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Merrell Ascend Glove Preview: Zero Drop, Cushioned Trail Running Shoe

When I wrote up my 2013 minimalist running shoe preview last week I alluded in the comments to a new shoe coming from Merrell that I didn’t yet have clearance to discuss (was asked to hold off for a week). Well, Running Warehouse has now let the cat out of the bag on the RW Blog – the new shoe is called the Merrell Ascend Glove and it’s a zero drop, cushioned, trail shoe. I don’t have a pair yet, but from the specs it looks like a trail counterpart to the Merrell Bare Access 2 road shoe. It weights in around 8oz, has a 10mm stack height, and looks to have a grippy Vibram outsole. The Ascend Glove should compete with the likes of the Altra Superior and Inov-8 Trailroc 235, which both were among my top hybrid trail shoes of 2012.

Below are the Ascend Glove photos posted by Running Warehouse, and I’ll hopefully have more details soon!

Merrell Ascend GloveMerrell Ascend Glove Women's

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Looks perfect for me except for maybe the open mesh, but I have to wait until July!!!! That’s just mean. :-)

  2. Ashwyn Gray says:

    RunningWarehouse has a knack for doing that, don’t they? I recall that they posted a couple of sneak peeks in the past that mysteriously disappeared from their blog a day or two after publication.

  3. Christian Eriksson says:

    You were right Pete, it is a very interesting alternative to the 235’s, and even a few grams lighter! The outsole of the 235’s still look a bit grippier though, but looks may deceive.

    This year is really taking off as a rocket when it comes to new minimalist shoe models!

  4. Want it! Want it! Want it!

  5. Jack Ryon says:

    They look amazing.. like the offspring of a Mix Master and Trail Glove. I’ll definitely buy this next summer. Huge fan of both the MM2 and the TG, and of Merrells in general.

  6. Stephen Lalley says:

    In a way is this a zero drop Mix Master 2?

  7. Robert Osfield says:

    I have a pair of Bare Acess and the arch is too substantial and the mid-foot a too narrow for me to comfortable run in. Is it likely this new shoe will follow the same Last as the Bare Access?

    I haven’t tried on a Mix Master 2, does it have the same Last as the Bare Access? I would love to have alternatives to the Trailroc, which is almost a perfect shoe for me, but with the 440 miles in them the upper is starting to disintegrate so don’t believe they will last too much longer. I would love a similar shoe with a bit more durability and lower cost.

    • Having a brand new pair of BA2s on my feet right now. This “arch thing” is very annoying. And it’s not better when running up and down a little. I already own a pair of BA1s and these are o.k. But this is really too much now. This is quite sad because this shoe is almost perfect in every other respect. I’ve already read before that there is some kind of molded arch support though the intention for its presence is different. But seeing it now myself I’d say this really interferes with the arches functioning like springs. The structure of the shoe is too rigid there. Compared to my usual office shoe (Tough Glove), which has some arch feel too, the material does not really yield elastically there. Funny, because the support bump is not really discernible visually.

      My verdict: the pair will be returned

      I assume the new Ascend is more or less a BA2 with a trail specific outsole. At least that’s what rumors claimed in the past. Therefore, I fear it has this arch thing too.

    • Pete Larson says:

      My guess is that the Ascend is on the same last as the Bare Access since it’s part of the Barefoot collection. The Mix Master is on a different last, but I still have plenty of room in them. Arch feels more like a typical running shoe in those – it’s there, but not as “solid” to me as in the Bare Access/Road glove.

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      • Robert Osfield says:

        How do you think the Mix Master II Last compares to the Trailroc 235’s? I have a wide mid foot and the Trailroc and Bare-X’s are amoung the few shoes that fit with without modifications.

  8. Oscar Picazo says:

    Do they have a rock plate?

  9. According to this video (…, the this shoe has rock plates in the forefoot and the heel. It also has something new called Motion Mesh, which sounds like it’s a similar upper to the Nike Flyknit (one piece but the mesh is tighter in certain areas). And a waterproof version will be available.

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