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Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove Review: Another Great Zero Drop Running Shoe Option

Merrell Trail Glove HeelI’ve written frequently here on Runblogger about my affinity for the Vibram Fivefingers shoes. I currently have three pairs (VFF Bikila, KSO, and Trek Sport), and find them to be great tools for both form work and leg/foot strengthening workouts (I’m not a full-time zero drop runner). Until recently, the Vibrams were really the only barefoot-style/ultraminimal shoe that I had worn on the run (I recently gave the Terra Plana EVO II a try, but sent them back since I could feel the forefoot material rubbing on my toes – toe blisters have apparently been problematic for some in the EVO). In early January I was sent a media sample of the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove to try out and review, and after having put about 50 miles on them, I confident that I can say they are a worthy competitor to the Vibrams.

This has been a tough winter for running here in New Hampshire. In addition to being on the cold side, we’ve had a ton of snow, and the sidewalks have been covered by packed snow and ice since mid-December. As such, I’ve had little option but to run most of my miles in trail shoes with decent traction – the Merrell Trail Gloves, New Balance MT101, and Saucony Peregrine have found themselves on my feet most often over the past two months. I’ll eventually get to reviews of the latter two (I like both, and they are quite different from one another and the Merrells), but in this post I’d like to share my thoughts on the Merrell Trail Glove.

News of the Merrell Barefoot line of shoes came out last summer, and the partnership between Merrell and Vibram got a lot of minimalist runners excited about what was to come. I’m happy to say that Merrell does not disappoint. The Trail Glove is a fine shoe, and a worthy alternative to the Vibrams.

Here are my thoughts:

Merrell Trail Glove Side View

Appearance: The Trail Glove is a fairly conservative shoe in terms of looks, which is probably a selling point for some when compared to the attention-drawing Vibram Fivefingers “toe shoes.” I like them quite a bit from an appearance standpoint – subdued but attractive, and not likely to turn heads despite the fact that they are true barefoot-style shoes (I use this term with trepidation as I know that no shoe can really simulate barefoot running – don’t yell at me!). Not much else to say here.

Merrell Trail Glove Top

Fit and Construction: I don’t have any past experience with Merrell shoes, but have been told repeatedly by others that they make a high-quality product. The Trail Glove certainly fits this bill. The shoe is very well made, and looks like it will be highly durable. Unlike the pair of New Balance Minimus Trail shoes that I was sent, these are free from manufacturing defects, and the lack of the metatarsal band found in the Minimus Trail makes the fit much less restrictive on my feet. I suspect I will be able to get a lot of miles out of these shoes before a replacement is required.

The toebox in the Trail Glove is plenty wide (see photo above), and my toes have more than enough room to spread out when I run (my foot is average width, though I think it has widened some over the past few years of minimalist running). The shoe is also suitable for sockless running, though their was a small piece of loose material inside that caused some abrasion on the side of my right foot – a snip with a pair of scissors seems to have taken care of that.

Merrell Trail Glove RearOne aspect of construction that does feel a bit odd is the contour of the sole. The heel and forefoot are a bit rounded from the inner to outer margin (you can see this in the U-shaped profile of the heel in the photo to the right), and this makes the shoe feel a tad unstable underfoot when standing still in them. Doesn’t seem to be much of a problem when I run though. Some have also complained that the shoe is a bit snug in the arch – not arch support per se, but just a tighter fit – this has not bothered me.

Finally, I can confirm that these are true zero-drop shoe – Running Warehouse lists the Trail Glove at 12mm heel and 12mm forefoot. Weight in size 9 is listed as 7.0 oz. Thus, these are most definitely placed near the barefoot-style end of the minimalist spectrum.

Merrell Trail Glove Sole

Performance: The Trail Glove has performed admirably so far for me this winter. Of the 50 or so miles I have run in them so far, the vast majority have either been on packed snow or icy sidewalks, and I have yet to slip once. Traction in these shoes via the Vibram sole is very good, and the fact that they are true zero-drop shoes means that it’s very easy to maintain a compact, mid-foot or forefoot stride (see video below). One thing I have noticed this winter is that I have had very little problem running on slick surfaces, and I think my stride transformation has helped a lot with this – it’s a lot harder to slip when you don’t overstride with your heel out front.

