We were impressed by the comfort and affordability of the Merrell Siren Edge 3. They have a short break-in process, after which they provide decent traction and an easy, comfortable fit. While they aren't waterproof, and their light weight comes at the price of durability, we found them to be a worthy shoe on nearly every dry hike we threw their way. The toe box is generously sized to accommodate a wide range of toe widths, and the midsoles felt secure even though the shoes lacked the rigidity of the more rugged shoes in our review. If you are trying to find an inexpensive but worthy hiking shoe for day trips, non-technical mountains, or travel, these shoes are a worthy contender for your consideration.Editor's Note: We added this shoe to our review line-up on May 20, 2022.
Merrell Siren Edge 3 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, lightweight, decent traction, inexpensive, vegan-friendly
Cons: Not waterproof, below average durability
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Merrell Siren Edge 3 - Women's
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|Pros||Comfortable, lightweight, decent traction, inexpensive, vegan-friendly||Comfortable, stable, great traction, durable||Waterproof, great traction, breathable||Lightweight, waterproof||Inexpensive, supportive, comfortable, durable|
|Cons||Not waterproof, below average durability||Upper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavy||Needs breaking in, runs short, awkward tongue, laces difficult to adjust||Lacks support, mediocre traction, lacks durability, limited to lighter trails||Heavy, not waterproof, slow to dry, longer break-in, uncomfortable tongue|
|Bottom Line||A budget-minded, lightweight, and comfy shoe for fair-weather day hikes when you know your feet won't get wet||This beefy shoe features rugged durability and excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrain||Good at most things and great at some, this solid hiker meets most needs at a surprisingly low price||A lightweight shoe that lacks significant support but may be appropriate for mellow hikes and sightseeing||An affordable hiking shoe that's comfortable, supportive, and durable, but isn't a top performer|
|Rating Categories||Merrell Siren Edge 3||Oboz Sawtooth II Lo...||Merrell Moab 2 WP -...||Salomon OUTline GTX...||Merrell Moab 2 Vent...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Merrell Siren Edge 3||Oboz Sawtooth II Lo...||Merrell Moab 2 WP -...||Salomon OUTline GTX...||Merrell Moab 2 Vent...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.41 lbs (size 9.5)||1.83 lbs (size 7)||1.69 lbs (size 7)
1.71 lbs (size 10)
|1.19 lbs (size 7)||1.81 lbs (size 9.5)|
|Width Options||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular, Wide|
|Upper||Waterproof mesh, 3D-printed TPU||Leather/textile||Suede leather, mesh||Waterproof textile||Suede leather, mesh|
|Midsole||EVA||Dual density EVA||EVA||Injected EVA||EVA|
|Lining||Mesh||B-Dry||M-Select Dry & Mesh||Gore-Tex||Mesh|
|Outsole||Vibram TC5+||Sawtooth||Vibram TC5+||Non-marking Contragrip rubber||Vibram|
Our Analysis and Test Results
If it weren't for the low price, light weight, and comfort, we would have overlooked the Siren, but these shoes pack a punch for a day hiker on a budget. While they aren't our go-to shoe for technical scrambles or overnight trips with a heavy pack, they provide decent traction and support for shorter trips on the trail.
Comfort is one of the categories where the Siren calls to us. Initially, we found them to be somewhat uncomfortable, but after a little sweat and a couple of miles, they became one of the more comfortable shoes in our review. A huge part of why they are so comfortable is that they have a generous toe box but a moldable and snug midsole.
It should be noted that we tested the medium width of this shoe, but they also offer a wide version. A deep heel cup (which might be too big for some folks) and a soft, form-fitting tongue lead to an overall plush feel. We appreciated the flat laces and the ease by which you can snug them up, though if you like your laces tight, the tongue is a bit thin to protect the tops of the feet. The insoles are rather flimsy, so we recommend using an aftermarket insole instead if you prefer more durability or support in your footbed. Depending on the terrain, we found the ankle collar could be somewhat uncomfortable as it dug in, so if you have bony ankles watch out for this.
We evaluate each shoe for support in the field and by doing a series of tests in our "lab" (aka our office). The Siren was sufficiently supportive on shorter (5-10 mile) hikes but is not as rigid or supportive as the higher-end models in our review.
