Gear / Motorcycles

Merrell “Ascend Glove” sneakers – review

Merrell "Ascend Glove" mesh runner

Merrell “Ascend Glove” mesh runner

Merrell's 'Ascend Glove' mesh sneaker compresses down to less than 3-1/2-in., perfect for motorcycle travel where every litre of space is precious

Merrell’s ‘Ascend Glove’ mesh sneakers compress to less than 3-1/2-in., perfect for motorcycle travel where every bit of space is precious

We’re constantly on the lookout for ‘stuff’ that can earn its keep, especially for the rigors of motorcycle touring.

Seasoned tourers know that storage space is always at a premium.  The less space an item occupies, the better.

We were snooping around our local Cabela’s outfitter store last weekend when we spied these Merrell mesh sneakers, steeply discounted to $89.99 from their normal MSRP of $149.99.  Admittedly, I’m a cheapskate and it was the sale price that gave me a minor case of whiplash.


The Ascend Glove is sold as a ‘running’ shoe, but what attracted me (besides the price) was the shoes’ extreme light weight and mesh design that allows the pair to be squished down to an ultra compact 3-1/2-in.

These are just about the lightest pair of sneakers I’ve seen.  They weigh a feathery 487g (17 oz.)  The mostly grey mesh vamp/upper is trimmed with silver and orange.  I’d politely describe the Ascend Glove sneakers as ‘colourful.’  Ingrid, my chief critic (of fashion and many, many other things) opined they’re gaudy.  I figure the bright orange trim gives the runners a nice ‘summer’ colour, but who am I to say?  I’m partially colour blind.

The toe cap is made of a synthetic material that has a rough texture and feels slightly grippy and rubber-like.  The shoes have rough textured laces, that once tightened, resist slipping and loosening.  The black and grey soles are made by Vibram, and are advertized as ‘non-marring.’  There’s a convenient finger loop sewn to the heel area to help pull the shoes on.  The tongue is padded and has a loop through which the laces feed to keep everything in place.  Merrell includes a little card that says the shoe also features Aegis Microbe Shield, a permanent anti-microbial technology that protects against odor, staining and deterioration caused by bacteria, fungus and other micro-organisms.

But it’s the pliable mesh design that makes these sneakers terrific for travel.  The heel box has no internal stiffening material, so it can be pressed nearly flat when packed, and that makes the Merrell Ascend Glove trainer remarkably compact when stowing in luggage.  After a long day’s ride and you kick off your heavy touring boots, these Merrells will feel blessedly light.


I normally take a U.S./Can Men’s 9.5 shoe in medium width, but even with these sneakers’ generous ‘give’ allowed by the stretchy mesh uppers, the 9.5 I tried in the store felt a we bit snug, so I opted for a more generous size 10.  (Update, Feb. 11, 2014.  I was wrong on the sizing.  I had tried the 9.5 size wearing thicker than normal socks in the store, and opted for the size 10.  Trying these with slightly thinner socks made the tens feel too big.  I’ve exchanged them for 9.5s, and these now fit correctly.  So, for me, the fit of these trainers is ‘normal.’  Buy the size you normally wear.)

The Merrell Ascend Glove sneaker is a good bargain at its current sale price of $89.99 at Cabela’s (Edmonton, AB store), and their ability to pack down to a very compact size makes them ideal for packing in one’s motorcycle gear.

Merrell Ascend Glove mesh sneakers (black/tanga), Men’s U.S./Can size 10, 487g/10 oz., Vibram sole, $89.99 (on sale at Cabela’s regular MSRP $149.99), Made in China; also available at the Edmonton store in black/blue.





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