People sure have lots of questions about the new Merrell Barefoot shoes! Yesterday, I featured a closer look at the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove, and today we’ll be examining the Merrell Women’s Pace Glove, which is essentially the women’s version of the same shoe with some minor differences.
Merrell Barefoot’s goal is to give your feet just the right amount of protection without altering your barefoot running stride, while allowing you to retain the sensation of being barefoot. Like the Trail Glove, the Merrell Pace Glove is referred to as a “natural adventure shoe,” but is mostly intended for trail runners. Also like the Men’s Trail Glove, the Women’s Pace Glove has been named a “best debut” by Runner’s World magazine.
The Pace Glove allows barefoot runners and trail runners to head off-road with their barefoot running technique. How does Merrell combine the feeling of being barefoot with the relevant amount of underfoot protection required to prevent stone bruising? They’ve gone with a low profile Vibram sole — just 4mm thick! — which includes a flexible, shock-absorbing plate in the forefoot. The result is thin enough to let you feel the trail beneath your feet, but distributes pressure and protects the foot as you plant, without sacrificing flexibility or exposing your feet to injury.
Above the sole, the upper is even more lightweight and minimal than the men’s version, weighing in at just 4.7 ounces per shoe! The name says it all, as these shoes fit the foot like a glove. Compared to the men’s shoe, there is less TPU welding on the sides of the foot, and the heel is finished with a super-soft, elastic top for comfort. Basically, the upper part of this shoe is only there to hold the soles securely to your feet, and it stays mostly out of your way; you could just superglue a pair of Vibram soles to your feet, but Merrell Barefoot has saved you the trouble!
Whether you’re doing a quick day hike or heading out for a trail run, wearing minimalist running shoes has been shown to realign the body, help your posture and balance, and strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs… muscles that are neglected in traditional running footwear.
Barefoot running can also stimulate the senses, because you feel connected to the terrain below you instead of simply tromping over it. The Pace Glove lets you take that simple joy off of the pavement and into the woods, on surfaces too rough to run on without suitable protection. Merrell’s website implores: “Free your feet.” The barefoot running community is nodding emphatically. Sometimes, less really is more!
Ready to give these a try? The Merrell Women’s Pace Glove is now available at rockcreek.com as well as our Rock/Creek retail locations — click here. In fact, just for trying on a pair of Merrell Barefoot shoes at Rock/Creek, you’ll have the opportunity to register for Merrell’s “trip of a lifetime” contest. See full details in-store.
Below is a video from Merrell Barefoot, explaining the various features of the Merrell Pace Glove. They’ve sawed one in half, so you get to see a neat cross-section of the shoe and how it’s constructed, but the best part is watching the narrator roll one into a ball!