Skechers vs Merrell – Comfort Clash! Which Brand Wins?

Hitting the trails or just going for a stroll through the park requires a good, supportive pair of shoes.

Two top brands known for their walking and casual styles are Skechers and Merrell.

But with so many options to choose from, which is better for your individual needs?

This comparison covers Skechers vs Merrell key differences buyers should consider when deciding between these two popular footwear labels.

Skechers vs Merrell

The main difference between Skechers and Merrell is their product focus. Skechers concentrates on fashionable athletic and casual shoes, appealing to a broad consumer base, while Merrell specializes in outdoor and hiking footwear, catering to adventurers and nature enthusiasts who prioritize performance and durability over style.

Before comparing the specifics, here is an overview of Skechers vs Merrell Shoes:

Brand HistoryFounded in 1992 in Manhattan Beach, California. Known for casual and performance footwear.Founded in 1981 in Randolph, Massachusetts. Known for outdoor and casual footwear, with a focus on hiking and trail shoes.
Product RangeCasual shoes, sneakers, sandals, boots, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children.Hiking shoes, trail running shoes, casual shoes, sandals, boots, and apparel for men and women. Emphasis on outdoor and active footwear.
PricingLower-priced, with shoes ranging from $50 to $100 on average.Mid-range to higher-priced, with shoes ranging from $90 to $150 on average.
Cushioning TechnologyAir-Cooled Memory Foam, Skech-Air, and Ultra GO cushioning systems.Air Cushion, M Select GRIP, and Merrell Air Cushion technologies.
Stability FeaturesM-Strike technology for stability in the midfoot.Stability features like air cushions, heel counters, and proprietary lug patterns for traction.
FitEmphasis on comfort and a relaxed fit.Emphasis on performance and a secure fit for outdoor activities.
MaterialsSynthetic materials, mesh, and leather uppers. Rubber outsoles.Synthetic materials, mesh, and leather uppers. Vibram and Merrell-branded rubber outsoles.
Arch SupportDecent arch support, suitable for casual wear.Excellent arch support, suitable for hiking and outdoor activities.
DurabilityAverage durability, with shoes lasting 6-12 months with regular use.Above-average durability, with shoes lasting 12-18 months with regular outdoor use.
StyleCasual, lifestyle-focused designs. A wide range of colors and patterns.Primarily outdoor and active-focused designs, with some casual crossover styles. Subtle colors and patterns.
MarketingFocused on comfort, style, and affordability. Celebrity endorsements.Focused on performance, quality, and innovation for outdoor activities. Outdoor enthusiast endorsements.

In summary, Skechers and Merrell across various criteria, including brand history, product range, pricing, technology, fit, materials, arch support, durability, style, and marketing strategies.

The information provided should give a comprehensive overview of the key similarities and differences between these two popular shoe brands, with Merrell focusing more on outdoor and active footwear, and Skechers maintaining a lower price point for casual and lifestyle shoes.

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Pros and Cons

Pros: Skechers

  • Generally more affordable than Merrell
  • Comfortable and cushioned for everyday wear
  • Diverse style options, from casual to athletic
  • Good value for the price point
  • Suitable for light outdoor activities

Cons: Skechers

  • May not be as well-suited for intense outdoor use
  • Perceived as a less premium or “cheaper” brand
  • Reliability and durability may not match Merrell
  • Limited brand prestige and recognition
  • Not as specialized for technical outdoor performance

Pros: Merrell

Excellent for outdoor and rugged activities
Highly durable and well-constructed
Provide great traction and stability on various terrains
Known for their high-quality and long-lasting materials
Comfortable and supportive for all-day wear

Cons: Merrell

  • More expensive compared to Skechers
  • Limited style options outside of outdoor/hiking focus
  • May not be as comfortable for all-day casual wear as Skechers
  • Heavier and bulkier than some casual shoe options
  • May not have the same level of cushioning and shock absorption as Skechers

Which Shoes Are Good for Different Activities

Shoes for Running

  • Skechers: As mentioned earlier, Skechers makes a variety of running shoes, but they are generally not considered as high-performance as more premium running shoe brands. Skechers running shoes tend to have more basic midsole and outsole technologies, often lacking the advanced cushioning and responsiveness found in top-tier running shoes. However, Skechers does offer some models like the GOrun line that are designed for a more performance-oriented running experience.
  • Merrell: Merrell is widely regarded as one of the leading brands for performance-oriented outdoor and trail running shoes. Their shoes are known for their excellent cushioning, traction, and stability, making them a popular choice among serious runners, especially for off-road or trail running. Merrell puts a lot of research and development into their running-specific technologies.

Shoes for Walking

  • Skechers: Many Skechers walking and casual shoes are designed with comfort and all-day wearability in mind. Models like the Skechers GO WALK line have responsive but cushioned midsoles and breathable uppers that provide excellent comfort for extended periods of walking. Skechers shoes are often a good choice for those who need a comfortable, supportive walking shoe for everyday use.
  • Merrell: Merrell also makes a wide range of high-quality walking and hiking shoes that prioritize comfort, support, and durability. Their shoes often feature advanced midsole and outsole technologies that provide excellent cushioning and traction for both casual and more rugged walking environments. Merrell is known for producing durable, well-designed walking shoes.

