Verdict from 9 experts and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The 2nd edition of the Trail Glove has a soft upper and a cozy lining for comfortable runs on the trails.
  • The price is very reasonable.
  • It is very light.
  • A significant number of runners valued the noticeable ground feedback with just enough protection provided by the rock plate.
  • It is very flexible.
  • The Trail Glove 2 has some serious traction, according to many reviews.
  • Some runners appreciated the upper’s ability to dry off.
  • A majority of runners loved the new sleek and sophisticated look.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A handful of runners noted that the arch is a bit too snug.
  • The contour of the snug arch takes some break-in time.
  • Works mostly for those who have extensive experience with minimalist shoes.

Bottom line

The Trail Glove line is one of Merrell’s most popular shoes and should continue to be so for experienced minimalist runners. With an improved upper and roomier toe box, getting that much closer to barefoot running is capably provided by the 2nd instalment of this series. It feels agile and has tons of traction in basically all off-road terrain.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Expert reviews:

Good to know

  • Merrell introduces only a handful of changes in the Trail Glove 2 to keep the spirit and performance of the original model. In the outsole, the lugs in the forefoot are more aggressive than before to really enhance the traction, particularly when going uphill or taking on grass, mud, or technical terrain.
  • The upper gets a makeover by a new breathable mesh. More than just ventilation-friendly, the new mesh has a shiny and sleek appeal compared to the one used before. Overall, the upper has a softer feel courtesy of the plush lining of the interior.
  • Perhaps the biggest change that is not so evident is a roomier toe box both in width and height. It directly answers the concerns of the past version where the narrow toe box limited the number of people who can enjoy the shoe’s awesome performance on the trail.

The fit of the new version of the Trail Glove clearly resembles the original model except for the added real estate in the toe box. It still caters to runners with narrow to medium dimensions of their foot. The heel and the midfoot have nice squeeze that holds the foot in place on uneven terrain. Medium is the width of this shoe. Shoe length is standard in the Trail Glove 2.

The Vibram outsole remains to be the rubber of choice in the Trail Glove 2. This is characterized by lugs that are generously spaced apart with aggressive forefoot lugs. These lugs are as reliable as the lugs found in the Trail Glove 5.

A rock plate serves as an adequate protection against rocks and sharp objects without taking away ground feedback.

As expected, the midsole is mainly for some cushioning and added underfoot protection. The midsole houses a 4mm compression-molded EVA to get the job done. It runs the whole length of the shoe for consistency in cushioning and better transitions.

A very breathable mesh with DWR-coated synthetic leather and synthetic overlays serve as the most significant features of the upper. It is a bare minimum upper that envelopes the fit very well because of the overlays and the OmniFit Lacing system. Inside the shoe is a Microfiber footbed with antimicrobial properties.

How Trail Glove 2 compares

This shoe: 86
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: $110
All shoes average: $131
$60 $250
This shoe: 6.7oz
All shoes average: 10.4oz
6oz 24oz
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.