by Chuck Millsaps, Minister of Culture
For the barefoot runner, or would-be barefoot runner, who searches for freedom beyond an “individual toed shoe”, emancipation is near! Starting today the new Merrell Trail Glove, which features a Vibram outsole, is now available in our shops. Discover how to stimulate your senses, develop stronger muscles and find a more balanced posture in this new minimalist shoe. Stop by shop and take a pair for a spin. We also stock the Women’s Pure Glove and Pace Glove.
I should note that I incorporated “barefoot” into my running about 2 years ago with the Vibram Five Finger KSO and Bikila. After 30+ years heel-strike running I now run exclusively on soft surface trails and made the transition to “barefoot” by salting it in over a 4 month period. I currently average 40-50 miles a week with about 20% of that barefoot. Running “barefoot” has encouraged my mid-foot strike, strengthened my Achilles and calves, and reduced injury. The new Trail Glove from Merrell allows me to further increase my “barefoot” mileage thus increasing the benefits.
So why another barefoot shoe like the Merrell Trial Glove? Well, after nearly a month of testing the Trail Glove I can say the name is perfect. Only 6.2 oz (men’s size 9) the Trail Glove feels like an ultra light racing flat with a wide toe box. (I am a “D” width on the Brannock, and fit comfortably in the Brooks Cascadia which is my other choice for trails.) The snug fit through the heel and midfoot of the Trail Glove is balanced with a wide toe box allowing the foot to spread its toes freely. My first extended run (7+ miles) covered a multiple of surfaces including pavement, single track and crush-n-run fire road. I like the traditional lacing system which allows me to snug up the ankle collar without crimping the toe box. The 4 mm EVA midsole is most adequate for the single track portion of the run where leaf cover often hides broken billiard ball quartz stones. The outsole has a modest lug pattern but the traction is excellent even when transitioning from muddy slope to granite climb. The zero drop from ball to heel gives the shoe that sports car feel that hugs the terrain.
The Merrell Trail Glove is the ideal choice for the runner looking to start their barefoot experience. Merrell has provided a great resource on their website http://merrell.com/Barefoot where you can learn more about their new barefoot collection. For expert advice be sure to come by the shop and talk with our staff. I encourage you to try on a pair and see how stimulating and freeing the barefoot performance can be. Don’t be surprised if you drop a size or two when try a pair. I wear an 11 in regular shoes, a 43 in the VFF Bikila and found the 10 to be the best fit in the Trail Glove. The Trail Glove will continue to be a part of my running experience. Hope to see you on the trails.