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Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 Review – A Cushioned Long Distance Shoe

THERE’S A NEW AGILITY PEAK FLEX IN TOWN: Merrell Agility Peak Flex 3 Review 2019

The Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 is a trail running shoe, designed to deliver flex, agility and protection on long runs and rugged terrain. I decided to go out on a big hill rep session to test them out properly.

RELATED: Best Trail Running Shoes of 2019

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Merrell as I didn’t have much prior experience with the brand in the trail running sector, until now. Let’s just say I was very impressed with them. Read on to find out why.

First Impressions

Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 Women's
The Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 Women’s version looks darker and a bit more stealthy.

This particular colour of Agility Peak Flex is a little bit monochrome but once you take a closer look at the detailing and design you grow to like the lack of colour. It wasn’t long before I had painted them with mud anyway. At first glance, you would think this shoe aims to be a comfortable shoe before anything else, but in actual fact, it ended up being so much more.

As I was running in the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2, I was frantically making mental notes of all the things that surprised me by their performance as and when they occurred to me and then trying desperately not to forget them before the next thought popped into my head. I didn’t forget Merrell, I… didn’t… forget! 🙂

merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale

Fit & Design

I haven’t been having much luck with parking at trailheads recently, once again I had to drive a few km’s away and park on a residential street. This allowed for a short road test to see how the mid-sole cushioning reacted on hard surfaces. The Agility Peak Flex 2 performed well in this area, this is expected as it’s a shoe designed to provide cushioning and protection. The ride was soft yet agile, good to know if you’re ever going to be mixing up your terrain like this regularly. There’s nothing worse than finding out during a run or race that you need to run large sections on the road when all your equipped with is a pair of minimal trail shoes.

merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale
Merrell’s Omni-Fit Lacing system worked perfectly

Lacing system

This was probably the first “wow that’s cool!” moment that I had with the shoes. I was impressed at how well the laces fastened across the whole length of the foot when pulled at the top. This was Merrell’s Omni-Fit system doing its thang! The closest I’ve seen to this is Salomon’s Quicklace system but the Omni-Fit may actually be better in terms of comfort. The stretchy cords that you see on the sides allow for that extra flex when moving for complete comfort. Very nice Merrell, very nice!

RELATED POST:  5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2019 (So Far)


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merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale
Medium width toe box

Toe box

The toe box on this shoe is classified as being of medium width. I think I have average sized feet so these fit really well for me with a tiny bit of extra wiggle room which came in handy once my feet had warmed during my first big climb.

There is a protective rubber/plastic section over the toe cap which will stop the front of the shoe from tearing and possibly even protect your toes if you stub them on any small rocks. However it isn’t ‘hard reinforced’, so watch out for those bigger rocks. You may end up hobbling if you were to accidentally trip on one.

Arch Support

This is an interesting one, I’m not used to running in shoes with much arch support, so I really noticed it in the footbed. I did feel a bit of rubbing in this area after 1.5 hrs of intense running. This could be that it was the first time running in the shoes or maybe that the arch support is a little more than I needed. I will provide an update on this post to let you know how things go with that. It’s not enough of a problem to stop me running in them, I just thought I would mention it. This footbed is also removable and can be swapped out for one with less support if needed.

Sizing

I wear a US 9 (UK 8.5), and the fit of the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 is 100% consistent with SalomonInov-8 and On-Running shoes.

Drop

There’s a 6mm drop on these shoes which is becoming a popular number amongst running shoes. I’d say it’s a great balance, in terms of up and downhill performance. An example of where I enjoyed this level of drop is with the On-Running Cloudflow.merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale

Weight

At 286g the Agility Peak Flex 2 is lighter than you would expect for a shoe with so much cushioning and protection. I was able to come away from my intense hill session without feeling tired in the legs, the shoe weight has a lot to do with this.

merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale
soft padding around the ankle and heel areas

There’s great padding around the achilles and ankle areas and I liked the low profile of the heel cage too, meaning there was no rubbing at all.

merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale
Nice low profile heel cage to stop the chance of rubbing

Grip

The grip performed very well on dry terrain with rock and small loose stones. Also on areas of wet mud that I was speeding through on descents.

merrell agility peak flex 2 review - Trail & Kale

Running in the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2

It was a beautiful day for a tough run, the rain had been falling throughout the previous night but only a few muddy/wet patches remained. Here is a little image to set the scene for you.Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 Review - Trail & Kale

My feet hadn’t felt this good running for a long time, this gave me real cause for excitement for the Spring/Summer running that lies ahead. The cushioning in the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 is not something I normally go for in a trail running shoe but I think I’ve been won over by this gem from Merrell. The shoes felt responsive when making split-second decisions on the descents while still offering support from any wrong step, whether it be treading on a sharp rock, rolling an ankle or slipping due to bad grip. I can honestly say this shoe provided everything I needed for a run like this, and I’m going to be using it a lot more in the coming months.

Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 Review - Trail & Kale
Obligatory shoe selfie at the top of my training hill, with San Francisco as a backdrop. So worth the effort!

The run

merrell agility peak flex 2 review
Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 (Summary)
Pros
Cons
8.8
Overall Score

Best Price for the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2

In Summary

I had so much fun running in these shoes for the first time and I can’t wait to put more miles in. I had to get all these points out of my head and on the blog before I forgot all my initial thoughts. If I experience anything different going forward then I will add edits to this post to give progress on real-world usage.

Oh, one other thing, the Agility Peak Flex 2 shoes are Vegan-friendly, meaning 0% animal products were used to make them. +1 to planet Earth!

Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 Review - Trail & Kale
Running with the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 trail running shoes

Thank you

Thank you to our good friends over at Holabird Sports for sending the Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 shoes for review. You have turned our attention towards Merrell and the great work they are evidently doing in their trail running division.

Holabird Sports are a family-owned retail business who have a huge range of trail running gear at VERY competitive prices, you should definitely check them out!

Below are a couple of links where you can learn more about the men’s and women’s versions of this shoe, ready for your next trail adventure!

If you have any questions about the shoes or anything relating to them then please leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible. Happy Trails!!

8 COMMENTS

  1. Enjoyed your review, having just purchased a pair from amazon cheap priced! I’ve about warn out two pair of all out peaks which I really liked when new but lost their cushy heal from rock bruising on the exposed foam; and also frayed at the forefoot bendy part; But the grip on steep loose was superb. Maybe these are better durability? I notice though that the heal under sole is some exposed foam that may take a bruising with rocks.

    • Hey Duncan, thanks for dropping by! I think you’ll like this one, it has great protection under foot and is very durable. I haven’t noticed and out of the ordinary issues in durability with the Agility Peak Flex 2 – let me know how you get on with yours!

      -Alastair

      • G’day Alastair; Expect shoes to arrive in a couple of weeks or by December 10. I only paid US74 and wonder why they were low priced. Retail here in NZ is $250! The peak flex 2 looks better thought out mid foot support than the Peak Flex 1 which I almost bought before discovering the #2. Your review may be the only in depth professional review on the net and about 6 pages into the google review search so the shoe does not seem to have attracted much attention yet. Looking fwd to giving them a run and sure to let you know….cheers.

      • My Merrell’s arrived today and they’ve been baptised with a short 50 minute bush trail run with lots of up and down steps, roots, muddy wet areas and rocky here n there. With the shoes laces nicely cinched up they immediately felt foot conforming and cushy. First thing I noticed when driving the car off of to the bush reserve trail was the grip on the clutch pedal! having difficulty sliding the shoe off, and same with the accelerator. Noticed also that the for foot toe box area is roomy in width and height allowing zero pressure upon the balls of foot.
        On the trail the first thing I notice is that these shoes are quiet on the trail; The out soul rubber is slightly soft and flexible making for a great grip even on the smooth rock and did I mention quiet…I like quiet stealth running shoes.
        These shoes have amazing detail of design and materials, everything from the top of the shoe tongue cut-outs allowing shape of tongue to conform around the front of ankle, the lace up system, to the light weight rubberised toe protector. Just hope the plastic hyper-lock heal support lasts the distance however it does not feel brittle so I’m hopeful it will. I like the arch support which gives a total support feeling along the entire under foot. The lugs feel very grippy and there’s plenty of them however they do retain a bit of the sticky forest floor and on the wet clay steep fire break roads I’m sure they are going to clog up but even the All OUt peaks clogged up there. At the end of the little trail run and back home shoes soiled and wet I notice the are much looser on the foot and the laces now have an extra inch to tighten up. They are now stretched out and bedded in to a longer run or steeper run tomorrow.
        Yep these shoes are very comfortable very grippy and sure to be good for an all day mountain run. I’ll probably very likely will buy another pair or two half size down to make good for the thinner socked summer trails. Even though the larger size will cinch down for the thinner socked foot. 10 out of 10 for me.

        • That’s awesome Duncan! Thanks for letting me know how you got on, in such detail! Swimmingly by the sound of it! And it’s great to hear that you felt the same way about them as me 🙂

          • Yep but they were fun to run and comfy even ran a 20k Jumbo to Holdsworth mountain crossing but the sides split! I’ve bought a second pair of the peaks going cheap! Reason is there’s a peak 3 coming on the market with an interesting extra flex sole design suiting mid distance they say. Not to sure about it to be honest. I think the lateral flex with exposed forefoot foam grooves will jam with stones and maybe damage very easily. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21wodUwB0-E

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Alastair Dixon
Alastair Dixonhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. 5 years ago I started Trail & Kale as a way to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. Since then Trail & Kale has grown to become a thriving blog and community that inspires people to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
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