Verdict from 7 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The traction capacity of the Merrell Trail Glove 5’s outsole unit was deemed efficient by several testers; they stated that they didn’t experience any slippage during their runs on the trails.
  • Some consumers reported that the upper was snug but non-restrictive; they felt secure and well-supported while wearing this running shoe.
  • A few people noted that the color schemes were eye-catching; they claimed that the visuals were stylish.
  • The lightweight structure of this product was appreciated by minimalist runners.
  • Some testers stated that the Merrell Trail Glove 5 remained useful during activities that didn’t involve running, like urban walks and light exercises on groomed trails.
  • The shoe is affordable.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some users found the collar to be too high, which made a portion of the interior rub uncomfortably against the skin.
  • The shoe's sole unit is too stiff, according to a couple of wearers.

Bottom line

Praise was dutifully given to the Merrell Trail Glove 5 because it was able to meet the expectations of consumers, particularly those who desire a trail running shoe that doesn’t have a bulky frame or a restricting design. The versatility and effectiveness of this product’s components became highlights, with some people even claiming that they were able to use it on the roads. On the other hand, a handful of runners felt that the available sizes for this neutral shoe were more substantial than their usual choices.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Good to know

  • The Merrell Trail Glove 5 is part of the roster of trail running shoes that have graced the marketplaces. This product is made for those who appreciate a low-to-the-ground and highly flexible running experience as it doesn’t employ many bells and whistles. It is also lightweight and shaped to accommodate the natural movement capacity of the foot.
  • The surface grip is the responsibility of the Vibram outsole. It is thin yet rated to be abrasion-resistant and long-lasting. Mild claw-like patterns grace the surface of this pad, giving extra adhesion where it is needed.
  • The façade of this minimalist trail running shoe is made of multilayered but breathable mesh. A net-like structure holds the foot in place while also welcoming air into the foot-chamber. Though printed overlays are used to bolster the structural integrity of the upper, there are stitched-on loops on the instep to receive the ghillie lacing system.
  • An anti-microbial capacity is introduced to the interior sleeve. The purpose of this feature is to prevent odor-causing bacteria from fostering and affecting the health of the foot. It is accompanied by a fabric that is equally as breathable as the exterior mesh.
  • The outsole design involves a curved shoe-shape, a close-to-the-ground platform design and a raised midfoot construction for the comfort of the arch.

The Merrell Trail Glove 5 was designed to be true to size. Runners are welcome to get a pair using their regular sizing expectations. When it comes to width, the available variants are D – Medium and B – Medium for men and women respectively. This trail running shoe can accommodate medium foot dimensions and those who desire a snug yet form-fitting fit.

The outsole unit of the Merrell Trail Glove 5 is made of Vibram® TC5+, a rubber compound that covers the entire cushioned platform. Its job is to protect against wear-and-tear, as well as to provide traction over the uneven surfaces.

Mild gripping lugs and traction patterns are fashioned all over the surface of the external pad. These mild protrusions, while designed to dole out ground adhesion, aren’t very aggressive so they won’t cause imbalances in movement. Such a design is also friendly for flat areas like asphalt.

A flex groove separates sections the forefoot from the rest of the platform. This seemingly shallow trench is also created to heighten the flexing capacity of the platform, thereby enabling the foot to bend naturally as it gears toward the toe-off.

An ultra-thin foam is used for the midsole unit of the Merrell Trail Glove 5. This feature is meant to cushion the landings and bring a bit of oomph to the forefoot lifts. Its thinness also entails that it is lightweight and flexible.

The TrailProtect™ technology is a rock plate that is placed between the midsole and outsole. This barrier shields against irregular surfaces and sharp trail debris, thus saving the foot from potential injury and improving the confidence when traversing the outdoor paths.

An insole is fused with the primary cushioning unit. It is designed to give a soft and comfortable underfoot experience, one that obstructs the flat and board-like feel of the shoe-last.

The external part of the Merrell Trail Glove 5’s upper unit uses multi-layered mesh. This textile’s net-like structure and layered approach prevent trail rubbish from entering the foot-chamber. The small breathing holes that stem from such a design allows air to flow through the façade, thus ensuring a cool and dry running experience.

TPU overlays are printed on the sides, the heel and the high-wear areas of the upper. These thin prints help to bolster durability and enable a snug and secure in-shoe wrap. They also heighten the aesthetics by having various color schemes and visual patterns.