In terms of feel, the closest comparison I can make is that the Trail Glove feels a lot like the Vibram Trek Sport underfoot. The sole is similar in terms of ground feel permitted, which is not as much as the Vibram KSO, but far more than a typical running shoe. They also solve one problem I have with the Trek Sport – fit is better. I find that Vibrams can sometimes be tricky in terms of sizing because of the toe pockets. My KSO’s are a tad large, and the Trek Sports are a tad snug – I think I’d probably be best in a size 41.5, but Vibram doesn’t make half sizes. Merrell overcomes this problem since the lack of individual toe pockets allows for a bit more leeway in terms of sizing.

I find the Trail Glove to be very comfortable out on the road. On a few of my initial runs I felt a strange kind of cramping sensation in the arch on my right foot, which scared me at first, but it doesn’t seem to have re-occurred on my more recent runs. I suspect it may have been just an adjustment to the shoe, but will pay close attention going forward. I’ve done a few 7-8 mile runs in them without issue, and suspect that they will be a regular part of my rotation going forward.

Conclusion: For those wishing to go full-time into an ultraminimal shoe, the Trail Glove would be an excellent choice. If full-time ultraminimal running is not your thing, the Merrell Trail Glove is a great choice for form work and/or strengthening as an alternative to the Vibrams.  Perhaps most importantly, because they lack the toes of the VFFs, fitting should be easier in the Merrell Barefoot shoes, and they will appeal as a more conservative zero-drop option for those not fond of the Fivefingers’ funky looks (which I personally still like). Merrell is also doing a nice job educating customers about how to run in a barefoot-style shoe, and I highly recommend that you visit Merrell’s barefoot education site. All in all, the Merrell Trail Glove is a great shoe.

The Merrell Barefoot shoe line is available at Zappos – click the banner below and search “Merrell Barefoot” to view available models:

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The Merrell Trail Glove is now available at Running Warehouse – click on the banner below to check it out!

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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. Thanks for the great review, Pete. I’ve been pretty excited about this shoe (I can’t fit into VFFs – second toe way too long); but my is it spendy! I wasn’t expecting the $110 price tag.

    Lance S

  2. Reallynotarunner says:

    Great review Pete! I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair!

  3. I’ve got 2 pair of the Trail Gloves now, and though I don’t have as many miles on them, I can corroborate every point you made. Also, I have a pair of Merrell hiking boots that I bought almost 18 years ago. Still going strong. So yes, Merrell makes quality products. These are my first zero-drop shoes, and I suspect my shoe lust (as well as funds) will run out with the addition of the NB Minimus Road and the Altra Instinct.

    Oh, who am I kidding?

  4. Ghgreyhound10 says:

    I have a pair of the true gloves which are a bit lighter than the trail glove but have the same features. Great shoe for hiking and worked well in Hawaii during some hikes I had. Also great for just walking around in. Did some light jogging with them and the they appear sound in that are as well. I bought a pair of the tough gloves which is the all leather kind of dress type shoe and should have them this week. Will be nice to see how they appear and function as well. Great post Peter thanks.

  5. Sam Winebaum says:

    Pete, great review. Given the 12mm heel and forefoot height listed by Running Warehouse which just looking at the pics seems high, how cushioned firm do they feel on the road say compared to Kinvara (14/18)or A4?

  6. You review confirms my suspicion – the Trail Gloves I purchased must have a defect in the right foot. The right shoe has a really pronounced area of raised stitching around the inside arch which in ~ 3 miles rubbed a hole in my skin (far beyond a blister!). Additionally, the left and right shoes feel very very different – the left shoe feels awesome while the right shoe HURTS to wear and my right knee hurts after wearing them. Something about the way the shoe was constructed must be off.
    As for durability, the lining fell apart on the first run (middle section of the shoe) and there is a good bit of piling on the fabric around my achilles tendon. Note that I have been running almost exclusively in VFF KSOs for about a year and have had nothing but rave things to say (other than that they are COLD to run in – one of the reasons the Trail Glove sounded so good!)
    I really (!) wanted to love these shoes and at $116 it took two months to stash enough disposable cash to justify buying them. If both shoes felt like the left shoe I would be a happy camper. As things stand I have $116 shoes that cause physical pain.

