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on August 21, 2014
Just want to write this so people who are wondering about the shoe size as I couldn't readily find it in the feedback or questions. The size is at least half a size larger than your normal size. I am a size 8. I usually order a size 8.5 for a little room and comfort. I have the New Balance minimalist shoe and 8.5 fits me quite comfortably. With this in a size 8, it feels a lot looser than the NB in 8.5 size. So just a heads up for people who like this shoe and weren't sure about what size to order. Either order your size if you like it loose or a half a size smaller if you want it to fit better.

As for the shoe, it is quite comfortable and lives up to the reputation of Merrell. Haven't worn them long enough to give you a informative review. I will get my chance as I bought this for my 2 months trip backpacking through Vietnam. In comparison to my New Balance Minimalist shoe, it has more padding and a little heavier. I hurt my toe so the padding will help me a little better. Both has wider toe for people with big feet like me. Will update more when I get back from Vietnam in 2 months.
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on July 29, 2014
I got these on sale, partially out of curiosity for minimal shoes and partially in need of new hiking shoes. So far, I love them. I bought some Hi-Tec full hiking shoes around the same time, but am returning them. These have just treated me so much better.

They are light, made for speed. I can cruise on trails with these guys. They hug my feet, yet let my toes breath and spread for balance. The bottoms are thin, I can feel the rocks beneath my feet to a degree, yet my feet are protected; nothing ever gets through. Very comfortable. My feet were killing in those Hi-Tecs; the Merrells haven't hurt my feet at any point.

They don't provide real rugged protection, and you should be aware of that. Taking these on a lot of shale or straight gravel probably won't serve you too well; mine got the most wear and tear hiking Utah Valley's Cascade, a very rocky no-trail summit. Probably wasn't the best call for that hike. Also be aware that there isn't a heap of ankle support. I'm constantly hiking and have been very careful to develop good ankle-safe habits, but if you're concerned about that, look elsewhere.

So yeah, these aren't really made for everyone, but they suit me extremely well. I'm not a particularly big guy; 5'10" and about 155lb. I imagine bigger people may need more below them (?).

If my testimonial isn't enough, maybe the fact that these shoes have joined me at the top of several peaks, including Mt. Whitney, will convince you. I love 'em.
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on August 28, 2014
I got these and immediately did a Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire. This is roughly 25 miles of rugged trails, often on sharp boulders. These shoes were awesome. My feet were barely sore at all at the end of this trip. These have a "rock plate" in the front half of the shoe and in the back half of the shoe, allowing the shoe to bend in the middle. As long as you land on the balls of your foot or your heel, you are protected from the sharp rocks.

The shoe fits as expected. I wear a size 13 and my right foot is slightly larger than my left foot. I usually have problems with my right foot hitting the ends of the shoe when I go downhill. Not with these shoes. The toe box on these is huge. I did not hit the end once on my whole trip. There is also room side to side. I even had a pair of light smartwool socks on. The rest of the shoe is tight to you foot.

My feet took a dunk at one section and got wet in the toe box. These shoes offer tons of ventilation and were dry within the hour. You do not need waterproof shoes if they dry this fast.

The one con I can say is for durability. The foam along the sole is already all torn up from hiking. Also where the sole meets the upper on the heel is coming detached already. I believe this is from dragging the back of my foot on some rocks, however they seem less durable than my last pair of Merrell Moabs. Time will tell how they hold up.

All in all a great shoe for hiking. I have not tried running yet, but they seem like any other minimalist shoe. They are a little heavy, but they offer great foot protection. I also got a great deal on them (under $40), so well worth the money.
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on February 12, 2015
I bought the first generation of these shoes, they had a number of issues which have largely been solved with these.
The sole on these are a wee bit thicker than the previous, sacrificing a bit of flexibility for greatly increased durability and better insulation (your feet don't get quite as hot when you are standing on hot surfaces).
The shape of the toe box fits my feet better, the old shoes had an excessively large toe box compared to the heel area, and it made the shoe slip around during fast movements. These still have a large toe box, I have enough space to stretch out my toes, but they now provide a tight fit that doesn't feel like it's slipping around.
The shoe durability has overall been improved. The color hasn't washed out nearly as much as my old shoes (those started fading after just 2 months of ownership). These slip on a bit easier as well, so I have managed to not accidentally crush the heel support on the back.

