Merrell Trail Glove 4

9.2
9.2 score
[Editors rating (9.2) + Users rating (9.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (9.2)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

If there are less than 10 user reviews for the product in total, the weight of user reviews is decreased from 50% to 25% to make sure that new products are not rated too high.
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Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 2 user ratings
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Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review Facts
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Barefoot running shoes grant runners a more natural stride than traditional running shoes. The shoes typically do not have any heel-to-toe drop. In contrast, traditional running shoes usually have a 10-12mm heel-to-toe drop. The former, though, is beneficial because it inhibits heel-first landings, and instead allows the runner to land first on the balls of their feet. As a result of this, the runner’s body is in better alignment, and they can worry less about placing undue stress on their knees and back. The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is a snug and protective shoe for trail running. It can reasonably protect a runner traversing a trail, without bogging them down. It has also been designed to lend to its runner a great deal of ground sensitivity. 

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • In keeping with its namesake, truly does fit like a glove
  • Does not sacrifice responsivity, or natural feel for protection
  • Provides adequate protection for trail running
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Anatomically correct
Cons
  • Does poorly on long distance or fast runs
  • May not provide adequate arch support for some runners
  • Lacks ankle support
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 was made by Italy’s award-winning manufacturer,Vibram. Constructed of lightweight rubber, the outsole is both responsiveness, and durable. It also works to guard the runner’s feet against the rocks and miscellaneous objects that may appear along with a trail.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Midsole of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is constructed of EVA foam. The midsole is a minimal one. Some runners may insist that it doesn’t provide enough cushioning. It does, however, grant the shoe a lighter feel.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper is constructed of a synthetic mesh, thermoplastic urethane to be exact. In order to maintain its responsivity, the shoe employs only light padding. There are TPU overlays that connect to the mid shoe.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The men’s shoe weighs approximately 8 ounces, while the women’s shoes weigh about 6 ounces. It is not the lightest minimalist trail shoe on the market, but it certainly won’t weigh you down that much.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Although there are no ventilation holes in the upper, the wearer is granted sufficient airflow. This is because of the breathable mesh in the upper. Common with ventilation holes in the intake and lodging of debris. In this case, then, the absence of ventilation holes can be considered a plus. The mesh, itself, is made of an absorbent material so that the runner’s feet never feel too wet.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 was crafted to be anatomically correct. This makes running in the shoe feel, decidedly, more natural. It’s snug fit also helps to prevent the uncomfortable jostling about of the foot inside the shoe. The design of the shoe makes more a very comfortable short distance runs. When worn on longer journeys, though, it begins to falter. The shoes cushioning is essentially just a thin foam pad. While this may add to the lightweight feel, it does not make for comfortable running when traveling fast or far.
Style
Style

Style

Merrell Trail Glove 4 has a very minimal aesthetic design. For securing the shoe, and adjusting the fit, bungee-style laces are employed. Many runners have argued that these shoes are more stylish than previous versions.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The portion of the shoe that can and should be most lauded for its durability is the upper. This is not to imply that the rest of the shoe will fall apart on first wear. It is a finely crafted barefoot running shoe that sure withstands most of what’s thrown at it. Some runners, though, had noticed that the lugs on the outsole were rubbed away when the shoe was used on roads for extended periods. This may be concerning, but it is important to remember that the shoe was designed to be worn when traversing natural terrain, not cityscapes or the like. Even so, the shoe can still function relatively well with these filed down lugs. Some runners assert that, in spite of worn away lugs, their shoes held up for hundreds of extra miles.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 provides a great deal of protection despite its minimalistic design. Wedged between the midsole and outsole, the TrailProtect™pad works well to prevent objects from making too deep an impact on the bottom of the runner’s feet. The Vibram outsole also works wonders. One must keep in mind, though, that this is a barefoot running shoe. While it offers greater protection than most other barefoot running shoes, it can only do so much before it sacrifices that lightweight feel. Its protective mechanisms work best for short to medium length runs on natural terrains.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Some brands overstuff their shoes with cushioning and padding to guard their runners against debris and end up sacrificing responsivity in the process. Merrell, though, has found a way around this. As stated, incorporated into The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is the Vibram TC5+ outsole. This material allows the runner to feel the trail beneath their feet without incurring too much physical stress.
Support
Support

Support

The TrailProtect™ pad also provides underfoot support, but those with medium to high arches are best served by this shoe. Those who need extra arch support may find the shoe lacking. The heel has a great deal of cushioning while the forefoot does not. Some runners may also find that the shoes do not reach high enough to give their ankles adequate support.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The shoe is designed to function most efficiently on packed trails. Running along the hard surface of a city street or sidewalk in these shoes would bring too much physical stress to the feet.
Price
Price

Price

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is set at about the average price for a barefoot running shoe. If you’re seeking a light-weight, responsive and snug barefoot shoe then this one is definitely worth the price. Some runners, though, have argued that the shoe should be priced somewhat lower because of what it lacks in versatility.
Traction
Traction

Traction

On the forefoot, the lugs that make up the outsole are positioned backward. This grants the wearer better grip when ascending. The lugs featured on the rearfoot are positioned forwards, this is meant to give the wearer better grip while climbing down. An aggressive lug pattern appears on the outsole of the forefoot but is noticeably lacking on that of the rearfoot. Runners will also have difficulty on loose dirt and mud. This is typical of barefoot running shoes because to be considered “barefoot,” the shoe must not have too sizeable a sole or too grippy a tread.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is more flexible than most competing shoes. The shoe was designed to feel like a sock on the foot, and its incredible flexibility is a product of that. The outsole, though, has just enough rigidity to keep the shoe from feeling too slack.
Stability
Stability

Stability

TPU overlays connect the upper to the mid shoe. The tongue is restricted to an opening on its outer side. This allows the shoe to provide greater support to its medial side.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 follows in the tradition of its predecessors by not having any heel-to-toe drop.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

- TrailProtect™ pad
- Vibram TC5+ outsole
- EVA foam
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a good barefoot running shoe, you can do worse than choosing the Merrell Trail Glove 4. It’s one of the more protective barefoot shoes on the market. Its outsole and midsole work well to guard the feet against those harmful objects one encounters while trail running. What’s remarkable, though is that it has managed to add this protection without sacrificing responsivity. That’s a level of balance that most other brands just can’t lay claim to. The shoe derives its name from the way it is intended to fit: like a glove. On this front too, Merrell has succeeded. This shoe is snug. Not too mention its pretty lightweight. These, coupled with its employment of an anatomically correct design make it a great barefoot shoe. The barefoot quality of the shoe, though, maybe too realistic at times. Those without a high or medium arch may truly feel as though they are running without shoes on. That means taking on the stress and pains of such an activity. Others may be able to empathize with these runners when traversing long distances. The shoes do not hold up well for long stints. The pains of running barefoot might also be registered in the ankles of some runners. All in all, though, the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is good for those runners who do not need extra support. It's a lightweight, stylish, and comfortable shoe with enough ground sensitivity to please those looking to get that barefoot feel.