First run in Merrell Trail Gloves

My new Merrells after my run

I must be becoming a proper runner because I now have two pairs of running shoes and a perfectly good set of bare feet for shorter road and grass events. While I love my Vibram FiveFingers, they have limitations for me at the moment. I do a lot of running on gravel fire trails that are covered in small sharp rocks. While my feet are tough enough to wear the FiveFingers for about 10-15km of this punishment, anything more and I start to focus on my feet rather than on running. Though I do have to say that my feet recover quickly afterwards so they are not being unduly bruised.

Anyway, I bought myself a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves yesterday afternoon. After phoning almost every distributor in Brisbane, I finally found a shop that had my size in stock. They also had a fantastic sale ($129 down from $169). The shoes fit in the store and felt comfortable so I bought them.

This morning I pulled them on for a trial run. I started by running about 2.5km on the road and concrete footpaths through my estate. The shoes felt okay on these surfaces but not as good as bare feet or the Vibram FiveFingers.

I then ran about 1km on a gravel road. The shoes handled well on the gravel though for the fine gravel that we have on roads here, the Vibram FiveFingers would have handled just as well.

It was out on the fire trails in the bush that the Merrells really came into their own. While I had excellent ground feel, I didn’t have to worry about hurting the webbing between my toes on the sharp rocks that covered the trail. I also found that the grip on the bottom of the shoes was perfectly placed to give me traction and support while running uphill. I didn’t have to waste energy gripping the ground.

I ran a total of 7.31km in my new Merrell Trail Gloves this morning. I think they will be an excellent option for me when running on rocky fire trails. I certainly prefer the Vibram FiveFingers as a barefoot-style running shoe but that’s probably because I started out last year as a full barefoot runner and I am only using shoes to protect the soles of my feet so that I can run further sooner. In time, I hope to be able to run road marathons and all but the rockiest fire trails fully barefoot. But for now, I am very happy with my choice of Vibram FiveFingers and Merrell Trail Gloves as protection for the soles of my feet on long or rocky runs.

Total: 7.31km @ 6:17 pace. Average temperature: 12.2’C. Elevation gain: 180m.

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7 responses to “First run in Merrell Trail Gloves

  1. They look comfortable! I am getting my first pair of trail running shoes shortly. I am excited to try them out by the lake.

    • They are comfortable except I discovered a hot spot blister last night on the top of one of my toes. I think that in future I need to wear socks with the Merrells when it’s cold because I bought the shoes in the afternoon when my feet had swollen a bit. But I’m not that concerned about the blister – it’s just temporary and it won’t be a problem on long runs when my feet swell, especially not coming into our long hot summer.

      Which trail shoes are you going for?

      • I am getting the PT-1000 shoes from UK Gear. I have their warm weather shoes and love them, so I figured I might try out a pair suited for 1,000 miles, and do a little off-concrete trails near the lake by my house.

  2. I’ve a friend who works at Barefoot Inc. NZ and she has always plugged the Vibrams but my debut into barefooting will be to train specifically for mud runs, so the five fingers doesn’t seem so practical. The Merrell Pace Glove, New Balance Minimus and the Zem Terra Ninjas are the ones I am umming and ahhhing over. Quick question, though – have you worn socks with the Merrells? I find my biggest mental hurdle is socks – go figure – I cannot live without them!

    • G’day … I didn’t wear socks the first time I ran in my Merrells and I shaved some skin off one of my toes because my feet hadn’t yet swollen to fit into the shoes so there was too much movement. But yesterday I ran in them with socks, which was comfortable. I wore the socks because my feet were still small in the early morning so I needed a bit more padding to protect my feet from movement.

      I don’t like the Merrell Pace Glove because it has too much shoe contact against my foot. But I can see how they would be great for more road-based running. I think we are getting lots more options in the barefoot-style shoes here in Australia next year. I haven’t seen the Zem Terra Ninjas on the shelves here. While I have checked out Barefoot Inc online, I prefer to buy my shoes after trying them on so there’s not much choice for me … I have tried the Innov8s but the toe box is too small for me.

      • I’m hoping to head over to Barefoot Inc. sometime this week to try the Zems on and get some advice with the Zems, New Balance and Merrells in front of me all at once. As I am sure you know, it’s hard to get variety in one hit with the barefoots!

        This is going to sound pedantic but what kind of socks can you get away with in your Merrell’s? I saw the Injinjis on the Barefoot site but surely a standard pair of thin ankle socks can provide the same cover without restricting?

    • I just wore normal sports socks (I think they are also called tube socks) that I bought on sale from Fila (a 5 pairs for $20 sale so nothing special about the socks). The Merrells don’t actually come in my size so I have a pair of 41.5 (Euro sizing) when I’m a 41 (Euro sizing).

      We don’t have a Barefoot Inc store here in Brisbane where I live. I have to do the rounds of various outdoor and sports shops to try to compare shoes (though many don’t go as low as Euro 41 in mens shoes 😦 )

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