Feb 24, 2011 at 8:01 am #1269658
At first I thought, wow this barefoot running thing is ludicrous. How can all the technology they've built up over the years in shoe technology and materials possibly be a bad thing to use in my shoes? I've been a New Balance running shoe guy for a long time thanks to my dad giving me flat feet. Maybe this flat foot thing is a bigger factor than I've been addressing at the running store, don't know.
So I tried on some Merrel Trail Gloves and was immediately blown away. This is with no knowledge or bias of barefoot running at that point. So I dropped the $100 and went home with a new pair of shoes. By the end of the next day my heels were sore, not bad pain but a little sore and my achilles tendon was really tender. However, I continued wearing them because I felt like my back was "straighter" and happier. I felt light on my feet and heel striking feels more like tripping wearing these things. If you're doing it you'll know!
They have great durable vibram soles that refuse to wear down with an aggressive tred pattern similar to a human foot, a plastic plate in the sole to protect my foot from sharp rocks, and an incredible lacing system that coupled with the zero support zero pronation sole truly does give the shoe its name… because it fits like a glove. Blisters and hot spots can't form because these shoes move with your feet, no slipping no sliding no chafing… nothing. Truly a glove for your feet. The toe box is huge, allowing my toes to splay out. No more rubbing or confinement of my toes which has also really helped with the hot spots. I no longer need the toe box of my shoe to fit, I could just cut it off these and they would still fit like a glove.
I bought mine half a size up so I can wear thorlo experia wool/silk socks in them as well as thicker wool socks in cool weather. I'm not true barefoot guy and don't like the feel of shoes w/out socks. They do have a microfiber insole with antimicrobial treatment for those of you that just want to leave the socks at home. If you don't buy these true to size I can't see them working as I've described, but even sized improperly these fit better than your average shoe!
Go out and try them, they're incredible. My pains are gone and I feel like I'm walking around naturally again. I decided to wear them everywhere because my heel and achilles only hurt for a couple days which is actually a natural part of the progression to a minimalistic shoe like this. My feet no longer fight with my shoes, my definition of a well fitted shoe has completely changed, and I don't think I'll be going back to support shoes any time soon.Feb 24, 2011 at 8:48 am #1700991
What was your reasoning behind picking the merrels? You mentioned your a new balance guy, and I've been waiting to pull the trigger on barefoot runners until they release the minimus and I could actually have them in my hands. I see the merrels are 2 oz lighter. I'm a touch skeptical as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on picking a pair.Feb 24, 2011 at 9:17 am #1701003
I have a pair of the Tough Gloves on now with a pair of Trail Gloves on the way.
The reason I decided not to wait on the NB Minumus is that I wanted to go straight to a 0mm heel rise instead of a 4mm.
The Tough Gloves are awesome for around town, and would probably be good for cold weather running / hiking if your feet are prone to being cold.
You can get them at Running Warehouse for $93 with free 2 day shipping and free return shipping if you don't like them.Feb 24, 2011 at 9:34 am #1701012
I wanted a shoe that was truly flat. The NB shoe you're talking about seems like more of a transitional shoe to me. When you put these merrels on you will feel like you're Michael Jackson in a music video doing the cool lean thing. The first few hours I wore them I constantly felt like I was going to fall over backwards. The NB seems like a great choice too but I wanted my feet to be flat.
The only draw back is wearing my work boots feels horrible now. I feel like there is an extra joint in my ankle when walking in support shoes/boots now. Oddly enough the falling backwards feeling of these merrel shoes has completely vanished since the second day I wore them. Everything else just feels painful and cock eyed now. This may sound silly, but my back almost feels as though it has less weight to carry now. I didn't even realize this until I noticed even with flat shoes I was actually standing up taller/straighter than before! I'm 5'11" 150lbs for reference.
No heel rise = good heel rise. I believe the NB's are meant to avoid that awkward feeling people get when first trying a shoe like this on. Not to be the ultimate solution for someone like me, which the merrels so far have offered.Feb 24, 2011 at 10:02 am #1701029
Sorry for the naive barefoot question. I have limited experience as I only had a pair of VFF for a while and while I liked the feel, I found them a PITA due to "shy" pinkies and thus never wore them much. Is there any significant difference between the Merrell True, Tough and Trail shoes other than the styling/material of the uppers? I am not a runner but would look at these for daily use and on the trails.Feb 24, 2011 at 10:21 am #1701037
I don't think so. The Tough Glove sole looks exactly the same as the online pics of the Trail Glove sole.
You basically have the three styling choices of:
1: All synthetic leather – good for town / office or colder weather
2: All (or mostly) mesh – good for summer / hot weather or if your feet don't get cold easily.
3: Hybrid – Not really sure what the idea behind offering this was, but maybe some people would prefer it. I guess it would breathe better than the all mesh, but have more protection.Feb 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm #1701103
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
i've had the trail gloves for a couple weeks and i'm loving them. I was doing some hiking/trail running in vibrams but after breakinga toe decided they werent good for moving fast over the super technical rocky terrain in the boulder foothills.
