Verdict from 1 expert and 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • People liked the design of the Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D, stating that the aesthetics captured the eyes of others on the trails.
  • Those who liked to feel the ground more when running off the roads felt that the underfoot experience given by this trail shoe was adequate and compliant.
  • According to a couple of testers, the forefoot section was spacious enough to welcome natural toe-splay.
  • The lightweight structure of this product was appreciated by most of those who bought it.
  • The underfoot platform is supportive and protective, according to many users.
  • The quick-lacing system of the shoe is commended by several wearers.
  • Numerous runners are pleased with the flexibility of the shoe.
  • The Trail Glove 5 3D is versatile enough to be used outside of the trails, as claimed by various purchasers.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Several of the purchasers reported that the overlays that served as the eyelets of the upper unit broke apart as early as the first use.
  • According to many testers, the knitted upper tore apart after a few weeks of use.
  • Based on a few reviews, the inner sleeve wasn’t able to hold the foot securely; accidental shoe removals quickly became a problem.
  • A couple of users observed the outsole wearing off after only a few weeks.

Bottom line

The Trail Glove 5 3D received mixed reviews. This trail running shoe was considered by many to be highly dutifully reactive to movements and highly accepting of the natural shape of the foot. But it was panned for having a sizing scheme that was bigger than the usual. The durability of the components was also frowned upon, with most runners lamenting the easy-to-tear upper and outsole units.

This Merrell trail running shoe is designed for those who like minimalist running footwear or products that don’t restrict the movements of the foot.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

- Merrell is a company that is known for the high-tier trail hiking shoes that have bulky silhouettes and barrier-like protective features. But its line of trail runners differentiates itself by containing products that encourage proprioception and natural movement. In fact, many of the brand’s offerings that fall within the running category have façades that look like foot-shaped socks. The Trail Glove 5 3D is an example of such a distinction; its overall design is even based on studies made on the outline and movement capacity of the foot.

- The midsole unit of this neutral running shoe is made up of a foam that is 3 millimeters thick, a cushioned integrated insole, and a TrailProtect™ rock plate that protects against sharp debris and surfaces. Making up the external pad is the Vibram® TC5+, a rubber layer that is durable and ready to deliver traction.

- No animal products were used in the making of this shoe. Merrell takes pride in their vegan-friendly design philosophy which influences the overall quality of their creations.

The 3D version of the Merrell Trail Glove 5 is advertised as a barefoot shoe that has a broad forefoot design for the natural spreading of the toes. Runners may feel some looseness to the in-shoe experience. The brand even stated that the overall size-profile of this product is ‘half-a-size large.’ Also, some consumers have claimed a size discrepancy of one full size.

When it comes to width, the available options are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women. Low and medium foot volumes are the foot-types that are welcome inside this running shoe’s interior chamber.

The outsole unit of the Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D is made up of Vibram® TC5+, a compound that is touted to be highly durable and capable of resisting the consequences of continued use. The sticky construction of TC5+ allows it to naturally provide grip over the surfaces.

Though optimized for the trails, this off-road companion’s outsole doesn’t have an overly aggressive configuration. It has opposite-facing triangle lugs, but they don’t jut out of the external pad.

Shallow flex grooves allow the already-thin platform of the Trail Glove 5 3D to achieve full flexibility and adhere to the foot’s natural capability to bend during movement.

A full-length foam is used for the midsole unit of this running shoe. The job of this feature is to mitigate the impact forces generated by the foot-strike and to encourage the foot to lift itself from the ground with energy. Its close-to-the-ground profile and lightweight construction don’t impede proprioception (the perception of the earth against the underfoot).

An integrated insole is used as a means for the foot-pad to feel a soft and non-irritating plane, instead of traditionally being in contact with a firm and uninviting platform.

The TrailProtect™ is a protective plate that is placed between the midsole and outsole. The job of this layer is to act as a shield between the foot and the abrasive topography of the great outdoors. Also, it is not firm or perceptible, especially since it’s only a lightweight sheet.

The Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D has an upper that’s made using data from 3D foot scans. The shape and the materials used for the cover system are influenced by information that involves the biomechanical aspect of the foot. The final result accounts for flexibility, toe-splay, and natural swelling during the run.

A knitted fabric serves as the wraparound element of the silhouette. The cloth-like quality of this material evokes the feeling of merely wearing a sock. It has stretchy fibers that adapt to the bending and swelling of the foot as it tackles the strenuous act of striking the ground and taking off.

The overlay system on the sides of the façade consists of printed panels. These add-ons help the lacing system when it comes to securing the foot in place and preventing it from quivering during the run. The tips of these panels have stitch-reinforcements to heighten durability.

The Hyperlock™ counter is a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) strip that bolsters the back of the shoe. This wraparound overlay locks the heel in place and staves off accidental shoe removals.

A speed lacing system is employed in this shoe. It involves stretchy shoestrings and a pull-and-lock tab that adjusts the tightness or looseness of the coverage with just a few simple motions. The absence of shoelace-ribbons maintains a clean look.

The M Select™ FRESH is an antibacterial treatment that prevents odor-causing bacteria from proliferating.


How Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 6% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 13% Merrell running shoes
All Merrell running shoes
Bottom 8% zero drop running shoes
All zero drop running shoes


The current trend of Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D.
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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.