Review Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Review of the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove, the new barefoot shoes from popular hiking/outdoor shoe manufacturer Merrell that feature a Vibram sole, roomy toe box, and zero heel-to-drop construction complete with tons of photos and product details.


As announced recently, the Merrell Barefoot shoe line has officially launched. Prior to the official launch of Merrell Barefoot, I was fortunate enough to receive an advance pair of the men’s Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves (“MBTG,” “Trail Gloves,” or just “Merrell Barefoots,” for short). Below I’ll talk in detail about my experiences thus far with the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves, as well as share a lot of up close and personal photos. But before I do, here’s the review in short: Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves are presently my overall favorite mono-toed minimalist shoes. They are solid, “foot friendly” barefoot running trail shoes. They can be worn barefoot or with socks, provide reasonably good ground feel, are neutral from heel to toe, have an upsized toe box for toe splaying (pic), and actually look pretty good if you’re up for wearing them for more everyday purposes.

That’s the gist, anyway; more after the jump!

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove Sole

Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves are built upon a Vibram-designed sole. The sole, while not having five separated toes like the KSO Trek, is reminiscent of the Trek in that the end of the sole has four ridged, implied “toes” (see pic at right). These ridges provide some added traction — particularly when ascending steep uphill climbs on the trail. Elsewhere on the sole you’ve got some decent knobbing that lends to overall traction on the trail. Since the sole is made by Vibram, and ssuming you’re running form is efficient, which is to say that it minimizes friction, you could probably expect these soles to last quite a long time. I’ve worn my Trail Gloves a good bit for walking, some road running, and trail running over the past two months; thus far, the soles show no appreciable wear.

The Merrell Barefoots are zero-drop shoes meaning the heel is not elevated. My handy calipers measure the forefoot thickness at a smidge over 10mm — same at the heel. For reference, my KSO Treks are more around 8-9mm. Compare the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves’ zero-drop to the NB Minimus Trail, which has a 4mm heel-to-toe drop and is overall a bit thicker-soled at 15mm or so at the heel (The New Balance NB Minimus Trail is slated for release in March 2011).

Above the Vibram rubber of the Merrell Barefoots, there is a 4mm EVA midsole — similar to the FiveFingers KSO Trek. Four millimeters really isn’t much and when I try to pinch the midsole, it’s difficult to do (lots of resistance). Of course, the rubber sole and EVA midsole still results in less ground feel. Since I’m comparing, I’d put the Merrell Barefoots’ ground feel somewhere between the KSO Trek and the NB Minimus Trail.

The Trail Gloves also feature a 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate (I’m assuming the EVA midsole is only 3mm here and/or the rubber sole is thinner to keep the shoe neutral heel to toe). When I grab the Trail Gloves and flex them at the forefoot, they are a good bit more rigid than my KSO Treks, meaning they resist flex a lot more than the KSO Treks and rebound with more force when you “let go” of the bend. My subjective observation is that the MBTGs are also more rigid at the forefoot than the NB Minimus Trail, but it’s a close call.

The Trail Gloves lack an overall rigidity to them from heel to toe meaning they are easy to fold in half at the arch and twist pretty well in hand — better than the NB Minimus Trails or Vivo Barefoot Evo IIs/Aquas/Oaks, which are overall more rigid in the sole than the MBTGs (though the Vivo Barefoots all afford slightly more ground feel sans insoles).

It’s also worth noting that this twistability comes somewhat from the narrowing of the sole at the arch (pic). The Five Fingers KSO Treks (read my review here) still win hands down on overall flexibility, but that’s not altogether surprising — the more a shoe is molded to the foot, the more it must be designed for flexibility. Comparatively, “platform” style shoes can be more rigid in the sole as the foot isn’t so locked onto to the sole. Ah the complex subtleties, nuances, and considerations in designing “barefoot shoes!”

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove Upper

The Merrell Trail Glove upper is mesh on the outside with a “fused rubber toe bumper” that wraps the end of each shoe. The mesh upper in the toe box area lacks structure, which allows the shoe to flex overall and toe wiggling feels unrestricted within the Trail Gloves.

And what about that toe box? As you’d expect, Merrell went with a wider toe box to allow your toes to splay naturally. The flipside design consideration on a wide toe box is that if it’s too wide, your foot can feel like it’s “swimming” within the shoe. Merrell has tackled this problem by making the Trail Gloves snug around the widest part of the foot — not completely unlike the approach used with the NB Minimus Trails that employ a rubberized band to lock your foot onto the shoe, while still allowing your toes to play inside the large toe box. I actually prefer Merrell’s less restrictive approach on this front, though I’ve found that the overall “snug fit” around the midfoot makes it a little more difficult to get the shoes on when wearing them with socks.

The Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves can be worn barefoot (without socks) and I prefer wearing them this way. Here’s my attempt at a photo of the inside of the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves. Merrell designed the Trail Gloves without a removable insole and the only noticeable seam on the inside is where the tongue ends. This bothered me maybe the first two times I wore the shoes but has since faded in feel — chalk it up to breaking the MBTGs in.

Thankfully, the Trail Gloves are designed with barefoot wear in mind. Socks can be worn, and I even doubled up on socks once in them when Atlanta got the snow/ice lockdown back in January. My feet stayed reasonably warm in this instance. Like any shoe with a minimal sole, you’re only going to get so much insulation from the frigid ground. Of course, the Trail Gloves are more like foot mittens in the sense that toes that stay together, stay warmer together!

The MBTGs lacing system is pretty slick! As far as laces go, Merrell’s “Omni-Fit” lacing technology (pic) is pretty easy to adjust. Good thing, too, as the aforementioned midfoot snugness means you’ll have to loosen the laces prior to putting on the Trail Gloves. My only complaint about the lacing system as it matches to the design of the shoe with regard to what I’m calling “midfoot snugness” is that I wish you could expand the overall width of the shoe more at the midfoot point. The narrowness immediately prior to the toe-box is only so adjustable and when I wear socks with the Trail Gloves, I find this narrowness acts like a bottleneck and my socks get pulled backwards as I ram my foot past the bottleneck. The tightness of the socks that results usually subsides quick enough, but it’s a nuisance that is worth mentioning.


I confess that on seeing the online photos of the Trail Gloves, I wasn’t immediately enamored with the aesthetics — they seemed a bit plain. However, on seeing the Trail Gloves in person and on my feet, I actually appreciate their understated demeanor and have enjoyed wearing them with jeans casually. I can’t wait to get a pair of the Tough Glove varietal, either, as the leather gives a clean, expensive look to the Merrell Barefoots that should make them pass pretty well in a business casual environment (TBD!).

Meanwhile, if you’re tired of people staring at your feet when running in Vibrams, take heart: no one who sees you running in the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves will have a clue they are barefoot shoes! This was tested recently on a run with Mrs. BirthdayShoes who was wearing Classics and drawing attention from passers-by: it was kinda strange to me to not have people notice my feet for once. Healthy feet travelling incognito. Nice.

Merrell Trail Glove Performance

The Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves performed admirably on the trail, meaning my footing felt consistent and assured on both steep ascensions and racing downhill. Ground feel was good enough to still want to avoid rocky or rooty protrusions while still providing some protection against them. Because the Trail Gloves are slightly looser at the forefoot than the banded NB Minimus Trails, I noticed my foot would lift off the sole of the shoe a bit more in all running conditions — mind the tightness of the NB Minimus Trails fixes this issue while also putting a lot of pressure on your foot, which could cause issues over the long-term. For the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glvoes, this is a minor nuisance that could potentially be corrected by tightening the shoes more via the lacing mechanism.

