BY JAKE THOMPSETT
The trail glove is aimed at promoting the barefoot style of running known as "Bareform", rather than a "shod" style where the runner lands heel first, with the foot placed in front of the hips, therefore directing the impact into the joints, bones and ligaments of the legs and body. Check out www.barefootrunninguniversity.com there's a wealth of knowledge on there from a very experienced barefoot runner.
Many runners will be aware of the injuries present when running in a shod style such as plantar fascitis, achilles tendonitis, and all round dodgy knees! There's a great article by Runners World highlighting the most common injuries in running and the rehab required, see here: http://www.runnersworld.com
When running in a barefoot style you take short steps, landing with an almost "pancake flat" foot (thanks Merrell for the great description!), this therefore reduces the impact.
Check out this excellent video by Merrell highlighting the basics of Bareform:
Out of all of the barefoot running shoes I have tried, the Trail Glove gives the best fit. The heel is a close fit and the ankle is nice and low providing plenty of space and reducing the risk of rubbing.
The best part of the shoe in my opinion is the toe box, this is perfectly designed to allow the toes to have plenty of room to spread when landing on the mid foot and feels as if it has been moulded to the shape of my forefoot! I especially like the dexterity that you feel through the toe box when pushing of the forefoot, it really allows to feel what is underneath your foot.
The seamless inner allows you to wear these shoes with no socks on, a very different, but exhilarating experience and one that takes proper conditioning for running in the winter months!
The only downside of the fit is the arch area, I have found that where as the arch support gives a great technical profile racing fit, it does begin to rub ever so slightly after long distances. It's not enough friction to cause a problem but during training session it does feel a little 'weird'. I think this is due to the fact that previous barefoot shoes that I have owned had a very simple flat sole. It will be interesting to test the Trail Glove during a fell race to see whether this arch support gives a better fit when running at a faster pace! My prediction is that it does.
I must admit I was in doubt about whether the tread was suitable for trail use where it becomes wet or muddy (even though they are designed for rocky loose trails), but after some good field testing I have well and truly been proven wrong.
The best bit about the tread design is the strategic placement of the the aggressive grip at the toes. I found that this really dug its teeth into the wet terrain and allowed me to transfer all the power from my feet and legs into the ground to give me plenty of drive uphill.
Downhill performance was also very good due to the forwards facing tread located around the mid-forefoot area.
I fully recommend this shoe, it has the ability to introduce you into barefoot trail running due to the minimal mid foot cushioning, but also to aid you through a long distance barefoot fell race! So check out the Bareform technique video, grab yourself a pair, and get out on the trails! Oh and let me know how you get on with them! Always interested to hear various opinions!