The Merrell Trail GloveJune 6th, 2012
Reviewed By: Rod Begg
“iRun because I hear the trail call my name”
Product: Merrell Barefoot Run Trail Glove
Product category: Trail running shoe
Photos available at: http://s1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff487/BarefootYOW/Merrell/
Photo Credit: All photos taken by Rod Begg
Product Website: http://www.merrell.com/CA/en/Barefoot
Description: The Merrell Trail Glove is an all weather shoe, with a Vibram® sole and microfiber mesh upper. The design incorporates fundamentals of barefoot running, chiefly zero drop (heel to toe) and a wide toe box. The Omni-Fit™ lacing system allows you to dial in the tension to suit your foot. The shoe is designed for trail running, and as such has a heavier lug tread than the road version. Merrell added 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions and a 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate, to reduce the impact from rocks and branches.
Style does not take a back seat, as Merrell created a light weight low profile shoe that can be worn to your local mall. The Trail Glove is available in a variety of colours. You can blend in with Drizzle (grey) or stand out with Cheddar (orange). The Trail Glove is also available in a wide foot version.
Pros: Merrell Trail Glove is meant for action and abuse. You first notice the snug fit, particularly in the heel and midsole. The shoe grabs your foot, and yet the wide toe box enhances stability by allowing toe splay. The large grab loop, on the heel, makes them easy to peel on and off. The Glove could have been named the Claw. You can noticeably feel the grip on all surfaces, from ice to slimy rocks. The added protection in the forefoot and midsole handled all terrain, while the ground feel was surprisingly good. They drain exceptionally well, a must for trail running. Thezero drop permits a natural running style. Stinky feet be gone, as they wash in cold water and air dry. I found the durability to be outstanding.
Cons: The fit did take some getting used to, particularly coming from a barefoot background. I do not run with socks, and I developed one minor heel abrasion blister initially. This was more from over-exuberance in the break-in period. I was surprised to develop sweat blisters in February, as the meshed upper appeared to vent well. My point of contention is with the midsole protection. It may not be arch support but it feels as if it is. In some photographs I did notice that my arch was not contacting the ground. I would recommend a reduction on the midsole protection.
Ideal for: Who should run with these shoes? You will find these shoes to be golden, if you already run with a natural mid foot landing. They cater directly to minimalist runners, with a beefed up sole. Gravel is no longer the enemy, and you will be able to maintain balance and traction in a multitude of weather and terrain. I would also recommend these to the new trail runner. They are light and provide enough ground feedback to maintain awareness and confidence. You will love the zip you feel in your stride.
Overall:I ran approximately 450km with these shoes, and they still have plenty of life in them. My first run with the Merrell Trail Glove was 11km on the ice of the Rideau Canal. The hard Vibram sole had typical difficulty with smooth ice, but dug in like an ice axe with any roughness. Winters’ end brought rain & mud, and here is where the Trail Glove excelled. Exceptional grip, quick draining, and firm fit meant that I could transition between sloppy mud or puddles into dry trails without the shoe causing blisters. This is a must for a trail shoe. Gatineau Park, with its blend of natural and gravel trails, was the setting for most of my running. The shoe handled granite, limestone, mud, gravel, and roots. I felt as secure as a mountain goat, even when running in slimy, rocky creeks. Clean up was a breeze. Simply spray them down with cold water and air dry. The only negative is that they feel like cleated shoes on asphalt/concrete, but after all they are trail shoes.
About the reviewer:Rod Begg (Barefoot YOW)
I have been a casual runner for 25 years. I have run 5k to marathons. Two years ago I took up barefoot running. I run year round barefoot or minimalist. Yes, even barefoot in Ottawa winters. As past President of the Barefoot Runners Society – Toronto Chapter, I have watched natural running technique become ever more popular. I now run for the pure enjoyment. I run to feel the ground, to play in the mud, and to experience running unburdened by shoes. So if you see an old white haired guy running barefoot in a kilt, don’t be shy, say hello! I’ll just flash you a smile.