A ghillie lacing system is employed in this running shoe. This arrangement involves flat laces snaking through stitched-on loops that serve as the eyelets. When combined, these elements help with the tightening or loosening of the fit, acclimatizing to the preferences of the wearer.

The lightly padded tongue and collar are made to cushion the ankles, the heel and the bridge of the foot. These lined portions of the upper are also tasked with preventing in-shoe wobbling and unintentional shoe removals.

A printed heel counter aims to improve the lockdown fit. The word ‘MERRELL’ is emblazoned on the lateral side while ‘BAREFOOT 2’ is placed on the medial section. While the former encourages brand recognition, the latter informs the person that this shoe has a foot-shaped design with a raised midfoot portion and a low heel-to-toe drop, signifying the purpose of providing a near-barefoot running experience.

The Trail Glove series from Merrell is a shining example of trail-optimized footwear that can still function well on flat surfaces. The outsole units of these shoes encompass clamp-like patterns and highly protective rubber barriers, but they’re not too aggressive to prevent quick transitions between rough and even ground. The versatility of the Trail Glove shoes is what makes them appealing to shoe enthusiasts and adventurers.

Here are rosters of trail shoes that can transition from the trails to the roads:

The North Face Ultra Endurance

The Ultra Endurance series is a relatively fresh addition to the wide range of trail running shoes that are in the market. But the young age doesn’t make it flimsy or unreliable. In fact, The North Face is one of the companies that are trusted because of their expertise in products that are optimized for the trails.

The Ultra Endurance is a step towards the future because the designs that are used for this family of shoes exude modern tastes and desire for flexible performance. Unlike many other The North Face shoes, the Ultra Endurance line doesn’t have bulky façades or unnecessary features. Trail runners are only treated to the necessary elements such as near-seamless uppers, near-to-the-ground midsoles that are shielded by protective plates, and semi-prominent yet flat-ended gripping lugs that can tackle the trails and the roads.

The Ultra Endurance II and its predecessor, the original Ultra Endurance make up this series. The waterproof The North Face Ultra Endurance GTX was also released.

Asics GT 2000 Trail

Merely looking at the products that make up the Asics GT 2000 Trail series would tell a person that they’re for the off-road paths. These products traditionally have a rugged look to them, though Asics has toned down the design after the GT 2000 5 Trail to welcome lighter builds and contemporary silhouettes.

The outsole units of the GT 2000 Trail models don’t have prominent gripping lugs. In fact, save for the name, one might mistake a pair within this roster to be meant for the roads. But closely inspecting the external pad would yield a helping of clamp-like protrusions that have smooth ends and are evenly spaced. Uneven surfaces won’t stand a chance against the Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR), especially since it’s highly resistant to abrasion.

Different textiles are also experimented on during the design phase of each model, with standard net-like mesh lording over most of the initial models. As time went by, Asics have taken a liking to cloth-like textiles like woven mesh (as seen on the GT 2000 6 Trail) and jacquard mesh (placed on the Asics GT 2000 7 Trail) to enable a form-fitting yet extremely breathable wrap.

It is also worth noting that the GT 2000 Trail series is one of the few off-road shoes that feature pronation correction technologies in the midsole.

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro

The Fresh Foam Hierro line of trail shoes has enjoyed modest praise for having straightforward builds and colorful aesthetics. People who have tried a pair within this roster were also happy about the relatively lightweight construction and the uncluttered façades that embody each iteration. The underfoot platform may look substantial, but it uses Fresh Foam, a full-length cushioning unit that is flexible, responsive and not very heavy.

The external pads of the Hierro shoes are made of Vibram rubber. These layers fully cover the midsole units, shielding them from the damaging nature of the trails. There are traction lugs patterned on the surface of the rubber, but they’re not very prominent.

The uppers of this series started with the traditional collar-and-tongue construction (as seen on the original Fresh Foam Hierro and the Hierro v2), but design changes saw an evolution towards a single-piece, wraparound ankle collar (like on the Fresh Foam Hierro v3 and the Fresh Foam Hierro v4) to secure the foot and prevent any debris infiltration.

How Trail Glove 5 compares

This shoe: 86
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: $100
All shoes average: $130
$60 $250
This shoe: 6.9oz
All shoes average: 10.4oz
5oz 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.