For general use, I like the Trail Gloves. The lugged soles are stiff enough that they don’t feel strange when wearing them on concrete or asphalt. I actually may like road running in the Trial Gloves better than in the KSO Treks though I confess I haven’t done a side by side comparison between the two. As has been discussed before, I’m no long distance runner and my form lends itself to knee problems unless I go the full monty. That said, the Trail Gloves weren’t so much shoe as to cause knee issues out the gate for me — I assume this is due to their neutral heel-to-toe design or perhaps their overall lack of cushioning in the soles. Whatever it is, I have enjoyed running in the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves.

I also enjoy walking in the Trail Gloves. As having everyday, non-five-toed shoes that are foot friendly is a real problem for many of us, I also evaluated the Trail Gloves for use in casual application. I’m happy to report they function well in this regard: my gait is relatively unchanged by wearing the Trail Gloves (as opposed to barefoot gait). This is another reason I’m eager to grab some Tough Gloves for work wear!


First off, a note on sizing. I’m a size 10.5 and have been wearing a size 11. These seem to fit me fine. However, Britt got a size 10 for his size 9.5 feet and they felt much too big, so he’s working on sizing down to 9. Initial experiences with sizing seem to be a bit all over the map, so I hesitate to make an overall recommendation here. Also, I’ve got at least one report of the Trail Gloves being a bit uncomfortable at the midfoot (snugness) for one person with wide feet. If you’ve got less average feet (my feet are fairly average, I guess), just like with Vibram FiveFingers, I encourage you to try on a pair in person if possible!

I’m really liking my Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves and recommend them as a solid contender amongst the emerging options in the minimalist footwear category — they are certainly top of mind in the non-five toed shoes category! That said, it’s important to keep in mind that every foot is different just as every person is different — there’s a good reason for the cliche “if the shoe fits, wear it!”

But don’t just take my word for it that Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves are a great addition to the minimalist footwear category. Jason Robillard, barefoot running coach, author of The Barefoot Running Book, and ultramarathon runner, had this to say about his exhaustive testing of the Trail Gloves:

Within the first few miles of the first run, I knew these shoes were special. The weirdness of those first few steps disappeared. On trails, the shoes performed flawlessly. Over the next three months, I tested these shoes in every conceivable environment. I ran an PRed a 5k on roads (ALGER HEIGHTS 5K in Grand Rapids, MI; 19:12), run a 50k in 20° weather (HUFF 50K in Huntington, IN), did a 30 MILE TRAINING RUN IN TERRIBLE SNOWY TRAIL CONDITIONS, and did a 20 mile road run. Between these runs I’ve had countless shorter runs of varying distances on asphalt, sand, mud, leaf-covered technical tails, gravel, and everything in between.

The conclusion- no shoe has come closer to minimalist perfection.

Going forward, I’d like to hear from other Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove wearers (or Pace Glove for the ladies — and there are a lot of other Merrell Barefoot options, too!) and post experiences and user stories here on the blog. After all, it’s the community of barefoot-minded people who make BirthdayShoes a great place to visit, so if you’re testing out Merrell Barefoots and have some experiences and photos to share on them, please email us!

Pricing, Availability

Looking to buy Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves? Merrell Barefoot shoes have been released into the wild for purchase and if you’re looking to snag a pair, here are a few online retailers carrying the Trail Gloves (The Trail Gloves run about $110) as well as other Merrell Barefoot models (reviews pending):

  • Travel Country — Men’s Trail Glove, Women’s Pace Glove, Men’s True Glove, Women’s Pure Glove, Men’s Tough Glove (leather)
  • The Shoe Mart — Men’s Trail Glove, Women’s Pace Glove
  • REI — Men’s Trail Glove, Women’s Pace Glove
  • Rock/Creek — Men’s Trail Glove, Women’s Pace Glove
  • Kayak Shed — Men’s Trail Glove, Women’s Pace Glove, Men’s True Glove, Women’s Pure Glove

Per Merrell, the fit on the Barefoots is running about ½ size big (I’m wearing 10s and normally fit a 10.5 — I also wear size 43 VFFs).

Photos of the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove — Official-ish Product Details

Less is definitely more exploring with our Vibram®-soled Trail Glove natural adventure shoe. All the protection your feet need from rocks and roots, and an ultra-lightweight upper with a synthetic leather foot sling for stability fits like a glove.

• Microfiber and breathable air mesh upper
• Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing system secured with welded TPU provides a precise, glove-like fit
• Fused rubber toe bumper provides ultimate durability
• Synthetic leather rear foot sling provides stability
• Flexible plate in the forefoot protects the foot from stone bruises
• Non-removable microfiber footbed treated with Aegis® antimicrobial solution resists odor

• 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions
• 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate maintains forefoot flexibility and protects the foot by distributing pressure
• 0mm ball to heel drop keeps you connected to your terrain
• Wash as needed in cold water, gentle cycle and air dry
• Vibram® Trail Glove Sole/ Rubber Compound TC-1

Men’s Weight: 6.2 ozs / 175.8 gm (1/2 pair)

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

114 replies on “Review Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove”

Thanks for the great review. Could you compare the toe box of these Merrell’s against the toe box of the Terra Plana Aquas, which you reviewed in the past? As an Aqua owner, it gives me a better frame of reference, as I have not found anything nearly as wide so far.

I love the Trail Gloves! I did a side by side comparison this past weekend at Dances with Dirth 50 miler. I ran the first 24 in VFF Treks, 1 mile barefoot, and 25 in Merrill Trail Gloves size 11.
After 25 miles the trail gloves felt awesome on my feet. My form didn’t change much over the entire 50 and I felt like I could keep running for another 10 miles. Being farelly new to barefoot running – 6 months, I assumed my feet would ache from 50 miles, but just two days later I am feeling great.
Side by Side- I love how easy Trail Gloves are to put on. Its like putting my foot in a slipper, and then tighten it down. I wore toe socks with them and the toughest challenge was changing socks. I even choose to take them off for a river crossing.
Blister free! With socks the only extra thing I added to my feet was Sport Wax and after 50 no blisters.

Trail Gloves helped releive a hot spot on the ball of my left foot that had developed wearing the Vff Trecs for 24 miles.

Smell- no smell yet! With the Vff’s a smell developes that has no cure. After about 120 miles on my Trail Gloves, no smell!

Wear- so far no wear and tear on them. Weird for me since after 120 miles my old Brooks would be trashed.

Cusion test- I spent 5 days at Disney last week and the Trail Gloves were one of 3 pairs I chose to stand around all day in lines. Out of 5 days I chose to wear the TG’s 3 days. They felt great and I didn’t have any pain at the end of the day. Amazing compared to standing around all day on Concrete.

I too can’t wait to get my hands on a pair of all Black TG’s to wear at work. I bet it won’t be the last pair of TG’s at my work, but the start of a major change.

Great review you are right on!

