Merrell True Glove
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by Jason Robillard, of Barefoot Running University
Merrell’s True Glove is a jack-of-all-trades minimalist shoe. At least that’s what I use it for. Officially, Merrell markets the shoe as a hiking/active shoe. Unofficially, I use this shoe for an incredibly wide range of activities. To date, I’ve used it for:
A running shoe,
It’s a versatile shoe. I use mine mostly as a casual shoe, but it is nice knowing it does fairly well in a variety of roles.
As a running shoe, I prefer the Trail Glove. The upper material of the True Glove is less flexible. In fact, the Tough Glove would make a better running shoe if the upper were more breathable. Despite this, the shoe can be used… it just wouldn’t be my first choice.
As a hiking shoe, I think I would still prefer the Trail Glove. This may be the trail runner in me, but I prefer the adddded flexibility when hiking, too.
The casual shoe role fits the True Glove well. I like the looks, the color schemes fit the majority of my casual clothing, and the fit is comfortable.
The shoe is probably too informal for most office environments, but works well on our “casual Fridays” at my school.
The shoe worked well as a crosstraining shoe. I prefer the True Glove to the Trail Glove, but can’t quite articulate why. I think the less flexible upper gives a sense of stability without actually interfering with proprioception. Regardless, the shoe works well for crosstraining.
Lastly, I used the shoe to kick footballs. I’ll be honest- it sucked. Like every minimalist shoe I’ve used, the wide toe box messes with the ability to kick the ball. Oddly, I don’t have this issue with soccer balls.
This shoe is built around the same Vibram sole as the Trail Glove and the Tough Glove. It is a sole that is built for the outdoors. The shoe is wide enough for most feet, though some people with very wide feet have experienced fitting issues. If you have wide feet, try the shoes before purchasing! The toe box is wide enough to allow toes to splay. The shoe has a zero-dropped heel. Together, these features allow natural running or walking gait.
Aesthetically, the lone thing I would change is the top of the toe box. I would use a solid piece of material versus the arch-like design.
As far as fit, the shoe feels very similar to the others in the lineup. If you haven’t tried them yet, the fit is quite similar to Vibram’s Bikilas and Somewhat similar to New Balance’s Minimus Trails. The shoes are snug around the midfoot, which keeps the shoe in place.
When I first tried this type of shoe, it was rather distressing. I was used to the floppy freedom of Terra Planas and Walmart aqua socks. Once I became accustomed to the feel, I saw the real benefit of this style- it keeps the shoe perfectly in place while still allowing for natural foot movement.
This shoe is a quality addition to Merrell’s lineup. If you are looking for a running shoe, you’d probably prefer the Trail Glove. If you’re looking for a work shoe, you’d probably prefer the Tough Glove. However, if you’re looking for a multipurpose shoe that performs a variety of tasks, this could be the ideal shoe.
As with any minimalist shoe, use my advice as a tool to help figure out what will work best for YOU. I like to use this method myself.
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