Merrell’s Barefoot Run Trail Glove: The Skinny

by On Aug 23, 2012
Merrell’s Barefoot Run Trail Glove: The Skinny

Hot on the trails of the minimalist craze, barefoot shoes are truly in vogue in today’s market. Merrell’s barefoot run trail glove is the brand’s latest foray into the world of minimalist shoes. Armed with a collaboration with Vibram to develop its outsole, it seems well adept to take on other minimalist shoes in the market.

Merrell’s Barefoot Run Trail Glove: The Skinny

These shoes are made with zero drop and they are light at 175 grams. They may not be the lightest out there but it felt as though I was not wearing anything. Upon lacing the shoes, the first impression which struck me was how snugly they fit on my feet. It was akin to wearing a pair of rock climbing shoes and the width of the shoe was just right. The minimal feel was accentuated with a 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate that has been incorporated into the shoe.

Testing these shoes in an urban environment such as the stadium track yielded an experience of an Olympic sprinter. I took these shoes for intervals training and they worked a treat as they encouraged a natural form of running through landing on the balls of my feet. The forefoot propulsion could be felt substantially and their snug fit made them feel like a pair of spikes. On the other extreme, these shoes also performed admirably in the trails of MacRitchie Reservoir. The Vibram outsole has specific grooves for going uphill and downhill which is truly versatile.

Merrell’s Barefoot Run Trail Glove: The Skinny

There are minor imperfections though, with their breathability and lacing capabilities needing some improvement. The upper of the shoe does seem to suffocate the feet with low breathability and the laces come undone pretty easily. Overall, this remains a good entry pair of shoes for runners looking to embark on minimalist or barefoot running.

Runner’s Boon

  • Snug fit of the shoe that wraps the feet well
  • Vibram outsole has superb grip on the trails
  • Forefoot protection plate leads to greater forefoot propulsion

Runner’s Bane

  • Breathability is low, which affects cooling of the feet
  • Lacing could be better constructed as they come undone easily

Technical Specifications


  • 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

Merrell’s Barefoot Run Trail Glove: The Skinny


  • 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)

Alex Ang started out as a x-country runner in school and completed 9 marathons. He picked up adventure racing back in 2003 and have marketing experience with Salomon and Adidas.

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