Whether you run, hike, or love to hit the gym, Merrel is taking a page from the Inov-8 playbook and offering an entire series of minimalist shoes that help you transition down to a complete barefoot style. Composing the Merrel M-Connect Series, four distinct collections create a matrix of minimalist shoes that cater to your personal preference or chosen activity.
The four key Merrel M-Connect Series collections include Barefoot, Bare Access, Mix Master, and Proterra. Whether on the road or the trail, as you switch to a barefoot running style, you can transition downward in both heel to toe drop level as well as amount of cushioning. You can start with the Mix Master Move, a 4 mm drop, 12.8 mm cushion shoe, then eventually end up running on the Road Glove 2, an ultra-minimalist 0 mm drop, 4 mm cushion shoe.
Seeing the success of the Inov-8 crossfit shoe, Merrel has added an entire collection of 0 mm drop training shoes for use in the gym. With two levels of cushioning, you can find the perfect minimalist shoe for use during crossfit, fitness class, weight lifting, or just working out at the gym.
At the other end of the spectrum, Merrel has extended the minimalist concept into the Proterra collection of both mid and low hiking shoes. Built on a 4 mm drop platform, the upper uses a new Stratafuse technology which injects the foot cage directly into the mesh upper. This construction adds durability while cutting down on much of the weight.
Merrell is in a bit of heat with Adidas over the design of their current Barefoot series. Adidas has sued the company, saying they have ripped off the Adidas trademark 3 stripes look. We shall see if this lawsuit changes the final design of any of the M-Connect Series line of minimalist shoes.
The Merrell M-Connect Series will be available for Spring 2013.