Merrell Trail Glove Review

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Uncategorized

merrell trail glove review“Yeah, I got on sneaks but I need a new pair.”

Like most people who grew up listening to hip hop in the eighties and early nineties, I was a sneaker head. When birthdays or Christmas rolled around sneakers were the only thing I’d ask for. And when I had any extra money in my pocket I’d immediately hustle on over to Foot Locker to grab some fresh new kicks.

But those days are long gone.

That’s not to say I won’t stop dead in my tracks if I see a rare pair of Air Jordan 1’s or 3’s (especially if a big-ass-havin-girl in a thong wearing a Yankees hat is carrying them). Cuz I damn sure will. I just can’t endure the pain of wearing them anymore. Although I’m sure it’s hard to tell because of my ever present Fonzie cool, I’m not that much of a slave to fashion.

The fact of the matter is most sneakers just aren’t that comfortable. Old school Jordan’s are like dress shoes and make the same exact sound when you walk. Like a teacher entering a class room. How can that be a good time?

Same with Dunks and Air Force One’s. Puma’s like Clydes or California’s are a lot better but still not ultra comfortable. My all time personal favorite sneaker from a looks and comfort combo is the Adidas Campus. That’s an old school classic that you can never go wrong with; especially when you go with black laces. I must have had at least a dozen or more pairs of those in my life.

These days, however, I need comfort, first and foremost. I spend a lot of time on my feet, even when I’m on the computer (I work from a standing desk as I recommend everyone does) and after a while the wrong shoes really start to bother my feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

Enter the Merrell Trail Glove. I got my first pair of these about a month or so ago and abso-freakin-lutely love them. I’d say without a shadow of a doubt that from a comfort/performance perspective they’re my all time favorite sneakers.

They’re an ultra light, breathable, flat, Vibram Five Finger made into a sneaker. The soles of the Merrell’s are actually made by Vibram. The cool added benefit that Merrell’s have over the Vibram Five’s is that you can actually wear them somewhere other than the gym without looking like Sir Douche a Lot or “Kooky Workout Guy.”

As comfortable and as good for your posture as Vibram’s may be the fact is you aint gettin’ laid if you wear them out to a bar.

Over the last four of five weeks since purchasing the Merrell’s I have done the following in them:

•    Trained- Usually I train in Vibrams (unless I’m squatting) but the Merrell’s were awesome for standing exercises, single leg work and Prowler pushes. Definitely better than any other type of sneaker for lifting in but I’d still give the Vibram’s a slight edge there only because I feel a little bit more connected to the ground in them. But you can’t go wrong with the Merrell’s.

•    Ran Hill Sprints- The Merrell’s felt great on the hill and gave a little bit more traction than the Vibram’s. They’re definitely far superior to any other running sneaker; especially the Nike Free which is a high heel dress shoe masquerading as a barefoot sneaker. Those things ruin my lower back after about an hour of wearing them.

•    Walked Around Disney Land for Nine Hours Straight- Usually a long day of walking and standing around causes my lower back to start aching. My feet, ankles, knees and hips will also start feeling it after about three or fours as well. After nine hours in the Merrell’s I felt amazing. I could have walked until the next day. In Vibram’s I’m good for a few hours and then my heels start to hurt which must affect my stride because that leads to achy knees and lower back discomfort shortly after. The Merrell’s were pure comfort all day long.

•    Got Down To Old School Hip Hop til the Wee Hours of The Morning- For a variety of reasons I don’t go out at night anywhere near as much as I used to. One of the reasons, as I’m sure thirty something’s worldwide will agree with, is that they don’t play the music we grew up with anymore. I like the stuff being put out by guys like Kanye and T.I. but throw on some Main Source or Brand Nubian and I’ll lose my mind.

Well, old school hip hop fans, if you’re ever in Vegas on a Wednesday night check out Lavo at the Palazzo. They play as much good music as you’ll hear out at a bar or club these days.

Anyway, back to the Merrell’s… the truth is that as long as old school hip hop is on I can pretty much fight through anything and feel no pain. But I still felt a hell of a lot better than I would have if I was rocking regular kicks.

•   Had Sex- Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you can only get the pants down as far as they need to go and the sneakers need to stay on. Which is a good thing since certain positions and surfaces require more traction. Again, the Merrell’s get two thumbs up here.

So if you want an awesome pair of sneakers that give you all the benefits of the Vibram Five Fingers without repelling all females within a one hundred foot radius I’d highly recommend getting a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves.

Check out them out HERE.

