Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review: A $140 Trail Running Hit!

Alastair shares his trail-tested insights on the Merrell Agility Peak 5: A bargainous, high-flying, fun, rugged, and reliable trail shoe!


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I’m super excited for you all to read this Merrell Agility Peak 5 review because these trail running shoes are quite honestly one of the best I have tested in the $140 and below category.

The Agility Peak 5 trail shoes definitely catch the eye, especially the colorway of the pair I have which has a vibrant mix of hot pink and bright orange, creating a striking contrast that stands out – just what I like in my trail gear. 😉 The overall design is beautiful too, I like how they look as fast as they feel on the trails.

My trail running shoe testing trail route entails around 300 meters (roughly 1000ft) of ascending goodness with a real mix of terrain, offering everything from slick wet rocks and slippery leaves to loose dirt and compact trails – steep climbs and descents with some flat sections to test all out speed.

Alastair at the view point
Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review | Trail & Kale

It’s the perfect proving ground to see what the Agility Peak 5 can handle. To get a glimpse of the beautiful trails I run when testing trail running shoes, watch the video version of this review next – and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more reviews just like it.

Key Specifications

  • Price: $140 at
  • Sizing and fit: They a little long and have a medium width fit – Size down a half size
  • Weight: 10.2oz (289g) for a size US(M)9 (my pair).
  • Drop: 6mm – Stack height: 31mm at the heel and 25mm at the toe.
  • Toe box width: Medium.
  • Stability: Neutral, so there’s no additional stability or support. There is medium arch support on the insole, however.
  • Midsole Cushioning: FloatPro foam midsole with a rock plate, FLEXconnect dual-directional flex-grooves help with multi-directional flex.
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip with 5mm traction lugs.
  • Best for: technical trails, and daily trail running under half marathon distance.

Who are they best for?

So, who exactly will find the Merrell Agility Peak 5 trail running shoes a perfect fit for their trail runs? They shine as a daily trainer for any of you who love hitting the trails with a mix of technical challenges thrown in, like myself.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review 24

If you’re in search of a single pair of trail running shoes that can handle rocky, uneven, and demanding terrain while still offering a comfortable and responsive ride, then the Agility Peak 5 could be the go-to option you’re looking for.

With a price tag of $140, they sit in that sweet spot for affordability while maintaining a very high build quality. This makes them a comparable choice to the Brooks Cascadia 17, another fantastic trail shoe I had the pleasure of reviewing not all that long ago, which also retails at $140. The value you get at this price point is remarkable in both shoes, providing a similar level of performance and features.

The versatile Merrell Agility Peak 5 trail running shoes adapt very well across a range of distances and terrains including technical singletracks and even concrete and asphalt paths, which are often part of a trail run if you travel to a trailhead by foot.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review 1

Their cushioning system delivers a comfortable ride, while the responsiveness ensures that you feel energetic with each step. This makes them an excellent choice for runners who want a “do-it-all” trail shoe, capable of performing well in various conditions and surfaces.

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Merrell Agility Peak 5 performance review

It didn’t take me long to get a real sense of what sets the Merrell Agility Peak 5 trail running shoes apart from the competition out there right now, and I’m also picked up on a few areas where they didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

After tackling around 200 meters of climbing and hitting some flat stretches, I had the chance to really pick up the pace and test out the shoe’s responsiveness.

I’ve been eager to see if the inclusion of a rock plate adds to their speed and agility and wow, they do not disappoint in this department. These shoes are incredibly fast, feeling light on my feet and offering a propulsive ride with an impressive amount of energy return and still maintaining the right level of cushioning for a technical trail running shoe.

When it comes to ascending climbs, the Megagrip outsole with its 5 mm lugs performed exactly as I had hoped, gripping the terrain effectively and making climbs feel easier.

The Megagrip outsole with its sexy 5mm traction lugs
The Megagrip outsole with its sexy 5mm traction lugs

However, I’ve found that the climb could be even more effortless if it weren’t for one particular aspect; how the shoe’s upper secures a fit, or lack thereof. The design around the collar slightly curves away instead of extending up closer to the front of your shin and around your ankles for a more secure fit.

