Shoe Reviews

MERRELL Trail Glove Running First Impression Shoe Review

When I opened the box I was excited to see that Merrell had sent a pair of Trail Gloves in a fun color. The name of the color is “Dark Cheddar.” I enjoy getting a bright shoe like this one dirty. When I first tried the shoe on I thought maybe I had the wrong size. The heel hit snuggly, the mid-foot was secure, the arch seemed to be in the right place, but there seemed to be a lot of room in the toe box and in the distance between the front of the shoe and my toes. While running, the shoe felt like the perfect size. During the run I found the toe box to be perfect for toe splay. The extra room in the front also came in handy protecting my toes from stubbing on rocks and roots. The traction on the bottom handled both the smooth parts of the trail and the more technical sections. I always felt in control. I went into the 8-mile trail run with no expectations, and soon found myself having a lot of fun with the shoes. I felt light and nimble ready to take on the hills and valleys we were running through. After awhile I did start to get some irritation from running over small rocks and debris. It might be something you can work up a tolerance for, as your feet get tougher. There was about a half mile of road running that we did to get to the trailhead. I had no issues running on the road with the Merrell Trail Gloves.

While I really enjoyed running in the Trail Glove, I am not sure it would be enough shoe for me in distances over ten miles.* I could change my mind as I get more miles in on them. If I do I will let you know. The Trail Glove will be the first shoe I grab out of the closet for barefoot trail running. The connected feeling to the trail created an extra element of enjoyment I wasn’t expecting.

* Update: I ran over 11 miles in the Trail Gloves today and they felt great. Another enjoyable trail run.

Side note: I ran with a very thin pair of Wright Socks

Check out RunBlogger’s Merrell Trail Glove review too.

From Merrell:

UPPER/LINING
• Microfiber and breathable air mesh upper
• Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing system secured with welded TPU provides a precise, glove-like fit
• Fused rubber toe bumper provides ultimate durability
• Synthetic leather rear foot sling provides stability
• Flexible plate in the forefoot protects the foot from stone bruises
• Non-removable microfiber footbed treated with Aegis® antimicrobial solution resists odor

MIDSOLE/OUTSOLE
• 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions
• 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate maintains forefoot flexibility and protects the foot by distributing pressure
• 0mm ball to heel drop keeps you connected to your terrain
• Wash as needed in cold water, gentle cycle and air dry
• Vibram® Trail Glove Sole/ Rubber Compound TC-1

Men’s Weight: 6.2 ozs / 175.8 gm (1/2 pair)

8 Comments

  1. I run 10 a fair amount in Trail Gloves.  5K races are my favorite use for them, but I've run around 10 miles without the shoes themselves, or my feet in them, becoming an issue.  The first few longer runs resulted in some calf soreness, which is to be expected in such a shoe.  The only thing was that on some of the rockier trails, I really just had to watch my step and make sure I didn't plant my arch right on a jagged rock. The forefoot and the heel of the shoe offer good protection from this, but the middle of the shoe has less protection, because it's (rightfully, I think) designed to offer some flexibility through and torsional flex through the midfoot.  Trail Glove is one of my favorite shoes to date.

  2. Thomas I've been running in the Merrell Trail Gloves since they were released in March of 2011.  This has become my favourite trail shoe and works remarkably well on the beach too.   I'm a larger sized runner and have trouble controlling my momentum on the downhills.  Because of the larger toe box that allows for splaying of the toes this is no longer a problem.  The jagged rock issue on the midsole was somewhat painful at first, but over time has become less of a issue.   The main take away on the Trail Glove is the amazing protection provided by the toe box!  I have run in trail shoes and stubbed my toes so badly I swore I broke them.  Since owning this shoe I continued to trip over roots and rocks, but my toes have taken no abuse what so ever.  By the way, this is the shoe I wore for the HAT 50K.

  3. I have not tried these shoes but after reading the review, I'd like to give them a whirl. I'm pretty new to minimalist/barefoot running. I've been increasing my barefoot treadmill runs so I think I'm ready for some trail runs.

  4. I also love the Trail Glove for my trail running.  I was able to chat with a Merrell Rep. about their Trail and Pace Gloves and they do have a 1mm thick shock absorption plate (rock plate) in the midfoot area.  After a few runs, didn't notice rocks and other debri as much.  Overall, great barefoot shoe for the trail!

  5. One of my all-time favorite shoes. Let me start by saying I'm a forefoot striker and run totally bare regularly. Some people have issue with the lack of cushion or protection, but if your feet are used to feeling the ground and less sensative, you'll love 'em.
    I picked up a pair in the spring because I wanted a more versitle and less "fingery" pair of barefoot style shoes. I first tried on the New Balance MT 10 (I think) and didn't like the tightness I felt in the toe box and looseness in the heel. The Merrell had the total opposite feel, wide open in the toe and secure around the heel. I want my toes to stretch and splay and the Trailgloves are built for this. I use the Trailgloves to road run, trail run and before I put a hundred miles on them, I'd wear them to work and run my commute home in them. I really can't say enough about these shoes. My only comlaint abut them, and the same goes for all minimalist shoes with zero cusion: you can't sprint downhill comfortably. I do a hardcore road hill workout weekly and I like to wear my Saucony Hattori because of the little bit of cushion helps me attack the downhills in a way my Merrells, VFF and horrauches won't allow me. But if its a long run, a 5k or even a bike ride I have no problem slipping on the Merrels, they are a fantastic minial shoe that works for me.
    So free your feet and toughen them up so you can enjoy the feeling of the ground beneath you like you're suppose to.

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