Saturday, December 09, 2023

Merrell Antora 3 Review

Article by Dominique Winebaum

Merrell Antora 3 ($125)


I opted for the Antora 3 from among a line-up of nine different models when the offer to test a pair of Merrell trail running shoes presented itself.  I like a trail runner that does double duty as a hiker, and felt the Antora 3 would be a good fit for me. After several weeks of wear, I find them to be extremely versatile and not just built for the trails!   

This is only my second test pair of Merrell.  Back in 2017, one of my first reviews was the Trail Glove 4, a zero drop trail shoe with a 13 mm stack height.  Even though I tend to “bypass” zero drop shoes, I ran my Trail Glove 4 to the ground, trail running, hiking, walking, and on their last legs, as gardening  shoes.    

I love Merrell’s distinctive bright colorways and elaborate overlays!

Fit true to size with plenty of room in the toebox

Upper is well designed to provide comfort and protection 

Two different widths available: medium and wide

Forefoot rock plate for added protection


Vibram outsole with 4mm lugs

A good option as a low top hiking shoe although primarily a trail running shoe  

Attractive design available in 8 different colorways

Affordable option for a solid trail shoe at $125 with some of the colorways discounted to $94.

Impressive line-up of footwear in the Antora Collection, including a mid-waterproof hiker


Cushioning a bit on the thin side, especially in the front.

Not super responsive, a bit flat riding when running


Sample Weight: women's 10.2 oz / 290g (women’s US9)

Stack Height: men’s 29 mm heel / 21 mm forefoot ( drop spec) 

$125 ($155 GTX). Available now including some colors at a discount and in medium and wide sizing.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

I was truly impressed by the new line-up of trail shoes from Merrell when trying to select a model, and even more so after receiving the Antora 3. This has renewed my interest in the brand; indeed, their trail shoes are now measuring up to the competition with a price tag here that is hard to beat and in uplifting colorways.  Truly, Merrell is up there when it comes to trail judging from a wave of RTR contributors who have tested other higher performance models such as the Skyfire 2 Martyx (RTR Review) and Long Sky 2 Matryx  (RTR Review) and $100 door to trail Moprhlite  (RTR Review)

The fit is true to size and comfortably secure.  I find the toebox to be quite roomy without looking oversized or feeling oversized.  They were out of the box comfortable with no need to break-them-in.  The Antora 3 comes in two widths: medium and wide, and with nine different colorways to choose from!

A great upper with lots of appeal, and this beyond the attractive colorways.  The mesh provides great breathability helping keep your feet cool, so essential in the summer, but also in cooler temperatures helping sweat evaporate.  In colder, yet dry weather, my feet stay toasty wearing a pair of merino wool socks during hour-long outings. For wetter and colder conditions, there is a Gore-Tex version of the Antora 3 and a mid-waterproof model for winter hiking.  In fact, there is an entire Antora Collection that will get you covered on all fronts! 

Protection against shock and rocks is good for a trail runner intended for moderate trails. We see TPU reinforcements on the inside of the toe box with lighter and thinner overlays extending along the base of the upper for added durability.  

Strategically placed overlays at the midfoot, around the shoelace system, and at the heel, provide a secure foothold, which I would characterize as a superior hold to Topo trail runners, such as the Ultraventure Pro. Of note, Topo’s Traverse, a hybrid hiker and trail runner , which is built for more challenging terrain does provide a snug and comfortable foothold that is a notch better than the Antora 3.  

The comfort level is excellent.  The generous padding around the collar creates a secure foothold along with the shoelace system. It also features a partially gusseted tongue that is well padded. 

After one month of wear, the inside of my shoes are still fresh smelling thanks to the Cleansport NXT™ lining the footbed cover for natural odor control.  Say goodbye to smelly shoes – this really works!  

A low top trail runner that can do  double duty as a hiker, gaiters can be attached to the upper, both at the base of the shoelace system via a metal ring, and at the heel by means of a velcro pad and elastic band. 


The midsole has a fairly low 29-21 mm stack height and an 8mm drop that feels very comfortable underfoot although on the firm side.  As per the specs, FloatPro Foam™ pods in the forefoot and the heel provide extra cushioning to absorb impact and to create a smooth transition.  The cushioning pods are protective, yet  the feel of the midsole is not plush and lacks a bit of rebound. The midsole is very protective and stable featuring a rock plate to help absorb shocks. 

I have ended up doing more walking than trail running in my Antora 3 simply because I walk more than I trail run.  Yet, I find that I get more enjoyment walking, trail or road, than when running in them.  Not the most cushioned shoe that I have experienced for trail running in terms of stack height, but a great introductory shoe for those contemplating trails .  


The outsole is made with Vibram TC5+ with 4mm lugs in a chevron pattern providing good grip and traction.  It’s a versatile outsole that works great on the trails but is also very walkable on the road, and runnable too.   

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Admittedly I have worn my Antora 3 mostly for walking with some trail running over the past month.  It has been a bit of a seasonal issue for me with my hiking season over and trail running a bit hazardous at this time of the year.  This said, I plan to hike and do more trail running in them after we get through winter.  Mind you, the Antora Collection will get you covered for winter hiking with even an insulated higher top model, and much more! 

Overall, I would recommend Merrel’s line of trail shoes – there is a model for any type of trail runner with plenty of options as hikers and lifestyle shoes.  The Antora 3 is a versatile shoe that does double duty as trail runner and a hiker, but also has become my go-to walking shoe.   

This model is only available for women and is an entry level trail runner/hiker.  It is an affordable option available in attractive colorways and there are also many other options offered in  the Antora Collection.  

Score: 9.15/10

Many different versions of Merrell Antora 3 are available at our partners including in wide sizing, mid height boot and thermal mic





Use our code RTR235 for 5% off all products

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles and once a week down in the mid 9 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. An avid hiker and trekker, she has been around Mont Blanc 3 times, hiked Chamonix to Zermatt, and completed the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and also enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, tennis, and gardening. 

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Comments and Questions Welcome Below!Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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