I purchased a pair of the Trail Gloves last Thursday and the sizing seemed to be more of a traditional shoe, I wear a size 11.5 in NB MT100 and I ended up with the 10.5 fitting the best in the Merrell. My first impression of the shoe just wearing them around the house was that they were a little uncomfortable just not on my feet but I could feel it my knees a lower back after about an hour of have the shoes on and they just had an unnatural feeling to them be considered a barefoot shoe. When I do wear shoes I’ll typically were my Vivo Dharma to work and FF KSO to run, I guess I just expected the same type of feel. After reading Jason Robillard’s review on the shoe I thought I would give them second chance on the trail Saturday, to my surprise the shoes did feel a lot better after running in them a few miles and just become better the further a ran. They really preformed great on the 7 mile test run. The true test was after the run, what kind aches and pains would I have, to my surprise again no knee, lower back pain or sore feet. They still feel a little weird just standing around in them, but they do feel a lot better than they did.

Got two pair, one for each of the boys. They wouldn’t be caught dead in VFFs but I am training them to run barefoot for an upcoming 5K where they will need minimalist goes, so Trail Gloves it is.

Really like them.

LIke Justin, I want a pair personally and it will be the Tough Glove for the more upscale look rather than like a sneaker.

Thanks for the review, Justin! I’ve been thinking I need to get something that’s a bit of a beefier shoe than my KSOs because the trails in my new Rocky Mountain home are VERY rocky… it’s just not fun to get out there in KSOs most of the time. And it’d be nice to have a good minimalist option that has toes for colder weather, but I don’t want to go back to traditional rigid shoes. I think these might work perfectly. If I ever scrape the money together to order some, I’ll let you know how they do for me. 🙂

Between the NB Minimus Trail and the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove, which would you recommend for an all around runner?


Running trails or road or both? Also, heads up that I’m most likely going to say “it depends” — on how you like the fit of the NB Minimus vs. the Merrell Barefoots.

i went to a local store thats going to be getting the Merrell Barefoot shoes and he hadnt gotten any in for sale yet but he came out with 2 sample ones he was given and the cool thing was is one of them had a Gore-Tex membrane. Just thought i would let people know since I know im looking for a good waterproof minimalist shoe.

These are the best shoes I’ve ever owned. It feels like I’m barefoot except for protection. They’re cool and look cool. Excellent traction, and they look cool. My feet don’t tire after standing all day. After years and years of torture on my feet I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted from beneath me.

All I every wanted to do for the last three years was take off my shoes as soon as I walked ou the door at work… sometimes I did before I walked out the door. Now I find myself still walking around at home with them. Best money I ever spent. Halleluiah!

How much break-in are people experiencing? I was quite disappointed at the fit. I have rather wide feet (2Es) and VFFs are perfect for me in a 43-ish, but the Merrells were too narrow for me out of the box at the midfoot. They seemed like great shoes but I was surprised a barefoot-like shoe wouldn’t be wider up front.

Got a pair of “Trail Gloves” from my local Merrell Store last week. I used my European sizing, based on my VFF corresponding VFF measurements – fit was spot on. Though the toe box is quite roomy and airy, I don’t feel my toes have enough room the “splay out” as compared to VFF’s (my feet have quite possibly changed shape as I have been an avid VFF user for some time now). A quick silhouette overlay of my VFF TrekSport’s confirmed this. But for a minimalist shoe, it is the closest to “freefoot” that I’ve experienced shod.

My only complaint thus far is with the “Omni-Fit” lacing system. Though it did it’s designed purpose as previously described in the initial review, I found that it may not be as fit-friendly to wider feet. I actually had to pull out the factory laces, completely pull the “Omni-Fit” tongue out, and replace/refit/relace the tongue with my own custom cut lace strings.

I fully agree with the article: great shoe overall. It’s not as minimal as VFFs, but that is good for winter and wet conditions, where even minimal puddles would get my feet wet in the Vibrams. The sizing is a bit generous lengthwise, I cannot comment on width, as I have narrow feet. Ground protection is significantly more than even with the thicker soled VFFs, with no chance that a sharp twig or something lodges between the toes. Only shortcoming I found with the sole is, that it’s more slippery on wet, mossy ground (I live in the Pacific NW)

These look great. I wish I could get the Trail Glove in my size because the toe box seems roomier than the women’s Pace Glove. I did order a pair of Pace Gloves anyway but just found out they’ve been backordered so not sure when I’ll be able to report back on them.

Compared to the NB Minimus, which would be better for a flat footed short distance runner that runs on cement most of the time?

Attn: Merrell Rep (Emily)

Can Merrell please develop an “aftermarket” OmniFit tongue with longer webbing straps to accommodate wider width feet?

OR, (product development suggestion) for future “Barefoot” line models, provide two tongues (one normal and one extended – for use with wider feet / socked feet) and a laces that the end-user can cut at their desired length? This would provide for greater fit customization by the end-user.


I picked up the exact pair in your review but decided that they are kinda ugly. So i just ordered a pair of True Gloves to see how they differ. Can’t wait. I really like the fit and design of these shoes. Im also pretty eager to see how they stack up against the NB Minimus Trails.

Hello, I have been following these shoes for a while, does anyone know when and if they will launch in Europe, and Sweden?

@ Helmut– you find the toe box too long too, hmm? I’m a guy with smaller feet, and after trying on a size 7 Pace Glove where my toes (barely) touched the front, I sized up and ordered 7.5. Now I feel like I have far too much room; the “four ridged, implied “toes”” Justin was speaking of seem to begin just where my toes end, which I imagine this sort of invalidates them. Anyone else have this problem?

Just received my tough gloves! Absolutely will work as a “passable” dress shoe. Only wearing them for 5 min but very excited.

As to size, I consider myself a solid 12 1/2 in US size medium. I wear size 45 Vibram KSOs with socks and size 45 Bikilas without socks (just bodyglide on the hot spots). The size 12 tough glove length is perfect with still a smide of wiggle room in the toe box (so I understand the sizing comments).
They’re definitely on the narrow side – if there was a wider option I’d take it but I’m sticking with these in hopes that the leather loosens a bit (without tearing I hope).
Very well done shoe! – will be heavy in my non running rotation but for my runs I’m sticking to my vibrams and letting my “feet flag fly” 🙂


Mine fit the exact same way. My middle toe is kinda long and barely touches the front in the 9.5 trail glove, but then the 10 just felt way too big. I think I’m gonna stick with 9.5 and see if they stretch a bit or something.


Good to hear I’m not the only one, haha. I sized up, and after a run today, I’m not regretting it. Though…

@Hendrix76, I agree. Not enough ground feel, even without socks, for road running. Maybe I just need to put on as many miles as Jason Robillard did to wear down the EVA; yet for the moment, these will just be awesomely minimal daily-wearers.

I guess the real test will be Parkour training some time soon…

I ordered a pair of tough gloves to wear for work, but I got impatient and went by the REI flagship and bought the red ones.

I found them to be too snug a fit for a barefoot running shoe, but they’re a decent everyday shoe (not for the price, but none the less). the shoe was very comfortable though for my foot it felt like a normal shoe. the sole felt strange, l felt as though my feet were tilted back and when I walked the sole under the ball of my foot felt like there was a thick piece running across the shoe at just that spot.

I should say I have a high instep, I can’t get my foot into the bikila VFF and the trek is unbearably tight on the top of my foot. I also have an E width foot.

I wear a 44 VFF and I got an 11 in the merrell, barefoot it fit well, though i wouldn’t be able to fit a sock in it, though maybe a liner would work.

Sorry if my post is disjointed I should probably be sleeping right now. I plan to give my tough gloves a good breaking in when I get them I’m hoping they’ll be more than just my “dress shoe” for work.

Hi, I want to get the Trail Glove but am not sure about size since I never had Merrell shoes before and I have no where to try them here in Norway. What size should I order?

