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Review: Merrell Women’s Barefoot Pace Glove

by Dana Patterson » on Oct 12, 2011 13

I have been a big fan of minimalist shoes for a while now. In my last post several months ago I talked about how my FiveFinger Bikilas are the best pregnancy shoes ever.  Fast forward 6 months, and while I still wear my VFFs all the time, I’ve also been having a lot of fun wearing the Women’s Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves.  I’ve been wearing them for the past few months on various activities, from trips to the grocery store to hardcore circuit training sessions at the gym.  After spending a solid chunk of time in them, I’m ready to share my thoughts.

My Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves in Acacia (yellow)

The Looks

While I dig the look of FiveFingers, they can definitely be shocking and confusing to the uninitiated.  For those that need a much more conformist/uniform look, the Merrell’s give you just that while maintaining the minimalist sensibilities you love.  I chose the Acacia (Yellow/Gray/Black) Pace Gloves because I like the color, but to be honest, all of their colors look pretty modern.

My friend Jamie bought the Pace Gloves in Chili Pepper (Red), shown here.

I’m a former PE teacher, and to me, cool sneakers are a must! My students always noticed my shoes, as did my jealous coworkers (many of whom were stuck wearing heels). I love my Merrells because they have a simple, yet distinct look to them. These shoes go with almost any outfit: they look great with jeans, workout clothes, and shorts.

They’re Light

The Pace Gloves are light.... really light.

These shoes are so light, which is probably the main reason I like them so much. I basically feel barefoot in them, and have done all kinds of stuff in them, including:

  • Running
  • Kickboxing
  • Circuit Training
  • Cardio Resistance Training
  • Walks around the mall
  • Chase my 2 year old and 6 month old around

Technical Specs

To me, the shoes being as light as possible and the style are probably the most important aspects, but I realize some people want more.  One good thing to know is that the soles are made by Vibram, the maker of FiveFingers, so you know its going to be durable, flexible, and thin!

Prominent Vibram branding on the sole of the shoes

Here is some info on the Pace Glove’s weight, materials, and assembly:

Shoe Upper/Lining

  • Microfiber and breathable air mesh upper
  • Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing system secured with welded TPU provides a precise, glove-like fit
  • Fused rubber toe bumper provides ultimate durability
  • Synthetic leather rear foot sling provides stability
  • Non-removable microfiber footbed treated with Aegis® antimicrobial solution resists odor

Shoe Midsole/Outsole

  • 4mm compression molded EVA midsole cushions
  • 1mm forefoot shock absorption plate maintains forefoot flexibility and protects the foot by distributing pressure
  • 0mm ball to heel drop keeps you connected to your terrain
  • Vegan friendly footwear
  • Vibram® Trail Glove Sole/ Rubber Compound TC-1
  • Women’s Weight: 4.7 ozs / 133.3 gm (1/2 pair)

Pics, Pics, and More Pics

Notice the inside of the shoe have darkened from lots of barefoot use.

The sole is very flexible and can bend anywhere. Here I'm bending the toe box.

Bending the sole at the arch

Bending the sole the opposite way at the arch

Front and profile view of the shoes

The back and sole of the shoes

Profile view of Jamie's Pace Gloves in Chili Pepper (Red)

bend pace gloves in half easily

The flexible Vibram sole on the Merrell Pace Gloves

Sole and Upper view of the Chili Peper Merrell Pace Gloves

The Whole “No Sock” Thing

One of the drawbacks (maybe the only drawback) of wearing these shoes comes from not wearing socks. Its probably obvious what that issue is: the smell. After wearing these shoes for several days in a row to the gym, it was inevitable that the result would be a terrible smell. So, I did some googling and from what I read, there weren’t that many people that had my problem (maybe most people wear them with socks or just have really pleasant smelling feet). What I did to resolve the issue was I took some oxy clean spray and squirted them down heavily, ran them through the washing machine, and let them air dry. I repeated this process again for good measure, and they were back to being new. I have learned that I do need a day or two off in between wearing them so this doesn’t happen as bad.  Of course, if I had another pair of them, I could easily alternate back and forth. I do love the fact that these shoes can be worn so comfortably without socks, even if there is the potential issue for some odor.

