26 February 2013

road review - the merrell road glove

tonight i'm headed with a friend to a 'natural running clinic' at the local mountain equipment co-op, so i thought that i'd take a few moments to jot down my reflections on my favourite shoes currently in training/racing rotation:  the merrell road gloves.

these are sleek, light, fantastic shoes.  i purchased them late last summer in advance of the road2hope marathon, knowing that i wanted to fully transition into a zero-drop, minimalist shoe.  i also liked the fact that being produced by merrell, i wasn't simply buying into the 'standard' running footwear industry ... not that there's anything particularly wrong with that, but i do like to march to the beat of a different drum. 

here are my top observations about these shoes, having put on a good 350-400 km on them:
  1. light - as in 6.9 oz (men's size 9) light.  putting these on really feel like slippers to me, and getting out on the pavement it takes very little time to forget that they're on my feet (even over 42.195k) - except that they're nicely protecting the bottom of my feet.
  2. outsole - the vibram outsole is outstanding - grippy (even in snow/slush/ice conditions, i've discovered!) and durable without significantly deadening the feel of the surface beneath you.  this is a fabulous marriage of technology with technology.
  3. flexible - as a forefoot runner, these shoes have contoured just the way that i've needed them to, and now they have a pretty groovy curve up front:

  4. zero-drop - as mentioned already, this was a non-negotiable for me ... and these shoes definitely work well to promote a mid-foot/forefoot strike as the 11mm stack height will offer some pretty immediate feedback if you decide to drop that heel first.
  5. sizing - this is both an observation and a plus.  first, most of the messageboards that i'd read in advance of purchasing these shoes indicated that they ran a 1/2 size large, so i did try out both a 9.5 and 10 at the store before settling on the 9.5s.  the wonderful breadth across the forefoot meant that my foot would not be scrunched as the toes splayed out, so the smaller size worked perfectly for me.
  6. machine-washable - yep!  i just toss these babies into a mesh garment bag and run 'em through the regular cycle after putting them through their paces on brine-saturated roads.  air dry and they are ready to rock again.
  7. quality, quality, quality - merrell has a reputation (at least with me) of building hardcore equipment, and this has proven to extend to its road running shoes.  i bet that i could get another 400 km out of this pair - they are still in that great shape.
well, i've gushed enough.  i love these shoes, and they fit my foot really well - unlike the fit that my friend stan (9run.ca) experienced, as there were issues with the apparent arch support on the footbed, but it's not something that i've noticed in a negative way.   the one change that i did make was to swap out the original laces for flat laces - personal preference.

based on my experience, i highly recommend the road glove for anything from speedwork to the marathon distance training and racing ... and would not hesitate in the least to endorse pretty much anything from merrell.  happy running!

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