Increased comfort measures also come with increased weight compared to the trail glove
The Merrell Ascend Glove is best for dedicated trail runners who are almost-but-not-all-the-way minimalists, or minimalist runners who need increased comfort for extended trail days or highly technical conditions.
Security (of fit) Like the entire Barefoot series, the Ascend Glove fits snug through the midfoot and heel, with a wider roomy toe box up front. A traditional eyelet lacing system is effective at customizing tension across the midfoot. There is very little shifting on irregular or sloped terrain.
Stability (on impact) The outsole of the Ascend Glove is a definite upgrade from the Trail Glove – the lugs are more prominent, and the contact area isn’t cut out through the arch, providing a larger surface area. Muddy terrain is negotiated easily, and the outsole rubber grips wet rocks well. There was minimal slipping on steep descents during testing.
Smoothness (flexibility) Although designed for trails, the Ascend Glove provides a firm ride on roads as well. Flexibility through the forefoot and midfoot is strong, although not quite as extensive as the Trail Glove.
Comfort The interior is suitable for sockless running, with light cushioning around the ankle collar. The synthetic mesh upper ventilates well and dries quickly after water immersion, and has a tightly woven inner layer to help keep debris off your toes. And with a full-length rock plate, comfort is maintained well on rocky or technical trails.
Speed and agility At 8oz, this is one of Merrell’s heaviest Barefoot shoes, so they may seem a bit clunky if you’re used to other models. However, the rock plate, aggressive outsole, and increased cushioning allow you to bomb down rough trails effectively.