See the image below to get a better understanding of what section I’m talking about.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review 4

Despite achieving a tighter heel lock with the runner’s loop heel lock lacing set up, my heel still pulls out of the shoe a touch on steep inclines, which isn’t ideal for maintaining a steady pace uphill but this is only noticeably on very steep gradients which some runners may not even want to take on.

This isn’t a new issue for me with the Agility Peaks; I’ve encountered it in past versions as well but it’s important to note that this doesn’t detract from the shoe’s overall excellent performance, especially considering their price point of $140.

➡ If you’re enjoying this review do me a favor, drop a comment down below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more running shoe reviews just like this one. If you’re familiar with these running shoes, share your thoughts on them in the comments.

They offer incredible value, and I can’t help but keep drawing comparisons to the Brooks Cascadia 17, another great trail shoe at the same price. It feels like there’s a bit of a rivalry brewing between the two, which has me thinking about a side-by-side comparison post to really delve into their similarities and differences – what do you reckon?

Overall, I’m really enjoying the Agility Peak 5, they handle climbs impressively (aside from the minor heel lock issue) and excel on flat sections and downhills (moderate and steep).

The Merrell Agility Peak 5 tackles steep descents impressively well, far exceeding my expectations given the heel slip I experienced on the steep uphills – I did suspect that issue would only affect steep uphill performance only.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review 18

On downhills and flat sections, the heel lock felt much more secure, offering excellent control, and the midsole foam struck the perfect balance between cushioning and responsiveness.

This allows me to push hard on both flats and descents while maintaining control, thanks to that responsive FloatPro foam, rock plate, and FLEXconnect dual-directional flex-grooves.

The Megagrip outsole from Vibram is also a huge contributor to their downhill performance. The traction on this rubber compound is simply unbeatable, making fast descents genuinely enjoyable thanks to the confidence in control that it gives. I mean, just look at this happy face!

The outsole’s performance on downhills was a highlight for me too, adding a lot of fun to the experience of running on technical trails. The combination of traction, control, and responsive cushioning made the downhill sections a part of the trail I looked forward to, confirming the versatility and robustness of the Agility Peak 5 as a trail running shoe.

Is the Merrell Agility Peak 5 worth buying?

Without a doubt, yes. At only $140 from, these shoes are a fantastic deal, especially when you consider there are alot of other trail running shoes that are significantly pricier yet offer half the performance.

I highly recommend these; they’re incredibly fun, and I’m definitely keeping my pair. The combination of their appearance and how they perform on the trails makes them a must-have. So, if you’re drawn to their design, don’t hesitate to make them yours!

Thank you for reading this review of the Agility Peak 5 – I hope you found it informative and enjoyable, and if you did, subscribe to our Newsletter for more in-depth reviews of running shoes just like this.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 review summary

To sum up my experience with the Merrell Agility Peak 5, these shoes stand out as an ideal daily trail runner for anyone looking for a trail shoe that’s affordable yet versatile enough to tackle a wide range of terrains. They perform exceptionally well on both asphalt and technical trails, making transitions from road to trail seamless. Uphill performance is generally solid, though as I’ve mentioned, the only significant drawback is the heel slip issue, which is a minor hiccup considering their $140 price tag and it only becomes noticeably on steep climbs.

Aside from this, the Agility Peak 5 excels across the board – on flat terrain, they’re quick and allow for an easy stride, making them not just suitable for training but also a strong contender for racing. They’re equipped to support you comfortably through races up to 50km, striking a balance between durability and performance. While they aren’t the lightest on the market, the slight increase in weight contributes to their stability and durability, ensuring that you feel in control.

The shoe’s midsole offers a playful spring in your step, adding an element of fun to your runs, which enhances the overall experience. The control and responsiveness make running in these shoes a genuine pleasure. So, whether you’re racing or just hitting the trails for your daily run, the Agility Peak 5 provides a reliable, enjoyable ride and I can’t recommend them enough.

I really hope you found this review informative and enjoyable. If you did, don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter, so you don’t miss our other in-depth running shoe reviews as they drop.

YouTube video review

Did you know we also create shoe review videos on our YouTube Channel too? Click the image below to watch our Merrell Agility Peak 5 review on YouTube next.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 Review YOUTUBE

Image gallery

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


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