Merrell All Out Fuse (Spring 2014)$110 | 8.0 oz | 6mm drop | www.merrell.com
The Dirt: Merrell’s fresh All Out line combines the best of the minimalist and traditional running-shoe worlds—lightweight materials, medium heel-to-toe drop, thin outsoles to promote proprioception and enough cushion to handle longer runs.
The Fuse’s anatomic fit wraps your foot snugly without constriction and cushions the top of the foot with a lightly padded tongue. The wide toebox allows for plenty of natural splay. Reported one tester, “The lacing system never felt too tight and never allowed my foot to slip around.”
Due to thicker cushioning and a higher heel-stack height than Merrell’s Trail Glove line, the Fuse offers significant protection in a minimalist package—“like a barefoot shoe but with a soft, squishy midsole,” described one tester.
Best For: Minimalist enthusiasts, on runs of up to several hours—or as a training tool for those wanting to strengthen their feet or improve their running form.
Traction: The mild tread offers decent grip on dry trails—“great for loose, loamy soil and sand,” said one tester, “and very responsive on rolling terrain.”
Fit: Highly praised by our testers, the fit runs true to size with a roomy toebox, no pressure points and a much-appreciated, cozy ankle collar.
The Downsides: No rock plate, a minimal upper and small lugs prevent this shoe from excelling on steep, rocky or wet trails.
Tester-Monial: “This is an excellent shoe for short distances. It really made me want to crank into a higher gear and run fast. For the seasoned minimalist runner, it could definitely go longer, too.”
–Forrest Tracy, Saint Paul, MN