Merell Reviews

Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco: The Minimalist, with Barefoot Running Experience

Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco

Buy on Amazom

SCORE   9/10
Weight  340 g
Heel Drop  zero
Shoe Type Minimalist barefoot running shoe
Surface Trail, concrete road, gravel sidewalk, around town and indoors



  • Stylish
  • Supportive with barefoot experience
  • Lightweight
  • Good traction
  • Versatile
  • No break-in even when new
  • Durable



It has limited ground contact for 100% barefoot experience. The reason is the midsole is quite thick with a bit of cushioning, reducing ground contact.


Take Away

Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco gives you a lot of options. You can wear it on pavements, roads, trails, during hikes, and around town. It is a cross between a barefoot shoe and a moderately supporting minimalist shoe. The sole is flexible; it has zero heel drop, is somewhat padded, with prominent arch support.



Sometimes it feels good running barefoot, especially at the beach. You feel more grounded than when wearing shoes. You experience the feet taking control of running including, balancing your body and pushing you off the ground. I do love barefoot running, especially the way it connects me to the environment. I love to do this at the beach.

Barefoot running is fun, but there is a risk of picking up an injury. So, when I need something close to that, particularly trail running, I look for barefoot running shoes. They are a category of minimalist shoes inspired by barefoot running.

Unlike the traditional running shoes, barefoot running shoes have lowered ground level, are less cushioned, and are lightweight than conventional running shoes. They seek to give you very little protection at the foot while retaining the desirable barefoot running experience like natural foot movement.

Considering that I have a history of ache pains, no way am I going to abandon the conventional supportive shoes. So, let's say I need both traditional and barefoot running shoes because sometimes I want my workout to feel more natural. Also, sometimes I need foot protection and enhanced energy return, especially when cross-training or pushing for longer miles.

There are very good minimalists or barefoot running shoes in the market. The models like the Escalante 2.5, Altra Solstice XT, Inov-8 Bare –XF 210 V2, and Merrell Vapor Glove 5 have big fans and command good sales. However, they are highly conditioned minimalist running shoes models-almost close to barefoot. So, they require seasonal barefoot runners.


Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Instant impression

Sometimes you feel like freeing up your feet, and the option is to run barefoot. However, running barefoot on the beach is safer than on the trail or concrete. Imagine hitting your big toe on concrete. Ouch!

My need for a barefoot running shoe is inspired by the experience of running on the beach. I always want something close to such an experience away from the beach.

I came to know about Merrell Trail Glove 6 from a fellow runner. I could not stop admiring how it wrapped around his foot. With as low as 3mm midsole, it looked very thin, and it appeared like his foot was too close to the ground but not as thin as regular barefoot running shoes.

I did not have prior experience with any Trail Glove model, and I think I was blown away with the Trail Glove 6. Trail Glove 6 gives you up to seven color rage options. I went for blue-grey colorways.

The shoe looked great in the eyes, and of course, I could only get more experience by wearing it. I loved the true-to-size fitting, the secure fitting, and prominent arch support. But, true to Merrell's assertion, the 7 oz weight was apparent.

When I walked and ran, I noticed that it was pretty less of a barefoot shoe because the cushioning in the midsole was prominent as I walked on scrambles and concrete sidewalks.

Alas! The Trail Glove 6 did not need a break-in period. I even tried a slow run and got the experience I wanted; no pain in the arches and a natural feel.


Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Upper Impression

Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Upper


Everyone wants a shoe with a beautiful upper structure and a breathable mesh that provides a secure lockdown. I am impressed that the Trail Glove 6 is precisely that type of shoe. The upper component comprises a breathable mesh and an enhanced lacing system.

The shoe has no loop on the back for easy wearing. Instead, you have to loosen the laces first to insert the foot. So, this is not a slip-on shoe, but it is unimaginably secure once you put it on.  

The mesh wraps and takes the shape of the foot, and the toe box is roomy. I could feel the toe splaying naturally during landing.