The trail gloves are perfect for this. Tough enough so I don't have to worry too much about where I step but minimal enough to replicate the biomechanics of barefeet. I'm interested to try these backpacking but not sure how they will do with big mileage. Hoping to work up to that.
Was considering the nb's but chose these for th zero drop. I hear the nb's have a firmer sole/plate. I wouldnt want much firmer sole than the trail gloves for a barefoot shoe.Feb 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm #1701183
Funny you mention work boots, I'm in them all day as well. It doesnt sound as though the discomfort ishorrible enough that you shy away from the minimalist shoe. My attraction to the NB is the "transitional" design, I'm hesitant to drive head first into a straight up flat runner. Knowing someone else has done it gives me a little more confidence, but I'm not willing to spend 60 hrs a week in discomfort at work in order to get improved comfort for a few hours in the evenings and on weekends. Does the discomfort fade with time? Is the suffering worth it?
also, runningwarehouse.com says to go half a size down from your regular shoe. Is this true for you guys?Feb 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm #1701189
I usually wear a 13 in all of my shoes, so I got a 13 in these as well. The midfoot and the heel fit like a glove, but the toes are very loose both in the front and the sides. They don't have the option of a 12.5, and I'm not sure I would have wanted to go down to a 12, but I might could have.
Even though these are slightly big in the toes, I'm still very happy with them.Feb 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #1701205
I'd say as long as your heel and mid-foot is locked in, just enjoy the freedom!
I'm waiting on someone in the area to get the Trail Gloves in stock so I can try on a few pairs also. Assuming the fit isn't way off, I'll be buying these.Feb 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm #1701224
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
i got mine at rei. might be worth checking there if you haven't already…Feb 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm #1701327
I'm really liking my pairFeb 25, 2011 at 5:28 am #1701386
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Having seen the Merrell Trail Glove and the Minimus side by side I can say that both of these options are almost apples to apples, with the biggest difference being the 4mm drop vs. the 0mm heel/toe drop on the Trail Glove- 'barefoot' purists would likely claim is a huge difference. Both the Trail Glove and the Minimus are insanely pliable and the amount of proprioception underfoot in the Minimus is amazing, you feel enough underfoot for your body to adjust but there's just enough protection in the Vibram outsole and rubber toe rand that you can sprint on rocky trail without agonizing over every foot strike. I'm currently running in the Minimus Trail having been lucky enough to get my hands on a pair 2 weeks ago, so far I have about 35 miles alternated between my other running shoe the NB MT101- I'm extremely pleased with the Minimus so far which I had my reserves about. The width of the Minimus is fairly wide, slightly wider than my MT101's which provided ample room for my 'widish' flat feet.
As far as the transitional aspect of the Minimus having 4 mm, I'm not a zero drop or VFF runner, I prefer footwear that doesn't inhibit my style, location, or pace of running- I'm not willing to take months to adapt my body to being able to run rocky technical trails in VFF and suffer a performance loss (slower pace) in doing so- I've yet to meet a VFF runner that can 'attack' trail, they're always tip toeing around stuff slowly which is fine, but to me isn't exactly my type of 'running'. There's no doubt that the Trail Gloves and the Minimus are a dedicated trail running shoe, not a lifestyle or wellness shoe which I think the VFF tends to lean towards. Right out of the box the Minimus Trail suited my running and didn't inhibit what I like to do, they felt broken in immediately, and I had little adaptation time other than 3 days of slightly tender calf and achilles tendon. With that said, the Merrell Trail Glove and the Minimus alike I think will allow more people the ability to regularly wear flat shoes and improve their form whether that is walking or running.
9 miles of this rocky trail right out of the box last weekend in the Minimus, my running buddy wore the Merrell Trail Glove.Feb 25, 2011 at 7:30 am #1701419
Thanks for the Minimus review Eugene, out tot get me some soon. They look way better for sockless running than the MT101s.
As of right now, I'm inclined to take the 4mm of the Minimus over the 0mm Trail Glove. For doing longer mileage on rough terrain, I think the 4mm will be good. I personally don't think 4mm changes my form whatsoever. I've done enough pure barefoot at this point that I don't think my form substantially changes with shoes, so long as the drop is minimal.Feb 25, 2011 at 8:06 am #1701430
"…but the toes are very loose both in the front and the sides."
These shoes are meant to fit this way. Since they are designed to be worn w/out socks barefoot running shoes allow your toes to naturally splay out promoting a more natural form. If your toes are rubbing more than against your little toe in any way then they aren't really barefoot running shoes. VFF's have toe fingers but I don't like the idea of sliding down a rock onto another rock right between my toes, like chopping my foot with an axe so I passed on them. My second toe is also longer than my first so they would not fit anyway (not that I've tried).
