Merrell Women’s All Out Rush: Not Just A Pretty Face
With over 30 years experience in the outdoor footwear industry, Merrell launches their All Out collection, aimed at establishing some middle ground following the recent and (in my opinion) rather extremist zero-drop and maximal cushioning trends.
First Impressions: Hey, Good Looking
Straight out of the box, the vibrant High Viz Yellow and Blue combination of the Merrell All Out Rush was easy on the eye. I could already envision the bright hues happily caked in mud, just like all my other trail shoes. They come in a selection of striking colourways, more than enough to appeal to most tastes.
The shoes have a 6mm heel-toe drop, a fraction more than my usual 4mm, but it's the monster 5mm lugs that give them a deceptively chunky appearance. They're light enough, weighing in at 241g for a US8, and look like they're ready for some off-road antics so it's only fair that I take them out for a spin.
Like A Glove
The women's US 8 size is a snug fit and I'd recommend going a half size up if you're planning to use these shoes to log any long distance runs. The last (the mould or shape that the shoe is constructed on) looks very similar to the Merrell Barefoot range, with a roomy toe box and a wider forefoot fit.
With the Omni-Fit Lacing system all done up, the All Out Rush feels nicely snug. They're a good fit even for my narrow feet, and there's enough wiggle room in the toe box. Merrell have a tradition of great fitting shoes from their Barefoot collection, and it doesn't surprise me that these wrap my feet comfortably, with no obvious chafing or hot spots.
Maiden Mileage: Let's Go For A Run!
On their debut run at MacRitchie, the All Out Rush performed admirably. I was pleasantly surprised by the cushioning these shoes provide, no doubt credit goes to Merrell's Uni-Fly impact absorbing mid-soles, which are designed to dissipate the impact of landing and stabilizes the foot for take-off, resulting in an energy efficient gait.
Despite the relatively soft ride, there was enough 'feel' underfoot for me to enjoy the terrain, and the substantial toe-cap protection certainly came into it's own on some rocky sections. Another aspect that impressed me was the grip. After the first 4km or so, I'd gotten enough of an idea of what these shoes were capable of in normal dry conditions, and the massive 5mm lugs certainly helped inspire confidence in placing my feet. Thumbs up for the M Select GRIP Traction, these should be good fun in the wet!
However, it was a humid morning, and by the time I'd done an hour on the trail, my feet felt pretty hot. Despite the mesh and TPU uppers, there just wasn't enough ventilation in the shoe to keep my feet from heating up.
Tested In Rain And Terrain
I had the perfect opportunity to test these shoes further on a recent trip to Hong Kong. Challenging trails and equally challenging weather meant that I had an opportunity to try the shoes on slippery, wet terrain on steep ascents and descents.
On the Lantau Trail, the grip didn't disappoint and I found I was able to charge up and down the steep hills with minimal fear of slipping on wet rock or loose dirt. The smaller sizing and wider forefoot fit did end up giving me slightly sore toes after a 4 hour run, though, something that should be easily remedied with a half size up.
With the cooler temperatures in Hong Kong, I didn't find the less ventilated uppers to be so much of an issue. They're not waterproof, but didn't seem to let much water in during a shower on Lantau that lasted the better part of 2 hours.
I was certainly grateful for the increased cushioning, and my descents were a fraction quicker with the added comfort. Still no chafing or hot spots on the longer runs, thank goodness!
The Merrell All Out Rush for women is a great workhorse, with durable construction and a great fit. It's well suited for most terrain, coming into it's own on the more rugged stuff and great in the wet. There's a range of colours to choose from which is always a good thing in a women’s shoe, and certainly great value for a shoe that can go the distance.
- Great grip, traction and durability
- Good comfort and protection
- Bright and cheery colour combinations
- Good value for money
- Breathability is questionable
- Snug sizing, go half a size up