GEAR CHECK: Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2
Price: R1 899
Get It Now: merrell.co.za
In an attempt to make this shoe bend both up and down, mimicking a barefoot feel, Merrell cut grooves into the top of the midsole foam to complement those under the sole. Tests in the RW Shoe Lab show that traditional flexibility – bending the forefoot on toe-off – is stiff, and wear-testers reported the same.
Probably contributing to this is the rock plates (on both the heel and the forefoot) that shield your foot from rough trails.
But our wear-testers said the balance of cushioning with the flexibility and the weight really helped the Agility Peak Flex 2 to feel comfortable on the move. It feels soft and smooth enough to tackle a variety of surfaces, which is something our testers appreciated. – RW Editors
Testers liked the Omni-Fit lacing system in the upper. Flat laces connect to cables that run across the top of the foot, and help to pull the two sides of the eye rows together, offering the wearer good lock-down around the foot. This system has been compared to Salomon’s Quicklace arrangement.
A rock plate in both heel and forefoot shields your foot from rough trails, and even protects your toes if you stub them on small rocks. Padding in the heel comes in the form of a high-rebound EVA foam pod in the heel, which absorbs shock and helps to keep the ankle stable.
At 286 grams, the Agility Peak Flex 2 is surprisingly lightweight for a shoe that offers so much cushioning and protection. This means you’re better able to tackle hills and technical terrain without fatiguing quickly.