boy climbing rocks while wearing Merrell Trail Quest Jr Shoe Review
Peri is rocking his Merrell Trail Quest Jr toddler hiking shoes (pardon the pun).

Recently, Merrell sent us a pair of the Merrell Trail Quest Jr toddler hiking shoes for Peri to try out, and to put it simply, they are GREAT hiking shoes!

Peri has said so much himself, and given that we’ve learned how to choose a toddler hiking shoe, we definitely stand behind these very well-made toddler hiking shoes.

In a nutshell, we like the Merrell Trail Quest Jr because they are:

  • specially designed for hiking
  • durable
  • supportive
  • comfortable
  • made with equivalent attention to detail and quality as an adult hiking shoe

Below we go into much more detail about exactly why we like these shoes so much. So if you’re trying to decide whether or not these’ll be right for your toddler, read on!

Questions Or Comments About The Merrell Trail Quest Jr?

If at any point, you have any questions or comments about:

  • these particular toddler hiking shoes
  • kids hiking shoes in general
  • anything related to choosing the best kids hiking shoe for your little one

Feel free to leave us a comment below, and we’ll get back to you just as soon as we can!

How They Perform – Merrell Trail Quest Jr

The short answer is…

When it comes to toddler hiking footwear, the Trail Quest Jr performs very well on hiking trails!


If you’re looking for a solid hiking-specific toddler shoe, definitely consider these!

Merrell claims they can be used on “the toughest trails and playgrounds around.”

toddler on playground
We happened upon this playground before a hike.

And, while technically you can use a shoe just about anywhere, given all we’ll cover below, we’d say they’re an excellent choice as a dedicated hiking shoe and not a hybrid toddler hiking shoe.


Right out of the box, Peri put these shoes on, and he was off to the races. Peri has hiked in them about a dozen times. So far, he has not yet complained about his feet being uncomfortable.

The shoes come with a removable EVA footbed (ethylene vinyl acetate) – think soft foam insole – which gives him a supportive yet soft surface to walk on.

Since the shoes weigh a mere 137 grams (4.8 oz), they aren’t cumbersome for him to walk in, as could be the case with heavier toddler hiking boots.

As an aside, Peri has previously gone hiking in some street shoes. And when he did, he complained about toe pain a few times when he was using them.

His lack of complaints in his Trail Quest Jr tell us he finds them comfortable.


The Merrell Trail Quest Jr are easy to put on and take off.

To do so, you use a velcro loop and hook strap. It’s effortless to get them perfectly tight. And, the closure is simple enough that Peri is able to take them off on his own. He’s still working on putting them on himself.

There is also a heel loop that we find helpful when we put on his shoes.


The Trail Quest Jr is a very supportive shoe. If you’d like to learn how to test a toddler shoe for its supportiveness, check out our guide on how to choose a toddler hiking shoe. In particular, read the section titled “Support – Shoe Structure.”

More specifically, these toddler hiking shoes have supported Peri when he has:

  • run on relatively flat dirt sections of trail
  • stood on pointy rocks (and thus needed a rigid sole on which to balance)
  • turned directions quickly (and thus needed torsional support)
  • jumped off rocks
  • done countless other things while toddler hiking


While wearing his Merrell Trail Quest Jr hiking shoes, Peri has had exceptional traction on just about any terrain or weather conditions.

toddler hiking up a paved road
Peri is using his Trail Quest Jr on the road that leads up to the Quarry Bay Tree Walk.

Both in dry and rainy conditions, Peri has hiked on dirt, rocks, roots, wet-roads, and even some semi-sandy/gravelly terrain in his Trail Quest Jr and they have always served him well. This is entirely due to the high-quality sole material in these shoes.

toddler hiking down dirt trail
Peri didn’t slip, though he did use his hand a bit.


Merrell did not design these toddler hiking shoes to be water-resistant. Consequently, they are not.


However, Merrell did design them to be highly breathable, and indeed they are.

