Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner

Last updated date: September 23, 2019

DWYM Score

8.7

Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner

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We looked at the top Barefoot Shoes and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Barefoot Shoe you should buy.

Update as October 30, 2019:
Checkout The Best Barefoot Shoe for a detailed review of all the top barefoot shoes.

Overall Take


In our analysis of 92 expert reviews, the Merrell Men's Trail Glove 4 Runner placed 4th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

100% Textile and Synthetic. Imported.Rubber sole. Mesh & TPU upper. Vegan friendly. Trailprotect pad for underfoot protection. Breathable mesh lining, Vibram TC5 outsole. Insole: 3mm, 3mm lugs;TrailProtect pad offers underfoot protection

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.7
11 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.0
832 user reviews

What experts liked

Multiple color options aren't too gaudy. Comfortable to wear for long days, as mesh allows air flow. Includes extra padding around the shoe's sole to ensure protection for the foot when wor in harsh terrain.
- BestReviews
Most of the testers mentioned that the formal style of the Merrell Trail Glove 4 allowed them to wear this shoe for casual occasions.
- RunRepeat
The versatile shoe offers seldom seen design elements that perform exceptionally well and ought to be standard throughout running shoes. If you are looking for something new to break out on your trail days, then take a shot with this shoe: it was our top pick for trail shoes. These shoes have decent toe-box protection against stubbed toes on roots and rocks; they are zero-drop — there is 0mm difference between the heel and toe - they have no unneeded padding under the sole and offer the minimum your feet need for support and protection.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
May 1, 2019 | Full review
The shoe works great with short and ling, both running distances. The added tongue in the shoe gives better comfort and fit.
- Runners Choice
May 16, 2019 | Full review
Merrell improved the tread and lacing systems of the shoe, as well as adding thinner mesh.
- Runner Click
Thanks to their breathable outer layers, these trainers are excellent in hot environments, giving your feet the chance to cool off, while also letting air pass through them.
- Byways
The Trail Glove 4 Runner is a lightweight, comfortable shoe with short break-in time and comes with a mesh lining for breathability, thus keeping your feet cool at all times. Many users have also confirmed the supportive attributes and how stable this innovative shoe is, and these are rare traits in the majority of minimalist shoes out there.
- The Athletic Foot
February 27, 2019 | Full review
The Glove 4’s are very lightweight and fit your feet like a glove and give amazing support to those extreme trail runners.
- Adventure Sacks
March 21, 2018 | Full review
What stands out about this design is its low profile, zero-drop shape, and superior trail feel. It’s one of the lightest shoes to make our list at 16 ounces but manages to retain modest trail performance with a close fit, rock guard, and Vibram outsoles. Overall, the Trail Glove is a good choice for the minimalist runner that sticks to easy trails and short distances.
- Switchback Travel
May 13, 2019 | Full review
The midsole of the shoe is constructed from primarily EVA foam. This design allows the shoe to provide the wearer with both a high-level of responsiveness and comfort during use.
- WalkJogRun
The shoe fits like a glove. A snug wrap around all areas of the foot reduce any internal movement, which is essential to a barefoot running platform. This is accomplished by eliminating the tongue and essentially having the mesh upper tighten in one motion.
- Outdoor Gear Reviews
October 25, 2017 | Full review

What experts didn't like

May not last long for heavy-duty users. Shoes seem to retain odors.
- BestReviews
According to some testers, the mesh was very thin. It easily tore apart after only several uses.
- RunRepeat
Wear fast on roads, may be tight on some.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
May 1, 2019 | Full review
Small cushioning, some users have experienced a slight pain in the initial days of its usage. Plus, The mesh is thin; therefore it is easily torn and wears off after sometime.
- Runners Choice
May 16, 2019 | Full review
Some users thought there was a little too much cushion for a true minimal shoe supporter.
- Runner Click
These shoes come in anywhere between $60 and $200, making them a little more expensive. They aren’t quite as compact as other minimal shoes, providing additional enforcement to make sure that the shoes can take a real beating, but this is a good payoff
- Byways
Shoes may be too narrow for some runners.
- The Athletic Foot
February 27, 2019 | Full review
As comfortable as they are, they can be a bit tight on the top of your foot as the tongue tends to rest a bit low and the toe box isn’t as big as other trail runners.
- Adventure Sacks
March 21, 2018 | Full review
The thin construction doesn’t offer nearly the same degree of protection and rollover stability as the shoes above. Further, it will take some time to get used to the zero-drop ride if you’re transitioning from a traditional shoe or are a heel striker.
- Switchback Travel
May 13, 2019 | Full review
The shoe has an extremely thin layer of padding that acts as the midsole of the shoe; this severely limits the ability to provide support for the curves of the wearer's foot during use. The upper is also cut very thin and stops far below the ankle. This results in on ankle support being provided and very little possiblity of support for the upper of the wearer's foot during use.
- WalkJogRun

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

An Overview On Barefoot Shoes

Barefoot shoes are a product catered to meet the needs of a certain type of person who likes to feel connected to the earth and to let their feet perform in a more natural way.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“Barefoot shoes allow for your foot and body to run naturally as if you aren’t wearing a shoe at all,” says health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour, personal trainer and host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public television. “It allows for your body mechanics to kick in without relying on arches, comfort, or support from shoes.”