These fit me:
I have a pair of Vibram Bikilas size 44
I have a pair of Asics DS Trainer 11 size 10 1/2 (us)
My longest foot is 27.7cm (10.9 in. measured from heel to toe)

I usually use a thin sock with my shoes besides the VFFs. I will be running barefoot or with a thin sock in the Trail Glove. And I want to run in the snow so maybe I need a thin sole? Hope someone can help me with size.


Emily from Merrell here. the Merrell Barefoot will be in Sweden and Finland by March 1st. Sweden already in some stores but I would say 1st of March for Sweden and Finland. Starting 1st of April you can find them in all Naturkompaniet stores in Sweden.

How are these in the water proof/resistant department? Can you at least walk out in the rain/snow without your foot getting wet unlike the five fingers? They look cool and I tried on a pair, if the water restance is there I will be getting a pair!

Meh. Still curves too far inward on the big toe for my taste. It’s just not as foot-shaped as a toe shoe. Drop’s not the only thing to worry about. Separate toes aren’t necessarily paramount. Why not just make a shoe with slightly thicker sole than a VFF(the full length of the shoe, of course) and either no toes or just ninja split toes that is exactly the same shape as a foot?

I also don’t get why they made the outside opposite the arch pull inward. I didn’t correct that in the comparison pic, but it’s an odd arbitrary choice that reeks of conventional shoe design still.

These Merrell barefoots aren’t available in Australia as yet so was going to buy some via Borderlinx.

The size is an issue because I can’t try them on. I wear;
Vibram Speed size 42
Terra Plana size 42
Brooks Trail size 9.5
I don’t have a wide foot
So now confused.
Can someone help me pls


I have had excellent results with them being waterproof/resistant. We are melting several feet of snow where I am and I have repeatedly stepped into deep, melting slush without any trouble. The melt has led to some significant puddles here as well, and submerging the foot for multiple steps will leak in some water, but not much. One of my initial reactions was actually how dry my foot stayed in a season where I just kind of resign myself to having wet feet when I’m outdoors.

I’m really happy with this shoe so far.

I returned my Trail Gloves because the toe box was too narrow for my feet. The toes could not splay out at all. I was disappointed they did not work for me. However, it is still a high quality shoe that deserves to be looked at. Its just too bad they didn’t make it wider for those of us that have VFF feet.

Just received my pair, they’re huge. I wear a 13 in mens shoes, 45 in Bikilas, 46 in KSO Trek Sport. I ordered the 13s, they’re going back for 12s.

I was a little nervous about my Tough Gloves that were in the mail after my experience with the Trail Glove, but the Tough Glove fits a lot better, it’s still too narrow for my foot to be my a running shoe, but it is very comfortable and will make an excellent “every time I can’t wear VFFs” shoe, and as another person said it’s definitely passable as a business casual shoe! (the whole reason I was ordering them, so in this case the shoe is perfect!)

one note, I don’t know if it is because these fit differently on my feet than the trail glove, but the sole portion that feels like a bar under the ball of my foot isn’t as noticeable, it’s there, but it doesn’t bother me as it did with the trail glove.

I just got a pair of trail gloves and after a quick run approximately 2.4 miles I notice a significant constraint/rubbing sensation on both sides of my mid-sole area. The initial pair I tried on fit snug to my heel with good feeling on width but simply were not long enough for my toes as I felt them curling on each step. Unfortunately I think the next size up left a little too much room and is the cause of the rubbing.

I just exchanged my Trail Gloves for a pair of True Gloves and holy crap! They are leagues better! The fit is fantastic and after a 4 hour hike today I can say that these are without a doubt the best shoes I have ever owned. My Fivefingers will always outperform, but if your feet are cold or you want a shoe that doesn’t make you look like a gorilla 24/7, these are it.

True Gloves ftw!

Can anyone offer their thoughts on the ‘break-in’ period of the shoes? Particularly for those of us who seem to be in between sizes.
Will a feeling of snugness loosen up?
Or should we buy them out of the box how we want them to feel after 50 miles?

Great review – very thorough, as always.

I’m in Nova Scotia, Canada, and looking to mail-order these shoes from anywhere else in Canada – does anyone out there know a retailer in Canada that carries this Merrell BTG now (or in the near future)?

FYI on my sizing experience:

I wear women’s 40 in KSO’s and Bikila LS’s; Regular shoe and sneakers anywhere between a 7 and 8. (and wide width if available).

Tried the Trail Gloves in a 7 – too small. Toes just touched the front and were too narrow. The 7.5’s were the right length but still too narrow. In fact, the midfoot “tightness” was almost painful even when I left the shoes on just sitting (laces were fairly loose). These may run big in larger sizes, but doesn’t seem to be the case for the smaller end in sizes.

So, now I’ve got 8’s and 8.5’s on the way…


Just bought a pair of the Trail Gloves and I ended dup “1/2” size up from what I normally wear. While the box in front is “wide” I found my toes touching just standing in them if I went with my normal size 11 1/2. I have a narrow foot with a high arch and getting these on an off is a “breeze”. I usually have problems with shoes being too loose. These fit like they were made for me. Other than my wife laughing at them — she says they look like “slippers” — they are fine. I don’t plan to run in them as I have pronation problems and need a motion stability shoe, but for walking around and going to the gym they should be great.

Thanks for the review!

I went to the Merrell store in San Francisco on March 1st and bought a pair. Initially it felt a little tight, but I took them for a three miler and it seemed to loosen up.

I do have wide feet though and sometimes do feel a little bit of tightness midfoot. I partially solved the problem by replacing the stock laces with elastic triathlon laces. It still feels a little too snug though.

However, I like these shoes a lot. Today I took them for an easy seven miler and they’re feeling better.

I may go a half size up next time as that will probably afford a better fit, but for now these are going to be my main running shoe over my Bikilas and RunAmocs.

Just bought the trail gloves…I normally wear an 11.5 in traditional running shoes with thin socks on but the 11.5 Merrel felt too big, like I might slip out of it…I downsized to an 11 which feels pretty darn snug around my wide feet however there is toe room which is a nice new feeling…I’m a bit worried about the mid foot snugness but I’ll put them to the test this week on the treadmill and outside on pavement and trail and report back. I’m hoping they stretch just a bit. Anyone go through this already and have some hope to share? Good point Nestor…perhaps they should add an additional or wider tongue for us wide footers.

While these are great shoes, I did get feedback from one of the first wear testers, he’s actually a rep at my running store. He said in about half of the test shoes they had originally sent out, at the point of about 100 miles, the 3/4 length strobel board that they put in the shoe actually punctured the midsole and Vibram rubber and shredded the shoe almost in half. He had used them only on trails and out on 1 run he heard a ripping sound, looked down and the shoe was flopping on his foot. Merrell informed him after he reported it and they had said it was too late and already in production. Just a warning if anyone else experiences this, you’re not alone and could probably lobby Merrell for a replacement pair.

I buy my shoes based on your reviews. I have been running in VFF for about 1 year and running for about the same time. The amount of information you provide cuts down on the time I spend looking. I just ordered these and provided I got the right size they should be perfect for the rocky trails here in MO.

Well, here’s my follow-up on the 8’s and 8.5’s:

I guess these are just not for wide feet. 8’s were just narrow enough to notice and the 8.5’s were like clown shoes. Too bad…

Just ran in my Merrell Trail Gloves for the first time this a.m. (street). Felt very comfortable and fit my feet well (sized-down 1/2 my regular size as recommended). Feels like more protection on the ball of my foot than my various Terra Plana shoes and (of course) by VFFs.
Not as good “ground feel” as my Terra Planas or VFFs but I believe these are the most comfortable street running shoes I’ve ever purchased. Very “glove-like”. Can’t wait to try them out on a trail.

