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Lightweight, comfortable, and breathable: the Merrell Trail Glove 4 barefoot trail running shoe lets us set the pace and keep it up on the trail or pavement.

We’ve loved hitting the trail in the Trail Glove 4 trail running shoe. From quick runs through our neighborhood, to longer mileage days, the Trail Glove 4 offer a comfortable ride, ample protection underfoot, and excellent breathability on hot days. The Trail Glove 4 was our first experience with a barefoot style running shoe, and we can confidently say it won’t be our last. The Trail Glove 4 is the perfect choice for fast-pace runs on pavement or groomed trails like those at Atlanta’s ultra-popular Cochran Shoals.

Our favorite barefoot-style trail running shoe: our Merrell Trail Glove 4 review

Our Trail Glove 4 trail-tested review

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 fits like a dream right out of the box. The snug sock-like fit feels secure and comfortable, with virtually no room for our foot to slide or move. Paired with a high quality running sock like the Feetures Elite Merino+, we’ve had no hot spots or blisters over the many miles we’ve breezed through in this shoe.

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is an ultralight barefoot trail running shoe that delivers a fantastic run right out of the box

The Trail Glove 4 provides a nimble, lightweight ride out on the trail. Weighing around 8 ounces each, the shoe feels very light compared to our other trail runners, while still providing a surprising amount of cushion underfoot. It’s really easy to keep up the pace in this shoe without being held back by any extra weight or bulk.

Our Merrell Trail Glove 4 trail running shoe review: this barefoot-style shoe is perfect for pavement and groomed trails

Constructed of breathable mesh and TPU, the Trail Glove 4’s upper offers excellent ventilation, which is ultra-important in our often hot and humid weather here in the South. We’ve run numerous trails with temps in the high 90’s, and the Trail Glove shed the heat allowing us to stay cool and comfortable. The lightweight upper also provides ample support for the foot, especially when the laces are pulled tight, giving the shoe a very secure fit.

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 barefoot trail running shoe features an ultra-grippy Vibram TC5+ outsole for great traction on the trail

The shoe’s fantastic Vibram TC5+ outsole offers grippy traction that keeps us feeling sure-footed on sandy trails, gravel, loosely packed dirt, and pavement. And thanks to the TrailProtect pad in the midsole, the ride is smooth and comfortable no matter the terrain or length of our run. We’ve been surprised and impressed with protection the Trail Glove 4 offers underfoot. The slim profile of the sole is deceiving: while it looks very streamlined, it provides more than ample protection for rocks and debris encountered on groomed, unpaved trails and rough pavement.

Our favorite trail running shoes: the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is an ultralight barefoot-style running shoe that breathes well and offers fantastic traction

Merrell Trail Glove 4 trail running shoe wrap-up

This shoe offers excellent breathability, ample protection, and awesome comfort in a minimalistic, barefoot style trail shoe. The grippy Vibram outsole and TrailProtect pad keep us feeling stable and protected on both natural and paved trails.

So where can I find them?

While we received a sample pair to test, all opinions above are our own, and based on our own, trail-tested experience. Some links on Trailful are affiliate links, which means that the merchant might pay us a commission if you purchase a product after clicking our links, at no extra cost to you. We only recommend gear that we personally use and love.
Thanks for your support! - the Trailful crew

Rob Sollie

Rob Sollie fell in love with the outdoors while growing up in Montana near Glacier National Park. Since he moved to Atlanta in 2001, he’s made it a mission to find great outdoor adventures in Georgia and throughout the South. Rob’s favorite trails include the Conasauga River Trail in Georgia and the Deep Gap Trail at Mount Mitchell near Asheville.