Written By Barefoot Dawsy
Over the years, I’ve tried out a lot of minimalist shoes. They’ve varied wildly, from shoes made of paper, to sandals, to shoes with ‘fingers’, all the way up to shoes that are called minimal but really aren’t.
All this time, I’ve been looking for a shoe that strikes the balance between weight, comfort, style, and performance. After years of searching, I honestly think I may have found it.
When picked up the parcel from my front porch, I thought there was some mistake. When I lifted it up, all I could feel was the weight of the box. Surely they wouldn’t have accidentally forgot to put shoes in it, right?
I have to say, I was honestly shocked to see that there were indeed shoes in the box. When I pulled them out, it was clear why. These babies weigh next to nothing (well, 283g, actually, but they somehow feel even lighter).
I couldn’t resist putting them on, and having a cheeky run up the block. They were comfortable too. I’ve had issues in the past with Merrells pinching a bit, and fitting a bit too tight around my forefoot, but not with these. The airy, flexible uppers were stretchy enough to give a little as my feet moved, but sturdy enough to hold their shape.
As for groundfeel, the 3.5mm sole (plus 2mm of cushion) was enough to give me a little bit of feedback, while taking the edge of the rough stuff. The soles are very flexible, and can be folded over both ways with ease.
The next day, I took them to the next Curl Curl parkrun to take them for a spin. The course is a combination of trails, footpaths, grass fields, and gravel. It’s a great testing ground for this type of shoe. They performed immaculately, and I came home with happy feet and a smile on my face.
I suppose the only criticism I have is that they aren’t waterproof. There is always a trade-off between airiness and waterproofing, however, so this is neither unexpected, nor surprising. Maybe one day, NASA will give us some cool material to solve this problem, but until then, I’m happy to watch out for puddles.
If you haven’t noticed already, I love these shoes. They are hands-down my favourite shoes since the Vibram SeeYa, and represent a new, more minimal, more comfortable direction for the Merrell Barefoot series. I highly recommend grabbing a pair if you see them, as you won’t be disappointed.
Beginning Barefoot would like to thank Merrell for providing us with samples for testing. If you’re interested in buying a pair of your own, check out their website or visit your local retailer.