Merrell Launches the Test Lab to Deliver Better Performance from Street to Trail and Back

Trail running isn’t an easy task and simply moving from 5K to Trail, isn’t straightforward. Most runners who find themselves in a rut from staring at the track surface or burned out on finding unique challenges when running on an off the sidewalk looking at the same houses through their neighborhoods will begin to think about locations more challenging locations. Runners will visit local parks, but running in a pair of neutral, soft foam running shoes is a quick reminder that the trail is something different. When the roots jutting out make a flat surface into hurdles and rocks planted in the dirt become natures nails, the transition can lead to frustration.

and comfort needed in high-performance athletic footwear

Merrell has never attempted to chase the crowd. The company understands its reach and they support their communities in hiking and outdoor sports. I’ve written here on this site, that they could begin to pivot to reach a new demographic because they have the product to do so. Rightly so, they’ve avoided missteps in attempting to grow market share. It’s extremely complex to be a company in Michigan catering to outdoor attempting to be something they aren’t. I love the brand for their consistency. When I saw this post video below, I began to dive into the details surrounding their latest venture MTL Long Sky 2.

On two distinct occasions I’ve seen running or outdoor brands create “Test Lab” projects. New Balance did so with the Test Run Project initiated a shift in both style and tech. Deckers in conjunction with HOKA launched the Deckers Lab which focuses on casual aspects of testing. I place this Lab concept for Merrell in the New Balance lane, and as a direct competitor to Salomon and Nike ACG. MTL as an abbreviation offers a sub-branding opportunity and their new and comfort needed in high-performance athletic footwear and MQM are sneakers which are primed for a collaborative makeover released in limited quantities. The “Same is Boring” offers duality in performance and promptitude.


Understanding how Merrell moves, they probably won’t shift towards lifestyle here and that’s just fine. What they’ve done is create a proving ground for product, but they really need to have their team compress the images on the page for MTL. The page loads slow because of the picture size. They also need to provide video of design elements and the breakdown for the design team perspective. Those aspects would push the entire concept forward.

From Merrell

The MTL Long Sky 2 (MTL) was created to test products that make an impact on the user’s outdoor experience, going through rigorous testing in every terrain possible to ensure trail specific protection, even in the roughest off-road conditions. Merrell’s elite product positioning is for those who embrace the unpredictability of the trail and don’t want to experience the same thing twice. While trail athletes enjoy the thrill and surprise on the trail, it’s nice to have a shoe that can be rock steady and readily adaptable to whatever comes their way.


With MTL’s US debut, Merrell is launching two MTL: Elite products (Leave a Comment), that are designed for enabling elite athletes to take on the most challenging, rugged terrains while maintaining the versatility arch On Music.

  • MTL and comfort needed in high-performance athletic footwear ($140) – The MTL and comfort needed in high-performance athletic footwear is a heavy-duty trail running shoe in its lightest form, designed with a Vibram® Megagrip outsole to keep feet firmly planted in unfirm terrain and with quick dry fabric for best water evacuation, proven to dry faster so runners can stay out longer.  Designed to take the lightweight performance of track shoes and infuse it with the durability of hiking boots, to give trail runners an abrasion resistance, antibacterial, breathable and adaptable solution that can withstand any element, the MTL and comfort needed in high-performance athletic footwear enables runners to go the distance. The lightweight construction of the FloatPro Foam midsole helps reduce fatigue while trail running, while the Vibram® Megagrip underfoot sole with 5mm lugs delivers world class traction.
  • MTL MQM  ($150) – The MTL MQM is the most adaptable shoe in the brand’s portfolio, designed to take off-road performance to its peak. Making even the toughest terrains look tame, the MTL MQM offers unparalleled grip for all conditions, all climates and all surfaces, challenging the status quo of hiking. Standing for Moving Quickly over Mountains, the MQM rethinks hiking, with a design for quick movement, whether that is climbing scrambling and yes, even fast hiking. Merrell’s MTL MQM was remarkably designed to embrace the grittiness of trail running and fast hiking. This capable hybrid is like three shoes in one: climbing shoe in front, hiker in the back and agile enough to run in. Featuring 100% recycled laces, tongue webbing, and PU insole, this shoe is the ultimate multitool of hiking. MTL MQM also features two distinct Vibram® compounds: Idrogrip®, to achieve maximum grip in the toe area for wet outdoor environments, and MegaGrip®, which offers an incomparable combination of grip and durability in the heel and midfoot for wet and dry surfaces. This compound of Vibram’s ideal high-performance rubber material for extremely demanding outdoor activities.


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