When I review Merrell footwear I always ask for a half size up as over the years I’ve found that reliable to get the best fit the first time as they seem to size down a little translating from their own US to UK numbers. The Agility Peak 5 trail shoes are UK 9.5s and after a few months wear I’m still undecided if I should have got my regular size 9.

Much of my testing was over winter so I was happy in a slightly thicker sock and this has not affected my assessment of use of the shoe but it does underline the most important fact in shoe choice: trying them on in a shop. However, the fit is generally excellent with a snug, gripping heel cup that feels secure on rough ground. 

Peter Macfarlane’s verdict

The high price and wet weather grip are what loses a point for this otherwise excellent shoe.
  • Fit
  • Nimble feeling
  • General Grip
  • Expensive
  • poor grip on hard, wet surfaces
Quick specs
Price: £170
Weight: 630g pair UK9.5
Materials & features: stack height: 31mm, engineered mesh and TPU overlay upper, GORE-TEX® waterproof membrane, underfoot rock plate, FloatPro foam midsole, Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole, 
Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm
Lug depth: 5mm
Sizes: UK 6.5 to 14 inc half sizes to 12.5
Women version: Yes
URL: www.merrell.com

The shoe widens at the forefoot and there is plenty of room for my toes to spread out. The upper is mesh with a high rand all the way around where the shoes catches the most abrasion from rocks and heather. There’s enough mesh uncovered for the GORE-TEX waterproof lining to transfer sweat from your foot to outside and gaiter attachment points to allow you to try not to add to the membrane’s workload with water ingress by sealing the top of the shoe.

The Vibram outsole is excellent on most surfaces but struggles for grip in the wet, especially on wet rock or roots. The thick midsole absorbs the impact of the trail and deflects the discomfort of any stones underfoot but I still feel very connected to the trail and I found the Agility Peak 5 to be a nimble shoe for running and walking. 

The ankle cuff and tongue have some padding which adds to the comfort and the lacing is widely spaced across the foot. Through extended use I’ve come to suspect this positively affects fit and stability. The high price and wet weather grip are what loses a point for this otherwise excellent shoe.

Reviewed and tested by Peter MacFarlane

Peter is long time user of trail running shoes in the outdoors for activities ranging from long distance paths to walking the Munros. He has also been a sporadic trail runner over the years and used these test models to retune his running feet around his local trails in the Kilpatrick Hills.

Peter has a narrow heel and wide forefoot and the weights are taken from his own digital scales.