Review : Merrell Dash Glove

I’ve never really been a fan of running shoes before. Traditional running shoes always caused me pain, discomfort, my feet felt like bricks and I constantly got blisters from them. Not a very pleasant combination. However, after reading about and trying on barefoot or minimalist shoes I knew I had to get a pair. They were feather light and I could wear them straight away without any transition or walking in period! I was sold, and still am.

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I got my hands on these colourful pair of shoes while visiting my cousin in Arizona in December. I’ve had my eyes on Merrell’s Barefoot Pace Glove running shoes for quite some time, but I wasn’t able to find the right size for me as there are no half sizes here in Sweden. A half size can make a lot of difference. Especially when they tamper with the width of the shoes. When I read on Merrell’s facebook page that they had recently opened up an outlet store in Phoenix I was overjoyed. Little did I know that I would leave the store with 3 pairs of shoes. My cousin thought I was crazy!  To my defence, two of them were Merrell’s Wonder Glove – incredibly comfortable and simply adorable ballerinas. Unfortunately most of the running shoes in my size were sold out. Not too surprising when most of  them were approximately 50% off! However, I was lucky enough to find a pair of the Dash Glove. They were a half size bigger than my regular size, but they fit like a glove! Oooh I love puns.

Despite of the fact that these shoes are discontinued (you may still find them on Amazon), I do believe there is a newer version out there and Merrell offers plenty of other great barefoot options that may suit any of your shoe needs. Nevertheless, these shoes have been with me on my journey from being a couch potato to soon being able to do a 5K run. I’m delighted to bring you the following Merrell Dash Glove review.

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SPECS

Upper/Lining

  • Synthetic leather and mesh upper
  • DWR-treated upper repels water and resists staining
  • Reflective details for increased visibility in low light
  • Washable upper
  • Integrated microfiber footbed treated with Aegis antimicrobal solution

Sole

  • 0 mm drop
  • 11 mm standing height
  • Vibram Barefoot sole
  • 2 mm maximum lug depth

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MY THOUGHTS

The first thing I always pay notice to when I put on new shoes is the heel area. Most shoes tend to be too loose for my small heels (I have very narrow feet) and if they fit right in heel they are usually a size too small. It’s very annoying! With the Dash Glove I don’t have this problem. They are still a bit loose but not that much that it would really bother me. I’m not sure if it’s the elastic bit at the back or the lacing system (that comes higher up) that gives these shoes such a good glove-like fit.  Either way, I really like the fit of these!

Another thing that I appreciate about these shoes is that they are slightly cushioned. They are perfect if you are looking for a shoes that will ease you into barefoot running. Please bare in mind that if you haven’t run in barefoot/minimalist shoes before, you need to take it easy on your first runs. If you generally run a 5K, 10K or more, you’re feet won’t appreciate if you run a race that long in barefoot shoes and you might end up hurting yourself. So make your first few runs shorter so that you’re muscles can built up strength and flexibility, and then you’ll be set to go.

As much important it is to have a good back and mid fit, there’s nothing worse than having your toes squashed in a pair of shoes. The Dash Glove is no exception when it comes to barefoot shoes. The toebox has plenty of room for my toes to splay during my runs and allows room for foot swelling during those longer runs.

The DWR-treated mesh has not disappointed. It has repelled mist, moist grass and light rain, leaving my feet dry and happy. However, I wouldn’t trust these shoes in heavy rain. They would be soaked. But then again they are probably not created to repel a huge amount of water, there are other shoes out there designed to deal with that issue.

I have really appreciated the flexibility in these shoes. The sole being Vibram is of a minimal nature and best suits for road running. I did a test run on some “light” trails with these and they did manage to hold up. They weren’t the best option and I wouldn’t dare taking them for real trail running, I would probably just injure myself on all the rocks and roots as the Dash Glove misses a rock-plate and proper luggs. Other than that, these shoes are really versatile.

With no seams visible on the inside it’s possible to wear them sockless, though I do prefer to wear thin or toe socks in these. The fabric on the inside isn’t as smooth as it is in other barefoot shoes and the top fabric left a red mark on my feet when I tried to run barefoot in them. This is probably the only negative remark I have on these shoes. I’m not sure I could manage to run barefoot in these for a longer run…but then again I have incredibly sensitive feet, so most of you won’t even notice it. I also need to point out that I don’t have this problem with any of my other Merrell shoes, I can wear them barefoot for an entire day without having  any issues.

