Home > Running Related > Merrell Trail Glove – The First Impression

Merrell Trail Glove – The First Impression

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

This post summarizes my first impression of the Merrell Trail Glove. See Here.

Describing the shoe would be a waste of time.  I am posting pictures and they are worth a thousand words.  There are plenty of other reviews out there that have this covered. You will notice the zero-drop design. You will notice the interesting lacing system. You will notice the flexibility (OK, you can’t see the flexibility). You will notice the toe-spring… yuck.

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My first time wearing the shoes included Injinji socks. See Here. The shoes were not on my feet 30 seconds before my initial concerns, referred to here came true. Every review I have read to date mentions the roomy toe box. There is plenty of room; just not plenty of width. For the average foot that has been shod for years, these shoes will probably feel wide enough. But, my impression was that these were developed for barefoot runners who are looking for protection when running trails… thus the name Trail Glove. :)  Soooo… a little more width would have been nice.  That may not have been the case. Read on…

Think of the roominess of the toe-box in terms of high ceilings. If you want to bend your big toe back… you will have plenty of height before it touches the top of the shoe. It is unlikely that you will get a blister on the top of your big toe while wearing these shoes. Anyone who has been running barefoot for any length of time may tell you that their feet have evolved. I mean, muscles you didn’t even know you had have shown up for the game. They may tell you that their feet have grown wider. They may tell you that they are buying larger shoes because their old shoes are too tight now or not wide enough. They may tell you that their toes have spread out and have space between them now. They may sound like fanatics who are in love with their newly developed hobbit feet. Ok, maybe not that last one. :)

My big toe rubs the side of this shoe and I find it very annoying.   Sure when you aren’t standing the toe box is fine, but step down and I could immediately tell there was a deficit in width. As of now, this is my biggest problem with the shoe. I had to go run in these things.  I wanted to know how these things felt in action. Will the toe spring be an issue?

The kids were in bed and I don’t normally run in the dark, but it was time to take these things for a spin. Running barefoot in the dark is risky. My Lasik tweaked eyes are good… but nobody can see rocks on the road in the dark. Do you want to tell your buddies you are sidelined with an injury?… “I stepped on a rock”. HA! No thanks.

Out the door I went. Merrells on my feet; I ran up the street and took a right. I wouldn’t consider the Merrells ninja shoes, but the first thing I noticed was the sound. For more than a year, I have enjoyed the quietest runs. Bare feet don’t make noise. If you can hear them, you’re doing something wrong. I imagined that I was just like all the other shod runners. Clomp, Clomp, Clomp… My cadence was ok. It may have been slightly slower than normal, but my stride felt comfortable; but something wasn’t right.

The Merrells were tied snugly over the top of my foot, but not too tight. When I used to run in shoes, I liked them tight. So tight that they were actually slightly painful. Only God knows why. Heh… After running barefoot, I think I must have been crazy. Of course, most people think I am crazy NOW. :) My arch began aching only 1/2 mile into this run. Arch pain is not something that I have experienced while running barefoot… so this was new.

I had already noticed a lack of adequate width and fully expected the toe-spring to be uncomfortable.  I won’t call it uncomfortable, but it was noticeable immediately.  Note to Merrell: Barefoot runners don’t like toespring.   If you look at the photo on Merrell’s website, you will notice the lack of significant, if any, toe-spring. Granted, I received these shoes from another runner who had put 24 miles on them… but look at the toe-spring.  If they didn’t arrive new like this, then these shoes went through a metamorphosis in no time at all. Does the sole material have a memory? I mean, shoes go through repeated bending as you walk and run. Were these soles flat when they were new? I don’t know.
I must confess that I removed the Merrells after three quarters of a mile. I continued running another 2 miles completely barefoot. While hoping this doesn’t sound mean… I must thank Merrell for a great two miles. After the first three quarters… the last two were a dream. After all, running barefoot and in “barefoot” shoes is all subjective and anecdotal, right?

Ok, so this is my first impression.  Please don’t think I hate the shoes.  I have been trying on shoes for the past year; searching for the perfect shoe.  These are a step in the right direction.  I would like to try a size 11 and see if my opinion changes.  Before I started running barefoot, I wore a 9.5 shoe. I have read that these shoes are true to size and maybe even a half size big. If that is true, my feet have grown a whole size… possibly one and a half sizes? This one has me scratching my head.

Merrell, if you are reading this… send the the Tough Gloves in black, size 11.  My boss won’t let me wear the Trail Gloves.  :D

This will sound like an oxymoron, but barefooters need a good shoe to wear to work.

Categories: Running Related
  1. Chris Hawson
    February 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Glad you got them – sorry your first impressions were similar to mine!

    I actually went out and measured my feet on a Brannock device this week and discovered that in the year since I’ve only run barefoot or minimalist they are now almost a whole size bigger than they’ve measured for the last 40 years! I, too, will be trying them in an 11 or 11.5 when I get the opportunity but I think they are just a lot more shoe than I need for road running – and there aren’t too many trails in NYC and none of them need more than Bikilas or Treksports!

  2. February 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    My wife really liked the way you packaged them. :D Thanks again for sending them.

  1. March 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

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