Merrell True Glove Shoes

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Merrell has come out with a collection centered on barefoot shoes. They were one of the first major manufacturers to address this growing trend in footwear. In the first release they made three models; the Trail Glove, the Tough Glove, and the True Glove.

Manufacturer Description

Our minimalist all-terrain True Glove adventure shoe cuts bulk while keeping bare essentials to let your feet hike hassle-free. An uber-lightweight upper with a stabilizing rubber foot sling snugs into the Vibram sole underfoot for pointy rock protection.

Features

  • Merrell Omni-Fit lacing system provides a precise, glove-like fit
  • Fused rubber toe bumper provides ultimate durability
  • Rubber rear foot sling provides stability
  • Non-removable microfiber footbed treated with Aegis antimicrobial solution resists odor
  • 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions
  • 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate maintains forefoot flexibility and protects the foot by distributing pressure
  • 0mm ball to heel drop keeps you connected to your terrain
  • Wash as needed in cold water, gentle cycle and air dry
  • Vegan friendly footwear
  • Vibram Trail Glove Sole/ Rubber Compound TC-1

    Sole

  • Measured Size 9
    • Weight – 202 g each shoe (7.1 oz)
    • Stack Height – Heel (8.5 mm), Toe (8.2 mm), Drop (0.3 mm)
    • Forefoot Width – 101.6 mm
  • Retail – $110

YMMV Review

Design ★★★★☆

Overall the Barefoot collection of footwear by Merrell is designed very similarly across all the models. They have the some soles, lacing systems, and similar fit. The main differentiator is the uppers and aesthetics. I will start with the parts that are similar. The True Glove uses the same Omni-Fit lacing system, this system connects the tongue to the lacing by use of webbing.

Side View

The sole of the shoe is a Vibram TC-1 Rubber Compound and Trail Glove Sole. This gives the shoe good traction on most surfaces. There is 4mm of EVA midsole cushioning to protect your feet from the ground a little bit. There is also a 1mm forefoot shock absorbing plate to distribute pressure of rocks and objects. Inside the shoe there is a non-removable microfiber footbed treated with Aegis antimicrobial solution to help resist odor. Overall this makes the stack height of the shoe 12mm in the heel and toe for a heel-toe drop of zero.

The upper of the True Glove is a mixture of synthetic material and mesh. The synthetic material is a smooth and durable but does not breathe as well. It also can be slightly on the stiff side. The mesh material is above the middle toes, three sections on the outside, and one section on the inside of the foot. There are also two small mesh sections in the heel. There is a rubber bumper over the front of the toe box and a rubber foot sling in the back to hold the heel snuggly into the heel of the shoe. In the back of the shoe there is a loop to help with pulling the shoes on.

Fit ★★★★½

The fit of the True Gloves is similar to the other models in the line.

Top View

The heel and midfoot are snug fitting and the forefoot is wide for the toes to splay out. Like in the Tough Gloves, the lacing system keeps the shoe snug and if you pull too tight they can be over tightened. I have had to stop during a run or two to adjust my lacing because I tied them too tight. The rubber heel strap makes for a slightly stiff shoe in the heel but kept my foot snug like it is supposed to. Between the three models, I find these to fit in between the other two. The Tough Gloves seemed slightly bigger and the Trail Gloves slightly smaller. I still ended up going with my normal size 9 and they fit me well.

Performance ★★★½☆

The Merrell True Gloves are the jack-of-all-trades shoe in the Barefoot collection. It can be used for hiking, running, or casual wear. While I think the Tough Glove is better for dressier situations and the Trail Glove may be better for running. The True Glove works for all these. The upper is a little stiffer than the other two models but still very flexible. The True Glove is still a good running shoe. This is what I have used my primarily for. I noticed that they do breathe a little less than the Trail Gloves but nothing measurable. I wore the shoes with both socks and sockless. I prefer to wear them with a thin sock as I had some rubbing issues when going sockless. Mainly above my toes on my right foot, this may have been from the shoe or me raising my toe while running. With socks I had no such issue. With the slightly thicker sole as compared to my Five Fingers, I could still feel the ground but could run more varied terrain. The protection plate does its job when you do step on something sharp or large. You still know it is there but it does not hurt as much as it could. I did not have any issues with grip on the sole, but I imagine ice and deep mud would be enough to overcome the traction on the sole. While I have only put 50 miles on them so far, the soles look like new and should last 500 miles or more. I will check in on that after I put more miles on them.  The Aegis treatment seems to work, no stink yet.