Shoes for Standing All Day

  • Skechers: Skechers makes a number of shoes specifically designed for standing and working on your feet all day. Models like the Skechers Work line have features like memory foam insoles, reinforced heels, and slip-resistant outsoles that provide comfort and support for prolonged periods of standing. The more casual, lower-profile design of many Skechers work shoes may also be better suited for occupational use compared to more athletic-focused footwear.
  • Merrell: While Merrell is primarily known for their outdoor and hiking-focused shoes, they do offer some shoes that are well-suited for standing all day. Models like the Merrell Work Radian have features like air-cushioned midsoles, EVA footbeds, and slip-resistant outsoles that can provide comfort and support for those who need to be on their feet for extended periods. However, Merrell may not have the same level of occupational-specific design as Skechers’ work-oriented shoes.

Now that you have an overview of Skechers vs Merrell Shoes differences, read on for an in-depth feature-by-feature comparison.

Overview of Skechers and Merrell

Skechers, founded in 1992, offers athletic and casual styles for men, women, and kids. Known for affordable prices, they fuse sport and fashion into shoes perfect for everyday wear. Merrell, around 1981, specializes in outdoor footwear for hiking, trail running, and more rugged adventures, as well as casual designs. While pricing runs higher, fans praise their comfort technologies and durability.

Skechers Overview

  • Founded: 1992
  • Headquarters: Manhattan Beach, California
  • Key Technologies: Air Cooled Memory Foam, Relaxed Fit, Skech Knit Mesh
  • Categories: Casuals, athletic lifestyle, performance, work
  • Price Range: $50-$90
YearKey Milestones
1992Founded by Robert Greenberg and launched as a utility footwear brand
1995Expanded into casual shoes and boots for men and women
1998Introduced children’s line
2019Surpassed $5 billion in annual sales

Merrell Overview

  • Founded: 1981
  • Headquarters: Rockford, Michigan
  • Key Technologies: M Select GRIP, air cushion, Vibram sole
  • Categories: Hiking shoes and boots, trail running, outdoor, casual
  • Price Range: $100-$180
YearKey Milestones
1981Randy Merrell created custom hiking boots
1997Acquired by Wolverine Worldwide
2007First trail running shoes introduced
202140th anniversary

Shoe Categories Comparison

Both brands produce numerous style categories, but they have differences in focus.


While Skechers has casual collections, they also actively develop shoes for fitness walking, trail hiking and even running. With endorsements by elite marathoner Meb Keflezighi and pro golfers like Matt Kuchar, Skechers tries positioning itself as a true athletic brand beyond just lifestyle.

Some main categories include:

  1. Walking: Cushioned with stability or flexible performance
  2. Casual: Fashion and sport fusion style
  3. Athletic Lifestyle: Inspired by fitness looks
  4. Golf: Spiked and spikeless designs
  5. Trail: For light hiking activities
  6. Work: Slip-resistant safety shoes


Merrell centers designs primarily around outdoor adventure rather than urban streets. They craft technical shoes and boots to stand up to more rugged terrain, while casual options channel an adventurous spirit.

Merrell’s lineup focuses on:

  • Hiking: Multi-day backpacking boots and shoes
  • Trail Running: Off-road racing and training
  • Outdoor: Hiking, approach, and water sport designs
  • Lifestyle: Outdoor-inspired casuals
  • Work: Protective and slip-resistant
Athletic Lifestyle???x

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Shoe Construction and Materials

The quality of components plays a significant role in the comfort, support, and durability of walking footwear.


Skechers incorporates varying degrees of technology into their broad range of shoes depending on the category and price point. More affordable casual collections may have basic fabrications, while performance lines integrate advanced comfort and support features.

Some notable Skechers materials and construction details include:

  • Air Cooled Memory Foam Insoles: Cushioned and ventilated
  • Goga Mat Insoles: High rebound cushioning
  • Relaxed Fit: Roomier toe box for comfort
  • Skech Knit Mesh: Lightweight breathable stretch knit uppers
  • Athletic Performance Soles: Traction grip and flexibility


Because Merrell targets outdoor activities, their shoes have rugged builds to enhance stability while carrying packs across unpredictable wilderness terrain. Technologies equip them for more abusive conditions over extended miles. Even casual designs echo these sturdier construction roots.

Merrell utilizes quality components like:

  • M Select GRIP Outsoles: Trail-specific stability and traction
  • Vibram Soles: Durability for gripping paths and trails
  • M Select FRESH Odor Control: Anti-microbial agents reduce shoe smells
  • Air Cushion Midsoles: Absorbs shock and adds rebound
  • Bellows and Gore-Tex Tongues: Block dirt and debris
FoamsMemory FoamSelect Fresh
CushioningGoga MatM Select FIT.Eco+
Odor ControlAir CooledM Select FRESH
SolesRubber gripsVibram
WaterproofResistant DesignsGORE-TEX

Fit and Sizing Comparison

Finding the right size is critical for comfort when walking for exercise or leisure. The brands have key similarities and differences.


