I've bought pretty much every shoe from Merrell's Bare Access and Glove series of minimalist shoes and each version gets a little bit better. I loved the Ascend Gloves but wanted a better built upper and a tiny bit more cushioning and it seems like Merrell was reading my mind with these! From wearing and running with these on both pavement leading to the trail and then on a rocky, rooty, muddy trails these have performed great! Enough ground feel for good feedback on what my foot is actually doing, but enough protection that the small sharp rocks and stones don't hurt my foot. Grippy even in mud and muck. I love that the upper is seemingly much more solidly built than the Ascend Gloves, yet my size 12's in men only weigh 8.4 ounces each. I am running my first 100 mile ultramarathon in September and these will be perfect for that! I'll probably be picking up another pair for backup! Great job Merrell!