'Get beyond the modish looks and there's a capable, compact-feeling trail running shoe lurking stealthily underneath. '
Outdoors Magic: Neat comfortable fit, low and stable, good grip on firm to medium-soft surfaces and decent rock protection.
Outdoors Tragic: Less cushioned than some, outfaced by real slop on steep ups.
Outdoors Grabbit? Feels neat, comfortable and precise on firm to medium ground and has decent trail feel with sacrificing stone protection, but not as cushioned as some, so there are better choices for running on hard surfaces. Doesn't love real slop either.
trail running shoe / mesh upper / reflective details / UniFly midsole / M Select™ GRIP outsole / 6mm Drop / 20mm Cush / 27mm Stack Height / HyperWrap 360 Degrees Fit System / Removable footbed treated with M Select™ FRESH / vegan friendly
Full Review Below
All Out Charge - The Tech
Merrell has always been at the forefront of trail shoe development and the shoe certainly looks the part with the inner side of the upper apparently made from some sort of tough-feeling, keprotec-type fabric, which wraps round neatly over the heel cup.
Then there's the HyperWrap 360˚ fit upper, which essentially works like a sock-liner with the tongue wrapping seamlessly over the foot. Throw in snugly adjustable tape-webbing lace loops and the shoe gives a comfortable, secure fit.
Down below there's Merrell's own-brand sole with zoned 4mm knobs or lugs. Finally the midsole is something Merrell calls UniFly. We're not entirely sure what that means, but the heel to toe drop of 6mm is low-ish, without being barefoot minimal and claimed to give good trail connection.
It's all very impressively modern, but how well does it work?
All Out Charge - Performance
The All Out Charge is nowhere near as minimal as Merrell's zero-drop range of barefoot shoes, but it still has a low to the ground, stable feel to it. The pay off to that is while its not as cushioned on hard surfaces as something like a Salomon Speedcross, it does feel connected to the trail.
Combine that with a comfortable and precise fit from the uppers and it's a neat and nimble ride on medium through to soft surfaces. It also manages okay on stony stuff, where it has far more underfoot protection than, say, the Salewa Lite Train.
Those 4mm M-Select GRIP lugs do a decent job too. They're grippy on rock and hardpack and still capable on medium-soft stuff. We did find that the front of the forefoot struggled occasionally on steep climbs with soft surfaces and the shoe is eventually outfaced by proper muddy slop.
Merrell's modish looks and new technologies can make it hard to work out what's happening beneath the styling - in the past we've used Merrell models and never quite been sure what they're for - but the All Out Charge is actually a pretty decent firm to medium conditions trail shoe.
It feels low, neat and secure. Has ample grip on hardpack through to medium-soft surfaces and while it's not ideal for continuous hard surfaces - slabbed, rocky tracks come to mind - the relative paucity of cushioning translates into a stable feel on rougher ground.
A good option for the happy middle ground between real slop and paved tracks.