Thursday, April 7, 2011

Merrell Trail Glove Review

Pictured above is the Merrell Barefoot Tra...
Dammit Dudley, get out of the way!
I am a sucker for any new fad that comes along, especially when it promises to make me run faster and injury free.

So I jumped on the Barefoot Bandwagon last year and put about 100 miles in. Unfortunately, barefooting takes a lot of patience and discipline, which I have none of.

So I was estatic when I heard about the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove. Finally! Now I can simply purchase all the benefits of barefooting in an attractive package. Instant gratification!
And the $110 price tag reassures me that they must really work. So I  ordered a pair for myself, and also ordered Shannon a pair of the Pace Glove.

Initial Observations
  1. They are very thin, light, and flexible. Basically like a slipper. 
  2. The best thing about them is the very roomy toe-box. These are the first shoes I have ever tried on that actually fit my feet. I usually have to wear a size 12 to fit my wide feet, but with these I wear a 11.5
  3. These are "zero drop" shoes with no heel lift. By comparison my current Brooks Launch feel like giant cushy wedges. 

Test Drive
I've heard all the warnings about transitioning slowly to minimal shoes, so for my first run I decided to do only 7 miles instead of my usual 8.
I headed out the door, and hit the trails. Man, these shoes felt great!
I was zipping around switch-backs, floating up the hills, and nimbly tip-toeing through roots and rocks. They felt so good, I finished with an all out sprint!

The next day I could not walk.
It felt like someone had taken a meat cleaver to my calves and soleus.
So I guess I need to take this transition much more slowly. I will have to delay my review for a few months until I can actually run in them.

Expert Barefooter Reviews
In the meantime, I decided to ask three lifetime barefoot runners what they thought of the new Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove:

Dudley tests the fit

Dudley Dooright
Dudley found the wide toe box of the Trail Gloves to be a perfect fit for a tennis ball.
This is good for his favorite game of "Seek and Destroy", where he hides a ball in something, like a shoe, and then proceeds to destroy it trying to get the ball out.
Grade: A

Rotten The Cat
Rotten likes the laces
Rotton was overjoyed with the Trail Glove lacing system with the adjustable eyelets. It provided her with hours of entertainment.

She was also impressed with the breathable mesh upper, which was quite comfortable for her to sink her claws into.
Grade: A
Jorge Francisco
Jorge disapproves

Jorge can be a harsh critic, and this time was no exception.

He found that there was not enough cushioning and protection for his delicate paws, particularly over rough surfaces like coarse gravel.

Jorge regarded the construction materials to be of substandard quality and emanating an offensive odor.

Furthermore, he described the available color schemes as "repellent" and "nauseating", causing him to have to eat some grass and then vomit it back up on the Trail Gloves.
Grade: F

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