I’d been wanting to test Merrell Trail Glove shoes since I’d first read and heard about the ‘barefoot’ way of running, or ‘bareform’ as Merrell call it so it was great to be given the opportunity to review a pair by nightgear.co.uk.
On opening the box first impressions were wow, these things weigh nothing and they look great, I couldn’t wait to get them on and go for my first ‘barefoot’ run.
Taking my queue from all the articles on the internet I had planned to go out slowly and for a short amount of time, building gradually so my running form could adapt to the minimal cushioning and zero heal to toe drop. So the first run arrived and after finding the most minimal socks I owned (I wasn’t brave enough to go without this first time) I put them on, pulled tight the laces and ventured gingerly out of the front door.
I shouldn’t have worried, after the initial sensation of ‘oh my god I’m not wearing anything on my feet’ and a quick stop to adjust the laces they felt great and, as the name suggested, they fit like a glove. Just enough under foot to protect from sharp stones but minimal enough too feel them. I was impressed.
Over the next few weeks I gradually built up distance and time until I could comfortably run 30 minutes in them at just below my ‘normal’ speed so as a ‘barefoot’ trial the experiment was going very well indeed. And then I injured myself running up Ingleborough and realistically have only just got back into any sort of rhythm (2 months later) so I’m a little wary restarting the experiment until I’m convinced I’m 100% while wearing ‘normal’ trail shoes.
As for the shoes, they are very, very good. The build quality is excellent, as expected from Merrell, and they look superb in grey and silver as well as the many other colour combinations available. I think the Trail Ascend would be better suited to the British hills as the tread pattern on these seems a little ‘light’ for the wetter, muddier runs I like to go on but once the sun revisits us, and I’m convinced my leg is fully healed, I can see myself wearing these a lot, especially running round the cliffs and shorelines of North Wales.
These shoes were supplied for review by nightgear.co.uk