Overall, these shoes have saved me on many troublesome runs and I love them to bits, I just need to wear them with socks that’s all. 🙂

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Now that summer is just on the doorstep, I will need to switch up my Dash Gloves for a lighter and more breathable pair of shoes.

What kind of shoes do you run in during the summer? Have you ever tried barefoot/minimalist shoes?

Review: Nathan Speed 2

Whether I’m at home, work, travelling or out and about, staying hydrated has always been a top priority for me. Staying hydrated enhances your performance and speeds recovery. You’ll always find a bottle or glass of water next to me. Needless to say, when I took up running I started to look around for a good hydration solution and I knew that a regular water bottle just wouldn’t cut it. What I needed was something that would ensure that my water would be easily accessible, close at hand, and never in the way. At first I had my eyes on the Nathan QuickDraw and QuickShot bottles. I wanted to try them on in order to know what it felt like wearing my bottle in my hand, but I was unable to find them in any of the stores near me (why do stores advertise a product when they don’t even have it in stock?!). To my utter disappointment, I had to rule out the option of wearing a handheld-bottle.

To be honest I’ve been quite wary of hydration belts and heard that many of them tend to bounce around, ride up or simply fall to the ground. I’ve always disliked buckles due to to my irrational fear of loosing my entire finger when closing and opening  it. But, there it was…calling out my name in the distance –  Nathan Speed 2

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The Nathan Speed 2 hydration belt is constructed of a limited-stretch elasticized waistbelt for the best comfort and a bounce-free ride. Fear not fellow buckle-fearer (ehh is that even a word?), this belt is fastened with VELCRO for an easy adjustment on the move for a perfect fit.  The hydration belt is available in 4 sizes: S 26-32″/65-80cm, M 32-36″/80-90 cm, L 36-42″/90-105cm, XL 42-48″/105-122cm.

Two dishwasher-safe 10 oz./300 ml flasks are suited at the back, and are completely free of BPA. The belt is provided with silicone grips inside holsters, which prevents the bottles from popping out when you’re out for a run.

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The back also consists of a “Power Stretch Mesh” pocket with an interior flat pocket, key holder and an incorporated waterproof ID and medical emergency card. In addition, the back has an airmesh moisture-wicking panel with cushions that prevents chafing.

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A small water-resistant pill pocket is situated at the front for quick access to salt tablets, pain relievers or other tiny objects that may be of use.

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I’ve been trying on the hydration belt for a few weeks now in order to form an honest and truthful opinion. During my runs I’ve worn the belt on different layers of clothing and I’ve tried to determine which position would fit me the best. After some trial and error,  I would recommend wearing the belt low on your hips in order to prevent interference with breathing (and constantly having the need to visit a toilet). Having a low belt placement will also aid in bottle removal and replacement. I was able to wear the belt over my thin jacket (as seen above) without any issues, but I would have to say it’s definitely more comfortable to wear it underneath or a bit lower on my hips now that I’m just wearing a top.

The construction of the belt is incredibly solid and molds to your body once you’ve found the right fit. Never once did I feel discomfort or the urge to take off the belt when out for a run. At first I was worried that it would annoy me, but after a while it just felt like it’s an integrated part of my body. I must say Nathan did a great job with the bounce-free fit!

The water bottles are easy to fill and clean. They are even dishwasher safe, just be sure to put them on the top rack. The silicone grips holds the bottles in place and I haven’t had any bottle falling out, nor did I have any issues removing them. Having two bottles that are BPA-free, makes my environmentally friendly heart flutter. I try to stay away from harmful substances as much as possible, which is why these bottles get an extra plus.

The back pocket is extremely useful when you don’t want to jam your front pockets with items or leave them at home. It’s not the largest pocket out there, but it’s rather stretchy so it would hold your phone, jels, keys or medicine (perhaps not everything at once). I have my inhaler (should my mild Asthma suddenly catch me by surprise) in the pocket and it takes up a lot of space, so I’m unable to fit my iPhone in there as well. However, I’ve read that Nathan offers extra accessories/pockets for the belt, so that could be a solution if you want to bulk up.

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Plus:

  • Bounce-free fit
  • Easy access to water
  • Versatile – Great for warm days, longer runs or hiking
  • BPA-free
  • Velcro-strap

Minus:

  • Make sure to screw on the lid properly (which can be a bit tricky) or the bottle might end up leaking
  • Not the largest pocket

 

How do you drink when you’re out for a run? Do you have a favourite bottle?