Primitive and modern outdoor skills

Review: Merrell Tough Glove


I've had these shoes for 7 months now.


Here's a new pair:


Since purchasing these they've been my primary shoe - though for some time I was wearing huaraches around the office, until I lost them.

In any case, this is some pretty serious wear. I recently wore through the outer sole of the right shoe into the midsole, and so felt it was time for a review. For comparison, in the past I've done this in 2 months to an entirely reasonable pair of shoes, in more recent years it's taken me 3-4 months for my primary shoe. Translation: these shoes don't have wear problems.

I currently use these for all of my running, walking, and backpacking, excepting one special case for which they simply are not suitable, which I'll explain shortly. As someone who's wanted a simple, flat thin and flexible soled, leather shoe for years, I have to say this is the single best shoe I've tried by an order of magnitude. This shoe has kept me buying shoes instead of making my own (for good or for ill :P).

Before we dive into the details, a few quick notes. The Merrell Glove was designed as a competitor to the Vibram 5-fingers. It DOES have a slightly padded midsole. It is shoe shaped. It has an unusually large and widely shaped toe-box so your toes can spread kindof like 5-fingers or huaraches, but it doesn't quite achieve the same affect. To a barefoot walker it providers arch-support because it laces tightly around the foot, but no normal-shoe wearer would say it has arch-support.

In other words, the Merrell Glove is basically half-way between huaraches or 5-fingers, and a "normal" shoe. If you loved the old puma trail racers, but thought they were a bit too much shoe, or a bit too weird shaped a sole, these are the shoes for you.

Awesome things:

Bad things:

Weird things:

FYI, if you don't care about the leather property, check out , as his shoes are somewhat cheaper, and look to be more minimal, more barefoot, and more neutral. I haven't tried them yet, as they aren't leather, but I've put in a uh... feature request?.. for them to make leather ones in the future. Cross your fingers, and if you agree maybe send them a note yourself!