I’ve never owned a pair of Merrell shoes. I’ve never even tried on a pair of Merrell shoes. When given the opportunity to test a pair of Merrell trail running shoes I jumped on the chance.
Merrell sent me a pair of the Merrell CTR Cruise GORE-TEX Running Shoes to test and review. Over the past few weeks I put them to the test on everything from quick trips to the store to runs out on the trails. I have to admit, I haven’t been disappointed.
Merrell CTR Cruise GORE-TEX Running Shoes Features
- Nature-Tex recycled strobel board provides underfoot protection
- iR3 rubber/iR3 sticky rubber outsole for traction, lateral traction, and grip
- Gait-Phase midsole/heel cushioning for shock-absorption and stability
- Breathable Gore-Tex lining keeps feet dry
- Mesh upper for breathable comfort
- T-cup slip-resistant heel and tongue construction
- Gender-specific semicurved anatomical last
- Outlast heat management sock liner
- OrthoLite antimicrobial sock insert
- DWR treatment provides durable water resistance
- Price: $120
Merrell CTR Cruise GORE-TEX Running Shoes Review
The Merrell CTR Cruise GORE-TEX Running Shoes is the waterproof version in the their CTR Running Shoe line. Out of the box I was impressed with their light weight, aggressive tread, and overall design.
For my first run I took the shoes straight from the box, laced them up, and hit the trail for a four mile trail run. First feeling once they were on was good. I had cinched them down to a point that felt tight, flexed my feet, walked around, and everything felt good. The first run was a cool drizzly day after a night of rain. Trail conditions varied from gravel to damp sand to puddles to muck to solid rock. The CTR GORE-TEX shoes feature a fairly aggressive tread. I ran through every section of muck that I could (you know the type, glossy on top looking like a pool of pudding) to see if I lost traction at all. The CTR GORE-TEX held their own. I didn’t slip once. Steep downhills were no match for the aggressive tread either. I was able to pick up the pace a little without worry of sliding around.
When I laced up I cinched the shoes on fairly tight. I thought I would have to stop partway in to loosen them. The shoes/laces did stretch some. I didn’t have to loosen at all which became a problem on the downhill. My big were toes rammed like the SWAT team breaking down a door with every step. I took this learning to change up the lacing configuration to something a little more aggressive and didn’t experience any problems on my runs afterward.
The GORE-TEX fabric held up to it’s name and reputation. On the one rainy day I stomped every puddle I could (some up over the toe-box) and no water came through. I loved how waterproof the shoes are, but my main gripe with GORE-TEX running shoes on any runs warmer than about 40-45 degrees I feel like I have mini-sweat-lodges on each of my feet. I usually only wear GORE-TEX shoes in the winter or on rainy runs. If you are only a fair-weather runner or live a climate where rain or water on the trail isn’t an issue, go with the Merrell Cruise CTR sans GORE-TEX.
The shoes do feature a thick heel pad and midsole. As a runner I am finding myself moving more towards the barefoot ethos both physiologically and philosophically. I did find the midsole to be too thick and too soft. This is great for the average runner and it was nice on the rockier trails, it helped to absorb the impact on the heavier footfalls. If you find yourself moving towards barefoot running, I’d recommend going with something else.
- Aggressive Tread
- Lighter weight
- Fabric & laces stretch, must use aggressive lacing configuration
- GORE-TEX makes hot feet on warm days
- Too much padding if you are moving towards barefoot running
If you want a solid trail running shoe with waterproof protection, go with the Merrell CTR Cruise GORE-TEX Running Shoe.