Skechers designs most styles to have a comfortable relaxed fit through the forefoot and toe box area. Many integrate knitted uppers that stretch to accommodate swelling during activity. The roomier profile appeals to buyers with wide feet or who dislike a cramped feel around their toes.

Some Skechers fit notes:

  • Tend to run large – consider going down half a size
  • Widths come in standard D for men, B for women
  • Limited wide-width options in select casuals
  • Relaxed fit and stretch knits accommodate swelling


As an outdoor brand, Merrell configures shoes to allow room for technical hiking socks while preventing excessive slippage that causes blisters. Locking laces and heel capture systems improve security. Soles provide stability when carrying packs across uneven terrain.

Here are some Merrell fit specifications:

  • Typically run true to size
  • Multiple widths from narrow B up to extra wide 4E
  • Women’s designs made on female-specific lasts
  • Integrated lacing systems prevent loosening
  • Protective toe rand and heel cups
Fit FactorsSkechersMerrell
SizeRuns largeTrue to size
WidthsStandardNarrow to X-Wide
LacingTraditionalTechnical systems
Toe BoxRelaxedProtective rand
HeelPaddedMolded cups

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Traction Technology Comparison

The grip keeps you stable during walking or hiking across various surfaces, especially uneven or wet terrain. Both brands engineer sole traction for versatility.


The level and type of traction varies across Skechers walking shoe collections depending on designated use. Options geared more for pavement walking implement flexible grooves and pronounced tread patterns on rubber outsoles. More rugged trail designs add deeper multi-directional gripping lugs.

Some Skechers traction tech:

  • Multi-direction lugs
  • Stabilizing midfoot strike zones
  • Rubber outsole compounds
  • Flexible walking grooves


Because hiking and trail running over technical terrain is Merrell’s wheelhouse, they are experts in engineering sole systems with tunable traction. Outsoles like Vibram or M Select Grip combine stabilizing lugs of different shapes, compounds, and depths that grip unpredictably slippery surfaces.

Notable Merrell traction features include:

  • Vibram mountain lugs
  • M Select Grip wet/dry traction
  • Zonal durability
  • Braking lugs and arch support
Traction TechSkechersMerrell
SurfacesCasual walkingRugged mountain trails
Lug DesignMulti-directionalM Select GRIP
Lug DepthShallow streetDeep wilderness
ZonesFlex point groovesTargeted braking lugs

User Reviews and Price Comparison

User Reviews

Comfort⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“The most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned! Wore them all day with no issues.”“Instantly comfortable right out of the box. No break-in period needed.”
Durability⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“I’ve had these shoes for over a year, and they’re still holding up great.”“Merrell shoes are built to last. I’ve had my pair for 2 years, and they’re still going strong.”
Style⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“Love the look of these shoes! Stylish and versatile.”“The design is perfect for outdoor adventures, and they still look great for everyday wear.”
Value⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“You get a lot of shoe for the price. Great quality at an affordable cost.”“A bit pricier, but the quality and performance justify the investment.”
Overall⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“My go-to shoes for comfort and style. Highly recommend!”“Merrell never disappoints. These shoes are worth every penny.”

Price Comparison

CategorySkechers Average PriceMerrell Average Price
Men’s Running Shoes$60 – $80$90 – $130
Women’s Running Shoes$60 – $80$90 – $130
Men’s Hiking Shoes$70 – $90$100 – $150
Women’s Hiking Shoes$70 – $90$100 – $150
Men’s Casual Shoes$50 – $70$70 – $110
Women’s Casual Shoes$50 – $70$70 – $110
Men’s Sandals$40 – $60$60 – $100
Women’s Sandals$40 – $60$60 – $100
Men’s Boots$70 – $100$120 – $180
Women’s Boots$70 – $100$120 – $180

This provides a comprehensive overview of user reviews and pricing for Skechers and Merrell, highlighting the key strengths and differences between the two brands.


When choosing walking shoes for light exercise or rugged adventure, Skechers and Merrell both supply quality options depending on individual requirements.

Skechers dominates fashionable street styles with comfort features like air-cooled memory foam insoles.

Merrell excels at stable trail shoes engineered to grip unpredictable surfaces during extended outdoor trips. Review key performance differences between the two brands to select models that best support your walking activities.

Match intended terrains and walking distances to specialized sole traction systems, cushioning, or support components. This ensures happy feet ready to carry you wherever your walking passion leads.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand is more affordable?

Skechers position most shoes under $100 making them generally more budget-friendly than Merrell, which range from $120-$180 on average.

Who makes more professional work styles?

Both Skechers and Merrell design slip-resistant occupational footwear. However, Skechers offers more polishable options outside athletic looks.

Does one brand run smaller or larger?

Skechers tend to fit large, so sizing down may get a better fit. Merrell runs more true to size across styles.

Which has better arch support?

It depends on the shoe. Both incorporate stability technologies in some models. Try each brand on to evaluate individual fit based on your feet and gait.

Is Skechers just as good for hiking boots?

Merrell uses more technical components better suited for rugged mountain use. Skechers trail shoes work fine for light-day hiking activities, just not extended multi-day trips with heavy packs.

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