Does anyone using the Trail Glove have an opinion on the forefoot shock absorption plate?

I tried the Trail Gloves on this weekend but found the forefoot plate to feel stiff and elevated. This made me shy away from a buy decision. Does this sensation go away? Does it serve the intended purpose?

In the DC area, Hudson Trail Outfitters carries the Trail glove in two colors and the Tough Glove in brown. For women they carry the Pace Glove in two colors and the Pure Glove.

Hey, just wondering how you should expect shoes like this to fit. I normally wear 8.5 regular shoes, and ordered tough gloves in 8 and 8.5 to try on. I found the width of the 8.5 more comfortable, snug but not as… intense as 8. With the 8 there was also less side-to-side breathing room for my toes. I’m kind of surprised how much space lengthwise there is from my toes to the front of the 8.5 shoe though: 3/4″ of space (the width of my thumb) in front of my big toe. When I walk, the top of the shoe presses down against my toe, I figure that will ease as I break them in, but as I’ve never worn minimalist shoes before, I want to make sure this is a normal fit, so I send back the right pair.

Hey alll,

I’ve been trying to figure out which of the following shoes is best for barefoot running (I’m sure they all have their perks, but what say you, who have tried several)?

1)Terra Plana Evo/Neo,
2)Merrell TrailGlove/TrueGlove, and
3)Altra Adam/Instinct/LonePine

I live in Asia and I will need to import one, and so I want to buy the best one, but I’ve no way to try them on.
Has anyone reviewed/ tested these three out first?
Is there any consensus as to the pros/cons of these now?

New to barefoot shoes and barefoot running. I currently own one pair of VFF KSOs and am looking to add to my collection. I am stationed at Ft. Bragg, and there is a store just outside post that has these shoes selling as fast as they can come in. I was able to try on the True Gloves in size 8 as the Trail gloves were out of stock. I wear a 8.5 regular shoe, and a 40 KSO. Plenty of room for toe splay up front. The most stiking issue with the fit for me was the narrowing of the shoe at the arch. The medial walls slope so much upward that it felt like arch support to me. The store manager stated that this is a comment he hears alot. Not sure if this would relax after the break in period, so am unsure if Merrell will be a future purchase. I think I need to try on the Minimus Trails as Justin suggests before making a decision, or just sticking with VFF fit that works for me.

Glad to see I’m not the only one who experiences the Merrells as too narrow; hopefully, they’ll come out with a wide because I love them otherwise. Some women–with bigger feet than mine–have solved this by wearing the Trail Glove instead of the Pace (women’s version); however, my feet are too small for the smallest men’s size. After a year of running almost exclusively in VFFs (Sprints) and on trails, my toes just need more room than the Paces allow for. I just ordered the NB Minimus from REI and am hoping it has more forefoot room. I’m tired of the individual toes, and as I’m upping my mileage, I need a little more protection from rocks and traction on loose downhills. I would love it if someone made a shoe shaped like the VFFs but with more traction and protection–and no individual toes.

In reply to Jmcguire,

I dislike the rock plate on my Trail Gloves. It helps on crushed gravel, but otherwise I feel as though I’m running with lumps under forefeet. I dislike having ground feel under my heels and toes but not under the balls of my feet. I’ve only done 40K so I’ll try them a while longer, but I may go back to my racing flats. At least I won’t feel like I’m running on lumps.

I am normally a size 11, and ordered one as well as a 10.5. The 11’s feel fantastic, BUT my second and third toes actually touch the front of the shoe where the hard outsole curves up a bit, and I feel it when I run. If I go barefoot or use the extra lace eyelet, it seems to help, but I’m curious if anyone else has had this problem, and will going up to an 11.5 solve this? Or just create other issues?

I totally love the shoes, and I’m really bummed about the length not fitting quite right. I’d prefer to wear them with socks, and use them for everyday use as well, because I think they feel great.

I continue to happily use these on slowly improving snow/ice/mud covered trails. The grip isn’t fantastic on the really soft stuff, to the point that I tried on the Inov-8 X-Talon 212’s yesterday (too narrow in the toe-box.) On the few dry patches where I get to cut loose, these are just great. I will be using them as my trail shoe for the foreseeable future. (I also tried on the Minimus Trails yesterday and will be waiting for the second edition of those before I consider the purchase again.)

On a critical note, driving home from the trails today I caught a whiff of the dreaded funky smell of barefoot shoes. It’s not just for Vibrams anymore. Now comes the challenge of cleaning these to the best of my ability without ruining them.

Same Eric who had the 2 Tough Gloves. I went with the 8.0 (typical shoe size is 8.5). They’re great, especially at work (I work at a law firm and they’re 100% cool – I’ve even gotten compliments on them). I wanted something more like sneakers that I could get dirty outside, though, and ordered the True Gloves. Did not like them at all. They look much more weird in real life than in pictures, and feel much tighter in the toe box even when I size up (can only size up so much, ya know). I’m returning them. Now waiting on a Trail Gloves order to try those…

these shoes have become available at joggers world in Adelaide (Pirie St). i picked mine up today for $169.00 and they are amazing, worth every penny…

@Geoff, @Rhys, @Adam
I just picked up size 8.5 Trail Gloves and I have similar question regarding fit. I wear M42 VFFs, which are snug but have stretched out perfectly.

In the Trail Gloves, when I wear the shoes standing they seem to have adequate room toward the front, but when I walk about a bit, my toes hit the front of the shoes. Not sure if I keep these that I might end up with black toenails and bruised toes.

Otherwise, I’m thinking about exchanging for size 9, but I’m afraid it might end up being too much room and the foot will slide around in there.

What to do?!?!

I have run in my Trail Gloves twice, each time with technical running socks, about 10 km each run. Overall, I think they are great, with one small complaint: I experienced chafing just above my heel on my achilles, and each time the chafing (which was unnoticable at first) became a blister by the end of the run.

Since I never run with the same shoes two days in a row, this is not a big problem, as the blsiter will be gone by the time I want to run the Merrells again. However, I’m not sure if this is a fit/sizing issue (I wear a 10.5, and they seem to fit well and true-to-size for me) or just the fact that there is no real cushioning around the heel collar and/or the point where the heal collar material contacts this area.

Anyone else have a similar issue with chafing/blisters in this area of the shoe? Next time I will try Body Glide, but I am open to any other suggestions.

I have the Merrill true gloves and have the chafing as well. It seems that the shoes will adjust over time so you just have the break in period to worry about. I hope that I am right but for now we just suck up the discomfort and hope that it clears up.

Just wanted to say I ordered the Trail Glove in size 10 which fits me perfect. Like I wrote earlier I usually use 10.5 (US). So I think one should go for a half size down from ones joggers size. I got them before the snow was gone here and did some short runs in thin socks. Now I run mostly barefoot in them. I can not say how much I love these shoes as I even wear them as casual shoes.

They feel really snug and even though I have worn them almost every day for a couple of months the Vibram sole shoes little signs of wear. I did some trail running on icy/muddy spring trails and they have good traction. And after many runs they do not smell at all like the VFFs sometimes do.

They look not half as goofy as my VFF Bikilas and I think I like the feeling of toes not beeing separated. I might just go barefoot when I don’t need the sole protection! They are helping me build my calves.