When I heel strike the merrel trail glove really trips me up. I'm a young guy and novice runner so working on my form at this point is just removing bad habits anyway. If you're an experienced, avid runner then I would definitely try out the NB before pulling the trigger on the merrels. I had a lot less to lose going straight to the zero heel rise than someone proficient in their form, as suggested above by such a person.
If you're just looking for a running shoe, there is also the Nike Free. I don't believe these are in any way acceptable for trails, more so than the merrels/NB's are not acceptable on asphalt. They are a strictly track/street shoe to me but offer a similar solution in the form of a zero support shoe that doesn't skimp on the shock absorption.
As far as the work boots go… I only work at UPS 5-6 hours a day 5 days a week. The type of work I do doesn't require me to do anything other than pivot on one foot all night long. The boots bother me now when walking into work, not so much performing my tasks at work. My boots are full leather upper, thick insulated lug sole, and a carbon composite crush resistant toe box. They're not comfortable because they keep 70lb boxes falling 3-6 feet from crushing or removing my toes. This is just something I accept with these shoes and while it takes some getting used to it is "tolerable discomfort", not really "painful". I would describe the discomfort as similar to wearing your new dress shoes once in a blue moon versus your normal street shoes. Like any other of your senses, once the threshold of sensation is met your body will write this off as white noise. Looking back on it now, I did exaggerate the pain I'm experiencing in my first post. I meant to state that it is a huge difference, not that it is unbearable pain.Feb 25, 2011 at 9:05 am #1701459
Looking at the merrels and the NB's side by side, not that I've tried on the NB's or have any real experience with them, it really ticks me off they keep using that stupid Nlock proprietary design. The merrels lacing system to me appears superior. I'm tired of the Nlock that just happens to promote their branding at the same time, never have been a fan. It works great but why an N? Don't get me wrong I love new balance but that stupid system has always ticked me off because you know there's a better way to do it than in the shape of an N. How convenient, as they say. I don't see an "Mlock" on merrels lol.
Where merrel does have a better lacing system, I like the ventilated toe box design of the NB better as well. They both have their ups and downs but after feeling the lacing system on the merrels I'm a little upset about all my Nlocked shoes.Mar 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm #1703614
@akajutLocale: Central Oklahoma
Here's a review from a guy who's tried them both – http://www.irunfar.com/2011/02/merrell-trail-glove-vs-new-balance-minimus-trail-review.html
The article has a link to Merrell's new barefoot education site.Mar 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm #1704181
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
Hey totally different question for those who have tried these two. How would you rate the overall durability of the shoe? I've had trail runners blow out in the mesh and the last thing I would want is shoe that is any more fragile in that area.
Eugene do you think you would use the minimus in the Gila area?May 16, 2011 at 4:20 am #1737089
@kencharpieLocale: Western Oregon
I've had my Trail Gloves for about a month now and have been wearing them all over the place. I'm getting ready for a hike in the Trinity Alps in June and plan to wear these shoes. We'll see how it goes; I'm optimistic based on the reviews I've read and my experience with them so far. I'm impressed by their durability and comfort so far.May 16, 2011 at 9:05 am #1737158
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Aoparenttly, the shoes use the Vibram bottoms. Does anybody know the thickness of the soles? Specifically, do they use the somewhat thicker ones (like the ones on the Treks) or do they use the thinner ones on the old-style Vibrams (like the KSOs)?
StargazerMay 16, 2011 at 9:20 am #1737164
From Crunchgear.com: " 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"May 16, 2011 at 9:30 am #1737170
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Thanks, Doug! I have both types of Vibrams and the extra few mm's make a big positive difference on rocky ground.
StargazerMay 16, 2011 at 11:31 am #1737237
@palumboLocale: Rocky Mountains
I've done a couple 18-20 milers in the Trail Gloves and find them excellent due to the moccasin-like fit. They have 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions, which provide a little protection but doesn't affect the feel of the ground.May 16, 2011 at 11:44 am #1737244
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Two weeks ago I did a long day-hike in my Trail Gloves, doing some pretty steep climbing on rocky trails. I was surprised by how well the Trail Gloves did even after a whole day of walking… no soreness, just the right amount of thickness to make walking on the rocks comfortable. I don't feel that with my Five Fingers. Very tough shoes, too. No sense at all that they might fall apart en route. The only thing I didn't like about them was that on moist, slightly muddy very steep ground they didn't grip very well and I felt very uncertain as I climbed and descended. That wouldn't have happened with my Inov8 Terrocs or Vasque Mind Benders.May 22, 2011 at 6:41 am #1739566
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
I recently got a pair of Trail Gloves and really like them so far. I feel so light and free with them on! Running with my forefoot striking first already feels pretty natural.
For walking or hiking in them though, I'm not sure if I should heel strike or forefoot strike first. Heel striking when walking in them doesn't feel too bad after a couple of miles (which is as far as I've gone so far), but I imagine forefoot striking would be better. Walking with my forefoot first feels a little awkward though and I definitely end up walking more slowly. What do other people do?
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