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Merrell Trail Glove (Women’s Version is the Pace Glove)

(Women’s version is called the Pace Glove)

$110, 6.4 oz, www.merrell.com

The Dirt. The lightest and most minimal shoe we tested, the zero-drop Trail Glove makes you feel barefoot. The Vibram outsole grips well with aggressive lugs situated under each toe, but slight cushioning pockets on strike zones (heel and ball) provided little protection. Two thumbs up were given for the shoe’s glove-like upper and wide toebox, which allows natural metatarsal flexion, making this a comfortable ride for forefoot strikers. A word of warning: slowly build up your running time in these shoes, especially if you are prone to Achilles or plantar-fascia pain. (Check out Merrell’s new website dedicated to barefoot running technique: www.merrell.com/barefoot.)

Fit. Adjustable eyelets stitched to the tongue allow a comfortable fit no matter your foot’s width. One tester described the shoe as being a second skin, praising it’s snug-fitting midfoot overlays and cup-less heel.

Best For. Short, strength-building runs on smooth, non-technical trails.

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