I tried tried Terra Novas but I dig theses shoes so much that I will now buy a pair of True Gloves for casual wear. I got them at for only $79 w/free shipping. Just check around for shoebuy coupons.

I can only recommend the Trail Glove if you want to go minimalistic. My VFF Bikilas I think are a bit jealous now not beeing used for some time. Since they look so “normal” I can use them every day and just walking all day in them you feel how they are strengthening your feet.

I’ve been running in Feelmax with some barefoot for a year now. I tried using Nike Frees but I got very sore calves ans shin splints (I think it was all the cushioning). The Merrell Trail Glove is great. The traction is excellent and I feel like they help me run with better form (less duckfooted) than the Feelmax. I have not had any issues in terms of sore calves or shin splits like I did with the Frees. I bought a half a size larger than I usually do,and that has been just right. I don’t usually use minimalist shoes on trails, and I bought these as road shoes, but they do OK on the trail too. For mountain trails, however, a bit deeper tread would be better.

By the way, on sizing, I am wearing socks. There is some space in front of my toes, but the thing is that my feet do not slide because, with the fitted arch, the snug lacing system, and the low weight of the shoe, the shoe stays snugly in place around my midfoot.

I have been walking in vibram five fingers for a couple of years and bought the merril trail glove this week. They felt nice in the store but after walking 8 miles in them, I developed sharp pain in the side of the arches. They also feel clunky compared to the 5 fingers. I recall back in my running days when I relied on orthotics that I had to break in my feet over a couple of weeks. The added support in the trail gloves seems to be defeating the purpose of minimalist shoes. I’m debating on whether to return them or give them more time for me to adjust to them.

I am sorry that I am not able to comment on the shoe yet however, can someone tell me why there is only one shoe available for women (and only in a bland black) and men have a number of options?

Has anyone else had issues with the seams where the footbed meets the liner down by the toes? I found it far too annoying to feel the seam on my big and little toe with every step and returned them. Does that feeling go away after the shoes have been broken in and should I give them a second chance?

Can anyone speak to how much room they have in the toe box before the end of the shoe? I am normally a US size 9 in everything and from reading some advice on the net, I sized down to 8.5. They only fit if I go barefoot (not a big deal). The mid tightness is not bothersome to me but what has me worried is I have very little room from the end of my toes and the end of the toe box. I would estimate 1/4″. As for sideways room, yeah there’s lots of splay room (is that the right word?) there so I am fine with that.

@ Emily, or other Merrell rep:
I would love to speak to someone on your design team about my thoughts for a new mountain ultra-friendly version of the Trail Glove. I’m an ultra runner, a minimalist runner, and need a shoe with just a few alterations to the Trail Glove. Love the TG for shorter trail distances, but a few adjustments would be hugely helpful to those of us who run farther, harder, longer…please email me directly at [email protected]

I have been using traditional running shoes and bought some Merrel Gloves. I tried them yesterday for the first time. I bought them half a size smaller, I think these shoes should be more snug than regular shoes. When the foot lifts off the heel it’s because they are too big.Anyways I felt muscles in my feet and lower legs that haven’t been used n a while (used to be a dancer). It was like a massage. I alternated with my other shoes to ease into the transition. What a difference you either hug the trail (gloves)or bounce on huge foam platforms (traditional shoes). I’ve passed the point of no return. Thanks Merrell!!!!

So, I have been wearing my new Trail Gloves for about two weeks now, and thought I would throw in my two cents. I am doing so at the risk of totally jinxing myself. I have posted initial positive reviews on minimalist shoes in the past only to then find something about the shoes I did not like.

After about 20 miles of both road and off-road running in the Merrells along with regular every-day wear, I have to say that I like them so far. They are very comfortable and give my toes plenty of room to spread out. They do feel snug around the arch and the widest part of my foot, but after a while those feelings fade.

Off road, the Trail Gloves really shine. They feel very stable and, while being a bit thicker than VFFs, there is plenty of flex and ground feel. They are my all-time favorite trail shoe.

On the road, they are not quite as good, which is due to the 1mm piece of material in the forefoot that is there for additional trail running protection. This extra padding in the forefoot makes the Trail Gloves feel a bit clunky on the road. Other reviewers have said that, once this EVA material breaks down some, the Trail Gloves feel great on the road too. So far, I have not experienced this, but I am hoping for the same result.

I really like these as all-around shoes, and because the Vibram sole will probably never wear out, I don’t have to worry about ruining them for running. They will work for both running and every day shoes just fine.

I hope that Merrell will read all of the reviews and not change anything about this shoe. They would be smart to make a road version without the extra 1mm crash pad and a less lugged sole. See the kids version of the Trail Glove to see what I’m talking about. An adult version of the kids shoe would be INCREDIBLE.

Keep up the great work, Birthdayshoes!


I am having a lot of problems with them on my Achilles as well. I wore them everyday for a week and it just kept getting worse. I really like them other than this problem.

The Trail Glove worked great this Fourth of July weekend hiking Mt. Bierstadt in CO. I normally wear them without socks but due to hiking I felt socks would be a nice touch. I never had single problem with grip while scrambling. the mesh kept my feet cool and dried very quickly when crossing a stream. I liked them over my other two hiking shoes the NorthFace Headgehogs and Columbia Ravenous.

I had some issues with the laces, which are really long. You would think that trail shoes would have shorter laces to keep them from getting snagged. Also, I had to fuss with them a lot to get the right combination of snugness and tightness different areas of the shoe. Yesterday, on a whim, I snagged a pair of Yankz laces from a KC area running store. I have never used speed laces like them before, but they were cheap, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try them. Much to my surprise, they work great. They make the trail gloves a bit harder to put on, but the elastic laces make the fit a lot better. They allow the shoe to expand where I need it to. If anybody else is having issues with the laces on the Trail Gloves, try speed laces. They work great with the Merrell Omni Fit and won’t get snagged on anything.

Just ordered up a pair so I can keep “in compliance” with Navy regs for the PFA. Transitioned to VFFs, and have no desire to return to heel-strike hardware. Can’t wait!

Great post on the Merrell Trail Glove!

How much space should there be between the longest toe and the front of the shoe in the Merrel Trail Glove? Are they supposed to fit like a sock or there should be the traditional one thumb’s width space?



I’ve been in my Trail Gloves for about a month now, and I would say go with the traditional thumb’s width between the end of your longest toe and the external front of the shoe. If you buy them to fit like a sock, I’m sure your toes will feel cramped when your foot spreads out as your run. Trail Gloves do not seem to stretch or “relax” like VFF KSOs do.

I tried both a smaller size (11) and a larger size (12) before settling on my 11.5s. There isn’t a huge difference between the three sizes overall, but the 11s definitely felt too short when I ran. My toe hit the front of the shoe noticeably as my foot spread out under my wieght. It wasn’t painful when testing, but over the course of a run, it would definitely be a problem. The 12 still felt ok, but it I didn’t want a shoe that would be too roomy and potentially sloppy.

When standing, I have exactly a thumbs width of space. I was a bit worried about hitting the end of the 11.5 while running, but I don’t. That really only happens when I walk in them because my foot slides forward a bit with the heel-to-toe transition. When I run with a good mid-foot strike, my foot does not slide forward in the Trail Glove at all. When I run well, my foot hits almost straight down under my center of gravity, it stays put in the shoe.

I hope that helps.

