have.
The following comparison should give you an idea of which shoes have certain features, as well as what activities are best for that specific shoe.
Merrell calls the Moab 2 the Mother of All Boots. This is because it is durable, long lasting, and available with many options.
Made from synthetic leather, the Moab 2 Ventilator is both durable and eco-friendly.
Some of the standout features of the Moab 2 include:
- Vibram TC5+ Outsole
- M-Select Fit ECO+ Footbed
- EVA Midsole for cushion and comfort
- Mesh lining provides superior breathability
The Moab 2 is available with several other options. The base model is an excellent shoe for dry day hikes and days at the park. It is not waterproof, so be sure of weather before making a decision.
If you're backpacking or conditions will be wet, Moab 2 Waterproof is available for light rain or mildly wet conditions. These boots feature Merrell M-Select Dry, which is called "daily waterproof," meaning that they aren't suitable for submersion.
If conditions are going to be rough, the Merrell Moab FST 2 Mid Gore-Tex may be a better option for you. Gore-Tex is a more submersible material that will provide better waterproofing.
All Moab models are available in mid or low-cut styles. When hiking, it is best to go with a mid-cut. This style helps support the ankle and prevent twists.
All-in-all the Moab 2, any version, is a great general hiking shoe. The Moab 2 will be great for the passionate hiker that doesn't get too daring on the trail.
The All Out Blaze series of Merrell boots are built with premium materials. This line of shoes/boots features premium leather and mesh, allowing durability and breathability.
These shoes also include the Air Cushion VIZ, which absorbs more shock and provides more stability. AirCushion VIZ is a foam pod in the heel of the shoe.
Some of the notable features of the All Out Blaze 2 series include:
- M-Select Dry waterproof technology
- Full grain leather with a mesh upper
- M-Select Fresh antimicrobial odor control
- Vibram TC5+ outsole
The All Out Blaze Aero Sport is made with the same premium materials as the All Out Blaze 2 with a few added features. This model features the Omni-Fit Lacing System, which makes the shoe "fit like a glove."
Another key feature, although minute, is that the lugs on the outsole are hollow. This design slightly reduces the weight of the shoe.
The Blaze All Out 2 Mid weighs 1lb 9oz, whereas the All Out Blaze Aero Sport weighs in at 1lb 6oz.
These are an excellent pick in Merrell's hiking line. Made with the highest quality materials, the All Out Blaze series is engineered to keep your foot comfortable through the entire hike.
The Merrell MQM Flex is designed to be the lightest technical hiking shoe that Merrell has ever made. These shoes are intended to help you climb mountains faster and remain comfortable the entire time.
Merrell MQM shoes have several advantages that many hiking boots don't have:
- TrailProtect pad for additional support on the trail
- FLEXconnect dual-directional midsole for added agility and stability
- Mesh lining and upper for enhanced breathability
The MQM line is by far the most breathable in Merrell's line of hiking shoes. They're so lightweight and breathable; they could almost be considered a heavy duty trail-runner.
MQM shoes are available with Gore-Tex for added waterproofing.
The MQM Rush Flex is the last in the line, while probably the best option. In addition to the features of the MQM Flex, the MQM Rush Flex is a mid-boot with even more to keep you on the trail.
Some of the additional features include:
- Cordura fabric upper is tear and scuff resistant
- Merrell M-Select Fresh odor control
- Kinetic Fit insole
The Merrell Siren Edge, as well as all Siren Series shoes, are specifically for women. The design offers support and stability for the way that women walk and run.
Some of the key features of the Siren Edge include:
- M-Select Fresh odor control
- Mesh and synthetic upper for enhanced breathability
- Kinetic Fit insoles
- Q-Form insole and midsole technology designed for women's feet
The Siren Edge is a fantastic choice for day hikes or short backpacking trips. Although it has the comfort of a tennis shoe, it doesn't seem like it would hold up to very rough conditions.
Other options in the Siren line include the Siren Edge Q2 Waterproof, which has the added M-Select Dry and bellows tongue to keep debris out.
The Siren Traveller series, both mid and low heights, offers a more casual look. Suede or nubuck leather with a mesh liner is most common in the Traveller Series.
