Our Merrell Agility Peak 5 Shoes Review explores the 5th version of this popular trail running shoe. We hope you find it useful.
Merrell are a world leader in footwear manufacture and probably need little introduction. It is always interesting to delve into a companies history though and may not know their backstory. The company was established in 1981 by ex-Rossignol employees Clark Matis and John Schweizer.
Since that starting point the brands range has grown and now they offer footwear for almost every activity and terrain. Their aim is to ‘empower all people to confidently explore the outdoors’.
Their range also includes trail running shoes. The Agility Peak 5 is the 5th incarnation of one of their most popular runners. It is designed to offer performance and comfort regardless of use. This shoe can cope with long endurance runs or the local park run. The latest version includes some significant changes. So, having heard good things about previous models, I was pleased to test some out. Here is my Merrell Agility Peak 5 Shoe Review and I hope you find it useful.
The Agility Peak 5 comes in a Gore-Tex and none Gore-Tex version. The model tested is the one without a Gore-Tex liner. Regardless of the model chosen, both versions share the same features in every other way.
The shoe features a breathable engineered mesh and TPU upper. The mesh is used along the sides of the shoe with the durable TPU in wear areas. A mesh collar and tongue are designed offer low water absorption and enhanced stretch for improved fit. The lining is 100% recycled breathable mesh. Around the rear of the show Merrell have added an external rear sling. This is designed to lock in the heel. The front offers a protective abrasion resistant toe cap.
Insole, Midsole & Outsole
The midsole is constructed from FloatPro foam which is engineered for lightweight comfort. The midsole also incorporates FLEX Connect dual-directional flex grooves for enhanced ground connection. There is also a rock plate incorporated into the midsole for underfoot comfort and protection. The EVA footbed features 50% recycled material and a 100% recycled footbed cover. The shoes are Cleansport NXT treated for odour control.
The outsole is Vibram’s Mega Grip unit. This is designed for excellent grip on both wet and dry surfaces. It also features Vibram’s traction lugs system designed to increase traction and shed debris.
The stack height for the Agility Peak 5 is 31-25mm with a 6mm drop and 5mm lug. The stated half pair weight is 235 grams although Merrell don’t specify which model this is for. On our scales a size UK 8 (42) weighed 279 grams. There are gaiter D rings added at the toe and the laces and webbing feature 100% recycled material. The Agility Peak 5’s are available in several colours. It costs £140 for the non Gore-Tex version and £170 for the Gore-Tex lined option. The Agility Peak 5 won a prestigious ISPO award in 2022.
Shoe wear manufacturers are always trying to strike the right balance with many of their products. As users push the boundaries of product design, their products need to evolve. The Agility Peak 5, for example, is defined as a trail running shoe. However, Merrell are aware many walkers will look to shoes of this style too.
This is also exacerbated by users demands for products that can do several jobs. If you can have a shoe that can be used for running and hiking that is more cost effective and more sustainable than having 2 pairs. So, in testing the Agility Peak 5 I was thinking of this crossover. Although I have primarily used the shoes for trail running around my local Peak District trails and in Wales. Would it also perform for other uses?
It is testament to any shoe when it stays in a range for 5 versions. This has been a popular shoe for Merrell as they have hit the sweet spot for different users. I haven’t used any of the previous versions, so have to rely on my own findings.
In the fifth version Merrell have kept the proven elements that have made the shoe so popular. They have also been willing to innovate. I always think this is a challenge for manufacturers as you don’t wan’t to spoil a winning formula. Well done to Merrell for being willing to do this. But Merrell don’t do this lightly. They have a full team of trail running ambassadors that feed into the testing and development process. This includes runners operate in world class events.
Out Of The Box Comfort
From first use the Agility Pro 5 has been extremely comfortable. The stretchy mesh of the sides and toe holds the foot well. The heel is well supported in the heel cup. The lacing system allows effortless adjustment. It also extends far enough down the toe box to allow micro adjustments of the lower foot. They also feel extremely well cushioned and light on the foot.
In testing the shoes I have aimed to use them on various types of terrain. I have also tested them on a wide range of angles. On my typical Peak District trails this is everything. We have loose dirt and gravel surfaces to boulder hopping along the gritstone edges. The Agility Peak 5’s really have been a pleasure to use. The fit is supportive and yet there is enough room around the foot for my standard to broad width foot. The heel is also held very comfortably by the defined heel cup and closely adjustable lacing system.
Vibram Mega Grip
The Vibram MegaGrip sole unit has also felt extremely secure on every type for surface. It hasn’t been particularly muddy during the testing phase. This makes commenting on the clearing ability of the traction lugs difficult. Overall, the shoes just seem to grip like glue. I have been very impressed.
The other key feature is the amount of underfoot cushioning. The Agility Pro 5 offers a great feel. This is thanks to the 50mm wedge of FloatPro foam combined with the rockplate and EVA insole. Getting the balance between underfoot cushioning and stability can be hard for a trail running shoe. I do feel Merrell have really hit the sweet spot here.
The other key on the type of terrain I run (and familiar to trail runners everywhere) is sideways stability. Crossing uneven terrain or traversing across slopes makes it very easy to cause an ankle or lower leg injury. This is usually caused when a well padded midsole meets an unsupportive upper. Again, although care is always needed, these shoes perform well and inspire confidence. I have played around with lacing tightness. It does take trail and error to find the right across foot tension with any shoe. But, once achieved, the balance of support and cushioning is just right.
Gore-Tex & Non Gore-Tex Versions
The testing period for the shoes has been late spring into mid summer. This means the ground has been quite dry and so weatherproofing isn’t an issue. The breathable mesh will offer a minimal barrier to water getting in. It is great that Merrell offer both a Gore-Tex and non Gore-Tex model. I would suggest the liner is worth the investment if you operate in wet conditions.
I also wanted to mention Merrell’s ethos on sustainability. Please read more about their ethos and aims on their website here. Sustainability is a key focus for them and also that these shoes comprise some recycled elements. For any brand the drive towards sustainable manufacture is a balance. They must focus on producing a product that works while finding the right materials. Merrell, as are most brands, on that journey and well done to them for being transparent with their progress.
With no experience of the previous versions, my Merrell Agility Peak 5 Shoes Review has focused on the current model only. This is no disadvantage, but it would always be interesting to see how changes have impacted the product. What I can say about the fifth version is that it’s a great shoe. It ticks all the boxes a trail runner could need for an all around shoe and does it well. If you are running either casually or competitively this shoe will perform.
The Agility Peak’s feel comfortable straight out of the box. They are the sort of shoe that will keep you on the trails for longer. I look forward to getting many more miles from them and will look towards more Merrell shoes in the future. Full details are available on the Merrell website here.
Alongside this Merrell Agility Peak 5 Shoes Review, we have tested a selection of other running shoes. Some of these may also be of interest. Our test of the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G is here and our Adidas Terrex Agravic Pro review is here. We also tested the La Sportiva Cyklon here. Similarly, we have tested running clothes and race vests. All our reviews are available in the reviews section of our blog here. We hope you find them useful.