  7. Whotrustedus says:

    I’ve run several times now in my new Trails. I agree with most everything Pete says. I really like these shoes compared to my VFF Sprints. (I also returned a pair of Evo IIs, but for different reasons).

    However, after my last run I noticed some pain twitches in my right knee which i had never felt with my VFFs. I am a bit of a pronator and had worn orthotics before my VFFs. Anyone have any thoughts as to what might be causing these knee pains? I have not tried very hard to switch to a midfoot strike with VFFs. It just came naturally. I wonder if the Trails are letting me fall back to my old heel strike? I did read a different article here that suggested that some minimal shoes are not so good for pronators. I sure hope that is not the case here.

    any & all thoughts appreciated!

  8. Did you try to measure the sole thickness? I thought I had seen 4mm somewhere but the 12mm you quote from Running Warehouse seems rather thick for a “barefoot” shoe.

  9. trailrunneraz says:

    Unfortunately the women’s Pace Glove isn’t as well designed from the ankle backwards. The forefoot is great, with excellent ground feel, a nice wide toebox, and tread to handle the most technical of AZ trails.

    But unlike the men’s Trail Glove, the PG has no means to anchor the heel into the shoe. The eyelets end far down on the foot (unlike the men’s, where the eyelets go all the way to the base of the ankle) and instead of the substantial Merrell-embossed medial and lateral heel reinforcers, the PG has nothing. There is only a useless piece of pleated fabric. I’ve got huge blisters on both heels and have rubbed a hole in two pairs of Injinji socks, not to mention the stress I’m feeling in my ankles.

    The initial pair I received had a defect that caused the outsole on both shoes to detach from the upper at the toe within 5 wearings. Unfortunately the replacement pair aren’t any better in the rearfoot! Maybe I should try the men’s :)

  10. I agree, these shoes are great for hiking as well as running. I have a pair and am really pleased with them.

  11. Robert Osfield says:

    Thanks for the review Pete. How accommodating of a wide mid foot do you think this shoes might be?

    A little background, I really struggle to get shoes of the type I want to run in, i.e. low drop and flexible, which are wide enough – the outside of my midfoot sits over the edge of most running shoes. I’ve had to buy shoes a size too large, and had to hack away at the top rim where the sole meets the upper of both my Invo8 Roclite 315 and my Kinvara’s, and use homemade inserts to raise avoid the outside of my foot sitting on the harder edge of the shoe.

    I really need to get down to a shop and try some on, but I live quite a way from the nearest stockist so it’s awkward to just pop in and try them on. If it looks like they might be accommodating enough then it might be worth me making a trip. Could you measure and post the widths?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’ll try to get the width measurements up next week – on vacation right now
      and don’t have the shoes with me. If midfoot is the problem, my guess is
      these might not be the best choice. The forefoot is wide, but some have
      complained about the midfoot being a bit snug. The NB Minimus might be a
      better choice, and they are coming out in wider widths later this year. The
      Altra shoes are also very roomy.


  12. Aodhán Ó Braoin says:

    I know it is all relative, but how much space do you have between your longest toe and the front of the Trail Glove? The shops near me only stock the full sizes, and there is that nagging idea that I need the half size.

  13. FoCoRunner says:

    Excellent. so much would like to get a pair of these on my feet, since I have some trouble getting a god fit with VFF’s due to my long, prehensile toes, which I am typing this comment with.

  14. Great review, I think I may pick up a pair.

  15. Priorhod says:

    I read a reviewon runblogger a while ago about a minimalist shoe not having much lateral arch support and that being a problem’s in barefoot running one lands on the lateral edge of foot. To me these Merrals look like they don’t have a lateraledge that protrudes?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Arch support is medial – don’t recall talking about lateral support, though
      perhaps I did. The Merrells have little in the way of support, and no
      lateral edge that protrudes.