I love a snug fit, particularly around the midfoot, and I get exactly that from the Trail Glove 6. The lacing system is the unique thing about the upper. It has a standard lacing on the top and a secondary system beneath. The laces dial in and out and combine well to give a proper grip, which I can equate to wearing a glove.

The gripping laces exert no pressure because the lacing system is adjustable. More so, the tongue has adequate padding. As a result, it feels comfortable from the heel to the toes with no slippage even in the heel.


Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco laces


Merrell put the right amount of padding around the heel, heel collar, ankle, and tongue to try and replicate a barefoot experience. Furthermore, I find the upper to be very flexible, with good design.


Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Sole Unit

Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Midsole


The general idea behind barefoot shoes is to provide a barefoot experience with a small amount of protection and traction without any aspect of support in the ankle, arch, and forefoot. The intention is to feel like you are running barefoot.

However, this is what makes The Trail Glove 6 different from actual barefoot running shoes. It comes with a significant amount of support akin to what is expected in the trail or hiking running shoes.

Therefore, the uniqueness of Glove 6 is in the midsole. While the upper feels lightweight and thin, the foot feels somehow supported in the ache, and overall cushioning is apparent. In addition, Merrell infused a rock plate into the midsole to provide protection. Interestingly, the midsole still bends easily.

The BLOOM performance midsole is a 3mm stack that is neither thick nor thin because I can feel the ground when walking or running. However, it is thinner than traditional minimalist running shoes and slightly thicker than regular barefoot running shoes.

The TPU enforcements at the midsole's medial sides also help position the foot into a neutral position. The arch support is aggressive and can be uncomfortable during the early stages of running until you get used to it as running progresses. Still, those who prefer pure barefoot running shoes will have a problem with the placement on arch support. In my case, I need to do it, to avoid arch pains.


Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Outsole


The outsole perfectly fits the trail terrain. Merrell splashed rubber grip grooves on the entire outsole, so the shoe holds up. Traction is excellent regardless of the terrain or weather.

I went for the Merrell Trail Glove 6 to meet the expectation of a barefoot experience. However, the design of the shoe does not give me a complete barefoot experience. Still, I am not frowning because arch pain does not allow me to go for 100% barefoot running shoes.

Merrell Trail Glove 6 offers a transitioning process. It has bit of support in the arch and a significant amount of ground feel. The biggest plus is that it does everything thrown at it, including running and walking. It is a shoe I find difficult to stop wearing, so I run with it on the road and trails and walk around town, especially on weekends. Since it is an "an everything" type of shoe, I have done over 250 miles, yet it still looks new.


Why You Should Buy Merrell Trail Glove 6

Merrell Trail Glove 6 Eco Side view


The snug-fitting of the Trail Glove 6 has a glove-like effect because it sucks the feet, and it is flexible enough to let the foot bend naturally. The midsole is thin, pretty nimble, and flat like slippers, with prominent grip groove rubber in the outsole and little cushioning for ground feel, typical features of a classic barefoot shoe.

Still, it is slightly different because of the support features that quite match those of trail running shoes. In a nutshell, the Trail Glove 6 is a hybrid between the minimalist barefoot shoe and typical trail shoe with a more barefoot experience.

Merrell Trail Glove 6  is stable, secure, lightweight, comfortable, stylish, and durable. It fits a runner transitioning to pure barefoot running shoes and want some arch support and less ground contact. The Trail Glove 6 is also an all-around shoe excellent for daily trail runs or town walks. It performs well in all terrains.

If you are contemplating running barefoot, try the Merrell Trail Glove 6 and enjoy its uniqueness. The hybrid features fit runners who fit my profile. Furthermore, Merrel indicates that Merrel Trail Glove 6 fits precisely like Trail Glove 5.


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By Smith Carter

 Carter is an experienced runner from South Carolina. Smith is an ardent runner with thousands of miles on his feet. At 36, he has 12 years of running experience.



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