Facts

  • Terrain
    Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support
    Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use
    Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    Price
    $100
  • Weight
    Weight
    Men: 8.1oz
    Women: 6oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Heel to toe drop
    Men: 0mm
    Women: 0mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Heel height
    Men: 11mm
    Women: 11mm
  • Forefoot height
    Forefoot height
    Men: 11mm
    Women: 11mm
  • Width
    Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Release date
    May 2017
  • Special editions
    Special editions
Show more facts

Summary

We spent 8.5 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • Based on some reviews, the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is more protective and stylish than the previous version.
  • A lot of runners said that this shoe performed well on short and long-distance trail runs.
  • According to some testers, the tongue unit and the laces are more comfortable and secure.
  • Some of the fans of the series mentioned that this version is really visually appealing.
  • A good number of reviewers appreciated this shoe because it fitted like a glove.
  • Most of the testers mentioned that the formal style of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 allowed them to wear this shoe for casual occasions.
  • A lot of runners agreed that the Merrell Trail Glove 4 was more flexible when compared to other shoes.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some users felt some pain when they initially started wearing the shoe.
  • According to some testers, the mesh was very thin. It easily tore apart after only several uses.
  • A few runners mentioned that the shoe felt a bit loose in the ankle.
  • Some runners observed that the outsole had a flimsy grip on muddy trails and slimy rocks.

Bottom line

Many claimed that the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is one of the most appealing shoes that a runner could ever have. A lot of testers admired the flexibility, slip resistance, construction and durability of the shoe. Trail Runners recommended the Merrell Trail Glove 4 because of its appealing and stylish look. They also commented that the shoe performed fairly well on short and long trail running sessions, with minimal pain at the start of wearing the shoe.

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

91 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 97 / 100 | Avery Smith

    Merrell Trail Glove 4: The best minimalist trail running shoe

    minimal trail running shoe, and barefoot trail running shoe. 

    Most people are not ready to go into a full-fledged barefoot running shoe, especially for trail running. The Trail Glove is a good compromise as it has a barefoot feel, with more protection.

     

    Upper

    The upper is made of a lightly padded synthetic material. There is a lattice of overlays around the midfoot to add structure and support.

    Breathability

    The Trail Glove is very breathable for a trail shoe. There are no holes in the upper for ventilation, but the upper material itself is breathable. This is favorable because the upper does not let trail debris into the shoe at all.

    Heel Collar

    Since this is a minimal shoe, Merrell does not include a heel cup. The heel collar has a small amount of padding. I would not want any more padding in a minimal running shoe.

     

    Tongue & Laces

    Gloves do not have tongues; they are a piece of fabric that wraps around your hand. The tongue of the Trail Glove is the same material as the rest of the upper.

    The tongue is asymmetrically constructed; it only separates from the rest of the upper on the lateral side of the shoe. The laces are standard flat laces that allow you to get a good lockdown, despite the wide fit.

     

    Toe Bumper

    The Glove 4 has a small toe bumper made of the rubber outsole, and a thicker synthetic material, to protect the foot from rocks and roots. The toe bumper is not the most protective of

    The toe bumper is not the most protective of toe bumpers, but a large toe bumper would be unnecessary because you need to watch where you are going anyway when you are running in a minimalist running shoe.

    Fit

    The Trail Glove 4 has a wide fit. The heel and midfoot are a little wide, and the toebox is very wide. The width is very comfortable. My toes can splay naturally when I land, and my feet don’t slide forward, despite the wide fit.

    Sizing

    I wear a size 12 in the Merrell Trail Glove. Here is a chart to compare the General size of different brands.

     

    Reflectivity

    The Trail Glove has one small piece of reflective material on the tongue.

    Midsole

    The Trail Glove has a very minimal midsole. There's only mere millimeters of cushion. The midsole provides very little impact protection.

    There is no sock liner in the Trail Glove. This makes the Trail Glove ok for running sockless.

     

    Drop

    As expected, the Trail Glove has no heel to toe drop. This is ideal for barefoot running shoes. Despite the zero drop construction, there is more cushion in the heel than in the forefoot.

