With knowledge gained from collaborating with their top athletes to design the line of high-performance Merrell Test Lab (MTL) shoes, Merrell has again created an exceptional mountain shoe with the new Merrell MTL Long Sky 2. Using everything that worked well with the previous model of the MTL Long Sky and upgrading several components, Merrell has created a shoe ideal for running fast and long over technical mountain terrain.
Merrell has always understood the value of simplicity and using trusted concepts for their shoes. The new Merrell MTL Long Sky 2 doesn’t stray far from its predecessor but has several key differences for improved performance and fit. Ready for any type of terrain, the MTL Long Sky 2 excels when the trail gets technical.
Whether it’s rocks, roots, or mud that need to be negotiated, a runner will be able to move with speed and confidence. Lightweight yet durable, the MTL Long Sky 2 is designed to help Merrell’s top athletes excel. Definitely not a shoe for grinding out long slow road miles, the MTL Long Sky 2 is meant to tackle the most difficult terrain, and to do it quickly and with determination.
With environmentally friendly construction, including some parts of the shoe that are made from 100% recycled materials, the brand is working toward producing shoes in a more sustainable manner. Merrell remains committed to creating shoes that are simple and high-performing, and the MTL Long Sky 2 successfully builds on the previous model to be a ready-for-anything trail shoe.
Merrell MTL Long Sky 2 Basic Specifications
Let’s take a deeper dive into the details of the Merrell MTL Long Sky 2.
Advertised Weight: 19.8 ounces (560 grams) for a men’s size 9
Drop: 4 millimeters
Upper Material: Created to be highly breathable, the upper is made of mesh with 100% recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) overlays for increased durability. Redesigned to be lighter and quicker to dry, it still provides protection from rocks on the trail.
Lacing System: The laces are made with 100% recycled materials. An extra eyelet at the top of the lacing system allows for lacing customization and can provide for a more secure fit.
Tongue: Integrated into the internal bootie of the shoe, the tongue provides a secure locked-in fit. Made of 100% recycled webbing, it’s part of the shoe’s environmentally friendly design.
Insole: The environmentally friendly insole is made of EVA foam with 100% recycled top sheet.
Midsole: Newly designed with FloatPro Foam™, the midsole runs the middle ground with stack height and drop to strike an ideal balance between cushion and ground feel.
Outsole: Built to suit any type of condition, the Vibram® MegaGrip® outsole uses chevron-shaped 5-millimeter lugs to provide traction on both wet and dry surfaces. The sticky rubber provides confidence on roots, rocks, dirt, and everything in between.
Unique Features of the Merrell MTL Long Sky 2
The Merrell MTL Long Sky 2 isn’t a highly cushioned shoe, nor is it minimalist. With a reasonable stack height, it still provides cushion and protection without sacrificing ground control. The redesigned upper provides a distinctly sock-like feel, and the built-in internal bootie provides a locked-in fit that works for many foot shapes. Regardless of the surface, the Vibram® MegaGrip® outsole of the MTL Long Sky 2 will stick to the ground. A mountain running shoe for any terrain, it could even be considered as a candidate for a one-shoe running quiver.
New Breathable and Lightweight Upper
To optimize the fit and function of the MTL Long Sky 2 upper, Merrell started with a lightweight, breathable mesh. The new material allows for the upper to retain 30% less water than its predecessor, improving its performance in wet conditioners. Not only will the new mesh weigh less when wet, but it will also dry quicker.
For improved durability, the mesh is reinforced with a 100% recycled TPU coating. The strategic use of the coating keeps the shoe light and breathable, while improving its resilience in rough terrain. Overall, the MTL Long Sky 2 is 10% lighter than the previous model and feels light and nimble when running.
The MTL Long Sky 2 also has an inner bootie to help lock in the fit of the shoe. The webbed tongue, made of 100% recycled materials, is integrated into the bootie to further enhance the fit of the shoe. Ideal for scrambling, climbing, and hopping between rocks, the upper holds the foot securely and allows for confident movement.
Those moving through rocky, mountainous terrain understand the annoyance of getting pebbles and debris in their shoes. The MTL Long Sky 2 comes with a D-ring gaiter attachment system to make it easy to add extra protection. When running at night or in low light, the reflective details will keep the shoe and the runner seen.
Improved FloatPro Foam Midsole
Using the success of the FloatPro Foam midsole on their Moab Flight shoe, Merrell has created a midsole for the MTL Long Sky 2 that provides enough cushion for long runs while maintaining a high level of ground feel and control. FloatPro is a semi-responsive foam that is both lightweight and protective. The midsole makes the MTL Long Sky 2 adaptable in any type of off-road terrain.
With a stack height of 23.5 millimeters at the heel and 19.5 millimeters at the toe yielding a 4-millimeter drop, the midsole runs the middle ground between being highly cushioned and minimalist with a very standard drop. This allows the shoe to work for many different running styles over a variety of distances and terrain.
Grippy and Trusted Vibram® MegaGrip® Outsole
When scrambling around in the mountains, traction is key. With a Vibram® MegaGrip outsole, the Merrell MTL Long Sky 2 is at home on tough terrain. The 5-millimeter lugs are deep enough to provide traction, while not being too much for running on dirt roads or other hard surfaces. At its heart, the MTL Long Sky 2 wants to be in the mountains and on trails, but it will also perform on flatter, smoother terrain. The sticky rubber provides exceptional traction on a wide variety of surfaces, both wet and dry. Merrell has chosen to stay with their previously successful chevron-like lug design with the MTL Long Sky 2, and the layout and shape of the lugs provide exceptional traction on both uphills and downhills.
Merrell understands that the best things are often the simplest. The new MTL Long Sky 2 takes the template of its predecessor, which was already a high-performance shoe, and makes it even better.
[Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Merrell. Find out more about the Merrell MTL Long Sky 2. Thank you to Merrell for its sponsorship of iRunFar, which helps to make iRunFar happen and free for all to enjoy. Learn more about our sponsored articles.]