Merrell All Out Terra Trail


They Say - Get 360° protection from rock and debris as you dig into rugged terrain with a built-in sock liner and deep, diamond pattern lugs.

• Mesh and TPU upper 
• Reflective details for increased visibility in low light 
• Synthetic leather lacing system 
• Removable footbed 
• TrailProtect ™ pad offers under foot protection 
• 6mm drop / 16mm heel cushion / 24mm heel stack height 
• 6mm lug depth 
• Vegan friendly footwear 
• Weight: 10.5oz (1/2 pair)

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We Say – I did several 24 hour trail runs during 2015 and if you’d have met me during them and asked if there was anything I wished for I’d have said (apart from the obvious stuff about a Thai massage, a shady beach, warm sea, etc) that I wanted something around my ankles to keep the damn stones and twigs out of my shoes. Honestly, I must have stopped upwards of 20 times each race just to empty out my shoes. And believe me, I was swearing heavily each time. You think I have the energy spare to stop my forward momentum, sit down, take off my shoes and empty them out? No way, nobody does…

Some harder runners say that you just carry on and ignore the rubble accumulating among your toes. Great plan, I respond, until it causes a blister and then another, and there’s your race is blown, all because you were too much of a tough guy to empty out your shoes. Or rather, because your stupid shoes let the debris in, in the first place.

It got so bad I began tying cloth around the top of my shoes and wishing that somebody would invent a real lightweight, cheap gaiter, something like a tutu-style thing even, that you could put around your ankles to flick the debris away.

So, I was over the moon when I heard about these Merrell All Out Terra Trail shoes. Not only are they vegan (so no animal products used in their construction) and super lightweight they also have this in-built ‘sock’ that closes up the gap between top of shoe and ankle substantially, and supposedly keeps the debris out!

Ok, now although the trail races I’ve done do offer a big test for any shoes, by far the biggest test I’ve ever encountered is on the woodchip track that runs around the park near my house. Never have I completed a 5km loop without stopping to empty woodchips out of my shoes, ever. So the first thing I did when I got these shoes was to get out there and give them the woodchip test.

What a lovely run it was. I didn’t have to stop once to get the debris out, not once. And the next day I took them on a 20k offroad run with the same result. Since then, these have been my regular trail shoes, and in over 2 months of wear I haven’t had to stop mid-run once to empty them out. The sock feature is amazing and it truly does keep the stones, twigs and dirt out as you run. For this factor alone, I can’t wait to wear them in my longer trail runs in 2016…

I’ve read online some people saying that the sock could be even tighter around the ankle than it already is, to keep out 100% of debris (it already keeps out all of mine, but some might be running even rougher tracks, I guess). I’d say in response, I’m unsure if that’s true, as this would make them much harder to pull on. They’re already a bit of a pull as it is, I can just about get 2 fingers down between sock and ankle easily so for me the way they fit is just right with a decent balance between usability and protection.

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The second thing I noted about these shoes is that they offer good weather protection. I’ve often taken runs in the rain, or over wet fields, and my socks stay dry through it all. To get this level of protection in the past I have found myself going for a heavier shoe, but not any more.

Other points worthy of note are that the laces don’t come undone as I run, which is a basic point that so many shoes fail to address. I don’t have to double knot these (although I sometimes do now on faster runs as they’re rather long so double knotting keeps them out the way), they just stay tied. Excellent.

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They offer great grip, naturally (it’s a given that a trail shoe is going to offer grip, and these deliver on that count), and comfort. I should clarify and say, they offer comfort when you’re running. These are not shoes I feel comfy walking around in. They feel almost like I’m barefoot (in a bad way, if you get what I mean, walking on the most uncomfortable parts of my feet, which are my outsides, near the heels) and on my backfoot when I did wear them to and from work. Like the Airia Running brand of shoes, these Merrell running shoes are made for running, nothing else.

They handle the rocks and rough ground well and help me maintain a decent form, easing me onto my mid and front of foot so that I’m falling forward and keeping away from my heels. I hesitate to wear them if I know my route is going to be more than half on tarmac, which happens at times as I live in a city centre, but for running on the trails I’m 100% into these Merrell and I do feel I’ve found a trail shoe that will serve me well all through 2016.

If like me you’ve been troubled by trail debris getting into your shoes and slowing your runs, check these Merrell out, they’re well worth the investment.

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