To test mid-sole stability, we laterally twist the shoes as if we were ringing out a sponge. With the Siren, there was no torsional rigidity when twisting the shoe from the big toe to heel and some torsional rigidity from pinky toe to heel. In these tests, some of the flexibility comes from having a very flexible toe box. What does this lack of torsional rigidity and flexibility in the toe box mean for you? Ultimately this translates into a less supportive experience on the trail. The more torsionally rigid your shoes are, the less likely they will be the reason why you roll an ankle. The more flexible the toe box, the more tired the balls of your feet will be after a long hike, especially if you plan to carry a heavy pack. Some folks argue that too much rigidity in your shoes can make your ankles or feet weaker and more prone to rolling. While this may be true, rigidity through the midsole will result in less foot fatigue on long hikes. So why would you want a shoe as flexible as the Siren? Because the break-in period is shorter, and it is much more comfortable out of the box. This is why we recommend the Siren for shorter hikes with lighter loads.
As long as you don't expect the Siren to perform like an approach shoe (a shoe with sticky rubber for light climbing), it has great traction on trail and low-angle slabs.
We were impressed by the traction on this shoe once the tread broke in a little. With a more flexible sole and soft tread, the Siren grips well on rocky trails and when doing some light scrambling. On steep, rocky terrain, we prefer shoes with stickier rubber and/or variable lug heights, but these shoes handled decently on moderately difficult terrain. If your summer hiking plans involve hiking a non-technical mountain or exploring around the foothills, these shoes should be able to keep up with your adventures.
Rather than relying on the manufacturer's listed weight, we always weigh all the products we test, and the Siren Edge 3 is among the lightest weight shoes in our review.
In a women's size 9.5 US, the Siren weighs 1.41 pounds (22.56 ounces). Many of the other shoes in our lineup were tested in a size 7 US, so this is an impressive number. A lightweight pair of hiking shoes is a boon for anyone who plans to stash their hiking shoes in luggage for an upcoming vacation or for anyone who likes to feel light on their feet.
The Siren scored poorly in this category because they aren't waterproof or even that water-resistant. However, not all shoes are designed to be waterproof, and not every hiker needs this feature. Also, the Siren is available in a waterproof version for just a bit more money, if that's something you know you will need.
To evaluate each pair of shoes for water resistance, we submerge them for 10 minutes in 3 inches of water while wearing fresh socks. We weigh the shoes at the beginning and end of the test to determine how much water they've absorbed. We also make a note of any failure points on the shoes. The Siren soaked through almost immediately, absorbing 7.36 ounces of water over the 10-minute test period. This is over 5 ounces more than our most waterproof models. In the field, we didn't notice catastrophic failures in response to a little mud or moisture, but your feet will definitely get wet if you have to do a stream crossing or sustained hiking in snow or rain. Of the non-waterproof options, these shoes did dry the fastest, which is something we like to see in non-waterproof model.
If there were ever a general law of outdoor gear, it would be: the lighter the weight, the lower the durability. The Siren is no exception to this rule.
It can be challenging to evaluate the durability of hiking shoes when our testing period is only a few months long. However, we know what to clue in to, and within our short review cycle, we noticed some durability issues with the Siren. Namely, there was some scuffing and wear to the front end of the shoe. This is likely due to wearing the shoes while scrambling a granite foothill and wedging the shoes in cracks. Maybe you'll be less hard on your shoes than we are, but this was a notable weakness.
We also noticed some wear to the tread after our review period. The lugs are much softer on the Siren than on other shoes we tested. This results in great traction in the short term but less durability over the long term.
Should You Buy the Merrell Siren Edge 3?
If you're looking for a light hiking shoe that requires minimal break-in time for day hiking in good weather, then the Siren is likely a good option. They are lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and vegan. They have good traction, and they handle well. Are they the most durable shoes in the review? No. Are they the most waterproof shoes? Also, no. But they are one of the least expensive quality hiking shoes we've found and, for just a bit more, they do come in a waterproof version.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
For a more rugged, supportive, and waterproof shoe, we recommend checking out the La Sportiva Spire GTX. But be fair warned, they are nearly double the price of the Siren Edge 3. If you want to check out another budget-minded option, you could step into the waterproof and beefy Merrell Moab 2 WP. While they are waterproof and more durable, we found these shoes to be less comfortable and more difficult to adjust to our feet than the Siren.
— Mary Witlacil
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