Trail Gloves Gone Bad

Trail Glove 5

Shoe company Merrell has made a running shoe called the Trail Glove for about a decade, following the hype around "barefoot" or "minimalist" running in the wake of McDougall's book Born to Run. There have been several iterations of the shoe, I have had them all and they have been my primary running shoes ever since, including the marathons I've run. Almost needless to say, I have loved them all, otherwise I would have switched to something else.

Up to and including version 4, that is. The current fifth iteration, pictured above, introduces a major flaw, in my opinion: arch support. Instead of being flat, the sole is thicker and rises significantly in the middle of the foot, so that some of the weight rests there instead of the ball and heel, where it should be. This is a total no-no, and I am sad that I will have to look into other brands, once my two Trail Glove v4 have worn out. Luckily, this will not happen anythime soon, I still use a pair of v3 as well.

By the way, if you have never heard of minimalist running before, this recent podcast gives a good motivation. In short, the reasoning is that cushioned shoes are in effect a kind or orthotics that allow running without building up the strength in the foot itself, which will more likely get you into trouble than running with a thin and flexible shoe that only protects the skin and does not get involved in the motion.

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