Buying a new pair of running shoes is a tricky affair. There is a bewildering variety of shoes to choose from. In the old days, all you had to consider was color (uy ang ganda ng red!) and brand (parang mas seryoso ang dating ng Adidas kesa Nike). Now a shoe buyer also has to consider whether he needs traditional thick soled shoes divided along stability, neutral and cushioned; minimalist shoes that promise to get you more connected to the ground; or maximalist shoes that promise to keep you floating over the terrain.
I’ve always preferred minimalist shoes. It may not be a style that suits everyone, but it just works for me. So when my road runners began to show signs of falling apart, I started scouring the running blogs for a shoe that would be a worthy replacement. The blogs all hinted that the shoe I needed to buy was this: Merrell AllOut Fuse.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid post (although I kinda wish it were). I bought these shoes myself with my own hard earned wad of cash. I’ve been a fan of Merrell’s minimalist shoes since they came into the market years ago. They look great, perform very well, and—most importantly—are very durable.
The problem with many minimalist shoes is they’re not tough enough. To make their shoes as light as possible, some shoe companies use materials that would disintegrate after a few hard uses. Since I’m neither Pogi or Sexy who can afford to buy millions of new shoes courtesy of their porky shenanigans, I needed shoes that would be as durable and tenacious as Tanda.
That’s why I like Merrells. My Trail Gloves have seen several brutal trail races, nearly a thousand kilometers of pavement, and weekly shredful duties as my preferred mountain biking shoes for over a year. And yet, they are still intact. My Merrell Mix Master 2s have since taken over the mountain biking duties, and these shoes are also still doing very well despite all the mud, dust, and river crossings I’ve inflicted on them.
So back to the AllOut Fuse—unlike the Trail Glove, this one has fair amount of cushioning. Purists may scoff at this and say that it violates one of the tenets of minimalism which commands “Thou shall not cushion thy foot so that thy muscles and bones get strongerer!” but I don’t really care about what these purists say.
For me, minimalism means being able to feel the ground beneath your feet. And despite the 12mm of soft EVA foam on the Fuse, the shoe still made my feet feel the terrain when I tested them out in UP Diliman and shifted from trail to pavement .
Another thing I like about these shoes is the really wide toe box which I’ve come to expect from Merrell’s minimalist line. The roomy toe box allows your feet to splay for extra stability, especially when you’re out on uneven trail. And though these shoes are supposed to be road runners, I believe that they can also handle a fair amount of trail pounding.
Finally, the shoe looks damn good. Man, those are handsome looking shoes! If shoes were Hollywood stars these kicks would be Brad Pitt.
I was actually torn between the fiery orange and the sky blue versions, but in the end I chose the latter because I already have too many shoes that tilt towards the red end of the spectrum.
I put 14.5k in these shoes the day after I bought them. I felt like I could have gone even farther but a downpour from the sky decreed that 14k was enough for the day.
Another shoe which I would have liked to possess was the Merrell AllOut Rush. These are supposed to be the trail equivalent of the Fuse. They have aggressive-looking lugs that look like they’d make short shrift of rocks, roots and mud. When I tried them in the shoe store, the Rush felt like they could also be repurposed for road duties.
And they also looked damn good. If shoes were Hollywood stars the Rush would be that guy who plays Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. Umm, excuse me while me and my buddy Chael get some testosterone replacement therapy.
Anyway, I’d love to test a pair of Rush on the trails someday. I bet they’d look even cooler pushing down on a mountain bike pedal. But for now, I’ll be content with the Fuse.