Merrell is kicking into full gear with a ton of Generation 2.0 (Gen2) minimalist running shoes and new models for coaching, water sports, and health: Run, Train, Water, Life.
I wrote about the Minimalist Lifestyle nearly a year ago and boy, what a difference a year makes! I have tested over 50 minimum shoes in running (street and trail), fitness, casual, recovery, apparel, and even golf since writing that post – 70+ and counting as of this writing. VIVOBAREFOOT (Evo, Neo, Ultra, Achilles, Aqua, Dharma) and New Balance (Minimus Road, Trail, Life, Trainer) had a good start but no footwear maker have done what Merrell failed in one season – several products in multiple outdoor categories with a constant barefoot platform. Simply amazing!
New for Spring 2012 are the Dash Glove and Bare Access ARC for women; Road Glove and Bare Access for guys. The Existing Merrell Trail Glove and Pace Glove are also a part of Barefoot Run. They also possess a fused rubber bumper. The midsole doesn’t have the shock absorption plate located in the Trail Glove which is likely what is allowing for a pancake horizontal landing for street running.
The Bare Access Minimalschuhe Test are gateway or transitioning or bridging sneakers for beginners and people taking the jump into better running form. They’re all zero fall like another barefoot sneakers but with some cushioning to help you create your form gradually. It is almost equal to the Road and Dash Glove except for its extra 8mm M-Bound cushioning and marginally different outsole lugs. Great for long runs or for people starting to transition to barefoot shoes.
In my view, the Merrell Barefoot Access is most likely the shoe that the masses are looking for: runners that are starting to ‘get it’ that minimum shoes are coaching tools for creating better running shape and running injury-free for life. Throw in a gradual transition program and they are on their way enjoying running again – no more pain and no longer injuries well into their senior years.
New for Spring 2012 is your Lithe MJ Glove for women. This is just a water-repellant version of this Pure Glove. The Existing Merrell Lithe Glove, Contour, Pure, Embark, True and Sonic Glove will also be part of Barefoot Train.
All of the barefoot shoes in this class are fresh for Spring 2012. They comprise the Swift and River Glove for girls; Current and Rapid Glove for guys.
The Current and Rapid Glove both have artificial leather and air mesh uppers plus quick drying substances with drainage ports from the instrument and heel using a similar outsole to the Road Glove. The Rapid Glove is lace-less with an adjustable instep strap.
Beside barefoot shoes, in addition, there are sandals being introduced for Spring 2012: Pipidae and Hylidae Wrap for women; Hydro, Aqua, Batari and Paciki Wrap for men. The wraps all have artificial leather uppers using neoprene/spandex liner, 6mm compression molded EVA midsole cushion, and 3mm sole lug depth.
Most of the sneakers at Barefoot Life are new openings for Spring 2012. They comprise Serene, Delight and Wonder Glove for girls; Edge and Slant Glove for guys. Current models include the Tough Glove and Power Glove but the Power Glove has been stopped. The Edge and Slant Glove has a similar stage as the Trail Glove but with cow suede uppers and a Nubuck leather back foot sling.The Slant Glove is a lace-less slide on.