I found these shoes in Ottawa about five months ago. I have had very back feet for many years and these shoes are the most comfortable shoe that i have ever owned. I am a personal trainer and I have recommended these shoes to my clients and they all love them too. I have gotten a lot of other shoe and brands but nothing even comes close to these shoes. I LOVE THEM!!!!!

Would anyone be willing to comment on the size of the Trail Glove compared to VFF Sprint? My Sprints are M44 and I think that when I tried on the Trail Glove back in February I sized into an 11. Does that sound correct?

I love these shoes. I really was planning on buying the NB Minimus trails but I couldn’t wait for their release. So I bought the Trail Gloves as my first “minimal” “zero drop” shoe about 4 months ago. I was a little worried about how my feet would deal with them since they really fit like a glove (sans toes) and hug your arch. But after running in them a little I found it was quite comfortable. As I am training for some fall marathons I was also hoping they would work well for road running because the lugging protrudes a little more than a typical road shoe but they aren’t really noticeable after the first few runs. So I found this is a great shoe for running and as an all around shoe, they are very comfortable. I have noticed I get a little friction lesion above my right big toe on runs at or above 15 miles but a pair of socks has cured that for me. Also they are relatively well ventilated despite being black shoes, my feet don’t get too hot. I know this isn’t a review of the NB Minimus roads but those shoes seem to get really really hot. Not to bash the Minimus road I generally think they are a good shoe, but I bought a pair soon after they were released and even though they were comfy, after about 50 miles the lasting or whatever around the toes began to come unglued and the dye from the tongue was leaching onto my skin and socks, not a deal breaker by any means but certainly irritating. I personally prefer the Trail Glove but still take out the Minimus on treadmill days or just to switch things up a bit. If you can’t tell I really want to like the minimus’ but am having a hard time convincing myself of a reason to wear them over the Trail Gloves.

I love these shoes. One of the best buys I’ve made. I just got back from hiking in TN and the Savage Race in Orlando and the shoes were incredible. Though my one experience trail running with no socks ended with 9 blisters (a few were really bad), I still would recommend these all day long, just with socks.

just bought a pair of trail gloves and they feel great! did a month of forefoot running using my nike lunarswift2 but got irritated with the bounce effect. so got this just today at 10pm and tested it for 20 minutes. now i could feel the ground more and seems that my form improved. just one question though, i’m still waiting for my VFFs bikila LS since im in the middle east, im a size 9.5 in the merrells and ordered a size 10 in VFFs, is this right, your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Horray for BIRTHDAYSHOES, you’re my favorite website!

Hello, just got TGs and they feel great, had to get them since im still waiting for my VFFs. One question though, i am a size 9.5 in the merrells and i ordered VFFs Bikila LS at size 10, is that right? If not then, i made a mistake since here in the middle east, there’s no one that carry VFFs. Please help! Thanks BIRTHDAYSHOES! my favorite shoe website!

@John MacLean, I’ve experienced the same (or very similar) problem with the upper material scraping my heel, near the Achilles area when I run. Did you happen to find any more information on that issue? I was going to call up the vendor tomorrow to ask if it was a sizing problem as well.

Bought a pair of true gloves – fit beautifully, 5-7mm toe to toebox. Firstvtime out and ran 20 km off road mountainous trail – found the shoes handled extremely well… Only two drawbacks: kept getting small twigs and stones into my shoe, and secondly developed blisters on my tendon achilles after after only 8km. Could not change shoes and didn’t have bandaids… Any advice?

Did I get a different pair of shoes than the ones all these people love? I’m a fanatical Fives wearer. I work in KSO’s up to 9 hours a day on concrete floors and run trail in my Treksports. I was really hoping the Trail Gloves would be a great winter shoe for when it’s wet and cold outside. To their credit Merrell has made a quality shoe and if it works for you could be very good. Evidently in the last two years I’ve devloped some kind of Schwarzenegger-esque arch to my foot because I can’t get the midfoot loose enough to be comfortable, even with removing the laces from the lowest loops. I don’t have a wide foot per se, and I’m already in 1/2 size larger than usual, with plenty of toe room. The no-slip type liner is very uncomfortable to me and makes them impossible to slide on without really loosening the laces.
Finally the mesh around the toebox is useless if you have any sand to run in. My wife did a 100 mile race in Moab, UT and I paced her through the night. The course was a 50/50 mix of beach sand and slickrock. My leather KSO Treks let me run multiple laps without discomfort and I thought to give the Trail Gloves a try to give my feet a change. By the time I made it through the sand to the rocks I had to remove both shoes and I poured out close to a cup of sand from each shoe. When we got done with that lap, I changed back to my Fives. Additionally, this means they let in just as much water.
I really think the key to this whole barefoot running phenomenon is the ability for the toes to function idependently. I haven’t yet found a shoe that feels as comfortable or fast as my Five Fingers.

Thanks for the review! I was running in Vibram KSO’s for about 6 months before I got these and on my first run with these my calves and pretty much my whole lower leg burned! Now these are my XC shoes! I really like how the are low and comfy and how I can feel the air flowing through when there is even a slight breeze while I’m running. The only impediments are that my left foot stepped on a rock when I was running and it tore the black part on the outer part of my foot(where the pinky toe connects to your foot, where your foot touches the ground in a barefoot gait) now a long rip in the black rubber is present and a clearish part is visible. Woul taping it up before running help stop the wear-down of that part? Is there anything I can do to slow the wear-down process? Also i think that the tallness of the toebox looks kinda silly and kinda looks like a clown shoe. and I dont really like that the toe points upwards. do these mean my shoe is too big for my foot? It feels fine when I am running though. thanks for any helping comments!

I have been struggling to find the right fit for a minimalist shoe since August. The five fingers didn’t work for my feet at all so I was recommended the trail gloves which I absolutely love. I ordered 10.5 which is my normal shoe size and they were too big. I recently received my 10s and I’m torn. My foot measured 27 cm and these are 28 cm. Should I go to a 9.5 (27.5 cm)?? I’m worried my toes will touch but they may not…Any suggestions?

great review… came here as I just got a pair in the mail and as soon as I put them on I noticed how roomy they were in the toe box and how big they felt. Did a search on sizing for them any your review popped up.

I normally wear a US 10 and will be sending these back for a 9.5 as my heel slides out even after lacing up and they feel too roomy in the toe area.
They are a great shoe though and I am sure they will hold up to my crossfit workouts which my five fingers have not. I have already gone through two pairs of VFF’s in a very short period of time. Sole coming away from the material and the materials tearing in the toe sections. VFF replaced the first pair but I was outside their 90 day warranty on the second pair so have been using shoe goo to try and extend the life of them … bought the merrell’s as a replacement.

have you tried the Merrell Barefoot Embark Glove with Gore-Tex? if so, how does it feel compared to the trail glove?

I tried on a pair of these and didn’t like the plates in the toe and heel at all – felt like i was standing on a platform! Additionally, I can’t see how a plate like this allows your foot and toes to bend and flex as if barefoot. This is a shame because I like the look of them, but then I found them pretty snug too, and that was a mens size, larger than I’d normally take. I then looked at the vivo trail and vivo aqua, the trail looks good, but unless you’re actually doing trail running I wouldn’t bother, the aqua, with its 3 mm sole (bit like wearing a pair of sock slippers), is more than adquate for the road running I do. Plenty of room in the toe (although I did have to go up a size, but they run small apparently) and really soft, so no rubbing issues anywhere, and a really good ground feel. I can’t compare them to my vibrams as I haven’t quite been brave enough to run in those yet, but I imagine the toe splay-ability is comparable, and also natural rather than a bit forced.