Of all the times Peri has gone hiking in these, he’s never once had unusually sweaty feet afterward. This is in contrast to fully waterproof shoes that often sacrifice breathability.

Note: If you plan to hike in continuously wet conditions, these would not be the right toddler hiking shoe choice.

Drying Speed

The Merrell Trail Quest Jr are very quick-drying.

Usually breathability and drying speed are directly related.

In any case, when Peri has gotten these wet, they’ve usually dried overnight. And then the next morning, they are good to go again!

How They’re Made – Merrell Trail Quest Jr

As we mentioned above, Merrell has made the Trail Quest Jr with as much attention to detail and quality as we’d expect in an adult hiking shoe.

These toddler hiking shoes are made exceptionally well.


At this point, it’s likely that Peri will grow out of his Trail Quest Jr before they are even close to the end of their usable life.

The stitching all over the shoe is high quality. The sole is attached firmly, and all the materials are rip-resistant and extremely durable.

Frankly, it seems as though Peri is going to be able to use these until he grows out of them. Then, it seems like they will still have plenty of life left in them for Kai. Further, it seems after Kai uses them we’ll be able to pass them on to another family that’s keen to do some toddler hiking!

Upper Material

The upper material of the Trail Quest Jr is leather and mesh. But, we’re not talking about that delicate, soft, and supple leather that’s used to make fine handbags. This leather is durable and the mesh is too.


To put it most simply, the outsoles of these shoes are made from a super durable and grippy rubber material.

In a bit more technical terms…

The outsole is an M Select® GRIP sole. “M” stands for Merrell, and it’s their proprietary sole. It’s flexible, non-marking, and slip resistant in both wet and dry conditions.

How They’ll Look Over Time – Merrell Trail Quest Jr

So far, Peri’s Trail Quest Jr are looking great. Granted, he’s only used them about a dozen times. But, aside from getting a bit dirty every now and then, the materials themselves still look great!

It seems they are going to look nearly new for the duration of their usable life.

boy standing near a Chinese Ficus tree
After a dozen or so uses, Peri’s shoes still look great!

Color Scheme

The Merrell Trail Quest Jr come in three different colors:

Machine Washability

One of the main reasons Peri’s shoes are still looking so good is because we’ve been able to wash them.

We first rinse them off in the sink (if they have dirt or mud on the bottoms), and then we put them right into the laundry machine with all of our normal laundries. We use our normal detergent, and it’s been fine so far.

You can also put the EVA footbed in the machine, but we suggest you first remove it from the shoe.

In no time, they come out looking good as new!

Keep in mind, we dry these shoes by setting them on a sunny window sill. It’s easy and environmentally friendly. We recommend you do something similar.

If you do want to dry them in a dryer, don’t use any heat. Tumble dry on no-heat, and you’ll be good to go.

Money For Value – Merrell Trail Quest Jr

While the price for the Trail Quest Jr might vary a bit depending on where you buy them, as of the time of writing you’ll likely pay US$45-US$50.

If these were normal toddler street shoes, we’d say they’re not very good money for value. In fact, after a quick search online, you’ll quickly see you can buy toddler shoes for about US$25 or less.


These are not simply toddler shoes. These are high-performance toddler hiking shoes. They are designed for your little one to safely and comfortably navigate terrain on all sorts of outdoor adventures.

If the price is a bit of a barrier, you could buy them a half or even whole size bigger than necessary, and your little one will get a lot more miles out of them.

But ultimately…

If you want your toddler to have some of the best toddler hiking footwear while they’re out exploring in the great outdoors, we think the price tag on these is a very reasonable one to pay.

Peri Loves The Merrell Trail Quest Jr

Peri loves his Trail Quest Jr hiking shoes, and we love them too. They’re lightweight yet durable, supportive, quick-drying, high-traction, and machine washable.

What more could you ask for in a toddler hiking shoe? We can’t think of anything! But if you do, leave us a comment below, and we’ll get right back to you.

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