Merrell Trail Glove 3

8.7
8.7 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.7)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Merrell Trail Glove 3 Review Facts

There is something to be said about trail running. Not only is the runner getting the opportunity to run outside but they are also able to run through trees which is arguably the highest level of oxygens allotted to city dwellers. Trail running also offers a more dynamic and advanced terrain to travel on. It offers some small hazards that need to be avoided and also offers a more interesting environment for your exercise. A benefit to the advanced nature of trails is the ability to build different muscles that running in urban environments or on a treadmill won’t do. Trails offer uneven ground including raised ground due to hills or even things as small as stumps and roots running through the ground. This requires more energy to either accelerate over the distance of the run or ‘popping off’ in order to avoid stubbing toes. The benefit of trail running specific shoes is that they offer different features to traditional runners. Trail runners usually offer something called a rock plate. A rock plate runs along the bottom of the shoe in order to protect the runner’s foot (as well as the shoe in general) from sharp rocks that can often be encountered when running. Additionally, trail runners tend to offer either stronger or larger toe bumpers. Toe bumpers are those rubber pads that are located at the toe of the shoe. This is placed there because it helps protect the shoe and the toes from the inevitable stubs that we’ll face whether running, walking or quite frankly standing. These bumpers protect the shoe itself (durability, longevity) as well as the toes from breaks and stubs.

This article is a single product review of the Merrell Trail Glove 3. Don’t be fooled by the name, this product is a trail runner that is supposed to “fit like a glove“. We looked at the dynamics of the shoe including whether the shoe offers the right protection to make the run as enjoyable and safe as possible. We looked at consumer reviews as well in order to see what those who purchased the Merrell Trail Glove 3 thought of the shoe and whether it was effective or not. This is our review of the Merrell Trail Glove 3. We hope that this article serves you in your next trail running shoe purchase.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • The Merrell Trail Glove 3 offers a very comfortable, natural fit to the foot
  • They are also very durable in design 
  • Their minimalist style offers versatility to all personality types 
  • They offer a 0 mm drop which helps some runners with relief from existing back pain
Cons
  • The Merrell Trail Glove 3 are not true to size and require sizing down by 1 to 1.5 sizes 
  • They also don't offer much in regards to cushioning which seriously impacts any impact reduction 
  • They require toe to heel movement even when walking which makes walking quite hard
OUTSOLE

OUTSOLE

The outsoles of these shoes are made of Vibram which is a highly durable and sticky material used with high-quality runners. Those who bought these runners were happy with the amount of traction offered by Vibram and these shoes in general. Traction is massively important when considering trail running shoes. This is discussed in more detail below in the traction section.
MIDSOLE

MIDSOLE

The midsoles of these shoes are quite unique in that it is designed very thinly. This allows the foot to sit closer to the ground for a more 'barefoot feel'. This is a more natural feeling that appeals to our more primitive function. It allows the runner to feel more natural when moving forward as well as offers more control when moving more integratively. The midsole is quite supportive and stabilizing, however, does not offer the same level of impact reduction typically offered by non-trail (and in some cases, trail) running shoes. Those who bought these shoes noted that the feel of the midsole took some getting used to especially when at a walking pace but is ultimately deemed as being both helpful and useful when running which is positive.
UPPER

UPPER

The upper of these runners are made of a synthetic and mesh material, this allows the shoes to be more breathable but can also cause some loss of the structural integrity of the shoe as the material is a lot thinner. Though this is discussed in a lot more detail below in the durability section and the breathability section, those who wore these runners did not feel as though the mesh material weakened the upper of this shoe and that these shoes were quite durable in design. The upper is also perfect in regards to the level of ventilation required to keep feet cool and dry, even when wearing waterproof socks. Read below to learn more.
WEIGHT

WEIGHT

These shoes weigh about 7 ounces which are about in line with common runners on the market (which usually stay in the 5-8 ounce range). Even though these runners do offer a closer distance to the ground, the shoe does include some protective features that weigh the shoes down a little bit. The shoe also offers a Vibram rubber outsole which tends to be a little heavier as well. Though this is the case, as mentioned, they aren't heavier than their competitors which is positive.
BREATHABILITY

BREATHABILITY

These shoes offer a mesh upper which allows cool air to enter the shoe while encouraging hot air to exit the shoe. The ventilation system of these shoes keeps feet cool and dry when in motion. This is especially important with trail running shoes as trails present certain risks that urban and treadmill running doesn't. These risks require quicker movements as a result and these movements are seriously inhibited if the feet are sweaty and slick. This is why ventilation is really important when considering trail runners. Luckily these runners do offer a proper ventilation system which helps prevent sweat buildup and discomfort.
COMFORT

COMFORT

These runners are originally a little awkward to wear as they are very low to the ground, provide next to no cushioning and offer a 0 mm drop. This means that it feels more similar to walking on bare feet than it does swearing running shoes. The foot motion is toe to heel which is a little awkward when walking, however, quite natural when running. Those who bought these runners found that despite the lack of impact reduction offered by these runners that back pain is actually irradiated with these runners than encouraged which is really positive. The shoe also fits very close to the foot which gives those wearing these shoes a more stabilized and supportive feel.
STYLE