Overall ★★★★☆

The True Glove is another solid shoe in the Merrell Barefoot collection. I have enjoyed using them as a running shoe and as a casual shoe. I did have one issue on the inside of the shoes.

Inside Coming Loose

There is a thin mesh type layer in the midfoot of the shoes. For some reason this layer has pulled up on both models of my shoes. When I slide my foot in they go back into place. When I then pull my foot out again it comes loose a bit again. I have not noticed any different feeling when wearing them and I will comment on this down the road after I have put more mileage on the shoes.

Overall I would recommend these shoes as a first zero drop shoe for someone who wants to try it out. They are a good all-around shoe for many different purposes. From here you could buy a specific model more geared to your intended purpose or just keep using your True Gloves. I have heard of some saying they run large but I find that they run true to size for me. I look forward to seeing where Merrell will go from here, they definitely have started on the right track. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros

  • Good Fit
  • Durability
  • All-Purpose shoe

Cons

  • A bit stiffer
  • Inner fabric coming loose

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

5 Comments

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  1. Chris Szumigala

    Thanks for the review JJ. Both my True Gloves AND my Trail Gloves are suffering from midfoot material fraying that you show in the last photo. On mine they have frayed to the point of completely separating.

    Unfortunately a call to Merrell only yielded an offer of a replacement pair since the shoes were 32 days old. I suspect the replacements will suffer from the same defect and I think I’ll just be giving the Merrell barefoot line a pass until I’m more confident they have this worked out.
    Chris

    • JJ

      That is a bummer. I thought maybe it was just me but it must be more of a design flaw. I have not tried them yet but I have heard that the new Sonic Gloves do not have this material in them. They are a softshell upper. Hopefully I can get my hands on a pair to try sometime soon. Thanks for the comment Chris.

  2. Kent

    The dark glued in mesh liner had issues in mine. It tore out and wadded up in one shoe on the second run. On the other shoe it was torn in half. It is a smaller width in my trail gloves it has stayed put. Also, I got a blister on the top of my right big toe as well. The tongue is not well finished over the toes.Took the True Gloves back for a pair of Road Gloves…they have no liner to tear out. Also, the tongue has a liner that runs all the way to the front of the shoe. No unfinished edge over your toes.

    • JJ

      Hello Kent,

      I agree the interior of these are a bit harsh. Also disappointed that they let the shoes go to production without fixing the inner liner issue. There is no way in all their testing that this was not mentioned, it has been too prevalent with buyers. I have not tried the Road Gloves but would expect some improvements now that it is a year later. Good to hear that they learned form some of their earlier mistake. I might have to give them a go. Thanks for the comments on the site, hope you liked it.

      JJ

  3. William Leazure

    I was just at the Merrell store and bought some Truegloves that were on sale for 55.00$ I wanted a shoe to use with my trail gloves as the extreme barefoot qualities of the trail glove shoe hamper my bodies ability to increase mileage rapidly. Takes a long time to build up the muscles you are not used to using. I thought the True glove shoe would allow me to run a little farther. I plan on running with the True gloves once a week and the trail gloves two or three times a week. While I was at the store I mentioned to the sales person my trail gloves were showing some fraying material. She said being them in and they would replace them. I had the shoes in my car so I went put to get them and she replaced them at no charge. The fraying material wasn’t really an issue and I had put a couple hundred miles of running on the shoes plus I had washed them twice in the washing machine. I am sold on Merrell shoes.

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