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GEAR TEST: Men’s Merrell Nova 2 Mid GTX

This was an emergency purchase that turned out to be an amazing find.

After several years of wearing my old faithful boots into the ground the time had come to invest in something new – I’d reached to put them on for a training walk to find they had split. Disaster!

As I only had two weeks before taking on a 40-mile walk and didn’t have time to break a new pair in, I needed something that would fit, be comfortable straight out the box and lightweight.

The Merrell Nova 2 Mid GTX did not let me down.

One of the features I needed was good cushioning, because after 13 hours on your feet you need it.  The Merrell Air Cushion in the heel absorbs shock, adds stability and gives amazing cushioning.

I also needed something with a trainer-like fit but with the support of a mid and these did exactly that.  They feel and work like a trainer, with a rocker motion from heel to toe but with the ankle support of a mid. I have to say it did take me about five miles to get used to but once you let the boot do the work – wow, just wow!

The walk weekend arrived and it was time to clock-up the 40 miles and to give these mids a good test. We started the walk at 6.30am with the sun just starting to rise and the weather looking good.   

I was a little concerned that I might feel all the stones underfoot as the walk was over mixed terrain, stony paths to road. But, I shouldn’t have worried, the stone guard worked very well and I couldn’t feel a thing. 

One small thing that can get frustrating is laces coming undone. Merrell have got this nailed. Not once, over 13 hours, did they come undone.

Out the box I was amazed by the fit. I have narrow ankles but a wide forefoot and these fitted extremely well. They held my heel well and allowed my toes to spread over the 13 hours. The grip around the heel and ankle was amazing, no movement at all and the cushioning under the heel was brilliant.

I have completed this 40-mile walk for the past 20 years and have never had such comfort, no pain and no blisters.  They were so lightweight it felt like I had a pair of trainers on. The cushioning underfoot felt like I was walking on clouds.

If you want a lightweight, comfortable mid for fast and light moving then the Merrell Nova 2 Mid GTX are a must. They are also available in a shoe and women’s model called the Antora 2.

Paul Humphreys


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