I am really impressed by the rubber used on the bottom of the shoe - after months of wearing these every day they have hardly worn down at all. Assuming all the fabric on the top of the shoe holds up, I could probably wear these for at least a couple years.
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on May 20, 2014
I purchased these because Amazon had them half off and I thought it would be worth it to try them out.
I liked the look of them already because I have a pair of sneakers with very similar orange styling.
When I first put them on I noticed that they fit me perfectly, exactly like my Asics Gel-Blur33 sneakers fit me at the same size.

Also like sneakers they are comfortable to walk in and wear with the main difference that I noticed is the Merrell footwear doesn't have all the usual bulk in the heal and soul, it has a lot less material. But then again they are advertized that way as being closer to being bare footed. And they do feel as if you are bare footed with the added protection you need to walk outdoors and not fear getting cut by glass or even slipping because the rubber on bottom has a lot of traction.

Are these better to run in than traditional sneakers? That I don't know and can't offer an opinion on because I don't run with any of my sneakers so I can compare and am being honest. Also because the heal doesn't lift you up like traditional sneakers you do feel a little shorter and your sweat pants might be touching the floor a bit more but then again, that is to be expected because these are suppose to make you feel as if you are walking bare footed.
So remember that if they feel different to you from conventional sneakers then they are doing what they claim, which is to feel as if you are walking bare footed. And I guess if you are a runner who runs bare footed then these would feel really good for you giving you the same feel but with added traction and protection that your bare feet can simply not provide on their own.

Also because Amazon asked me to review these after only owning them for a few days, if my opinion of them changes dramatically then I will return to update my review.
If you want something to walk in that is closer to walking barefooted but also offer some styling and protection to your feet then these should be a perfect fit for you, pun intended.
Enjoy!
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on October 15, 2014
I am a woman with a size 12 foot and a race walker. I have very shallow arches (nearly flat feet) and I need a good amount of support across the arch area of my foot, or my toes go numb while I walk.

I had the good luck to find my first pair of these shoes as an Amazon Gold Box deal. When I first tried them on, I was really hesitant. They didn't feel like they would work...but then I realized I hadn't laced them tightly enough. I pulled the laces until the shoe was firmly against my foot, but not constraining it, and that's when the magic happened. These shoes give fantastic mid-foot support. I have not had my toes go numb while walking ever while wearing these. They are perfect for me!

My first pair has seen almost 200 miles mow and is just starting to show signs of wear. My second pair have gone for almost 50 miles and are holding up just as well. I even took both pairs on the Portland to Coast relay. One pair got covered in dust and looked terrible at the end of huge race, but they cleaned up nicely just by pounding them together.

I love the ventilation on these shoes as well - my feet never get overheated. They are also so light that it's like being barefoot.

I wish that all of my shoes fit this well and felt this good. I am looking forward to buying my next pair!
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on August 1, 2014
Okay I've been running for about a year in the new balance 750 v two I really like those I thought maybe I would like a little more cushion so I tried the cumulus 15 by basics,a little heavier than I like and I've been curious about the minimalist thing so I want to try these This is a very nice fitting shoes I normally wear a size 10 1/2 ,I ordered a 10 , they fit perfectly, they fit like a glove the only thing the left one seem to have a high arch support, it was actually uncomfortable,not sure yet if I'll keep them or send them back I actually want a road shoe not a trail shoe,,,,,, okay I just ordered the road gloves three, like to try the vapor glove, but I'm still new to this minimalist thing so if it works out maybe later I'll try the vapor glove , still confused about the high archs , I thought minimalist shoes are not supposed to have an arch support? Another thing keep in mind they change prices when you change colors so check it out, the only reason I did not give them five stars is because of the , high arch, the third and fourth time I wore them the arch did not feel as bad they actually felt pretty comfortable, you know I was going to send them back at the start of this review w now I'm not so sure, try them , don't work out for you Amazon is excellent about taking them back or exchange
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on June 9, 2013
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of these for a couple of months now. I fell in love with the original Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves soon after trying them out and put well over 500 miles on them over the last 5 months or so. However I began graduating to longer distances and rougher terrain and began seeking out shoes with a bit more padding and protection. I originally opted for the Inov-8 Trailroc 235s because these had yet to come out. Unfortunately those really caused me a lot of foot pain and I couldn't avoid blisters in them despite using duct tape and 2 pairs of socks.