  16. jmijares says:

    Great review! I got a pair about two weeks ago, but sadly I have really wide feet (4 inches) so even in the men’s size 9, I feel the front part of the upper pushing down on the front of my foot. The problem is if I go any larger it’ll look like I’m wearing clown shoes. Having tried these out on dirt paths and pavement, they have great grip on nearly everything except a wet metal surface. If only they had a wide version…

  17. I have a pair of these, and there’s no possible way that they have a 12 mm thick heel or forefoot. Could they possibly have meant 1.2 mm?

    • Maybe I’m wrong. I was looking at a ruler, and 12 mm seemed like a lot, but with the tread thickness and the insole (not a removable one), maybe 12 mm is accurate.

  18. Hey Pete, how is that arch cramp problem you mentioned? Did it ever come back? I’ve been transitioning to minimalist shoes since last Nov and I’ve recently experienced a weird cramping sensation in my left arch. Just curious, thanks.

  19. I am bummed.

    I finally got to try on the Trail Gloves at REI last night. I tried on three pairs (11, 11.5, and 12) and found all of them to be oddly tight in the mid-foot. The 11.5 was perfect in the length, so I tried the 12 figuring it would feel better in the mid-foot, but even the larger size was annoyingly tight. Other than that, I liked them a lot.

    I grew up having narrow feet and my first few pairs of running shoes were Bs. Obviously, the last year or so of barefoot/VFF running has caused my feet to spread. I had no idea they had widened that much, although I have recently noticed that my trusty KSOs now feel too snug to run in comfortably. Luckily, my Bikilas are still good.

    Just about every reviewer has said that the Trail Gloves are nice and roomy in the mid-foot. I haven’t seen anything about them “relaxing” over time like VFFs do.

    Has anybody else found the Trail Gloves to be too snug in the mid-foot?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Aaron, I have heard a lot of people say the same thing about the Merrell’s
      after fist trying them on, but many have said the feeling goes away when you
      run in them. Is it the area around the arch where you are felling tightness?


      • Hey Pete:

        Thanks for the quick reply. I didn’t really mind the arch on the Trail Glove. What I felt was a kind of squeezing sensation on the widest parts of my foot – on both the medial and lateral sides. For me, those promininces are pretty pronounced (bony looking feet). On the shoe, it is right were there is a little black part that curves up and around the ball of the foot. It kind of felt as if my foot was being cupped, like with the Nike Zoom Waffle XC, but not as extreme. I could only run up and down the aisles at REI, but it was enough to think that it might get worse on an actual run.

        They also had the True Glove in black/red. The pics on-line do not do them justice. That’s a good looking shoe in person.

        My real quandry is whether to buy the Merrells at all. I’m in Chicago, so I really don’t run trails more than once or twice a year. I am pretty much restricted to pavement, crushed granite paths, and grass. Some have said that the Merrells make for good road shoes as well, but I am thinking the Hattori might be a better choice (oh, if I could only justify buying both with my wife).

        From what I have seen, the Hattori may offer a tiny bit more cushion than Vibrams, which is what I want for longer runs. It also appears to have a more foot-shaped design, ala the Altra Instinct, which I like. I would try that shoe, but I think would be more underfoot than I want. It seems like the Hattori might be a great compromise between the Bikila and Altra, as far as zero-drop shoes go. I know you will be writing a report on the Hattori, but what do you think about the width of the toebox thus far?

        Also, the black/green Hattori looks downright awesome.

        Had I known they would be on-sale at the Boston expo, I would have given my friend who ran some cash to score a pair. I got my Bikilas in a similar on marathon Monday last year.

        As for the Kinvara, I am really starting to dislike mine. I ran in them twice last week and they felt clunky, as if the flat, inflexible sole was controlling my footfalls too much. It is tough switching from the Bikilas to the Kinvaras without noticing that. On a 5-miler yesterday, the sensation was bugging me so much that I just took the Kinvaras off and ran the last half mile barefoot. I can’t help but thinking that a part of it has to do with me being a slower runner (9-ish miles). It is easier for me to get a good, clean, mid-foot landing when I am moving faster. They may still work for tempo runs.

