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Merrell M-Connect Review: The Road Glove 2

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 | 2 Comments

merrell m-connect road glove 2 back quarter view

The Road Glove II is the fourth shoe in Merrell’s M-Connect lineup I’ve reviewed. This shoe is an update for the original Road Glove (read that review here.)

Merrell’s idea behind the M-Connect lineup is to produce a line of shoes that meets the needs of as wide of an audience as possible while still maintaining the basic principles of minimalism. The result is an increase in specialization of specific models from one generation to the next. The evolution of the Road Glove is a perfect example of this evolution.

The first generation of the Road Glove was, at the time of release, one of the best “generalist” shoes out there. I used it for road running, light trail running, weight training, and some casual use. Eventually the Flux Glove was developed, which replaced the RG1 as my favorite all-purpose shoe.

The RG2 is a move toward greater specialization. It’s a better road running and casual shoe (and light trail running shoe), but not as good for crosstraining. For that, I’d still prefer the Flux Glove. The cool thing about the M-Connect lineup is the breadth of choices… especially for road runners.

Prefer bare minimum shoe with no structure and very little cushioning to maximize ground feel? Use the Vapor Glove.

Prefer a zero drop cushioned shoe for long distances? Use the Bare Access 2.

Prefer a slight raised heel or in the process of transitioning? Use the Mix Master Move.

Prefer something between the Bare Access and Vapor Glove? Use the Road Glove 2.

It’s all about options.

So What About THIS Shoe?

The Road Glove 2 has a moderately thick sole (9.5mm), which falls between the Vapor Glove 95mm) and Bare Access 2 (13.5mm.) This gives a pretty good combination of cushioning and protection while still allowing some ground feel. Personally, I’d use this level of cushioning for anything between a 25k and a marathon. Under that I’d use the Vapor Glove. Over that I’d use the Bare Access 2.

Many people have asked about the insole. It IS contoured, which annoys some people. I’ve talked about the function of the contour extensively… it anchors the shoe on your foot. With a more structured shoe like the RG2, something is needed to keep the foot from moving around within the shoe. The older (and maybe newer) Vivos had this issue- the only way to prevent inner-shoe friction was to crank the laces ridiculously tight, which affected fit.

Shoes that have little or no structure (like the Vapor Glove, SeeYas, or the original Feelmax shoes) can get away with a perfectly flat sole because the upper will fit the foot like a driving glove. If you don’t like that contour, pass on the RG2 and go for the Vapor Glove.

The sole has changed significantly from generation one to two. The new sole allows more rubber to contact the ground, which is a significant design improvement. It allows for better traction and longer wear.

merrell m-connect road glove 2 sole view

The RG2 is slightly lighter than the RG1. My size 12 RG1 weighs in at 8.6 ounces. The RG2 is 8 ounces exactly.Functionally, I didn’t notice a difference between the two, but it was good to see Merrell added durability while still reducing weight. That’s always a major win.

The upper is slightly more structured in the second generation, but still maintains the same sockless liner. The lacing has been replaced with an Omni-Fit-esque loop system instead of traditional eyelets. In testing, this system allows for much greater tightening and loosening at each loop over the traditional eyelet system, but isn’t quite as good as the Omni-Fit found on the Trail Glove.

The final major change has to do with aesthetics. Merrell continues to make HUGE strides in the overall look and color schemes of all the shoes in the M-Connect lineup, and the RG2 may be the best example. The first version was okay, but the new version just looks sweet.

merrell m-connect road glove 2 front quarter view

Final Thoughts

Shoe reviews are getting progressively more difficult because pretty much every manufacturer is now producing good shoes that are specialized to specific tasks. The market is doing exactly what I had hoped- giving us a TON of options. The entire M-Connect lineup reflects this move as Merrell is close to producing a good shoe for every conceivable use. The Road Glove 2 fills the need for a moderately cushioned road shoe that could be used for a variety of tasks. It’s a solid improvement over the RG1.

 

Help feed Jason’s kids: BUY THE ROAD GLOVE 2 VIA AMAZON!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Linent
    February 21, 2013

    Jason,

    My best size for the trail, road, true and tough gloves (As you can see I’m a merrell enthusiast) is 44,5 (10,5 USA), as well as for the bare acess.

    I love the last in all these shoes. Unfortunatley the VAPOR glove is not available yet in the shops, here in Catalonia… So I have to buy it on-line.

    ¿Is the last of the vapor similar to the rest of merrell’s barefoot line?

    Can I buy safely “my” usual size?

    Linus

  2. Juha Myllylä
    February 9, 2013

    95mm of vapor glove sounds quite thick… ;)