Verdict from 2 experts and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Many users were surprised at how comfortable the Trail Glove 4 Knit was, considering it is a barefoot shoe. A couple of other wearers claimed it was the most comfortable shoe they have owned.
  • The instep gave a perfect fit, wrote a commenter.
  • Several runners asserted that the shoe was lightweight.
  • A lot of users relayed praises regarding the comfort and protection of the knit upper.
  • The shoe gave just the right amount of pressure on the Achilles, mentioned a wearer.
  • The toe box gave enough room to enable long distance runs, a runner stated.
  • Various purchasers noted the excellent arch and foot support.
  • For a trail shoe, the Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit was terrific even as casual footwear, a couple of buyers shared.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The fit was not as good as the original Trail Glove 4, according to a reviewer.
  • The plastic toe cover was too rigid, a user observed.
  • A buyer thought that the absence of a pull tab made it inconvenient to wear the shoe.

Bottom line

Many have found the Trail Glove 4 Knit to be a likable upgrade, with some even stating that it felt superb on foot, and other similar compliments on the fit and performance. Others expressed their appreciation on how the shoe delivered comfort and style without sacrificing efficiency. Although there were a few who found flaws in the shoe’s construction, the Trail Glove 4 Knit could still be considered as a success.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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User reviews:

Good to know

  • The name of the shoe readily gives away what to expect in this update: Trail Glove 4 Knit. Merrell takes its base shoe, the Trail Glove 4, and changes the upper material from mesh and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to synthetic 3D knit.
  • The shoe intends to give a more contoured fit, as the upper possesses a sock-like structure that is capable of 4-way stretch. The lacing system also gets an update to promote a quick and fluid way of wearing and adjusting the shoe.
  • Although it is still a barefoot zero-drop shoe, the knit version of the Trail Glove 4 features a higher stack height than its base shoe, as additional midsole and outsole technologies are utilized in its construction. These structural elements target durability, superior grip, and stability, all of which are essential for trail running.

The zero-drop build of the Trail Glove 4 Knit does not hinder it from having a standard shoe length and sizing. As a trail runner, it strives to give the foot an anatomically correct fit; thus, the construction from the toe box to the heel provides ample room for runners of low to high foot volume. Both the men’s and women’s versions are available in medium width.

The Vibram® TC5+ is a rubber outsole that is primarily designed for the trails. It consists of 5-mm lugs at the forefoot and heel, enabling not only grip but also stability. With its durable nature, the material is ready to withstand even the most rugged terrain as it supplies the shoe with sufficient traction and braking power.

Accompanying the Vibram® TC5+ is Merrell’s proprietary M Select™ GRIP+, an anatomically-shaped unit that works adaptively on both wet and dry surfaces. With this added outsole material, the shoe gets more protection against wear and tear, and structural integrity is further preserved.

In the midsole of the Trail Glove 4 Knit is the FLEXconnect™ element made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). This technology is known to equip the runner with agility and balance on uneven trails.

The FLEXconnect™ also has flex grooves that run in both directions to ensure an effortless stride as the foot aims for natural motion.

The Trail Glove 4 Knit offers an all-around sock-like fit courtesy of the 3D knit upper, which is capable of 4-way stretching to wrap and contour all foot shapes and sizes effectively. It is made of synthetic material; thus, breathability and comfort are still guaranteed. Beneath the upper is a textile lining that absorbs sweat and moisture to maintain a dry foot environment.

The unique lacing system of the Trail Glove 4 Knit is comprised of an elastic cord and lock that eliminates knot-tying, therefore allowing a more expedient method of wearing and taking off the shoe.

The two ends of the shoe have TPU elements: at the toe cap to prevent injuries from accidental kicking of rocks and other sharp trail objects, and a Hyperlock™ film heel counter to secure the foot without restricting its movement.

How Trail Glove 4 Knit compares

This shoe: 81
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: $130
All shoes average: $130
$60 $250
This shoe: 7.6oz
All shoes average: 10.4oz
6.3oz 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.