A barefoot running shoe will provide a durable and fairly thick rubber sole under your foot to protect you from uneven or sharp surfaces that you might find. This small cushion provided by the sole, as seen in the TSLA Men’s Minimalist Barefoot Trail Shoe, allows you to wear these shoes anywhere that you could wear normal shoes, so you are not limited to smooth concrete surfaces or treadmills.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Beyond the cushioning and protection that the soles of these barefoot running shoes provide, they are also often made with a highly resilient and grippy material that provides slip-resistance to the user. The Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga is a good example of this slip-resistant sole, and it makes an ideal shoe for wet conditions.

“Wearing barefoot shoes may improve proprioception and balance. There are so many nerve endings on the bottom of your feet, so being in tune and feeling these as you take a step or run can help with better balance and coordination,” Mansour notes. “Plus, you’ll be activating the smaller muscles in the legs and feet to help support you, since the shoe provides less support than a traditional walking or running shoe. Wearing a barefoot shoe can also help you feel more connected and grounded to your environment.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

When considering which barefoot shoe to buy, think about ease of use. Barefoot running shoes look and behave a lot like a pair of socks on your feet. They shoud be bendable and should flex with the muscles of your foot. Basically, the shoe should mimic your foot’s movements as closely as possible.

They should also be nearly as easy to put on and take off, which is why they generally sport a wide opening at the top for your foot. The ability to slide on a pair of shoes like the PENGCHENG Mens/Womens Water Sports Shoes is an invaluable benefit while on the move.

Your shoes should be comfortable to wear and have a durable enough sole to handle any terrain. But as the name suggests, you wear them with your bare feet, which can sweat and cause a noticeable buildup of moisture inside the shoe. Luckily, there are fast-drying and water-resistant options out there.  The VIFUUR Barefoot Quick-Dry Shoe has an upper made from a quick-drying material. It also allows water to drain right out of the shoe for the times you’re wearing them in the rain or for actual water sports. A secondary benefit to a porous design is that it allows airflow into the shoe to let your feet breathe while wearing them. This breathability is a huge benefit when you don’t have a sock between your foot and the shoe to absorb moisture.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

A notable difference in some of the styles of barefoot running shoes is how they stay on your foot. Some have a velcro strap that makes securing them a breeze. For those who intend on pounding the trail or doing a higher level of athletic maneuvers, there are also barefoot running shoes with a full set of laces. These will match the security of a traditional running shoe in the sense that they will stay put on your foot during vigorous exercise.

Lastly, your shoes should look good. Like any other type of shoe, barefoot shoes come in a slew of fun colors and patterns that can add some flair to your day, or they can be simple and elegant with simple, muted colors. Whether you want to find colors to match your favorite sports team or you have a certain color palette of exercise and outdoorsy clothes to match, you will be able to find a pair of barefoot running shoes to suit your desires.

However, if you’re coming off of injury or just starting a workout routine, note that these shoes might not be for you.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“I would not recommend getting these barefoot shoes if you are overcoming an injury or imbalance in your body, because there are still things in your body that need to be corrected, and having proper support from a traditional shoe can help with this,” Mansour explains. “I recommend barefoot shoes for runners or athletes who are looking to get their feet more in the game — to activate their foot muscles, the muscles and tendons that help with balance, and feel more grounded to their environment. If a newbie is interested in these shoes, I’d recommend simply walking around in them instead of exercising in them.”

The Barefoot Shoe Buying Guide

  • Velcro fasteners can be handy for quickly putting on and taking off your barefoot shoes. A full set of laces can make the shoe feel much more secure on your foot, so you know it won’t slide around while in action. Choose which of the features feels right for your needs to help you narrow your search.
  • Drainage holes are more efficient to drain large amounts of water than a shoe that just has a breathable fast-drying upper material. If you think you will be wearing these shoes as water shoes, this drainage feature might be the right choice for you. If you are mostly running in dry scenarios but fear you may have some sweat or rain to deal with, you will be happy with a material that is breathable and dries quickly, even if it has no built-in drainage holes.
  • Be sure to read the sizing guides very thoroughly on these products. Many will have half and full sizes ranging from very small to very large sizes. These shoes should fit your foot like a glove to give you the best results while wearing them. If they’re too loose, you’ll be fighting with potential blisters or hot spots.