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31 Responses to Merrell Trail Glove Review

  1. Gary Deagle June 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Ill have to check these out. My fiance won’t even let me wear my vibram’s anywhere beyond the gym and grocery store. I normally rock the Nike Free’s, but I am due for a new pair of shoes.

  2. Justin June 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    I used to work for a place that sold these and the merrell rep threw me a pre-production pair to try out since he knew I was such a VFF fan. The Trail Gloves are literally the best pair of shoes I’ve ever owned, period. I remember him seeming slightly offended when I told him that I was flat out shocked at how good they were. I only said that because im not really a fan of their other shoes, but they hit the nail on the head with these. Along with all the stuff you listed, they are exceptional for trail running and decent on a mountain bike with platform pedals. And yes, so far no odd looks from the ladies, unlike my vibrams.

    For the record, the minimus line from new balance claims to be similar, but someone that really likes the trail gloves probably wont appreciate them. The sole is thin but still has a drop and is quite squishy, and the toe box far too narrow. Think thinner Nike free.

  3. Kevin June 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Main Source, Brand Nubian!—-what other fitness blog can you get this kind of representin?????

    Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down, my brutha!!!

    Keep keepin it real!


    • Jason Ferruggia June 22, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      @Kevin: Haha. Not too many.

      @Chris- I like these better

      @Claudia- Ahahaha.

      @Stu- Thanks for the feedback.


      @Kevin- Yes, I do. Glad to hear that. Let me know what you think of them.

  4. Marcos Torres June 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Size difference compared to Nike Free?

  5. kohy June 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    been using the vibram knockoffs by fila with some success. Nike’s always underwhelmed me in the comfort and style dept, so I wear pretty much anything with three stripes. their clima cool series are the shit!

  6. Ryan June 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    i do need a new pair of training shoes and I will have to check these out

    and great for sex?

    man that is all i need to know

    because the last thing I want is to get my pants caught on some shoes as im getting ready to do it…

    holler! :)

  7. Sam- Look Like An Athlete June 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Sweet looking shoes! All usage, multi purpose shoes rock!

  8. Chris June 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Jason, what do you think about Merrell’s Sonic glove? Is it just the trail glove you like??

    • BD June 17, 2011 at 5:22 am #


      I’d like to know the difference, as well.
      Neither Merrell’s site nor Amazon specifies the uses each model is designed for.
      Trail Glove…
      True Glove…
      Sonic Glove…

      Anyone know what advantages one may have over another?

  9. Claudia Hall Christian June 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    If I didn’t love you before, I do now simply for “Sir Douche A Lot”

  10. Josh June 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    nice review, but imma stick to squating in my chuck taylors!

  11. Scott Brady June 17, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    These 1st generation Merrell “barefoot” (read minimalist) shoes are good. I’ve had mine for two months and they feel great. They’re great for training and everyday activities. I’ve had some Vivobarefoot shoes for 6 months so I’m kind of used to the minimalist feel.

    The only complaint that people need to be aware of is that despite the supposed wider toe box area, they are in fact rather narrow for minimalist shoes. I have wide feet and had to go up a 1/2 size, which makes them slightly clown like (lol) due to the ends turning up a bit. And for those barefooters that have really wide feet, these are just too narrow.

    This has been the biggest issue for those well into minimalist shoes and I’m sure Merrell know this, and so the 2nd generation versions will I’m sure remedy this. Then they’ll be great shoes and probably perfect.

    It’s brilliant to see a well respected coach promoting this type of footwear (even though I know you’ve espoused barefoot training and VFFs for years). Nice one Jay.


    • Dave K June 17, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      @Scott Brady: Scott, which do you prefer, the merrells or the Vivo barefoot shoes? I could get some Evo’s for $80. Would they be better than the merrell trail gloves at that price? Thanks.

  12. Stu June 17, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    So so true! Sounds somewhat sad to rave about a pair of shoes, but when you start to wear them it dawns on you just how much you have punished your feet and body in the past with crappy shoes!
    I bought my Merrell Trail gloves (look sweet in the Smoke/Adventure yellow combo) Had been tempted by the vibram five fingers but I live in England so the abuse and possible beatings from wearing those outside of a gym environment put me off!
    My usual weekend Nike shoxs always hurt my knees and the toes were too tight and aggravated my Mortons neuroma. My first test run of the shoes was a weekend away and wore them out of the box (sockless) for over 12 hours; mostly standing and walking, pure bliss. No aches, no blisters, no aggravation of the neuroma either. Trained and sprinted in them at the hotel gym the following morning and then wore them for another 12+ hours the following day. Got great grip and are also really comfortable to drive in. Looking forward to putting these bad boys through their paces on our hiking holiday in Colorado at end of month.
    Love the articles Jason – Cheers!