    Flexibility

    The Trail Glove is extremely flexible. This gives the Trail Glove a more natural ride, which is what I am looking for in a barefoot trail running shoe.

    Outsole

    The Trail Glove’s outsole is constructed by Vibram. The outsole is very durable and provides decent traction. 

    It has shallow, yet aggressively shaped lugs, that perform well on packed trails and rocks. I did not have great traction in loose mud and dirt.

    The lugs in the forefoot are backward for enhanced traction during climbs. The lugs in the rearfoot are pointed forwards for enhanced traction on descents.

     

     

    Barefoot shoes should not have good traction in loose mud, or else the sole is too substantial, and the shoe is not really a barefoot shoe.

    You can't have a La Sportiva Bushido sole (very Grippy Sole) on a barefoot shoe! The Merrell Trail Glove has the best traction out of any barefoot trail running shoe on the market.

    Weight

    The Trail Glove 4 weighs about 8 ounces. This is not as light as some barefoot trail running shoes, however, it does not weigh you down in any way.

    Durability

    Both the upper and the outsole are very durable. Over time, the lugs will wear down, especially if you run on the road. However, if you are willing to run with worn down lugs, the Trail Glove will last about 600 miles.

    Best Use

    The Merrell Trail Glove is the most comfortable minimalist trail running shoe on the market. I recommend it to anyone looking for a barefoot trail running shoe with more protection than usual. This is a very minimal shoe.

    Only forefoot strikers should try running in this shoe. Biomechanically less efficient runners should not attempt to use this shoe. They will quickly injury themselves.

    I can use this shoe for runs up to about 15 miles, at which point, I wish I had some more cushion. The Merrell Trail Glove can be used on roads, but the more substantial outsole is heavier and not necessary on roads.

    Comparisons

    Merrell Trail Glove 4 VS. Merrell Vapor Glove 3

    The Vapor Glove is the more minimal version of the Trail Glove. It has no cushion at all and a much less substantial outsole. The Vapor Glove is technically a trail shoe, but I find that it works best as the road version of the Trail Glove.

    Both shoes are zero drop and equally comfortable. Buy the Vapor glove if you want a full blown barefoot shoe; Buy the Trail Glove if you want a little bit more protection.

    Merrell Trail Glove 4 VS. Vibram Trek Ascent

    The Trek Ascent is another barefoot trail running shoe. The Trek Ascent is two ounces lighter than the Trail Glove.

    Both the Vibram Trek Ascent and the Trail Glove have durable Vibram outsoles (no surprise there), however, the Trail Glove’s outsole is more substantial. The Trail Glove looks like a normal shoe, unlike the Trek Ascent, which has 5 toe pockets. The Trek Ascent has a much more secure fit.

    Conclusion

    the Trail Glove. In over 50 miles of testing, I never had any problems.

    The shoe could definitely be a little lighter, but apart from that, it is just perfect. It is truly the most comfortable, "almost barefoot" trail running shoe on the market.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

    Avery Smith

    Level 4 expert (15-30 reviews)

    Avery has run for about 4 years on all types of terrain, totaling about 80 miles per week when he is not injured. He loves shoes from Brooks, Hoka One One, Altra, La Sportiva, and Merrel. Avery runs every distance, from 100 meters to 100 miles. Notable accomplishments include winning several 5ks and winning his age group in the Leadville 50 by an hour and forty minutes. This year Avery will be competing in the Boston Marathon and the Leadman Competition.

    19 reviews - average score 88/100

  • 95 / 100 | Kate Stillwell

    Merrell's best kept secret: The Merrell Trail Glove 4

    Setting the scene, up Crib Goch in Snowden, slippery rock, road sections, a little grass, low cloud cover, scrambling, some light rock climbing with scree and some heavy descents.

    The Merrell Trail Glove 4 proved to tackle all of the above. With the tenacity to stick to any substance underfoot. Trust in every placing tackling the ever-changing welsh summer weather.

    With a reputation for outstanding wearability the Vivovibram tread to back up any claims, they didn’t disappoint. Quality oozes from these reasonably priced trail shoes.

     

    Durability

    As a forefoot runner, the annihilation of the toe box stitching or forefoot tread is usually a matter of time.