        Thanks again for all the great info. I honestly don’t know how you keep up with all of this and still get anything non-running/shoe-related done.


        • Pete Larson says:


          The Hattori is probably a better choice for a road shoe if you are
          looking for something in between. It’s really a different kind of
          shoe. The upper is a stretchy material like a sock, and it has a thin
          EVA sole that is pretty flexible. It’s a form fitting shoe, again like
          a sock, or even the Bikila in that sense. Probably necessary since
          there are no laces and the Velcro straps seem mostly just to help
          secure it on your foot. I haven’t run more than 1.5 miles in them yet,
          but will start building up soon. They are on sale at Running Warehouse
          this week.


        • Pete Larson says:

          My bad – Hattori is not available until end of May on Running Warehouse.

  20. Tjabo Andersson says:

    I also get the same arch problem when running with the trail glove. I have tryed diffrent ways to avoid this problem. Lose fit and tight fit. But the cramp keeps comming back. I like these shoes and I hope this would work. What is your experience now?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I still get it from time to time, but tends to go away as I warm up.

      On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, Disqus

  21. LAWDAWG says:

    just bought a pair and immediately took them on a 5 mile run to test them out. Not too bad. They are my first minimalist shoe with some VFF’s in the mail now. Not too sure how i like the fact that they significantly shorten my stride. They ended up adding about 30-40 seconds per mile to mi run time. I wont give up on them but im going to need to see some significant performance increases.

    • LAWDAWG says:

      OH and on the fit. i wear a 10.5 in most shoes and a 41 in VFF’s and a 9 in the Merrells. There is still plenty of room for my toes. odd because i have really wide feet and i usualy need to get larger shoes to fit my feet if they dont have them in wide, which these are not.

  22. Rlewis1687 says:

    I absolutely love these shoes. 2 months and about 50 miles later, I’m running stronger, faster and more efficiently than ever.

  23. LangLang says:

    I think these shoes are great, but the thing is that i get these awful blisters where the big toe bone is starting (the start of the tongue) in each foot…ouch.

  24. Ajguzman says:

     i was considering picking up a pair as my next casual shoe.
    im falling deeper in love with the mechanics of my feet and its such a shame that i have to mummify them just to blend in to a crowd

  25. Kevin Schell says:

    Boring no more. The trail glove just released in a color scheme that seems to be a clear reference to Andre Agassi’s Air Tech Challenge II from the late ’80’s.

  26. Basil P. says:

    I tried a pair on at Est Mnt Sprts and the shoe is too narrow for my foot. I can’t run in these shoes, so I opted out and went with the New Balance Minimus Trails, which feel great! I hope they come out with a shoe that has a wider middle eventually.

  27. I was having some issues with the laces on the Trail Gloves.  Mine are ridiculously long.  I had to double knot them, which I have never had to do on any other shoe.  I also had to fuss with them a lot to get the right combo of snug and loose where I wanted it.  Yesterday, I saw a Yankz in a KC area running store and decided to give them a shot.  They are basically elastic laces with a cool little fastening system.  Set up was easy.  So far, I really like them.  They make getting the shoe on a bit more difficult, but because they stretch, they make the shoe fit a lot better.  Now, they feel almost slipper like across the tops of my feet.

    I hope Merrell refines the inside of the Trail Glove with the next go around.  They are comfortable, but mine have a weird little flap of material on the outside about in the middle of the shoe.  If I’m not careful, it can get folded back and be a little annoying until I fix it.  I think Pete mentioned something about this being addressed with the Sonic Glove.  Also, the outer edges of the tongue can fold over, causing discomfort after a few miles.  It is easily fixed, but it could be a bit more finished.  

    The only real issue I have with the trail gloves is some minor pain on the outer edges of my feet.  This is not the fault of the shoe.  I think it has to do with they way my foot and the sole interact in that area.  My foot seems to be ever so slightly wider than the sole.  After wearing them all day, my feet can be a bit tender on the lateral edges.