Siren shoes and boots have a wide variety of uses. Day hikes, short backpacking trips, or a walk through the park. The main difference in Siren boots is style and waterproofing.
The Salomon X Ultra Prime looks like your average sneaker with loads of features. While it may seem simple, there's a lot to it.
Some of the main features include:
- Textile upper, which is lightweight and abrasion resistant
- Sensifit Midsole to provide a snug fit while remaining comfortable
- High Traction Contagrip outsole
- Mudguard - A protective material around the base of the shoe.
- OrthoLite Sockliner
- Gore-Tex waterproof membrane in some models
Gore-Tex is the main difference in these shoes aside from the hight of the boot. Gore-Tex models are available in both the high and low models.
The Ultra Mid 2 Spikes are also available with nine spikes built into the outsole. These boots are for serious winter hikers that know they'll face walking on ice.
Both the X Ultra Prime and the X Ultra 2 are excellent choices for day hikes or even backpacking trips.
Recommended for more extended backpacking trips, the X Ultra Mid 2 would be more suitable. It rides higher over the ankle, thus, helps prevent twists and sprains of the ankle.
Salomon's X Ultra 3 Mid GTX boots are one of Salomon's best sellers. This boot features Decent Control technology. This design allows you to have the most grip, even on decent down wet or dry hills.
This boot is available in both low and mid height. If you don't need your shoes to be waterproof, they're also available without the Gore-Tex Membrane.
Some of the main features of the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX include:
- Gore-Tex Membrane for waterproof breathability
- Ortholite Sockliner/Footbed provides enhanced support
- Integrated toe guard and mudguard for added safety
- Dual-rubber type Contragrip Outsole for added Grip
- Tongue gussets keep dirt and debris out
The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX seems like it'd be the perfect candidate for short hikes, and even maybe the next though-hiker. With the amount of support and durability it offers, this boot may be one of the top pick.
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is Salomon's multi-use hiking boot. With the 4D Advanced Chassis, this design gives you more comfort and durability, thus, relieving some foot fatigue.
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX also has an antimicrobial treatment to deter odors and bacteria. This is a feature that many Salomon shoes don't have.
Some of the features of the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX include:
- Gore-Tex Membrane for waterproof breathability
- Dual-Density midsoles provide added comfort and stability
- Protective toe cap, heel cap, and mudguard for added safety
- Ortholite sockliner for added support and comfort.
- Lace Locker allows laces to be adjusted precisely and locked in place
- 4D Advanced Chassis
Both of the other models are great as well, but neither have the 4D Chassis. This chassis what makes the Quest 4D 3 so comfortable.
The Quest Winter GTX has a comfort rating of 21 degrees Fahrenheit and an extreme rating of -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it does not have the 4D Chassis, the added winter insulation makes up for the difference.
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is an excellent choice for long hikes as well as through hikes. It's durable, comfortable, waterproof, and helps prevent foot fatigue. As long as winter conditions aren't too harsh, this is an exceptional hiking boot.
Salomon vs Merrell - What Hiking Shoes Should You Get?
Merrell vs Salmon, in general, both make excellent hiking shoes. After carefully sorting through the reviews above, the following are our top picks.
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX comes in as the number one pick for the best hiking boot. It has the most features that will help you along the trail, as well as comfort levels that will keep your feet happy.
The Merrell Moab 2 is the second choice due to several reasons. It's not called the "Mother of all boots" for being a bad choice of boot. The Moab 2 has earned a reputation of being one of the best hiking boots ever made. The Merrell Moab 2 is an excellent choice in a hiking boot, especially the Gore-Tex model.
The last pick is the Merrell MQM. Although this is not a waterproof option, the MQM is the lightest, and also the most breathable in the comparison. The Merrell MQM is excellent for hiking, as well as being lightweight and breathable enough for a trail runner.
Above all, the best hiking boots will depend on preference. What is most important to you? Comfort, waterproofing, breathability, style? These should all be considered when you're searching for your next hiking shoes.
Merrell tends to make the best traditional style hiking boots, while Salomon makes the most advanced technical footwear. Both are great footwear companies that strive to provide top-notch products.
Wherever the trail takes you, Merrell or Salomon makes a product to get you there.