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Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove and Contour Glove
Gear Review

Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove and Contour Glove

Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove and Contour Glove

Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove and Contour Glove

Manufacturer: Merrell

Your Opinion: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Kerstin

Created/Edited: Mar 16, 2012 / Mar 16, 2012

Object ID: 8117

Hits: 2082 


Product Description

The Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove is a lightweight nylon shoe designed for running. In a women's US size 8, a pair weighs only 12 ounces (340.2 grams). This shoe retails for $100.00.

The Merrell Barefoot Contour Glove has a more substantial pigskin upper than the Pace Glove and weighs 16 ounces (453.6 grams) per pair in a women's US size 8. This shoe retails for $110.00. Both types of shoes are made in China.

Merrell Pace Glove

I received my Pace Gloves last summer as a gift from my youngest sister, who is an avid runner. I had already been investigating very light weight, barefoot style shoes for hiking, so I was excited to use them and appreciated her gift.

I made the mistake of wearing the Pace Gloves right away on a seven mile hike without taking any moleskin or bandaids in case I got hot spots or blisters. I used no socks. The shoes were very comfortable and form-fitting, except a rough seam near the top of the heel cup created a deep blister near my right achilles tendon. The sole is thin enough that you can feel the terrain beneath your feet. Moist ground feels distinctly different from dry ground. Step on a sharp rock with your heel, and you will definitely feel it. These shoes change the way you walk. Heel striking is uncomfortable. I quickly found myself taking shorter strides and landing more in the middle of my foot.

Once the blister healed enough, I began wearing the Pace Gloves with a very thin cotton or wool liner sock for protection from the heel seam. I also found the idea of wearing shoes with no socks a bit unappealing, even though these shoes are easy to hand wash. I hiked in these shoes constantly, loving the lightweight feeling. The upper of the shoe is a nylon mesh. It's very breathable, but lets in fine dirt particles. Expect your socks and feet to be quite dirty when you remove the shoes. I carry a spare pair of socks when I go long hikes while wearing the Pace Gloves.

Because of the extremely lightweight construction, these shoes are painful to wear on sharp scree. A friend and I hiked up Elephant's Back in the Carson Pass area last summer. Small rocks frequently roll onto your feet when hiking this peak. It's a short distance to the top, but by the time I got there, I'd decided not to wear these shoes in rough terrain again. The sole began delaminating at the toe after about three weeks of wear. However, I was using these shoes in conditions they were not designed for. The delam was easily repaired with seam grip.

The Pace Gloves are great for class one trails with no loose rock, and easy cross-country travel. They are not waterproof, but dry very quickly. I really like the feeling of having almost nothing on my feet while hiking.

Merrell Contour Glove

This shoe is like a heavier-duty Pace Glove. The sole is identical, but the pigskin upper provides quite a bit more protection for the top and sides of your feet. I purchased these about a month after I received the Pace Gloves from my sister. The Contour Gloves were much more appropriate for off-trail hiking and scrambling. I used them with a thin cotton liner sock or with extra light Smartwool running socks. These shoes feel like very comfortable climbing shoes with a bit of tread on the bottom.

Talus hopping is really fun in the Contour Gloves. Once the bottoms of my feet adjusted to the thin, sensitive soles I had no problem hiking all day in them. The tongue on this shoe is not gusseted, but the close fit helps keep debris out of the shoe. I did find myself emptying the shoes out a few times a day though.

The Contour Gloves are not designed for snow travel, but the tread grips quite well on lower-angle, sun-softened snow. Because of the soft construction, kicking steps is not possible in these shoes, and gaiters don't work with them either. The pigskin leather upper resists moisture very well.

I have minor knee problems. Because it's uncomfortable to heel strike in these shoes, I found my knees didn't get sore even after hiking downhill for hours. The lack of heel lift made descending less tiring too. I can imagine that shoes like this would be good for people who roll their ankles frequently. My feet got really strong while using the Contour Gloves for summer hiking.

The Contour Glove would make a great ultra-lightweight approach shoe if the terrain you are covering is not too severe. This shoe has heel loops that will readily accept a carabiner. I have not had the chance to use my Merrells while backpacking. I'll update this page when I do.

I'd highly recommend the Contour Glove for hikers who don't expect to encounter steeper snowfields or long scree slopes where a lot of rocks are rolling onto your feet. The lightweight feeling of these shoes is wonderful.



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