  28. How much space should there be between the longest toe and the front of the shoe for these types of shoes like the Merrell Trail Glove?  Is it the same as a normal shoe (one finger’s widths)?

  29. William says:

    I bought a pair of Trail Gloves about a month ago and have had mixed emotions since then. On the one hand, I agree with the vast majority of this review: they are a very well designed minimalist shoe and I’m certainly going to use them to improve my efficiency and legs/foot strength. They’re also a nice alternative to Vibrams for people, like me and FoCo, who have funky toes. 

    However, the one huge flaw seems to be the Vibram soles. I live in Hong Kong, a place that actually has lots of mountainous trails, but a place that is also very moist, with ridiculous humidity. I find that the shoes simply don’t have enough grip, and it’s common to slip around on mossy rocks (even if it hasn’t rained in a day or two).  The other trail shoes that I run in (Solomon, Hoka OneOne, Montrail Rogue Racer…etc) all seem to have adequate grip (probably due to more lugs?). So, I’d recommend that they sacrifices a few tenths of an oz. to guarantee better grip. As it is, I’d afraid to really run fast with them, especially on downhill technical sections. 

  30. Patiencepatient says:

    I’ve had these shoes for about 3 months now. I put 15-20 miles a week on them, mostly on roads. I absolutely love them. However, the durability is not great. I have already worn through the black layer of the sole on one side. O can see the next clear layer underneath. Seems a pretty short time and relatively low miles for that to happen. I contacted Merrell but they were pretty unhelpful.

    Maybe they are just for trail? Asphalt too tough? Or maybe I run weird? Never had a problem like this before. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Where on the sole? I’m guessing you probably skid a bit or twist on pushoff maybe? Sole wear is due to friction, and some runners create a lot more than others. I have very little wear on mine. You should try videotaping your stride in them and see if anything stands out.


      • patiencepatient says:

        Thanks Pete. Maybe I am twisting.  I’ll try to video tape my stride and see what I see.

        Thanks for the response.  I really appreciate your site.

  31. I wanted to comment on my experience I just had with the trail glove.  After purchasing and going for a very short test run, I noticed that for the first time ever, I had developed a very bad blister that had started bleeding (towards the front of the arch) on my right foot. After inspecting the inside of the shoe in that area I saw that there was 2 tiny stitching bumps where the material is sewn in.  I couldn’t believe that a shoe that is supposed to be designed for barefoot running (sockless) was so “unfinished” inside the shoe leaving barefeet exposed to that kind of abuse.  At first I though it was possibly a defect, but after checking out 2 other pairs at the store I found they both had the same issue (right foot only).  I have run sockless in vibrams, evo’s, NB minimus, all without any problems like this.  Has anyone experienced this issue?  I want to like this shoe, as everything else about it seems perfect but unfortunately this problem will keep my from using them.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I had the same problem – taking a pair of scissors to the fabric did the trick. They fixed this issue in the Sonic Glove.


      • Thanks for the advice Pete.  I actually filed it down a little and it’s perfect now.  Glad to hear they fixed the issue on later models.  I noticed they came out with a Gortex model.  Looks very interesting for a winter shoe.

  32. Whotrustedus says:

    I just got a replacement pair of my Trail Gloves.     My original pair that i bought directly from Merrell in February.   The stitching on the upper of one of the shoes was unraveling.       Merrell was very gracious in swapping for a new pair.

    on my first run yesterday in my new pair, it was fascinating to notice how stiff & cushioned they were compared to my old pair.   Trail Gloves definitely break in over time.   Nothing earthshaking here.   All shoes break in.   It was just interesting to really feel that difference of broken in vs new shoes. 

    • Pete Larson says:

      I really noticed that with the Kinvara – 200 miles had really flattened and widened the midsole.

  33. I really like all of your reviews and other information you have on this site.  It helped me choose the kirvanas as my new running shoe earlier this year and I’ve been very happy with them.  how does the fit of the kirvanas compare to the trail gloves?  I just moved to germany and I have a lot more trail options to run over here than I did back home…

  34. Hi,


    I’m new to minimalist running. For my road
    trainings I use Bikila VFF.

