Merrell Zion GTX review: Lightweight and water resistance makes for a strong trail choice

This lightweight and fast walking shoe really impresses
Merrell Zion GTX review

The walking shoe is the smart choice for weekend trekkers, who aren’t regularly summiting some of the world’s tallest peaks.

Light, comfortable and versatile, the Merrell Zion GTX embodies everything the walking shoe is supposed to offer. It's a top performer which is highly recommended for treks where top-notch ankle support isn’t required.

However, they cost serious dollar. At $140 it's a punchy price tag – but The Zion GTX does deliver. We got them dirty to find out.

While significantly more chunky than a trail trainer, they don’t feel it on the foot. The Merrell Zion GTX are still nice and lightweight, tipping the scales at just 648g, which makes them some of the lightest walking shoes around. That’s due to the mesh upper, which makes them breathable and comfy – while the bottom is waterproof leather.

Merrell Zion GTX review
The mesh top keeps the Zion GTX extremely lightweight at just 648g

With plenty of walking shoes on the Get Sweat Go testing bench, there was little time to break the Zion GTX in – so we hit a 10 mile loop in the Peak District for their first outing – and they were supple and comfy from the off. The soft mesh is almost immediately comfortable, and in a good pair of walking socks they should be good to go without much breaking in.

When it comes to walking shoes it’s what you don’t notice that’s more important – and the lightweight material is just like wearing a sturdy pair of running shoes, adding grip and support without feeling encumbered.

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The Zion GTX offer medium levels of grip with a 5mm lug length, and we had no issues tackling slippery descents and ascents – and did fairly good job in slick mud.

Which brings us onto the most impressive aspect of the Zion GTX. The moniker refers to a Gore-Tex membrane, designed to keep moisture out.

We’ve tested the Zion GTX extensively in wet conditions, and found them to be brilliant at keeping water out. Even in sodden long grass our socks always stayed dry, and it would take a substantial submersion in standing water to get any ingress.

Merrell Zion GTX review
5mm lug depth offers ample grip in moderate conditions

We also found them to be really breathable, without that hot feeling that Gore-Tex membranes can sometimes cause.

We did find the Merrell Zion GTX had a pretty roomy fit, which is preferable for long walks. However, we did find our feet tend to slip around inside a little – so you need a good pair of walking socks. With the shoes in the back of the car, often an impromptu walk took place in bog standard cotton socks which wasn't that comfy.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a solid, lightweight walking shoe for long walks and even-ground hikes the Merrell Zion GTX is one of our favourites.

The water resistance in sodden ground is reason enough to invest but the lightweight build makes it barely noticeable – offering a fantastic mix of unencumbered walking with proper grip and decent support.

We would recommend pairing with some decent walking socks as the roomy fit can see your foot move around on the in-sole – but overall the Zion GTX comes highly recommended.

Tags:    Trekking
Tagged    Trekking