This past year I went to Outdoor Retailer and got a sneak peek at Merrell’s new minimalist trail running collection from one of their representatives. If you like what you read here about the Tough Glove then you may want to check out what I found out about the other new minimalist trail running shoes in Merrell’s collection: Trail Glove and True Glove for Men; and Pace Glove, Power Glove, and Pure Glove for Women. Find which one best fits you your running style…like a glove!
Merrell’s Tough Glove is somewhat similar to the other minimalist trail running shoes in the collection. It is made so your feet and legs can follow their natural instincts, giving them the room to flow. The Tough Glove is the heaviest shoe in the collection. It does have an uber-lightweight upper with a stabilizing rubber foot sling from Vibram which protects your underfoot from pointy rocks; however, it doesn’t have the toe protection that Merrell’s other minimalist trail running shoes do. Maybe that’s why they call it Tough Glove…
The upper is made of a synthetic leather and air mesh which gives a looser feel than the other shoes in the collection. This shoe is for runners who absolutely want to give their feet the freedom of movement when trail running. The Omni-Fit lacing system that Merrell owns still makes the shoe fit snug enough to be considered a “glove.” It does have a toe bumper for some durability, but it’s not as heavy duty as the other Merrell minimalist shoes. There is rubber in the rear of the shoe too, but this is more for easily slipping them on, while giving your heel a tight feeling, rather than for protection. The Tough Glove supposedly also has a footbed treated with Merrell’s antimicrobial solution which I was told resists odor but that’s hard to believe in a minimalist trail running shoe; one that usually is run in without socks through water, mud, and everything else.
The Vibram midsole and outsole are the same on all of Merrell’s minimalist trail running shoe collection but in case this is your first read:
The midsole and outsole has a 4 mm cushioning in it, just enough for a semi-soft landing while still allowing for the minimalist trail running feel. The part I like most about the sole is the 1 mm forefoot shock absorption plant which helps maintain forefoot flexibility and protects the foot by distributing pressure. The Trail Glove is the first minimalist trail running shoe I’ve seen that has taken into account that minimalist runners run on their toes. In fact, Merrell also told me that they would be providing instructions on minimalist running techniques with every pair they sell of their minimalist trail running shoe collection; like a manual for a car. I think this is a great idea because I’ve heard of too many injured runners throwing on minimalist running shoes without changing their technique and further injuring themselves. The sole is made of a rubber compound TC-1. What does that mean exactly? I don’t know, but I trust any sole made by Vibram.
Yeah, I do feel weird quoting myself but you never know who your audience is on the Internet. The Tough Glove is perfect for runners who want the closest thing to the barefoot running feel without baring it all. It is also a great shoe for minimalist runners who run 90% road and 10% trail and want a hybrid shoe. So for the Glove of God, check out Merrell’s new collection which comes out in February 2011, we’d love to hear what everyone else thinks of them!