    This review motivated me buying a pair of
    TrailGlove, as a replacement for a pair of Asics Torana. I find they feel
    incredibly light and due to the low surface of the outsole it’s a lot easier to
    raise the feet (when running in mud with “maximalist” shoes with a large
    outsole I feel my feet “stick” to the ground.)
    The only drawback I see is the thin outsole offering little protection for the foot
    arch against roots, rocks and so on. No problem for easy/short trails but for a
    50 km or more trail partially at night on a difficult ground I would feel more
    secure with an outsole offering more protection, even if it costs a little bit
    more weight, but still with zero/low drop.

    I’m hesitating between NB MT101, Saucony
    Peregrine and Inov8 X-Talon 212/BareGrip 200. Which of them would offer the
    best foot arch protection? Thanks for any advice and thanks for this excellent

    • Pete Larson says:

      I like both the MT101 and the Peregrine. The latter is a bit softer and lower drop, the former a bit higher in the heel. You can find reviews of both posted in the right sidebar. Have not tried those Inov-8’s, so can’t comment.

    • Robert Osfield says:

      Hi Mat,

      “I’m hesitating between NB MT101, Saucony Peregrine and Inov8 X-Talon 212/BareGrip 200. Which of them would offer the best foot arch protection?”

      I would expect all these shoes will offer greater protection of the arch than the TrailGlove.  

      The Talon and BareGrip are very different shoes to the others – they are no holes bared off trail racing shoes – think heading off the trail and racing across open mountains and through thick mud. The outsole on both these shoes have deep lugs and sticky rubber compound, and the last is Inov8’s peformance last – which bascially means than are deliberately narrow to grip the mid foot very firmly so that you foot doesn’t move around when traversing and descending steep slopes.

      The MT101 and Pergrine really are designed for much gentler trail use.  In the Inov8 range the F-Light and Roclite are more equivlant.  The F-Lite is more minimal racing shoe and again has the narrower last, while the Roclite is less minimal, higher heel drop and has a wider last – more of long distance trail shoe.  The heel drop of the Roclite is 9mm so just under that of the MT101.  I have a pair of MT101 and Roclite 295 and while the MT101 is lighter the Roclite have far better grip, more room in the toe box, lower heel drop, secure your heel far better so handle traversing and descents better, handle roads better.  Since getting the MTI101’s I’ve ran in them for about 15 miles, while my Roclites I’ve put another 500 miles on them.   This should tell you everything about which one I’ve found to a better alround shoe – there simply isn’t any terrain that the Roclite’s don’t handle better.

      I can’t comment on the Perigine too specifically as I don’t own a pair. I do have a pair of Kinvara’s which are similar.   The toe box is pretty narrow on the Kinvara’s and the ground feel is not great compared to the MTI101 or Roclites, the arch is also quite raised and noticable, for all these reasons I never got along well with them.

      You have to go try all the shoes on, everyone has slightly differently shaped feet and preferences.

  35. Kevin McCroskey says:

    Tried on different sizes of the Trail Gloves at a shoe store the other day. The snugness around the arch didn’t bother me at all. However, my foot is a little on the wide side, and they were way too tight across my forefoot. The larger size might have worked as far as the width goes, but it was too loose on the heel. If Merrell comes out with a wider option for these, I will definitely give them another look.

  36. Simon Mugglestone says:

    I totally love all Merrell shoes. I had a double achilles operation that finished my running career (sub 4 minute miler) aged 22. The ting i like about Merrells is their rounded heals that spread the load of impact, unlike most normal trainers. Since I discovered them i wear nothing else and have no achilles pain anymore. the other thing I like about Merrells is that they come in half sizes!

  37. Joshuagu3 says:

    Any thoughts on Custom Orthotics?

