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Kit review: Merrell Mix Master Move Glide trainers

Written by Fiona December 16 2013

On test: Merrell Mix Master Move Glide footwear. Running trainers that take you from non-barefoot to more barefoot and from on-road to off-road. 

images-5In recent years I have preferred to run off-road rather than on-road and, where possible, in less cushioned running footwear. I love Inov-8 trainers because they provide good grip but without too much of a cushioned sole. I like to feel the ground beneath my feet, although I do not want to be injured by stones, rocks and tree roots etc. I find Inov-8 give a good balance.

I am also a growing fan of barefoot running. I have ditched my orthotics (these were meant to correct a slight over-pronation and a hip to knee “mis-alignment”) and now prefer to run in lighter weight and less supportive shoes. I believe that it is better for your body to run as nature intended and to build up the mileage slowly rather than go all-out in a pair of corrective trainers. I have not suffered any injuries that can be associated with my over-pronation etc but rather I feel stronger and more natural when running.

There are runners firmly in the barefoot yes camp and those in the no camp. I am moving from no to yes in a slow and considered way. I think barefoot running makes sense but it does take a long time for your body to adjust because for so many years we have worn non-barefoot walking and running footwear.

Off-road to on road barefoot running

Over the last year I have run in more minimalist trainers off-road. I have built up the distance and I now feel comfortable on all my off-road runs in shoes that are less supportive. So I wear Inov-8 off-road shoes and Merrell Pace Glove footwear.

imgres-29When running shorter distances on-road I have also started to wear barefoot style trainers. I love the Inov-8 race light series and wore these for training and racing in during the World Champs Triathlon bid. I enjoyed the faster and lighter feeling that these shoes give to my running.

But minimalist shoes can be less comfortable when the terrain is stony or rugged. My on-road runs often include unrepaired pavements and sections of trails and paths. On the rougher sections I have sometimes winced when running over a sharp stone or similar. This is because the thinness of the sole of lighter weight shoes. The thin soles can also make your feet feel hot if you run too far.

A bridge: Merrell Mix Master Move Glide footwear

The Merrell Mix Master Move Glides are a good place to start if you want to build up to being a barefoot runner. They can be worn on-road, off-road and while running or walking. In my opinion, the Mix Master Move Glides are also a good bridge between extreme barefoot running shoes and “normal” running shoes.

Merrell Mix Master Move Glide shoes are designed with the road in mind but are also suitable for easier-going trails. Merrell brand the shoes as minimalist, versatile and super lightweight. The Glides feature “road to trail” outsoles.

The Mixed Master shoes offer a bit of cushioning (only a bit though!) with a gradient on the sole of 8mm at the heel to 4mm under the ball of the foot. This means that there is only a 4mm difference in your heel to ball height, which keeps your feet close to the ground for better control and a more barefoot feel.

imgres-30Note, however, that most barefoot shoes have even less of a gradient and many are flat. The Mixed Master series will give you a good transition to super flat barefoot running if that is what you’re after.

The mesh upper is low-profile and vegan friendly and offers good breathability. There is a decent tongue (many barefoot shoes seem to cut down on the tongue size and cushioning), which gives good protection from off-road debris.

In addition, the Merrell Mix Master Move Glides include:

* “M-Select FRESH”, which naturally prevents odour before it starts.

• Reflective details for increased visibility in low light.

The sole is suitable for mixed terrain with low-profile lugs and sticky rubber for gripping on the trails yet still with a little cushioning to protect you on harder surfaces. The technical detailing says:

• Merrell Air Cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability

• Merrell Float midsole is 10% thinner and 25% lighter to provide more feel and ground control

• M-Select GRIP tunes each outsole with durable traction that grips when and where you need it.

On test: Merrell Mix Master Move Glide

I tested these on a three to four mile loop that includes roads and smoother trails. There are hills and flat sections. The women’s Move Glides fit well. I would prefer them to be a bit narrower but I have very slim feet so most women will find the fit is good. I found them easy to lace up and I was immediately comfortable in the trainers.

On the road I found I had just about the perfect amount of cushioning. I run on my fore-foot and I could feel the ground beneath my feet but without it being too harsh. Running downhill I tend to heel strike a little more and I appreciated the extra cushioning.

The shoes felt great on the trails, too. The trails and paths are a mix of dirt, stones and loose grit. The shoes felt grippy and lightweight yet I didn’t suffer any pain as I ran over the rugged sections. I wouldn’t use these trainers on very rugged trails because they do not feel robust enough. (I would suggest something like Inov-8 off-road shoes for offering more protection on really rugged terrain.)

Overall the feel of these shoes is lightweight and kind of barefoot with the versatility of being able to walk or run on road or on easier going trails.

My only complaint is that the laces loosened a lot while I ran. I think I would fit these shoes with the elastic lock laces or use the knobbly laces that tend to stay tied where you tied them. I would also go down a size. I was sent the UK8.5s because the shoes are apparently a bit bigger than standard but I could easily have worn the UK8s. I would say the shoes are sized as you would usually expect, not too big or too small but the right size.

Merrell have also spent time designed the shoe to look pretty good. I know this is not important but the women’s Mix Master Move Glide in “Blue Depth” look fab.

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