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Merrell True Glove Review

Posted by on Mar 29, 2011 | 4 Comments

Merrell’s True Glove is a jack-of-all-trades minimalist shoe.  At least that’s what I use it for.  Officially, Merrell markets the shoe as a hiking/active shoe.  Unofficially, I use this shoe for an incredibly wide range of activities.  To date, I’ve used it for:

  • A running shoe,
  • A hiking shoe,
  • A casual shoe,
  • A work shoe (teaching),
  • A crosstraining shoe, and
  • A shoe for kicking footballs.

It’s a versatile shoe.  I use mine mostly as a casual shoe, but it is nice knowing it does fairly well in a variety of roles.

As a running shoe, I prefer the Trail Glove.  The upper material of the True Glove is less flexible.  In fact, the Tough Glove would make a better running shoe if the upper were more breathable.  Despite this, the shoe can be used… it just wouldn’t be my first choice.

As a hiking shoe, I think I would still prefer the Trail Glove.  This may be the trail runner in me, but I prefer the adddded flexibility when hiking, too.

The casual shoe role fits the True Glove well.  I like the looks, the color schemes fit the majority of my casual clothing, and the fit is comfortable.

The shoe is probably too informal for most office environments, but works well on our “casual Fridays” at my school.

The shoe worked well as a crosstraining shoe.  I prefer the True Glove to the Trail Glove, but can’t quite articulate why.  I think the less flexible upper gives a sense of stability without actually interfering with proprioception.  Regardless, the shoe works well for crosstraining.

Lastly, I used the shoe to kick footballs.  I’ll be honest- it sucked.  Like every minimalist  shoe I’ve used, the wide toe box messes with the ability to kick the ball.  Oddly, I don’t have this issue with soccer balls.

The Shoe

This shoe is built around the same Vibram sole as the Trail Glove and the Tough Glove.  It is a sole that is built for the outdoors.  The shoe is wide enough for most feet, though some people with very wide feet have experienced fitting issues.  If you have wide feet, try the shoes before purchasing!  The toe box is wide enough to allow toes to splay.  The shoe has a zero-dropped heel.  Together, these features allow natural running or walking gait.

Aesthetically, the lone thing I would change is the top of the toe box.  I would use a solid piece of material versus the arch-like design.

As far as fit, the shoe feels very similar to the others in the lineup.  If you haven’t tried them yet, the fit is quite similar to Vibram’s Bikilas and Somewhat similar to New Balance’s Minimus Trails.  The shoes are snug around the midfoot, which keeps the shoe in place.

When I first tried this type of shoe, it was rather distressing.  I was used to the floppy freedom of Terra Planas and Walmart aqua socks.  Once I became accustomed to the feel, I saw the real benefit of this style- it keeps the shoe perfectly in place while still allowing for natural foot movement.


This shoe is a quality addition to Merrell’s lineup.  If you are looking for a running shoe, you’d probably prefer the Trail Glove.  If you’re looking for a work shoe, you’d probably prefer the Tough Glove.  However, if you’re looking for a multipurpose shoe that performs a variety of tasks, this could be the ideal shoe.

As with any minimalist shoe, use my advice as a tool to help figure out what will work best for YOU.  I like to use this method myself.

The shoes can be purchased online from Merrell, at select Merrell retailers (call 800.288.3124or go to the store locator), or order from Amazon using the widget below (proceeds help support BRU.)


Disclosure- As most of you know, I have been helping Merrell develop their educational materials to teach good running form.  I give the details of my decision here.

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  1. Solomon
    April 5, 2011

    Hello Jason,

    I found your site a few months back but only recently started visiting more regularly to read your posts which have provided excellent insight.

    I have been looking to buy a pair of Merrell’s Barefoot line of shoes. I have debated between the True Glove and Trail Glove, but this post has helped me decide to get the Trail Gloves. I have one question regarding sizing. Are Merrell’s bigger or smaller compared to other shoes? I’m aware of the wide toe box of Merrell’s, but my feet are kind of wide. Should I get a half size bigger than normal?

  2. Scott Brady
    April 4, 2011

    Hi Jason

    Thanks for all the great reviews on minimalist shoes.

    Have you found the mid-foot/arch area snugness relaxes over time on both the True & Trail Gloves? It does indeed feel odd but I’ve kinda got used to it in the past hour or so!

    Also, have you found that they relax in their width too? Despite my lack of barefoot & minimalist shod activities until the past year I seem to have a wide foot, and a full size up in the Trails is too long. Getting half sizes in shops is not going to happen, so I’d have to take a chance on an online order.

    Many thanks


  3. Angelina
    March 30, 2011

    Overall, I like the Merrell True Glove, but I like my Invisible Shoes ( more.

    I like the look of the true gloves-A+ on design and aesthetic appeal (while Vibrams get an F- for aesthetic appeal and overall look), but functionally, there’s a weird feeling under the arch of my foot upon wearing them, like there’s an extra arch plate and it pushed up against your skin in a weird way when you put them on– I don’t really like that, it feels weird. They are ok for runs, but just not as much fun or as great a feel as my Invisible Shoes, or even as much as the Saucony Kinvara even. A solid B but no advancement to the A- or A for the Merrell true glove from me.

    • Jason
      March 30, 2011

      Angelina, as much as I like invisible shoes, this is a little too spammy. In the future, please do not post comments such as this. 😉