Sunday, July 15, 2012

Merrell Pace Gloves - a minimal review

by Rachel

I have wanted to be a "minimalist" or "barefoot" runner ever since I read Born To Run. It really made sense! We didn't evolve to wear a bunch of motion-control, stability, padded shoes, binding us into this false sense of comfort, right?

I went through the process of adjusting to barefoot/minimalist running - more so on the minimalist front - over a period of a year or two... and I feel I'm finally at the point where I can run whatever distance I need to in minimalist shoes. I do own a pair of hardcore trail running shoes, but honestly, they feel clunky and heavy! I'd much rather wear barely there, light as a feather, glove-like shoes at this point.
barely there, light as a feather?

When I went to the running store earlier this year, I went with a specific purpose in mind... to purchase my first pair of Merrells. To me, they seemed like the perfect minimalist running shoe! Well, that's without ever having tried a pair on anyways - when I actually got to try on the shoes and go for a quick jog, I couldn't get over one bit of the Merrell engineering - and to me, it was a deal-breaker. I ended up purchasing the INOV-8 Flite 195 which I have been very happy with - but that could be another post in and of itself.

The one bit I couldn't get over was the "1mm forefoot shock absorption plate". To me, a Merrell Pace Glove feels like it has a little bit of a shelf in the front of the shoe that the balls of your feet sit on - and your toes are hanging off the ledge of the shelf. I'm not sure how else to explain it! At the time when I first tried them on, this shelf felt different and weird from what I was used to. I wasn't sure I would like it - it was too different for me.

Fast forward a few months, and my husband meets a Merrell Rep - someone that works for Merrell, and of course wants everyone to like Merrell shoes! He heard about my story, and offered to let me try a pair - and how could I pass that up?

So, I have been running with these Merrell Pace Gloves, and have now put almost 100 miles on them. I believe I have run in them enough to give you a really good opinion of them - especially because I was skeptical from the start. (Incidentally, my teenage son also tested out the Merrell Trail Gloves, LOVES them, and runs almost exclusively in them!)

I have used these shoes almost exclusively without socks - they were made for sockless running, and I have been training to not need socks for my runs. Having to deal with socks during a triathlon takes up TIME - time that I don't want to mess with, if I don't really have to.

These shoes are great! What I thought was a drawback (the shelf/ledge) is actually great for me. I am a mid-to-forefoot striker, and this ledge actually takes off some pressure from my toes - I've started preferring these shoes for that reason.

They are not easy to slip on fast - this is because they're so much like a glove once they're on - so don't be put off by how different they are to put on. Don't be put off by how different they feel - it's all part of the package and for me it's been an awesome running experience!

Apparently I run in these shoes way more than I take pictures of them...
so here's a cheesy stock photo from Merrell's website!

I'm really glad things worked out for me to try these shoes out - they are the most "minimal" shoe that I've run in, and I believe I can say I'm a convert!


  1. Forget the minimalist shoes, where can I get those heels?? ;o)

    1. Haha! OK, now I want to see you in those for your next marathon! :)

  2. Oh, that was exactly *my* question ... those are some glitzy heels! And pretty close to "light as a feather", I'd guess ...


    1. Hey Maya!
      Thanks for stopping by - OK those heels probably won't work as well as the Merrells or the Vibrams!