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Merrel Barefoot?
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Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Merrel Barefoot? on 06/07/2011 20:48:25 MDT Print View

I saw these at my local gear store. They seem like a nice alternative to the 5 fingers that I know a lot of people use (and love). Has anyone used these for backpacking yet? I think they would work great, i'm more worried about the durability for a $110 shoe. I am however thinking about getting these for my next shoe instead of trail runners. Has anyone used these that can recomend them or should I just stick with Innov8?


John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Merrell Barefoot? on 06/07/2011 21:17:26 MDT Print View

You might want to check out this thread on the Trail Glove:

I really liked my Trail Gloves, but I returned them to REI today after a few week's use because I didn't think they would last very long on the AZ trails I frequent (gotta love that return policy!). You can see my reasons on the above thread. If I spent a lot of time hiking on forest duff instead of rocky terrain, I probably would have kept them. They were comfortable and it felt great having such light shoes on. That being said, I'm not sure if I would want to wear them on anything more than a 1 or 2 night trip, but I did not have them long enough to try.

I recently ordered some Saucony Peregrine shoes, New Balance MT 101s, and Montrail Rogue Racers from to try and find a semi-minimal and more durable trail shoe. They have free return shipping and you can usually find a 15% off discount code, so they might be a good place to try a bunch of shoes from.

Brian Gentry
(Treegreen) - F
"Merrel Barefoot" on 06/07/2011 23:05:50 MDT Print View

They are perfect for trail/road running using a toe-strike gait or weight lifting where flatfootedness is desirable (e.g. olympic lifts) which is what I use them for daily. I guess if you're already used to barefoot or minimalist shoes then they are as viable an option as anything, but they weren't really designed with long-distance / pack bearing hiking in mind. As far as durability is concerned I workout with people who wear five fingers, inov-8s, and new balance minimus shoes and my trail gloves have kept up just fine. Ultimately I think your best bet is to try on the various options now available and come to your own conclusions. often has some over time use reviews on multiple brands that you may find useful. My own feeling is that if I were hiking I would probably want something else, but that's a comfort thing for me rather than believing the shoe would fail.

Edited by Treegreen on 06/07/2011 23:06:50 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Merrel Barefoot?" on 06/07/2011 23:28:41 MDT Print View

I don't feel like these were designed for walking.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Merrel Barefoot? on 06/08/2011 06:31:51 MDT Print View

They are a pretty great shoe, but one that takes a fair amount of time to adapt to. I bought a pair to kick around in and I really enjoy them. Recently I took them out on an easy 5 mile day hike and by the end I was glad I had not tried to do more. I have been wearing minimal footwear for years (Inov8's and now the Saucony Peregines) and my feet still felt pretty tired and alittle sore by the end. Not sure how long they would last but if you check out the review on Barefoot Running University, the sites owner claims to have well over 500 miles on one pair.

Edited by Jkrew81 on 06/08/2011 09:11:08 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Saucony Peregrine on 06/08/2011 08:46:02 MDT Print View

Not to hijack this thread, but Jonathan, have you tried using the Saucony Peregrine for backpacking?

The issue with a lot of minimal footwear review sites for me is they all focus on how the shoe performs when running. I rarely see any info on how minimal shoes do for walking or hiking. Of course, this makes sense since all the shoes are marketed for running...

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: Saucony Peregrine on 06/08/2011 09:00:50 MDT Print View

hey John,
I mostly run in my peregrines but I have used them for a few day hikes and one overnight 25 mile backpacking trip. Honestly they were great. Nothing earth shattering or whatnot, they just work really well. They have a good mix of ground feel with enough cushion to protect your foot and have so far proven pretty durable ( 150 miles under a 6'4" runner). They have replaced my Inov8 Roclite 315's as the goto shoe.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Re: Re: Saucony Peregrine on 06/08/2011 09:40:18 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info. It sounds like the Peregrines might be a good compromise between lightweight, durability, and protection then.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Merrel Barefoot? on 06/08/2011 09:44:09 MDT Print View

I go barefoot a lot (if I don't absolutely need shoes I don't wear them) so I'm not super concerned. When I was going to school on the east coast, I often went hiking completly barefoot. But now that I am back in SoCal the rocks are much gnarlier. Thats why I was curious about these. So for a backpacking shoe I figure I will just get a pair of Innov8s because I'm a broke 16 year old and need a shoe that will last and isn't such a specialty shoe. Hell, I can just take off my shoes if I want to.

Maybe I'll ask for a pair for my birthday or something.

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
trial on 06/08/2011 10:16:26 MDT Print View

I just did my first long hike in my trail gloves. I did about 15 miles and about 3000 feet of climb on a rocky trail.

going uphill, I seemed to be able to almost naturally place my feet so I didnt step directly on any sharp, or odd angle rocks. going downhill however I seemed to step on a lot more and get at least 3-4 "sh.t that hurt" moments.

the next day, the soles of my feet were sore, however I think its something I would adjust to.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: trial on 06/08/2011 21:42:56 MDT Print View

I've been doing a lot of backpacking in Chaco sandals. Chacos, of course, are not anything like Merrel Barefoots. But I think my experience is relevant.