  38. HighSchoolXC603 says:

    Thanks a lot for the great review. I am a high school runner and I heard a lot of good things from barefoot running so I am trying it out this fall. I was torn between the merrell trail glove and the NB Minimus trail and this really cleared a lot of things up for me. Coincidentally, I am also from NH. I was wondering if you could tell me any prime trail running locations? Thanks a lot

  39. Having worn two pair of road and trail gloves without socks over the last couple of years….I can’t fit socks in there. My feet are getting more sensitive to the cold. Can you squeeze a pair of socks on when wearing the bare access 2’s?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I tend to only wear very thin socks, even in winter, and don’t have issues in the Merrells

      • I really love the merrell barefoot shoeline. The Bare Access 2’s look like great shoes with a little more footbed and cushioning for longer runs while still maintaining a zero drop. It seems like the outsides the Merrell soles wear out quick on me. I am trying to decide – give the Bare Access 2 a shot or hold out for the Brooks Pure Drift?

  40. How do these work in wet conditions? Do they dry quickly? I do a lot of hiking around water and am looking for closed toed shoes that dry quickly.

    • Pete Larson says:

      My experience is that they do work well in wet conditions. The upper is mesh so they will let water in, but it drains very well and the footbed doesn’t tend to absorb water like a sponge.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Thanks. I tried the New Balance Minimus MT10. Got hot spots on one foot after hiking less than a mile with them wet. And that shoe seemed to have defects that the other didn’t have (different than the one you pointed out in your review). Plus the MT10s were still wet almost a day later.

        • Pete Larson says:

          Yes, the upper of the MT10 is like a sponge, particularly in the forefoot. Not so in the Merrells.
          Sent from my iPad

  41. Hi everyone, I’m just starting to get into the idea of forefoot running and am probably going to get these as my first zero-drop shoes and have a couple of questions. First as these are usually worn without socks should I consider smaller sizing to compensate? Secondly I’m going to spend my time slowly getting used to fore foot striking in the gym on the treadmill and it strikes me that having a zero drop, flat, thin sole with no cushioning would be ideal for things like squatting and deadlifting so while I have these on in the gym might use them for general training use, does anyone have any thought on this? Do you think the heavy weight might damage the shoe? Thanks, Simon

    • Pete Larson says:

      Simon – I would order your usual size, they are pretty accommodating so use with or without socks should be fine. Also, use in the gym should be no problem as there is minimal cushion to break down.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Thanks a lot Pete, just ordered a pair in my usual size, these shoes have a lot of excellent reviews so I’ve just gone for it. I’m thinking I’ll just be using these on the treadmill for short sessions ATM and use my usual shoes outside until I’ve started reprogramming myself, then use these only on short runs until I’ve built up foot and calf strength. Thanks for the blog, it’s a really useful resource.

        • Pete Larson says:

          No problem Simon, be sure to build up very gradually in these shoes to let the foot bones adapt.

          • Yeah, that’s why I’m thinking of starting on the treadmill, that way I can set myself carefully measured limits and stick to them. My natural tendency is to push myself too hard too fast and end up hurting myself so I’ve learnt to force hard restrictions on myself.

  42. I recently got mtg size 11.5 and took em back , waited almost a month for size 12. Took them for an 8 k run and they were way too tight, foot was very warm Expanded them with ice and ran 12 k’s they were alright and I felt better. Washed them and they started touching the front of my toes (ever so gently though) Ive been a size 12 or 45 for everything. These are 46.5 and 12. I wish I went for thirteens. The size, as I’ve read on other sites are not on the mark :(

  43. I hear many people saying the Merrell Trail Glove would be a quality product. This must be a joke or those people never really run in those shoes.
    After 6 months those shoes are completely worn, I have holes in the tissue, so big that I can stick a finger in. the stitches open up, what a mess!
    Photos on request.
    It’s a pitty because the shoes gives a great feeling when I run.

Shop Running Warehouse – Summer 2023


  1. Anonymous says:

    […] over deze hardloopschoen lezen? Check Merrell Trail Glove review door […]

  2. […] la carrera en condiciones que asemejan ir descalzo. La primera review de la Trail Glove la veo en Runblogger y nos presentan una zapatilla con sólo 4mm de mediasuela con una zona delantera que deja los dedos […]

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