Having worked for Tough Mudder for three years I’m always asked by friends and fellow Mudders what’s the most appropriate shoe for cross country running and in particular a Tough Mudder. Now I’m no expert in the business of running shoes, but I know a comfortable and reliable shoe when I see one…. and for me, the new Merrell All-Out Crush (AO) fits the bill, perfect for that mud-filled Mudder course.
Running for me is an opportunity to escape the rat race, a chance get away from my desk and enjoy the scenery. I’m not running to make the Olympics, nor trying to beat my personal best every time, but I do love to get outdoors and try new environments. As a professional city dweller, with a one year old and a house to renovate I can’t always escape to the mountains and for that reason I need a pair of shoes which have all the traits of a trail runner but are adaptable to the city streets.
The first thing I noticed about the AO Crush was the weight (well lack of), as this shoe is seemingly weightless yet packs a punch in comfort. At times it feels like I’m wearing nothing at all, without losing the support and cushioning I need when running on trails.
Having received the shoes and with a pending family trip to the Grampians in North East Victoria for Easter, I thought this would be the perfect off road test for my new AO’s. After consuming way to many Easter eggs I needed a run and the Fyans Creek trail on the edge of the Grampians seemed to have all the right traits of a mudder training course.
I grabbed my Merrell’s, laced up the stylish shoes and hit the track. Almost immediately I could feel the traction and grip from the EVA sole, with each step I felt a real connection with the ground beneath me. I must admit I was being a bit of a juvenile and thrashing through the muddy puddles, leaping off rock faces and lunging side to side erratically (all in the name of research of course) and the shoe stood up to the challenge.
I was first and foremost really impressed with the stability of the shoe. It seems to have a great arch support without an intruding press on the sole of my foot, my toes didn’t feel cramped and the collar of the shoe didn’t cut into my achilles at all, and I felt completely supported throughout the entire run.An aspect of the AO Crush which I found to be really impressive was the overall comfort of the shoe. The breathable mesh lining fits around your foot like a sock, providing a secure yet breathable fit. Whether you are walking from the carpark to the hills, hiking up a mountain or running through the mud this shoe maintains a high level of comfort.
Having returned to Melbourne I decided to test the AO in a more urban setting and headed to the ‘Tan’ (a popular Melbourne inner city running route). The Tan provides a 4km loop on crushed rock with varying inclines all with the Melbourne skyline as a backdrop. Having run the Tan for several years I often find a sensation of slipping underfoot, sometimes I even feel like I’m running on the spot. The AO crush eliminated this immediately, I felt an underfoot grip I had never experienced before and I must admit it felt easier to conquer the hills. Although not a traditional off road track, I was still really impressed by the overall feel of the shoe within this setting.
I’ve had the Merrell AO Crush for several weeks now and they have quickly become my shoe of choice for a number of reasons. I love the supportive cushioning nature of the shoe, its weightlessness vs support, but most importantly for me the ability to thrash through the muddy hills and paths and return home – give them a quick wash and know that they will be ready for my next muddy adventure.
So if you’re planning on tackling your first Tough Mudder course or simply like to change up your running with some off road tracks, give the Merrell AO a try.
Written By | Paul Mudge
Enjoyed this? checkout #IT’SALLBEENTRAINING