“Free my feet!” is becoming my new running mantra with the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes.
“Free Your Feet!” is the official new call coming from Merrell Shoes. Merrell has recently launched a new barefoot running line of shoes. I was plenty stoked when they sent me a pair of the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes to get in a month of testing before they were released.
Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes Features
- 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
- 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
- Vibram® Trail Glove Sole/ Rubber Compound TC-1
- Men’s Weight: 6.2 ozs / 175.8 gm (1/2 pair)
- Price: $110
Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes Review
Out of the box I was impressed with the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes. They are light in weight, great style, well constructed, and ready for running. As soon as I put them on I knew things were going to be different.
The uppers are super airy mesh. I’ve always worn socks while running, always. My feet sweat a ton and I have to wear socks or else the funk gets unbearable. The mesh allows for high ventilation and breathability. Granted it’s winter time and that will play a factor but it’s been super warm here as a late in Central Oregon and I’ve been out in 60 degree sunny days and haven’t had any issues with too much sweat. On that same token, I’ve worn these shoes out on 30 degree days (perhaps a bit colder too) with no socks and my feet have not been too cold. Moving along with this topic, the footbed does really resist odor. I’ve put about 6 weeks of running on my shoes and they don’t smell at all.
The Omni-Fit™ lacing system is good and it does allow for a precise fit. What I have come across is between the mesh and the placement of the laces I have to cinch them down almost as tight as they go to get a secure fit. If you have a very low volume foot, keep this in mind.
Enough of that, let’s talk about the sole. The specs say it all…4mm of midsole provides a little cushion (not much at all) and 1mm shock plate does about the same. What you end up with is essentially one step away from actually running in your bare feet. I’ve run on the road in my bare feet before but I’m a trail runner. I haven’t mustered the cojones to hit the trails in my bare feet. With the Men’s Trail Glove it’s as close as you can get. The sole provides just enough protection that your feet aren’t getting chewed up but there is enough sensitivity that you can still feel the trail and textures of it. I’ve found that I have to steer clear of anything larger than a pebble or else I feel it, a lot. But hey, you should be missing most all of that stuff anyway.
In most all situations the Vibram sole is good. For dry trails it gives you enough traction to run without slippage. The toe section features an aggressive, toothy tread to help give additional traction. Where I found the sole to come up lacking in the mud and muck. Even in just a light mud I was losing traction and slipping around. In heavier muds it was pretty bad. I’d like to see a more aggressive tread pattern on upcoming models.
One thing I would add is a GORE-Tex option would be nice. From what I hear that option will be coming soon, which makes me glad.
On fit, the Trail Glove runs almost true to size. I normally wear a size 11 in running shoes (sized just a little long to prevent toe-bump). When I put the size 11 Trail Glove on they seem just a little bigger than a 11 usually fits me (maybe 1/4 size if that). While running though, the fit is fine. I haven’t noticed any differences from my regular shoes in terms of sizing.
Overall as running shoes, these shoes are great. As I said in the intro I am embracing the mantra to free my feet. I almost fully converted. At this point all but my longest runs are in the Trail Gloves. In the coming weeks that will change as well. Well done Merrell, well done.
On a non-running related note: I’ve worn these shoes for other workouts as well and they perform nicely. If you are going to make the switch for running, make the switch for the rest of your workouts as well. And then go ahead and the make the switch for your everyday.
Merrell has a fantastic site called the Barefoot Connection that gives tips on barefoot running, how to get started, and a few other things. In the near future they’ll have a barefoot app and more things to choose from.
Check out the rest of the Merrell Barefoot line.
- More natural running experience with the protection your feet need for the trail
- Good fit
- Solid construction
- Tread needs to be more aggressive for the mud
- I have to cinch the laces almost all the way up to get the secure fit I want
Do your feet and body a favor and make the switch to barefoot with the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes. You won’t be disappointed. I’ve freed my feet.
Buy Now: Pick up the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes