Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove – Barefoot Running Test
courtesy of No Boundaries
Merrell and Vibram have joined forces in the creation of a line of barefoot running shoes. For the uninitiated, barefoot running is a somewhat back-to-basics movement. Yes, there are some who actually run with no shoes on. Most wear a low profile, almost sock-like, shoe dubbed the barefoot running shoe. These shoes provide the needed arch support, a minimum of padding, grip on sketchy surfaces, and protection from injury.
Barefoot running aficionados claim that this form of running will strengthen the muscles in the lower leg and actually make the runner faster. According to those who use these kicks exclusively, they can complete longer distances with better times. I’m known for being an “open-minded skeptic” when it comes to new trends, always leery but ready to try it at the drop of a hat. So I got a pair of Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove shoes and jumped right in.
My biggest apprehension with the barefoot running craze is the fear or injury. If you’ve ever tried to run to the mail box in your bare feet you know it can be painful. Not only if you step on a rock but the mere force of the heel strike can send sharp pains up your leg. With barefoot running, style is the key. Changing the habit of landing on your heel first, to landing mid-foot (the part right in front of the arch) is the game-changer. This seems simple but will take a few runs to get the hang of. Then there is posture. Ensuring that elbows are back and that your body is straight will also reduce the chance for injury.
- Watch some barefoot running training videos first. Make sure you know what you’re doing so you don’t damage your foot.
- You will run faster. This is inevitable. You strike toward the front of your foot, much like a sprinter, and the urge is to lean forward. Barefoot running will make you faster.
- You will be sore. From the knee down will feel like it has been beaten with a baton. I took a short two mile run for my first spin in these barefoot running shoes and was sore for days. Ease into it!
- Barefoot running is excellent cross training. I haven’t used the barefoot shoes for distances longer than three miles yet. My longer runs are being logged in traditional running shoes. I have noticed I am faster and leg fatigue is not a problem on my longer runs. I’ve also noticed a slight improvement in my cycling strength.
- If you have issues – stop! If you have pain or severe discomfort, stop using the shoes. See a barefoot running trainer and learn more from them about how you can adjust your style to relieve the discomfort. See a doctor if you injure yourself.
- You will feel like regular shoes are lead weights. Normal shoes seem very heavy after wearing barefoot runners. You may become a flip-flop fan when not training.
The Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove makes for an excellent entry into the sport. The shoe is well made, sports a grippy Vibram sole, protects from stone bruises with a flexible plate in the fore-foot section, and guards your piggies with a toe bumper. Merrell and Vibram are at the forefront of the barefoot running movement and are continually innovating and updating their gear tech. These Merrell barefoots weigh a mere 6.2 ounces, so weight will definitely be a problem either. If still skeptical, read some of the reviews customers have been putting up on the product page. It may not be my new favorite sport, but barefoot running is quickly becoming my go-to leg and endurance training on days when I don’t have much time.
To check out the Merrell Barefoot line, go to your local Masseys Professional Outfitters location (New Orleans, Covington, Metairie, Baton Rouge) www.masseysoutfitters.com.