About a year ago, I was running my first half marathon with the Road Gloves from Merrell which had proven very satisfying and great for performance running. So it goes without saying that I was pretty excited about giving the Ascend Gloves a try when I received them.
I have now been running with them for a few weeks on all sort of terrains (from roads to single tracks…) and once again, I have not been disappointed with what Merrell has brought us. It is light, reactive, and a very well made shoe overall.
Right out of the box, the feel is quite similar to the Road Gloves with a very good fit. Quite wide in the front area, light on the outside, and great support over the foot arch (better than on the Road Glove). I’ve got to say that I have a quite deep arch so I can’t really speak for people with flat(-ter) feet. From the outsole to the top, it all felt instantly incredibly well-made and strong.
I nonetheless found the Ascent Gloves to be a bit stiffer at first (midsole and fabric) than other shoes I have recently try out. It did take me a few runs to soften them up to a level I felt comfortable with.
Right, so, how do they feel when running?
They’re really good. I have really enjoyed all my runs with them (with socks and sockless). The fairly hard Vibram outsole does an excellent job to provide you a great grip and traction and the right stiffness for a responsive stride.
The arch support gives a very nice stability to the shoes and I have found myself really confident and safe when it comes to rocky terrains - Quite a few minimalist/barefoot shoes (or more probably changing my running technique) have slightly taken their toll on my ankles lately.
The combination of the rock plate and the stiff midsole does a great job out on the trails, specially on downhill sections where the shoes are much fun to run.
(I must say that I haven’t had a chance to do that much denivelation with them yet so I’ll have to let you know about “long” downhill a bit later in the autumn.)
All in all, the Ascent Glove has lived up to the Road Glove’s impression.
Being very stable and extremely light and minimal, they are definitely a serious option you have to consider while choosing your next 0 drop “barefoot” trail running shoe.
We have to mention here that Merrell has a Gore-Tex version of the shoe. I haven’t been able to try them out yet, but this would obviously be a great feature for those coming winter months if it delivers to its promises.
Stay tuned for our take on Merrell’s Quentin and Nanook Hoodie jackets coming up soon (still waiting for colder days…)