I have both the Merrell True and Trail glove shoes… FOunf the True glove a bit loose in the heel cup, resulted in blister formation on the heel, otherwise very comfortable, advised to go 1/2 size smaller and took the Trail glove… been running some really hilly trails…found the dorsum of my foot bruised, and eventually worked out that the mid/ forefoot section (beginning of laces) has an unforgiving band stretching over & limiting the foot. Landed by running my race in the True gloves with silicone pads in the heel to avoid blisteres…

Have not tried any of the Merrell and was wondering if anyone has tried out the SONIC. I cannot see from pictures or short write-ups the difference between them and the glove (or pace)…cannot remember which of these looked the same in their pictures. Would appreciate any insights/experience with these.
Presently I use the NB minimus (grass and calm trail) and Bikila LS (grass only so far as fear tree stups between the toes).

I just exchanged my VFF’s for the Merrell Sonics. I have been barefoot running for about a year now so I had no problem adapting. I am normally an 11.5 and I bought an 11.5 in the Sonics. However, my first run out (about 5 miles) I got some nice blisters on my second toes (as I have a greek foot; the second toe is slightly longer than the first). This is concerning as I have never experienced this before. I am not sure if they are too small, or my feet just need to get used to them. My toes do not touch the front when I am standing, but the do seem to when I am running/walking.

Mike, try lace up your shoe with the heel forced backwards after jogging around a bit… I did find that the lacing needs to be left not too loose and ensure that the heel is firm in the heel cup to avoid unwanted movement in the forefoot.

Hi, I’m new to your site so forgive me if you’ve answered this question somewhere else. I am looking at the Merrell Trail Gloves for my six year old to wear while we are at Disney this May (also before and after our trip for general use and play). Do you have any thoughts on these shoes for kids? He is healthy and active, and has always worn standard sneakers of various brands, never any minimal shoes. Would these be hard for him to get used to, or would they be comfortable right away? I’d appreciate your opinion. Thanks!

Laura, get vivos for him, nice big toe box, plenty of room, and a very flexible sole, without the rigid plates in the heel and toe. Some good deals can be had on Amazon and ebay.

I must say that I love the feel of Merrell Barefoots. I have the exact same pair as reviewed here and running in them couldn’t feel better. At first my lower calf muscles were very sore but once they adapted to the new motion walking/running never felt comfortable.

I was always looking for a squishy shoe with lots of foam thinking that this was the answer to comfort but i could not have been more wrong. doing thins causes your muscles in the foot to become weak as they are not being used properly.

After your muscles adapt walking and running becomes much easier and enjoyable.

With this said I am going to purchase a pair of the Barefoot Edge Glove next as they look more casual and wont get people staring at my feet wondering what I am wearing.

thanks for you great site.

I just picked up a pair of the Trail Gloves, and am already in love with them! As someone who can’t wear VFFs (I have a wonky toe on each foot, makes it uncomfortable) I prefer to go barefoot whenever possible, but I also have to wear shoes for trail running since the ones near my place are too rocky for anything else. I haven’t gotten out much in them, but so far they’ve worked great for a little bit of protection. They do feel a bit awkward just standing around in them, but once I’m moving I don’t notice anything.

I usually wear a 12 1/2 or 13 men’s US sizing, but found a 12 fits best. As well I have fairly wide feet, and although the shoes felt oddly tight when I was trying them on, I’ve gotten used to it and they’ve become my new favourite shoes. Highly recommended.

Hey everyone! Here is what I did as far as fitting is concerned.. Ready? I called Merrell and asked. What they revealed was that you want the traditional “thumbs width” between your big toe and the shoe to allow for the natural swelling that occurs when running, especially running hard. Purchasing a glove-like fit would lead to discomfort especially if the toe(any of them) comes in contact with the end of toe box can lead to bruising and/or injury and thus.. a negative opinion and a bad review. Reading all of this made me question the fit of my own trail gloves.. And I’ve had two pair over two years! Granted I do everything in these- 10 hour days standing and walking on concrete floors, hiking, running, etc. Sometimes it’s best to go to the source. Good luck! Btw- zero drop shoes do quite actually rock!! Thanks

Great shoe – EXCEPT for the seam inside the shoe where the toe wrap is bound to the mesh… I presently have abrasion sores on both feet – just behind the ball of the foot on the inside… after only a 11K trail run.

My 2nd pair of zero-drop shoe, first being VFF seeya for my road running. Amazing trail performance. The fit and feel is almost like the VFF with the exception of the narrow arch, but the feel vanished once hit the trail. Wore without socks on the soaking wet rainforest trail, it handles the abuse exceptionally well.

Hello, I was wondering if I could as a question, I recently bought the same pair in a size 9.5 but they seem to fit about half an inch big or long i should say. Would you suggest going down to a size 9? Do they stretch out a bit over time or do they shrink at all if you wash them then dry them? Thank You.

Just wondering whether you can recommend a barefoot shoe for everyday use? I don’t run (except when I’m chasing the kids) but I spend quite a lot of time out and about walking from A to B, as well as round the house. I’ve had a pair of the Five-finger toe shoes (Bikila, I think), but they’re on their last legs, so I’m looking for a replacement that gives me the same ground connection, but which is hopefully a bit more waterproof so I can wear them when the ground is wet, and which doesn’t require special socks in cold weather. Any recommendations? I tried the Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove, but I’m a bit disappointed, they seem much more rigid and have a much thicker sole. Thank you so much!

Thank you for all the information! I have pretty much the same question as the very last one, from Nadja. (Yes, I actually read most of the comments on the way to the end!) . I don’t run. (I’m nearly 70, but that’s no excuse.) I will wear the shoes with jeans as I walk all around New York City – I’m a street photographer most of the time. And I’ll wear them for a month this summer in Guatemala, where I’ll be taking photos (mostly of people) as well. Are these the right shoes? The hiking shoes I would otherwise wear in Guatemale are clunky and ankle high and heavy. I love the lightness and the wide toe box of these barefoot shoes. I haven’t taken the tags off yet, and I’m just walking around my apartment in them, so I can still return the shoes if the answer is “return them.” Thanks so much!

These were great shoes for a while but after about 100 miles they have been giving me blisters on the balls of my feet between my big toe and the one next to it. Any ideas what the heck I’m doing wrong or are they worn out already?!

hi guys ..
just a warning about Merrell shoes from their own Customer Service Advisor ▪ EMEA Consumer Relations
MRS K*********B*******
after I complain about a shoe that the sole had come away from the upper, after only a few times of wear …
they tried to tell me that the shoe was old and that they had had a lot of use…if the bottom had broken I may be able o see their point but this was at the side of the shoe….so no contact to ground….merrell gave this response…
” Please also note that shoes, as with all consumer goods, can suffer from a natural ageing process when unworn or unused for a long period of time. Therefore, storing a shoe for several years can cause the materials to dry out and break down. ”
wow …I wish they had told me this before i parted with my money for such a low quality item…..
plus after making many handmade leather items with glue..I have never seen any of my items do this even after 10 years of use …or non use….lol
they even had the cheek to offer 20% discount for a shoe that was purchased for £30 which is more than 70% less the original price because they were last years colours…
By the way I did complain about 2 pairs of shoes the one above and 1 that just stunk to much to wear in public…so much for their technologies……..
its a shame that these companies take our hard earned money for low quality products that do not do what they claim and then do not honour their goods…..

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