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Merrell Trail Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe Review

10:19 7th October 2013 by Andrew Cremin @OutsideTimes
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An updated, rejigged version of the iconic barefoot trail running shoe from Merrell. A few key tweaks that really help it to stand out from the barefoot crowd.

Improved breathability with the great new mesh upper.

Improved breathability with the great new mesh upper.

This is the second incarnation of one of the shoes that really kicked off the barefoot trail running movement for Merrell and is one of the most iconic of the shoes. It is an updated, rejigged model although it still remains true to the original’s no compromise on the cushioning barefoot design. 


Perhaps the most technical area of the shoe is the outsole and tread which remains (thankfully) largely unchanged from the original model. The Vibram outsole looks almost identical to those on the originals and provides decent grip levels without being overly bulky nor compromising ground feedback. The shallow, yet wide-spaced lugs provide decent enough traction and the different shaped section of tread help to grip on different terrain too. Enlarged grip lugs on the toe section of the outsole help with climbing on loose trail sections really well, digging in on dirt and scree. On wet stone and pavement though, the grip can be left a little wanting although, this is a sure sign of a trail running focus.

Although allowing enough flex to move with the foot inside, the Trail Gloves have a good level of impact protection from stones and uneven bits underneath with 4mm of cushioning throughout the length. You do undoubtedly feel sharp stones and bumps, but they don’t hurt and there is no loss of any critical ground feedback- which is key in a shoe of this style.

The sole unit flexes pleasingly too, allowing the foot to retain it’s natural flex which helps with grip as well as ground feedback.


Inside, the comfort levels have been improved over the original Trail Gloves, with a softer feel to the lining- making them even more comfortable without socks on. The mesh uppers are also more breathable than the original models, providing good air flow in use, and preventing a sweat build-up.

Fit wise, there has been a slight adjustment since the original Trail Gloves too. There is a little more space around the toe-box of the shoe, allowing the toes to spread out in a natural motion. There is also a little more height up front to help feet flex in a natural way.


A decent adjustable fit is easily achieved with Merrell’s Omni-Fit lacing system, which adds extra adjustment to the top laces. Although in the previous model this feature ran down the length of the entire lacing, this time only the top two lace loops have Omni-Fit adjustability. In practice that means that it’s actually harder to over-tighten the shoes at the front (a good thing).

When buying a pair of barefoot style running shoes, fit should be upmost in your mind. As the shoes are really supposed to operate as a kind of extension of your actual foot, the fit needs to be spot on. Many choose to run without socks, and in that case, you really need to minimalise rubbing and chafing on the inside. For some the Trail Glove 2 may be a little narrow around the arch area, although that was also true of the original model too.

↑ The Good

  • Very Breathable
  • Plenty of space in the toe box to allow natural foot movements
  • Good off-road traction


↓ The (Not so) Good

  • Unforgiving if you’re new to barefoot.


An evolution rather than revolution of the original and well-loved Trail Glove. A few key refinements add up to a much more comfortable and better performing shoe.

Score: 9/10

The Facts:

Brand: Merrell
Model: Trail Glove 2
Price: £90
Used for: Multi terrain training runs (mud, roots, rock, tarmac)
url: merrell.com/uk
Weight: 398 grams (pair)



• Fabric and synthetic upper

• Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing System provides a precise, glove-like fit

• Breathable mesh lining wicks to keep feet dry wicks to keep feet dry

• M-Select FRESH naturally prevents odor before it starts for fresh smelling feet

• Reflective details for increased visibility in low light

• Wash as needed in cold water (gentle cycle). Air dry.



• 0mm Drop / 4mm Cush / 9.5mm Stack Height

• TrailProtect pad in the forefoot offers additional support off road

• Non-marking outsole

• Vibram® outsole

• Vegan friendly footwear


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