STYLE

These shoes aren't necessarily considered a fashionable shoe, however they are quite minimal in design which allows those wearing the shoes to accessories as they please without clashing with the shoe. The minimalist design could be considered fashionable currently, however, they are still just a running shoe. Stylish? No, probably not but easy to adapt to one's personal style? Definitely.
DURABILITY

DURABILITY

These shoes offer numerous protective features that coincidently protect the shoe itself as well. For instance, these runners offer a rock plate along the bottom of the runner's foot which protects the foot (and therefore shoe) from sharp rocks encountered along the trail. Additionally, it offers a toe bumper that extends beyond just the front of the shoe but rather along the sides as well to protect the front and front-side of the shoe. These features keep the shoe in better shape and allow for users to wear these shoes longer. In fact, there is one reviewer that bought a second pair of these shoes preemptively and have yet to pull the new runners out months later. These shoes offer a pretty decent level of durability which ultimately offers longevity to the shoe thereby justifying the shoe's price tag which is positive.
PROTECTION

PROTECTION

As mentioned earlier, these shoes offer numerous protective features in order to protect both the runner and the shoe itself. Outside of the rock plate and the extended toe bumper, these shoes also offer a very specific and close fit to the bottom of the shoe which protects the ankles from rolls and sprang ankles. They also offer a special lacing system, which also provides protection through support and stability. Their protective features are the highlight of these shoes in that they are quite protective and durable which is really important especially when running in more dangerous or hazardous terrains like trails.
RESPONSIVENESS

RESPONSIVENESS

These shoes are also massively responsive as a result of their low to the ground design. Not only is the traction sticky but these shoes offer forward and lateral movement quick much quicker reaction time. This is because the foot can actually feel what is under them even with the protection offered by the rock plate. This style of shoe is almost specifically designed for their responsiveness and these runners certainly do not let down. They are tight to the ground, offer a more natural step and therefore offer high levels of responsiveness which reviewers highly appreciated.
SUPPORT

SUPPORT

As previously mentioned, due to these runners contoured design along with their low profile 0 mm drop, these runners do offer a high level of support and stability to the foot. The lacing system is Merrells Omni-Fit lacing system which is characteristically a little longer and more flexible in order to offer a 'glove-like' fit to the foot. This ultimately gives the foot a more stable, natural feel to the shoe and allows those wearing them to move more naturally for an arguably more effective run.
TERRAIN

TERRAIN

The terrain these shoes are intended to run on is trails. Because these runners are designed to run toe to heel they may not be ideal for walking shoes. They offer high levels of 'stickiness' through the outsole which helps keep the runner gripped and balanced when in motion. They are also breathable to decrease the chance of sweat buildup and slippage offering the runner a more reactive step. They are also quite durable, offering numerous safety and protection features to protect the runner's foot from hazards on the trails.
PRICE

PRICE

These runners are mid-range in price. This is probably due to their outstanding durability and minimalist design. Remember that despite how versatile they are when considering style, they are not ideal for all situations. In fact, these runners are pretty much exclusively meant for trail running. That said, the durability of these shoes definitely justify the price of these runners on its own. They are certainly worth the cost associated with them due to their durability and therefore shelf life.
TRACTION

TRACTION

The traction associated with these runners is quite impressive. The outsole of these runners is made of a Vibram material which is well known as being a very sticky and yet durable material often used with hiking runners. Because these runners are meant for trail runs it is important that they 'stick' to rocks and the terrain easily or injury can occur. Luckily, with these runners, they offer a decent level of traction in order to keep the runner safe while also working with the rest of the shoe for better performance which is positive.
FLEXIBILITY

FLEXIBILITY

These shoes are quite flexible in that they don't have much in regards to the thickness of the shoe. That said, because these shoes offer a rock plate, this does lessen the flexibility of the shoe a touch. They are quite thin throughout the shoe though and they are also quite responsive. The flexibility is key to the responsiveness being successful and reviewers regularly praise the responsiveness of these shoes which is a great sign. Overall, flexible enough to move freely in but not so flexible that the integrity and durability of these shoes are at risk which is a great balance.
STABILITY

STABILITY

These shoes offer stability via their support system throughout the shoe. The lacing system is a major factor in regards to the shoe's stability as this is what tightens the shoe to the foot. The Omni-Fit protection lacing system tightens enough to offer a more precise and glove-like fit to the shoe. The midsole is also thin and contoured to the foot in order to decrease any 'wiggle room' in the shoe. The shoe does fit considerably larger to the foot when considering standard sizing systems and therefore these shoes should be tried at a size smaller in order to fit the foot better and help maximize the effectiveness of the stability of the shoe.
KEY FEATURES

KEY FEATURES

- Mesh and synthetic upper for proper ventilation
- Omni-Fit lacing system for a closer, more supportive fit
- Reflective detailing in order to keep the runner safe when night running
- Breathable mesh lining in order to help with unnecessary odor build up
- Easy to clean, machine washable capabilities
- 0 MM drop for more responsive movement
- Highly durable, Vibram outsole for protection and stickiness
- Lightweight, 7-ounce design for decreased or offset fatigue levels
BOTTOM LINE

BOTTOM LINE

These runners are actually quite impressive. Merrell is a reputable company that seems to have a highly responsive customer service team and a reliable warranty. These runners are decently priced, durable and minimal in design making them worth consideration. Remember these are not daily shoes, they are meant to be run in. If a trail walker, consider something a little less intensive. If looking for something durable, reliable, flexible and supportive these are your shoes!