  13. Jonny Elliott June 17, 2011 at 3:57 am #


    I tossed up between the merrells and the New Balance Minimus on a recent trip to the US (it will be a year before I can get ’em here). The minimus won for no other reason than i liked the look, but they both felt great. Use them or my VFF KSO’s for everything except squatting too.

    You think you look douchey in VFF’s in public? Maaaaate in Edinburgh people are nearly sick in their mouth’s when they see me where mine, and I’m only going from the house to the car!

  14. Siddharta1979 June 17, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    I might give them a try, they look good…
    Silly question: Why not squatting in them?

  15. Scott Brady June 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    @Chris & @BD: Sonic Glove is new version of Trail Glove with a more “solid” toe upper; i.e. it’s not meshed and so will keep water & debris out better. For indoor work and better breathability I’d say the Trail Glove is better of those two. The True Glove is a slightly more substantial version of the Trail Glove. So I guess like the Sonic Glove it offers more environmental protection. They are all very very similar though. Best to try them on if you can and see which you prefer.

    @Dave K: The Vivobarefoot trainer I have is the aqueous which is an old skool looking hi-top. It’s looks big and chunky but is light and just damn great (except it’s not as breathable as it should be imo). One of my clients has the EVO I and loves them. I think Vivobarefoot (aka Terra Plana) is a great company producing some amazing minimalist shoes & trainers & sandals! Again, best to see if you can try some on. But tbh you’ll love any shoe from either company.

  16. Kevin Kuzia June 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Have a pair being overnighted from Zappos right now. Jay – do you wear socks with these or not?

    Looking forward to giving these suckers a try. You haven’t steered me wrong yet.


  17. Griffin Winkworth June 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I guess I’m that cooky workout guy. Although, I haven’t worn them to a bar yet…

  18. Patrick V June 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Hey Jay,

    Have you tried the Inov8 shoes yet? Out of the Nike Frees, New Balance Minimus, and the Reeflex, the Inov8s are by far my favorite. I have the F220 and F230s. I think you should check them out.

  19. Shaun June 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    I’m glad to hear they’re good for every day use. Since I still work an office job and take public transit, I walk a fair amount. I can’t help but be self-conscious wearing Vibrams to and from work but know wearing regular shoes all day has been ruining the good habits my Vibrams build in the gym. Think I’ll figure out what size I need and order a couple pair from Zappos.

  20. Chris Bratcher June 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Best pair of workout shoes ever! Never want to take them off. Thanks Jason.

  21. scott June 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I have enjoyed using barefoot type shoes but my orthopedist has recommended stiffer soles due to a condition that prevents flexibility in my big toes (hallux rigidus). Any recommendations for a stiffer soled shoes with as flat a bottom as possible? Chuck Taylors? Thanks for any help.

  22. Curious June 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    I gotta know who is that girl in the picture?!!!

  23. Siddharta1979 June 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Sorry people, but I’m curious; why one would squat with chuck taylors but not with these Merrel? I didn’t think there was much difference, but I’m quite a newbie so… can someone explain?


  24. Kevin Kuzia June 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Got my Trail Gloves a few days ago and have been wearing them consistently with my first training session in them today. Love them. A few thoughts:
    – They run slightly narrow if you want to wear them with bare feet. I would go down a half size if you plan on going sock less.
    – Excellent grip while training squats.
    – Very comfortable to just walk around in, truthfully.

    @Siddhartha: I think that’s mostly a matter of personal preference. I think a lot of powerlifters may tend to like squatting in Chucks because there is probably a “feel” of them being more stable, especially since they focus so much on driving their knees out while dropping down. Not sure if they are truly more stable, but heck, if you feel it helps in your own mind, then it probably does. I could squat in Chucks, FiveFingers or these Merrells just the same… But I am liking the Merrells a lot.

  25. ChrisNunz June 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    How would you all compare these to the new New Balance Minimus Trail shoes? They seem exactly the same ..

  26. Jason July 3, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    I have had the 5 fingers and was not happy with them. Not sure if it was my wide feet but they didn’t last, Were tore in a few weeks. Nike for the most part has narrow shoes so the frees didn’t work for me.

    Now I have the NB Minimus and enjoy them thus far.

    I will have to give the Merrell a try.

  27. alex July 3, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Just got my pair a few days ago. Been doing hill sprints, tons of walking and training and I have to say these shoes are phenomenal. No signs of pain whatsoever, I could walk and train in them all day. Just hope they are able to last a long time.

    Thanks for the recommendation Jason.