Friday, December 14, 2012

Merrell Trail Gloves Review

Tis' the season for shoe reviews. Expect a couple more of these to come in the next little while as I have been busy testing and trying a few new different shoes.

After the first snow of the season this winter, I decided it would be a great final test for my Merrell Trail Gloves before I was ready to write my thoughts and impressions. I wanted to get a feel for these shoes in gravel, dirt, mud, snow, asphalt and anything else I could try out to make sure I really had a feel for how they perform.

I have heard a lot about Merrell's shoes, they are a very big name in the realm of running and seem to know a lot about what is wanted in a good barefoot shoe (is that an oxymoron?). These were my first real pair of minimalist shoes that I ever owned (not counting huaraches) so I was unsure of what to really expect and what to compare them to since, to this point, I had only run in traditional running shoes, barefoot and huaraches. Part of why this review has taken such a long time to write is because I wanted to make sure I tried out a few different shoes before I wrote anything to be sure and give good accurate feedback.

First Impression:

Initially I was a little apprehensive about running too far in these because I was so used to barefoot running at the time. I didn't want to feel constricted and protected and miss the feeling of the air between my toes. I didn't like how much it felt like a shoe and usually wouldn't make it more than a couple of miles before they were in my hands and I was yet again barefoot. I later learned that what I was feeling were normal barefoot withdrawals. No shoe will ever give you the feeling of being barefoot, so I needed to get rid of that idea and get used to wearing something on my feet once in a while and once I did, I was opened to a new world of running. I fell in love.

The Trail Glove is a zero-drop shoe. This means that from the toe to the heel there is no elevation change. The sole is about 10mm thick and offers great protection needed on the trails to keep your feet safe from sharp rocks but still provides the flexibility needed in a barefoot shoe. The sole is made by Vibram so it is the same type of sole used in many of the Vibram Fivefingers shoes. I have logged many miles in these over the last number of months and as you can see, there really isn't any visible wear so far, I expect the soles to last a very long time.

One of the things I really look for in a good barefoot/minimalist shoe is flexibility. I want my foot to be able to flex and move and I don't want to feel like it is held in place. I also want my toes to be able to wiggle around and move. As you can see, the Trail Glove passed the flexibility test with flying colors. I can practically tie the shoe in a knot. The shoe offers a very wide toe box as well that is like nothing I have ever had before in a shoe. I have a fairly wide foot and for my whole life have always felt like my toes couldn't move around as much as I have wanted them to. Until now. The wide toe box allows your toes to work while you run to grip the ground and work together propelling you forward. That is one MAJOR advantage that these have over anything else I have tried so far. I would venture to say that my toes felt almost as free as they do in my Fivefingers.

The traction on the Trail Gloves is unmatched. right on the tips of your toes there is a deep tread that allows you to grip just about anything. If you are looking for a trail shoe that lets you run free without the worry of slipping and falling then look no further. While still offering an amazing amount of ground feel out on the trails, they deliver protection and stability to keep you running safely for a long time.

 Like I mentioned previously, I also wanted to give these shoes a shot in the snow in the mountains to see how they held up. I started running up a canyon that quickly went from dirt to snow as I increased in altitude.
I was so impressed with how they held up. I still felt very stable and remarkably I stayed almost completely dry! Once the snow started to come up to my ankles I turned around and headed back home.

All in all, I am very happy with my Merrell Trail Gloves. Besides being extremely comfortable, durable, flexible and having great traction, they aren't a bad looking shoe either (in my opinion). If you want a good trail shoe, this could be exactly what you are looking for. If you are looking for a road shoe, I would check out the Merrell Road Glove or other alternatives only because the treading and other things will be more geared towards the asphalt rather than the rocky terrain.

1 comment:

  1. I just thought I'd comment and say your doing a really good job with your blog :). Keep it up