I’m not a fast runner; nor am I a speedy walker. But I always love a pair of lightweight shoes! When I hold the Merrell All Out Crush 2, I immediately felt that they are my kind of trail shoes. At about 185g (size 6), they are extremely lightweight. As I blazed the trail with All Out Crush (AOC) 2, I asked myself, “Isn’t it time I start to do tempo trail runs?”
Going All Out
The All Out Crush 2 performs really well in terms of speed. The weight doesn’t hold me down. Made with a mesh and TPU upper, the shoes have tremendous breathability. I wore these shoes on several training runs during the day and night, and I can safely say that the heat didn’t build up inside the shoes.
The front and side upper have superior drainage. The shoes get wet easily but water drains out quickly as well. Meanwhile, the rear upper (or the quarter) has Lycra® neoprene heel lining that provides comfort but less ventilation.
As a minimalist shoe, AOC 2’s upper has little lateral support at the vamp. This is not a big issue for me as I run through friendly terrains in the King of the Trails 2018 Leg 1. However, it was a little challenging to speed up through very rugged terrains in MacRitchie Reservoir, such as the portion with coarse gravels between Venus Drive and Paddle Lodge.
The tongue is often the part that makes or breaks my running performance. And I actually like that AOC 2 has a thin, yet sturdy tongue. It’s thin enough not to restrict my movement, but it’s sturdy and won’t get folded too easily.
Crushing the Trails
The outsoles of AOC 2 are incorporated with M Select™ GRIP technology that delivers excellent grip in both solid grounds as well as muddy trails. The lug pattern takes the shape of a tri-blade with the depth of 5 to 6.5mm. There isn’t a slippery moment every time I run with AOC 2. In fact, the grip is sometimes too strong on concrete and tarmac surfaces.
TrailProtect™ pad offers additional support and cushioning for an otherwise minimalist sole. With the stack height of 16.5mm at the toe and 22.5mm at the heel, the midsole of AOC 2 is firm but still allows me to feel the ground, especially on rough and sharp terrains.
- All Out Crush 2 is absolutely lightweight and speedy. It’s suitable for those days you want to go all out on the trails.
- The upper has very respectable ventilation. It’s great to dissipate heat built-up as well as to drain out water.
- Its traction capability on solid ground and muddy trails is astounding.
- It is probably the best shoes for obstacle races with muddy trails, like Spartan, Tough Mudder and Mud Warrior.
- I find that the size is slightly bigger than my usual running shoes.
- The laces are flat and thin. However, for me, I prefer fat laces because I spend more time untying thin lace compared to fat laces. This is just my own personal preference, though.
- I feel that the shoes lack the support required to run over gravel terrains, especially for overpronators like me.
- The grip could be too much for road running.
I believe in dreaming big. And I believe that Merrell All Out Crush 2 can help me become a better and faster trail runner. What I need to do next is to hit the trails more often and longer with AOC 2.
Merrell All Out Crush 2 is retailing at S$149 in Royal Sporting House stores.