At first I thought they were really hard. As in no cushioning. I would get tired after a while and didn't think I could keep up the mileage. Then there's the lack of a shoe to provide any support for your foot. My ankles would get pretty tired even though I haven't worn high-cut shoes in over a decade. And of course, there's the whole potential to stub or hurt your toes. But nothing has ever happened to my toes.

I've managed lately to hike upper 20-mile days wearing Chacos. I've hiked over snow and in freezing, snowy and rainy weather. I hiked a portion of the JMT in the summer and several 60-100 mile sections of the PCT.

I think sandals work great for backpacking. It does become second nature to walk carefully so you don't hurt your feet. I don't even think about it anymore. It's painful to walk behind people who wear shoes and watch them step so carelessly and nearly twist their ankles all the time. If Marrel Barefoot are so minimal you have to watch your footing, it'll be second nature in no time.

So, as far as Merrel Barefoot, I think the whole minimal aspect of them is a non-issue. What I would be concerned with is if they are worth the $100 and will they last and give you decent traction on the kinds of trails you like to hike.

Anthony Rosen
(xpress411) - F

Locale: Washington, DC
Saucony ProGrid Peregrine on 06/09/2011 08:38:20 MDT Print View

I just bought myself a pair from runningwarehouse. It was either these or the go-lite amp lites. I've been hiking in the Inov8 212's, but find them to be uncomfortable after 15 miles or so.

The Saucony's have a little more cushion than the 212's, and lower heel, so look like the ideal hiking shoe to me. 4mm heel drop, Multi-directional lugs, and a gusseted shoe tongue. Plus, all for $77.95.

patrick walsh
(apbt1976) - F
Take q close look at those saucony shoes... on 06/09/2011 09:15:05 MDT Print View

I am a runner also and am hooked on the Kinvara. It was only natural i would wear the Peragrines for trail running/hiking however!!!

I suggest you put both shoes down on a flat eye lever surface and look at them directly form the back side by side. You will notice on the right shoe the sole twists up and inward in a direction that mimics over pronation. Not good imop and even worse if you do over pronate.

Just a fyi take a look, some shoes i have noticed are more dramatic or more twisted than others but thus far every pair i have got my hands on "5" have had this defect...

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
For backpacking/climbing on 06/09/2011 10:01:57 MDT Print View

Are these types of shoes, merrel trail glove and saucony peregrine, going to be tough enough for mixed backpacking and climbing in places like Colorado. I ask because my Montrail Hardrocks show some real wear from just one summer of use and they a much burlier shoe.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: For backpacking/climbing on 06/09/2011 10:23:35 MDT Print View

Peregrines will be a gradual progression down from your Hardrocks and the Trail Gloves will be drastic. If you decide to go with the Peregrines I would suggest a few super easy walks, dayhikes or easy runs to get used to the low heel to forefoot drop. Like one of the above posters, I am a Kinvara user and could feel the stretch in my calves when I started wearing them. That said going back to a traditional shoe with a 10+ mm drop after using these shoes now feels just downright awkward.

Ginger Allman
(gindavall) - F

Locale: Ozarks
trail glove on 06/09/2011 10:40:46 MDT Print View

I've got a pair here I've been evaluating. The fit is great, and I agree with Piper about how your foot and gait will adapt to a new style when backpacking in a minimal shoe. My big problem with the trail glove is that the sole is smaller than your foot. So in essence you are wobbling on a rail. As I don't run, I can't comment on the shoe's fitness for that. But for backpacking you are always stepping on unstable ground and I am afraid that it will just make your footing that much more unstable. Even while standing on a level floor in the trail glove it doesn't take much sideways roll to twist my foot to the side.

Plus, the outside edges of my feet are wider than the shoe's sole as well, so that edge of my foot ends up taking some of the foot-plant pressure. I know from the experience of wearing ill-fitting street shoes that this is going to lead to some serious pain.

I guess I'm sticking with my Innov-8s for now. Which irks me. I wanted this shoe to work. I really did.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Trail Gloves on 06/09/2011 17:53:11 MDT Print View

I just got in some shoes from today. I tried out the Saucony Peregrines, New Balance MT 101s, and Montrail Rogue Racers - all semi-minimal shoes weighing between 7.7 and 9.7 oz for my size 9. Having worn the Trail Gloves for the past couple of weeks, all of these shoes felt pretty substantial. The MT 101 and Rogue Racer had too much padding for me in the heel and they both had a large heel drop which I've come to dislike now.

I'm keeping the Saucony Peregrines and sending the others back. They fit the best (I have wide feet), seem the grippiest, have the lowest heel drop, and don't feel like a giant pillow on my foot. They also seem the most durable. I have zero hiking experience in the Peregrines, but they seem like they'll work out really well. I don't expect to have any durability issues using them in AZ. I returned the Trail Gloves to REI because I didn't think they would last more than a couple months at my rate. Oh, and I got the orange and black color scheme - the orange is super bright right now!

Edited by johnnyh88 on 06/09/2011 17:56:41 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: trail glove on 06/10/2011 16:43:18 MDT Print View

Oh yeah, you have to watch out for a shoe that has your foot hanging over the sole. You can end up stubbing your toes even with shoes on. When I started doing that on the PCT I realized it was time for another new size shoe.