Rockin' the barefoot shoes without socks

Pace Gloves vs. FiveFingers

You already know that FiveFingers have individual compartments for each of your toes.  Pace gloves do not have this, but the toe box is wide so your feet do not feel scrunched together. I, personally, like the look of pace gloves better than FiveFIngers.  I don’t get asked that many questions about them from random people and they are just as light as FiveFingers.

Final Thoughts

I have been asked about my merrells at the gym a few times (although nowhere near the amount of times I’ve been asked about FiveFingers). To everyone that asks, I always tell them that I totally recommend these shoes. I just can’t see myself going back to regular athletic shoes/foot coffins after wearing light, thin, spacious minimalist shoes. These feel and look awesome; there isn’t much more you could ask for!

Submitted Comments

  1. Pear says:

    I have the Bikilas and the Pace Gloves too! I completely agree that the Pace Gloves have been the BEST alternative to VFFS. It’s kinda funny how weird I feel that people are starting to look at my face instead of my feet when I wear them :)

  2. cindy says:

    I so wanted to like these, but they aren’t as wide as five fingers. They are wider than many shoes out there, but not wide enough for me. My toes rubbed the edges of the shoe. They went back to REI.

  3. Dan says:

    My wife has these and really loves them. She enjoys these as an alternate to her fivefingers if she needs an extra bit of protection.

  4. Dana Patterson says:

    It’s SO true. I always get asked about my five fingers. I’m not a big explaining-to-stranger type of person….

  5. Dana Patterson says:

    Did you try a bigger size? I feel like my foot is somewhat wide and they feel so much better on me than regular sneakers. Also, did you try them without socks?

  6. AlaneATX says:

    After reading this review, I went to our local Backwoods store and tried a pair on. The appeal to me was to have a pair of minimalist show to throw on with jeans. I have to say, I am a loyal five fingers fan and will continue to wear my vff’s in my workouts, but these are great! I did try them in my work out with my trainer and I would use them on occasion as a workout alternative. Thanks for the review…I’m so happy to have another minimalist shoe that looks sporty and cute with casual wear!

  7. Dana Patterson says:

    I’m glad you like them! I also like my Bikilas for working out, but I do like to change it up with my Merrells. Minimalist shoes really make a difference!

  8. Melissa says:

    Hey there Dana!
    I saw that you were a PE teacher—I’m an Art teacher and as you know we stand pretty much all day. I’ve yet to find a shoe that can handle it and make it where my feet don’t feel so awful at the end of the day. What’s your top recommendation for this? After reading this about the Merrells, I don’t know if I should start out with them or the VFFs.

  9. Janine says:

    I’ve been wearing the 5fingers for the past year and I absolutely love them… Since I live in Egypt and I get a lot of stares and sometimes teenager laughter and pointing, I decided to try something less shocking… So I got the pace glove recently…I found that although they are half a size bigger than my normal shoe size, they feel a bit snug by my bunion…Any thoughts on that?

    My feet got a bit bigger after wearing the VFFs, but I don’t care they are so comfortable! Just for the record, there are days when I had to stand for several hours, wearing the VFFs – no back pain, no knee pain, no foot pain… Did you have the same experience with the Pace Gloves?

    Any thoughts on what to do if I will be in snowy area… say… Alaska for example ?!!

  10. Angie says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! for covering the smell, I ran them threw the wash and they still smelled, I’ll be buying oxy clean ASAP!! I love my shoes, they have been the best for work cause I can’t wear my Vibrums five-fingers.

  11. fru says:

    love the yellow color! mine’s purple:)

    thanks for the post!

  12. ‘ Breakfast ‘ RECORD

  13. Mo says:

    Can I use these shoes for indoor sports such as basketball and Volleyball?

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