User Review: Merrell Men's Barefoot Trail Glove
Source: received it as a personal gift
After months of research and reading reviews, this was my first high end "barefoot" shoe and I could not be more pleased. I ran barefoot and with water shoes for a while but needed something that protected better against thorns/sticks while still remaining flexible. The Trail Glove has proven outstanding, it's the most comfortable shoe I own and is tough enough that if I step on a thorny vine while running I don't even notice and pressure from pokey sticks is distributed enough to not be a problem at all.
- Excellent comfort and wear
- Excellent protection from gravel / thorns
- Flexible and zero drop
- Drains fast
- Definitely not waterproof
- Can easily get sand inside
The "glove" in the name is not a misnomer, it really does feel like a glove on my foot. It's not tight per se, but it's snug. The sold feels molded to the bottom of my foot and around the sides. There is zero lateral movement in this shoe, when I tie it the sides conform to the sides of my feet and prevent any slippage. One important consideration is that how you tie it makes a huge difference in fit. By tightening some laces and loosening others I can completely change how the shoe feels. When changing back and forth between barefoot and socks (very thin athletic ones) I have to fiddle with the laces awhile before it fits perfect.
I'm not sure about a break-in period, however at first I did notice some slight chafing on the upper right on my right foot that has since disappeared. The sides of this shoe are basically mesh, allowing it to breath very well, however that means my foot is chilly in winter and wet if I step in a puddle deeper than 1". The only real downside sand, I can't recommend this shoe if you are mostly in sand deeper than about an inch as the sand will work it's way inside and you have to stop and empty it.
My foot feels wrapped in awesome. The shoe does not reach my ankle, so meaningful support there. However the lack of any slippage inside the show seems to help me with responsiveness and recovering from spills, though this may just be wishful thinking.
None, though dries faster than my old running shoes, I usually just keep going and let them dry out as I walk / run.
Overall, very good, however I have can imagine some situations where you might want deeper tread, such as mud on top of hard clay or snow.
Ease of use:
They can be a little tight to put on, I often end up loosening the laces significantly then re-tightening, however this is not a big deal.
I love the lasers that vaporize really sharp gravel. But seriously, these fit me well, drain well and provide a very versatile fit depending on how you tie them.
Construction & Durability:
I run on my family's farm, there are no trails and I tend to follow my dogs, so puddles/marsh/ditches/ it are often part of that days run. I consider myself to be hard on shoes (and electronics, my poor phone...) and so far I have no complaint except that a magic fairy does not clean them for me.
I'm not a "real" runner, I've been doing C25K, then stopping, then starting, then stopping, etc, etc..
I do run/walk/hike in bad conditions, I followed my dogs through a marsh last weekend, had blast, got soaked and muddy, then went crashing through a lot of woods and ending with a walk across a large field, we never saw a trail. I don't have any experience with them on inclines however.
I am very pleased with my Trail Gloves, they work great on the flatland running / hiking / walking I do and provide enough protection for me. If you wanted to run gnarly mountain trails, then I might recommend the Mix Master 2 instead, based on the barefoot running university review.