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Merrell and Vibram Announce New Minimalist Shoe Line

Merrell Tough Glove

Looks like Merrell and Vibram are teaming up to release a new line of minimalist shoes – they’re calling it the Merrell Barefoot Collection. Here are the details reported by Stephen Regenold on

Not available until February 2011, the line will include shoes like the Trail Glove, a trail-running model; the Tough Glove, a foot-conforming soft leather shoe; and the women’s Pace Glove (low-profile trail runner) and Power Glove (ankle-high design with three Velcro closures).

Looks like minimalist runners have something exciting to look forward too – if only we didn’t have to wait until next year for these to hit the market!

Update 7/14/09: Merrell has added a post on their webpage about the Barefoot Collection.

Below is the full press release and a few pictures (via

ROCKFORD, Mich. (June 14, 2010) – Merrell®, a leading outdoor footwear and apparel brand known for out-of-the-box comfort and versatility, and Vibram®, the world leader in advanced performance sole design and makers of the well known Five Fingers® barefoot concept, exclusively collaborate to create an outsole design that aids in multi-directional movement and adaptability. The end result is Merrell Barefoot, a collection of minimalist, lightweight, versatile and efficient footwear. The collection is a progression of shoes that meet the varying needs of outdoor enthusiasts. All will be available at retail and on in February 2011.

“As minimalist footwear and barefoot running continue to stay at the height of discussion and in the heart of the enthusiast, we saw the clear need to bring barefoot outdoors, beyond running and fitness,” said Clark Matis, original founder and current designer and developer at Merrell. “Having been with Merrell for 26 years now, it is exciting to see the brand continue to push the design boundaries in the outdoor industry. Our partnership with Vibram, and its expertise in barefoot running and fitness, allows us to introduce the ideal barefoot designs for all outdoor activities. Merrell Barefoot provides a good balance of foot freedom, surface protection and cushioning to help outdoor enthusiasts avoid injury and strengthen their muscles while doing what they love

“Merrell is a long-term partner of ours and we are excited to extend the benefits of barefoot alternatives in the outdoors,” said Tony Post, President & CEO of Vibram USA.

“For feet to be healthy, we believe they need to be stimulated and exercised, which will in turn improve the body’s balance and agility. On that premise, we collaborated with Merrell to develop an exclusive outsole that aids in stride efficiency and adaptability for all outdoor terrain.”

Merrell Barefoot blends minimalist design for added foot freedom with specific traction zones to meet the needs of any terrain – from street to trail. The designs help engage the feet for a more natural stride by moving the wearer off the heel and encouraging forward momentum to a mid-foot landing with lower impact and a more aligned and efficient gait. Stimulated muscles increase core strength, amp up agility and build the body’s ability to burn more calories.

For men, Trail Glove is an athletic trail runner for a close-to-terrain ride. For scrambling across creeks and crags with natural ease, True Glove is a streamlined, all-terrain multi-sport shoe. Both feature synthetic leather and mesh uppers and the proprietary Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing system that quickly cinches for a precise fit. An internal support construction secures the mid-foot for optimal fit and responsiveness. Rounding out Merrell Barefoot for men is Tough Glove, a foot-conforming soft leather style, designed with ultimate versatility for wear around town or into a spontaneous game of ultimate Frisbee.

Merrell also brings an entire category of barefoot fit and function to women’s-specific outdoor footwear. These patterns designed and engineered by women let enthusiasts get closer to the terrain on which they play in three new Merrell Barefoot designs. Pace Glove, a low-profile trail runner, is constructed with a breathable mesh upper, and advanced protection underfoot is mapped with minimal cushioning where it’s most needed. A Merrell Omni-Fit lace system quickly pulls tight for an individualized fit and optimal responsiveness on uneven terrain.

Two multi-activity feminine styles are ideal barefoot companions for on and off trail adventures and great for a commute to work, a walk around town, or a casual hike with friends. Power Glove takes outdoor style to the next level in a soft leather ankle high design with three Easy Z-Rap™ Velcro closures that secure the foot for simple, lightweight performance. Pure Glove is a super low-profile Lycra mesh Mary Jane with a hook and loop closure strap for a precise and secure fit.

Merrell Barefoot Shoes

Merrell Trail Glove and Pace Glove

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Barefoot TJ says:

    It’s about time. I knew Vibram would make a “OneFinger” one of these days. -Barefoot TJ


    Looks like an EVO, doesn’t it ?

  3. Howard Jones says:

    I never thought Merrell and Vibram are going to team up for their new minimalist shoes. It’s a great news for everyone who love barefoot shoes. Keep it up


  4. Fransvberkhout says:

    I had Merrell hiking shoes for 10 years, hiked South Africa, Peru, Russia, Europe and worn out the soles.
    Got new ones two years ago that got maybe 10% of the wear of the old ones and one came apart at the seams already.
    When I reported it to Merrell the response was terrible: go back to where you bought the shoes, have both shoes, with receipt etc. First impression was “no apology and make it difficult enough that the customer basically says forget it”.
    They can learn something from LL Bean where problems with faulty merchandise is handled promptly and very customer oriented. That’s how you keep customers coming back. Merrell lost us. Frans – Winchester MA.

  5. I bought the mens trail glove today and ran 3 miles on the treadmill. I looks like the left one did something to a tendon in my ankle. Now incredibly sore and hardly able to walk…..just be careful

    • Pete Larson says:

      Where is the pain? Outer or inner ankle?


    • Going from traditional running shoes to barefoot running, wether true barfeoot, or with five fingers, or any tru barefoot shoe. You will find that you have muscles and tendons that you didn’t know existed. Take it slow and you will make the transition. Been running with five fingers for 6 months and have had zero pain in my knees, after two previous surgeries. I too had very bad pain in my legs at the begining.

  6. Cands Calgara says:

    That’s a really nice type of ecco sandals running shoes. You should take advantage of the perfect slim minimalist design of this shoes.

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