Parkour Gear Review: Barefoot Edition 2 – Merrell Trail Glove

Today, we’re taking a look at a shoe that definitely was not designed with parkour in mind. However, it’s talents are many in number and it has proved itself to me in a variety of situations. Let’s take a close look at the Merrell Trail Glove and delve into its pros and cons as a parkour shoe.

I’ve been using the Merrell Trail Glove 3 for several months and at this point in time, it’s tricky to get hold of the Trail Glove 3 but models 4 and 5 are available from various sources, with their general reception being as good as their predecessor. My pair have run well over 100km, walked well in excess of 300km and have been put through numerous parkour training sessions in various weathers as well as being used for work and general day to day use. We will focus on their usefulness as parkour shoes but the running and walking distances will give an indication of how robust they are and that it is definitely a range of shoes worth looking into.

The general performance of the shoe has been superb. This is a more minimalist shoe so perhaps not suitable if you’re used to having beefy, shock-absorbing soles, but it has been designed for trail running so the cushioning is greater than some of the other minimalist shoes on the market. The thin sole allows for lots of sensitivity on a variety of surfaces, particularly rails. Since they allow for you to develop your touch on landings it’s worthwhile considering them for technique drilling sessions, even if you don’t want to use them for the big jumps.

They are extremely comfortable to train in, with the thick mesh on the top of the shoe simultaneously allowing for some insulation in cold weather and ventilation in warmer weather. They fit snugly to the foot and are enjoyable to wear for long periods of time. The flexibility of the shoe itself leaves your foot feeling generally unrestricted and they dry off fairly quickly when wet. It’s likely worth changing the laces out as the laces that come with the shoes are elasticated and feel a bit strange, but it doesn’t detract from the feel of the shoe once they are on your feet.

Unlike their Vapour Glove siblings, the Trail Gloves have an extremely durable, thick mesh over the top section. This pair has been through the wars. The mesh has been rent open in several places but it has had absolutely no effect on the integrity of the shoe with none of the tears reaching all the way through the mesh just yet.

The sole of the shoe has also exhibited impressive durability. The sole on the ball of the foot as worn down considerably. The sole in this area is still perfectly usable and has mostly maintained its grip despite wearing down. These shoes have been used for an extremely large amount of activity so this amount of wear is entirely expected. The sole is showing no signs of coming away from the rest of the shoe, possibly due to the slightly wrap-around design.

In terms of appearance, they’re not what you would consider a particularly fashionable shoe. They are, after all, designed to be battered to pieces in all weathers, so it is unsurprising that a more sedate appearance was chosen. Various colours are available.

The pricing does vary somewhat depending on where you look, so it’s worth shopping around. Average pricing seems to fall between £60-£100, which does seem like quite a lot, but taking into account their durability and multipurpose potential it certainly wouldn’t be a waste if you’re in the market for buying one pair of shoes that is capable of doing everything.

An excellent pair of shoes that has exceeded expectations. Merrell are a great company to go to for minimalist shoes and if you opt for something from the trail glove range you probably won’t need to look at buying another pair of training shoes for several months, even with rigorous daily use.


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