The Merrell Ascend Trail Glove has treated me well. They feel like a gritty cousin of the Merrell Bare Access 2 and Road Glove 2. I only say gritty because of some stream-sand I encountered one day; in other words you have to earn the grit. The upper feels identical to the Road Glove 2 but with subtle modifications in the materials, while the toe-box and ground-feel remind me of the Bare Access 2. The outsole is very rugged and grippy but still keeps a low-profile. The overlays of the Ascend Glove are minimal and the shoes have great drainage and dry quickly. I raced an extremely technical 7 mile trail race with crazy mud, roots, stream crossings and lots of ups and downs – and the shoes performed fantastic. I also tested these shoes in the concrete jungle, and they hold up great. Even with some road and sidewalk miles the outsole material is hardly worn at all.
At times I was so comfortable wearing these shoes that I forgot they were trail shoes, or for that matter, that I had anything on my feet at all. The Ascend Glove is supremely flexible while providing great mid-foot support.
It felt like the stock laces were a little “slippy”, meaning I had to keep tension on the laces as my fingers moved from the toe towards the ankle or the laces would loosen before I could tie them. Luckily my trusty Lock Laces took care of the lacing complaint. The Ascend Glove doesn’t have a rock plate so if you’re not extra careful you might end up bruising your foot on a pointy rock. The tread is sturdy but doesn’t have the giant “lugs” that you find in some trail shoes. The Merrell Ascend might not be the right shoe for an ultra but I’d wear them on a twenty miler any time.
The 0mm drop gave me the natural foot-strike I crave, the 6mm cushioning provided plenty protection and the 10.5mm stack height kept me feeling close and connected to the ground. With this shoe, Merrell has hit a home-run. The Ascend Vapor Glove has the perfect blend of minimalism and foot protection. The high-performance Vibram sole material chewed up the trail, and considering the lack of lugs, they provided unexpected traction through all conditions. I’ve become a real fan of Merrell since last fall so it was tough to be objective with this review. Regardless, I know what my feet like and they really like the Ascend Glove. A lot.
Review by Stein Langlie
Cushioned for longer runs and more demanding terrain, our lightweight and durable Ascend Glove shoe stays true to your natural stride with its barefoot profile. Charge over mountains and rocky terrain with its aggressive, grabby lug design and TrailProtect pad for extra off-road support.
• Fabric and synthetic upper
• MotionMesh engineered for optimal breathability and range of motion
• Breathable mesh lining
• M-Select FRESH naturally prevents odor before it starts for fresh smelling feet
• Wash as needed in cold water (gentle cycle). Air dry.
• 0mm Drop / 6mm Cush/ 10.5mm Stack Height
• TrailProtect pad in the forefoot and heel offers additional support for the roughest terrain
• Non-marking outsole
• Vibram® outsole
Men’s Weight: 8ozs (1/2 pair)