Once I learned about these I was only too happy to throw my Inov-8s behind. After breaking them in for a week (I know I was glutton for punishment) I ran my first 50k over a very rocky and muddy course. I honestly couldn't believe how well they performed. I didn't have a single blister at the end of the race and experienced no discomfort whatsoever. I utilized no pre-blister treatment before or during the race, just one pair of injinji trail socks and I was set for the whole race (which took a staggering 7:26 thanks to some muddy conditions).

In all fairness they do have a small downside in that they lack some traction that other shoes in this class have. But given how comfortable they are and how well they fit compared to some of those other shoes in that class it's really a no-brainer for me.

In summary, if you've enjoyed the Merrell Trail Gloves or M-Connect series and are looking for something a bit tougher or with a bit more cushioning; these are the EXACT shoes for you.

Update 3/19/14:

Ended up using these for a cold marathon in late October in Canada and was still thoroughly impressed with the comfort they provided. I dislike running on pavement and yet I had no problem finishing despite being out there for 4+ hours.

With regards to a couple reviews saying they fall apart; I've had no such problems. When I take them off they are usually caked in mud and grit but I haven't seen any significant signs of wear.

So supremely satisfied with these shoes after searching for a long time that I'll probably end up stocking up on them should they ever be discontinued.
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on September 9, 2014
I ran my original Merrell Trail Gloves nearly smooth. The only problem I had with those was that, when I needed to beef up my milage to move from my 5-10K up to the half-marathon, my feet got pretty banged up. I thought "It's be niceto have this same shoe, with just the teeniest bit more padding in it." Well,... that's the ascend glove. I got these here for $49 (this color only... the rest were $79!). I almost sent them back because, though I ordered the same size as my TGs, these were the slightest bit longer and since they have a little arch support, it felt... weird. But, after I ran a bit in them they felt fine. Only did a short treadmill test run (so I could return them if they didn't work out). today I will do my Treadmill speed work, 4 miles and tomorrow or the next morning I'll get them on the road. If my opinion changes I'll update this. As a beginner triathlete, I still use toe clips on my bike. I find these thin shoes slide in and out better. The little bit extra tween foot-n-road on these shoes felt excellent on my 40 mile ride. As with ALL MINIMALIST shoes... if you are new to barefoot/minimal running... start slow and work up. Do NOT go out on your fist day, if you've been using jacked-up padded shoes, and try to run your normal pace/distance. Your weak calves and short achilles will NOT like it. Listen to them.
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on June 8, 2014
I am a hiker and I love long mileage day hikes. I primarily hike in the rocky, granite filled, White Mountains. I have been hiking in Five Fingers for years, but could not keep my pace up in the rough stuff. I finally caved and changed my footwear. I was looking for something that could give me a little more protection, but still allow some ground feel. These met my criteria.

These are super lightweight and well designed. They have a nice fine mesh body with an aggressive sole. They have a nice rubber top cap that should last a long time. I tried them on in my kitchen and I was skeptical. They seemed very flexible and I was worried they wouldn't give me the sole protection I desired. But my first time wearing them surprised me. They provided just enough protection to keep me moving and keep my feet feeling good. The sole is very flexible and still feels like a minimalist shoe. The super wide toe box is awesome and should be on every shoe. It allows plenty of room for your toes to splay like they should. The heal wraps your foot perfectly and holds it firmly in place.

You cannot bomb down a super rocky trail and not expect to feel it. That is the purpose of shoes like this. You are more aware of what your feet are going through so you do not kill everything above them. If you are not a minimalist/barefoot shoe wearer, you will need to ease into these.

I will definitely train in my Five Fingers, but these are my new trail shoes. Definitely a great purchase.
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