Merrell Mens Excursion Glove Shoes

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They Say - Sport a little retro style as you let your feet stay true to their nature with our Excursion barefoot casual shoe. The vintage-look, perforated leather upper molds to your foot, securing the midfoot with internal support for an optimal fit. The zero drop profile connects your foot to terrain, buffering rough terrain with 4mm of durable cushioning and a flexible thin forefoot plate to distribute pressure. UPPER/LINING• Leather and mesh upper• Leather rear foot sling provides stability• M-Select FRESH naturally prevents odor before it starts for fresh smelling feetMIDSOLE/OUTSOLE• 0mm Drop / 4mm Cush• TrailProtect pad in the forefoot offers additional support off road• Vibram® outsole – See more at: http://www.merrell.com/UK/en-GB/Product.mvc.aspx/31676M/0/Mens/Barefoot-Life-Excursion-Glove#sthash.dTa7u0kg.dpuf

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We Say – I just wore these shoes on a 3 week, 200 mile, cross country walk here in England. I hadn’t worn them before that, they were fresh out the box, so it was quite a test for them.

First thing to say is that in those 3 weeks I only got one blister. It was on the underside forefoot pad and I think it was due to the barefoot style of the shoes that I wasn’t used to and the added weight of my rucksack. It wasn’t serious and it didn’t stop me from walking, so it wasn’t a big issue. I think, considering they weren’t even broken in at all, and the fact that my walk was often on rough, stony tracks, and that I was carrying about 20 kilos in my backpack, which must have put quite a lot of stress on my feet, the shoes did really well in protecting me as they did.

It took some getting used to the barefoot style, about a week in fact, especially as the ground was so rough and with the added weight of the pack. Before that I was often expecting the ground to come into contact with my feet a fraction of a second earlier than it did, which doesn’t sound  much but does has a marked effect on your balance and ability to walk smoothly.

After that I found that the first 4 hours on the trail were fine but then I began to feel it in my feet. 8 hours of walking was my comfortable limit.  More than that and I began to feel pain in my hamstrings and calves, as my heels weren’t used to being so low to the ground for so long each day. I think it would take a few months to get completely comfortable with the barefoot style, but as the best selling book ‘Born To Run’ tells us, it’s a style that’s well worth getting used to for health reasons alone.

The shoes are very light, and this was part of the reason I wore them on this long hike. I’d been told that a pound off the feet equals 5 pound off the back, so in other words, the lighter you keep your footwear, the less hard going it should be for you. But in reaching for lightness they don’t compromise on protection, and there is a reinforced section in front of the big toes and under the inside of the arches to protect in these very vulnerable places.

They look nice too, which helped when I was in towns and had dumped my bag for the day and was just being a general tourist. This isn’t essential, but it’s nice to have a pair of shoes that can double up and be good for trail and country combined.

So I was very impressed by them, and recommend them for day hikes or longer. They protected me excellently and they remained comfy for the sort of distance most people would cover each day (between 4 and 8 hours, or 10 to 20 miles). This wasn’t their last test though…

My friends met me at the end of the walk, we were going to do the Tough Mudder event and they were meant to bring me my regular cross country running shoes. Only they forgot, so I had no choice but to do this very tough, muddy and slippery 12 mile running event in these Merrell shoes. This is them before we started…

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I can honestly say that whilst other people in the event were slipping over a lot, I managed to keep my feet at all times. You can see the film of the event that I made, that’ll show you what the shoes had to cope with, here…

They were a mess afterwards having been soaked as much as they were, so I hosed them down and set them up against a wall to dry and now they’re as good as new again.

I’m going to be wearing them a lot this summer now I’m getting used to their barefoot style. It’s really nice (and better for my posture) to be able to feel the ground below you that little bit more than you would do with regular padded shoes, they’re comfy, they look great and they protect my feet well. Plus I know that if I need to do a bit of cross country running as well as my regular hiking, they’re really good for that as well.

You can see them online here - http://www.merrell.com/UK/en-GB/Product.mvc.aspx/31676M/0/Mens/Barefoot-Life-Excursion-Glove

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