    Two months in and around 200k including 10 peaks, there are no signs of any wear to the outer material and very little to the tread. These shoes were built for summer abuse on firm, slippery, rough terrain it would seem. 

     

    Grip

    Without a doubt the summer shoe, the lugs on the Glove 4 are minimal and although proved more than capable on rocks and a slippery top surface on grass, trail, beach and fell running they are not a mud running or winter shoe.

     

     

    With a very minimal lug, traction in the deep ground or on a grass surface with prolonged rain and cut to the profile there would not be much grip.

    They drained very well in rain and beach running, drying out in rain and cloud exceptionally fast.

    Support

    The Glove 4 is minimal in every sense of the word, with a low drop of zero, a wider toe box allowing the toes to do their job and a low ankle.

    The laces which I’ll admit did nearly put me off when purchasing them proved to be one of the best features allowing for them to slip on and off in fact like a glove, living up to their name.

    Conclusion

    The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is incredibly comfortable. From 5k speed sessions to 30k mountain scrambles, they seemed to relish the challenge and gave me huge confidence in them.

    They are a go-to shoe for utter comfort. You can tuck these anywhere with ease for a trip abroad, lightweight, flexible and durable. Definitely a good minimalistic shoe.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

    Kate Stillwell

    Level 1 expert (1-2 reviews)

    What is a 50k two-day island ultra between friends? The same could be said for a 35k race holding an empty barrel with obstacles perhaps or an 8k hill climb? The biggest obstacle course race in Europe maybe, these are all some of the delights I’ve had the pleasure of racing, enjoying and taking home some form of the podium position in. From horse riding three years ago, to training with friends. A slightly competitive nature has come out for weekly races and a passion for finding the perfect shoe, to carry me round any course has formed.

    1 review - average score 95/100

  • 85 / 100 | Fellrnr

    While this is the Trail version, I find it's ideal for Road use as the outsole is not aggressive, and I prefer it over the Merrell Road Glove.

  • First look / Unboxing | Shop Zappos

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Updates to Merrell Trail Glove 4

  • The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is a trail running shoe that always connects runners to the trail. It features a zero-drop stack height with a 3-mm lug depth to enhance traction in a light setup. It has a breathable mesh lining that promotes a healthier foot environment.
  • It also features a traditional, five-piece lace system for added security to the runner’s foot.
  • One of the greatest changes to this version is the tongue. The half burrito tongue is not separated but rather a continuation of the upper.

Merrell Trail Glove 4 size and fit

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 has a standard running shoe length when it comes to sizing. This shoe is best for runners who prefer minimal trail running. Available widths are D-Medium for the men’s version and B-Medium for the women’s version.

Outsole

The aggressive Vibram TC5+ outsole of the Merrell Glove 4 aims to provide runners with a more responsive, durable and flexible running experience. It consists of a lightweight rubber material that is abrasion-resistant. It also provides a better grip for runners.

Between the midsole and the outsole of this shoe is a Trail Protect Pad that is designed for better underfoot protection from rough and sharp objects like debris and rocks. It distributes pressure while maintaining minimal forefoot flexibility.

Midsole

The midsole of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is made up of a compression molded EVA foam that provides light and long-lasting cushioning. The EVA was chosen because of its lightweight qualities that allow runners to feel light on their foot.

The Non-Removable Microfibre Footbed utilizes M-Select Fresh. This is an anti-microbial agent that keeps the runner’s foot cool, healthy and dry. This solution is helpful in eliminating odor-causing microbes and preventing perspiration.

Upper

The synthetic mesh upper of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is strategically designed for durability and breathability.

A breathable mesh lining aids in the absorption of sweat and moisture. It is also geared towards maintaining the ventilation of the shoe.

It has a roomy toe box which is ideal for the runner who has a wider foot. This gives the runner’s toes enough space to spread out and circumvent over-crowding.

The TPU overlays have been added to key areas to provide support where it is most needed. It extends from the eyelets for greater upper reinforcement and increased durability. The overlays provide a lightweight structure to the shoe.

It has a lightly padded collar and tongue. These sections hold the foot in place and provide some cushioning.