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Breathing in the forest air, my heartbeat and footfall are settling into rhythm as I climb the trail... The autumnal canopy is scattering bronze, copper and golden jewels like a carpet beneath my feet. Ducking under a spiderweb laced with diamonds of morning dew, I see the stag as he scampers deeper into the forest.... My muscles and heart are pumped as I push up and out of the tree line and onto the ridge. Climbing up onto the top of the world, and a panorama I silently soak in. A buzzard lazily flaps away from the cairn. Now the fun begins as I run down the trail, twisting, turning, feeling every contour of the earth beneath the soles of my feet. A log to jump, a branch I scoop under, my feet going quicker, quicker, dancing down into the tree line as a fox darts across my path.... This blog is based on tales of my trail and ultra running exploits. Enjoy!!!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Merrell Pace Glove Review


Although the Pace Glove has been widely reviewed and it is solely the colours that have been updated in 2013, I feel the shoe warrants some words on how it has performed for me.




As an Ultra runner I strive to keep my footwear as minimal as possible yet with the required cushioning and comfort to complete the distance at hand.

My aim is to complete all Ultra distances in my Pace Gloves but as with all barefoot running, patience is a virtue and whilst my feet are strengthening my top distance to date is 24 miles.

The Pace Glove is part of Merrells M-Connect Series where the ethos is to connect your feet to the terrain. By encouraging mid foot landing in a minimal or zero heel to toe drop shoe, the feet and legs strengthen, improving running technique and hence efficiency.


APPEARANCE

With a vast selection of colours available for both the women’s Pace Glove and the men’s Trail Glove, there is something for everybody, from subtle to vibrant!
Although down to individual taste, I think the shoe looks modern with a nicely contoured shape and although the toe box is sufficiently roomy, this doesn’t take anything away from the overall look of the shoe.




As a matter of habit I fit all my new shoes with lock laces as a personal choice, although the original laces on the Pace Glove tend to stay in their knots a lot better than many other shoes I've worn.


CONSTRUCTION/PERFORMANCE

So, the Pace glove is my number one training shoe unless the conditions warrant studs, in which case I choose a fell shoe. This leads me on to the grip provided by the Vibram outsole.
Considering the tread is not particularly deep, the shoe remains pretty stable in muddy conditions and the good ground feel and zero drop keep you connected to the terrain well. 




Although I wouldn’t wear these on a very wet, steep fell race, I would certainly be happy on a steep smooth dry grassy descent.
They perform equally well on wet roads, to me there is almost a “ghecko effect” where there is suction when I land on the forefoot.


Although the Vibram sole is approaching 10mm, the shoe is still incredibly flexible and can be easily folded in half with one hand.



The ground feel provided by the Pace Glove suits the terrain I run on. Not once have I had bruising to my feet after encountering rocks, roots and stones.
The glove has a 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate, 4mm EVA mid sole and a fused rubber toe bumper.
Although I would say the proprioception is less than some other minimalist footwear, I do believe Merrell has got the balance right here.

Of all the features of the Pace Glove, the one that really stands out for me is the incredible “lightness” of the shoe. No other shoe to date has matched how light-footed and springy I feel whenever I put them on my feet and run. They literally make me feel as if I am dancing down the trails and skipping up them!

My size 8’s weigh just 185g/6.5oz per shoe, mostly due to the lightweight breathable mesh upper which although lets the water in easily, I find within a few steps on dry land any water has happily squelched back out!

Finally, the lacing system holds the glove securely around the mid foot enabling you to enjoy the roomy toe box without slipping forward in the shoe on descents. 
I would advise to go up a size or half size. The shoes are so unobtrusive generally that a size up should give your toes extra room to splay without any problems. I have read over and over how most runners run in shoes a size too small. Don’t be afraid to return them if the sizing doesn’t feel right.

All in all, a sleek, durable and comfortable minimalist shoe…

Happy running!

(Kristof Nowicki - Behind the lens) http://kristoftrails.blogspot.co.uk/

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