The Trail Glove 2 from Merrell is a minimalist shoe for trail running. It is also, as the name suggests, the second iteration of a model that was well received by runners.
When minimalism was still a ‘thing’ (it is not just a thing anymore in case you are wondering) Merrell jumped both feet in the trend and started an comprehensive collection of minimal, zero drop and other close-to-the-ground products.
The trail glove was in the first wave. A zero drop shoe with a construction similar to a Five Fingers Treksport. The second version improved on styles more than anything else but also comes with a redesigned upper.
My pair of Merrell Trail Glove 2 weights in uk size 6.5 a mere 355g/12.5oz. And that is why I chose them when I went to buy a new pair: I wanted something durable, minimal and very light to travel, trek and run trails. After having done all of the above, here is what I think about the Merrell Trail Glove 2.
The outsole is made by Vibram so we can expect some good quality rubber. The shallow nobs mean the Merrell Trail Glove 2 is not the most suited for dusty tracks. As soon as you leave well-used and compacted trails the Trail Gloves start to drift and slip.
Mud and wet rocks are probably the shoe’s archenemies. No way to secure a good footing in those conditions. I was acutely aware of that when trekking in the jungle of Cambodia. Although most people seem to prefer high mountain boots, probably for the false sense of security against leeches, I favour minimal trail runners. The close contact with the ground and roots, the softer footsteps, make the jungle more alive.
Now if you are more likely to use them for actual trail running, on well-used footpaths then the Merrell Trail Glove 2 should be a perfect companion.
Ground feel, flexibility
The sole of the Merrell Trail Glove 2 is composed of a 4mm Eva midsole, a rock plate on the forefoot section and then around 5mm of Vibram TC-1 outsole. So with a total stack height of around 9.5mm it is not the most barefoot of shoes but you can still feel all the ground differences, stones and other roots. Even with the rock plate the shoe keeps an almost complete flexibility, especially the forefoot and feels natural.
This section of the review is obviously very personal. What fits me or not is probably different to you. I have short wide feet with a pronounced arch. I found the toe box of the Merrell Trail Glove 2 to be perfect. In the same size, the Trailroc 245 for example is slightly too narrow.
The midfoot part is, like the first Trail Glove, very narrow. I notice the arch holding my foot uncomfortably if the lacing is too tight. Talking about lacing, you will find the same Omni-Fit system than on the first version. It is probably one of the best features I have seen on a running shoe. It allows for so much adjustments that I wish all shoes could use it.
The new softer is even more comfortable than the previous version. Wearing the shoe without sock is not a problem at all. The construction is also seamless.
From my model I would say it is true to size.
Minor updates to an already great shoe makes the Merrell Trail Gloves 2 one of the best trail running shoe on the market for minimalists. It looks awesome, handles well and feels great on the trail. Just be careful on wet rocks.