In the comments section of my post yesterday on why I run in minimal shoes, the Merrell AllOut collection came up. I haven’t posted much about this line yet, but I got a chance to try them on back in May and I’m really looking forward to their arrival.
In a nutshell, the AllOut collection is new line that steps back a bit from the Merrell Barefoot collection by adding softer cushioning and a higher heel-toe drop (6mm). It’s not intended to replace Merrell Barefoot, which will continue to exist alongside AllOut, but rather to offer broader options to runners with different preferences (Merrell has already done this a bit with the Mix Master trail shoe). The last is similar to that found on shoes like the Trail Glove and Bare Access, so it retains the wide Merrell Barefoot forefoot construction that I love. Given that 4-6mm drop and slightly soft cushion is my sweet spot for a distance shoe, I’m hoping these will be a good match!
The feature Merrell is pushing in these shoes is a new sole design. The midsole is quite soft, almost squishy, but they put a firmer foam plate under the heel and forefoot to allow better feel in those areas (see photo below). This seems similar to what Newton does with the plate under the forefoot, but the Merrell shoes have no forefoot lugs like a Newton. I was only able to stand in them, and the shoes were a size too small for me, but my first impression was positive.
To give you a bit of taste of some of the shoes coming in the AllOut collection, below are preview videos that were recorded by Runningshoes.com at the 2013 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show (all images are still captures from the Runningshoes.com videos).
Merrell AllOut Rush
The Merrell AllOut Rush is a 6mm drop trail running shoe with 5mm lugs. This shoe is intended as a protective, dedicated trail running shoe.
Merrell AllOut Fuse
Whereas the AllOut Rush is a luggy trail shoe, the AllOut Fuse is more of a road-to-trail shoe with a grippy sole but no pronounced lugs. Of the two, the Fuse will probably be the better match for my typical running needs.