This post was contributed by my amazing husband, Dan Morey. Enjoy!
In July of this year and after reading up on the benefits of switching to a barefoot or forefoot strike style of running, I began to look into barefoot shoes to accommodate my new running style. I know that “barefoot shoes” sounds like an oxymoron, but I was looking for something with a thin sole that kept my foot parallel to the ground, tight to the foot and didn’t separate my toes like the Vibram Five-Fingers. Around the same time, I signed up for what is said to be the toughest event on the planet, the Tough Mudder. So now not only did I want a minimalist running shoe, but I wanted one that could survive everything I thought the Tough Mudder might throw at them – which is why I went with the Merrell Trail Glovehttp://www.merrell.com/US/en/Barefoot.
Like any new shoe, The Merrell Trail Glove takes some getting used to, not to mention the fact that it’s a whole new kind of shoe. Its snug fit around the heel and arch and an extra wide toe box paired nicely with the Vibram sole. They are actually pretty similar to my old wrestling shoes. With 3 ½ months to the event, I had to relearn running from scratch, increasing my distance 10% at a time all the way up to 11 miles. Mile after mile, the Trail Gloves held my feet together with no blisters or discomfort. Before the race, I even started going for my runs soaking wet. Even then, my feet felt great in the shoes.
Event day. I was told by many people, including the TM website itself, to wear old shoes that you won’t mind throwing away, but I still decided to run in my nearly new Trail Gloves. Within about three minutes of the shotgun start, my shoes were already waterlogged. However where I would normally be dragging my feet, I still had plenty of spring in my step due to the Trail Glove’s ability to drain water quickly and efficiently. Even when I spend 20mins+ in waist deep mud, as soon as I was out, mud was pouring out of my shoes. I felt no added weight no matter what got into my shoes. In areas where I would normally pull out a foot caked with mud, my Trail Gloves collected little muck and allowed me to slip out of each puddle easily.
Speaking of mud, when we were trudging through the bog and swamp, I was the only member of my team NOT to lose a shoe in the muck. The Trail Gloves stayed securely fasted to my feet as if they grew there.
The TM course was peppered with dozens of uphill climbs in mud, sand and gravel. At each one, my teammates and I hit it hard and sprinted up each incline. The Trail Glove’s gripped the earth and allowed me to scale those steep hills better than Spiderman himself. They also gripped well when scaling 12’ wall or running up a muddy half pipe.
After the event, I tossed my filthy shoes into a plastic garbage bag and hosed them down as soon as I got home. It wasn’t until about 24 hrs later that I then threw them in the washing machine and they came out looking nearly brand new! There was no damage to the shoe – not from the washing machine nor the race – and they were bone dry after about 12hrs of sitting on my bathroom sink.
For a grueling 12 miles and 27 obstacles over 3 hours, my body was banged up and bruised, but my Merrell Trail gloves were in much better shape than I was. I’ll definitely be buying another pair in the future, assuming these ones ever wear out.