I recently had a chance to test out a pair of the Bikila model of Vibram Five Fingers, which are a type of barefoot running shoe: Run Diva Reviews Vibram Five Fingers. While my initial review was positive, I did my first race, a 5k, using the Vibram Five Fingers and ended up with a horrible blister on the bottom of my right big toe. The blister opened up during the last part of the run, exposing raw skin, so I hobbled across the finish line at that race, not quite the PR I was hoping for.
My final verdict of the Vibram Fiver Fingers are that they are fine for shorter training runs, but I wouldn't wear them for racing where you are pushing a much more aggressive pace and running form than during a typical training run.
Merrell Pace Glove
While still on the lookout for the perfect racing flat for my shorter distance runs, I saw an add for Merrell barefoot style running shoes and went to their website for additional information. I saw that they make a line of barefoot style, minimalist running shoes which uses Vibram technology for the soles. The women's Pace Glove looked interesting so I contacted their publicity department and asked them to send me a pair to test out for the Run Diva blog.
The Pace Glove can be worn with or without a sock, unlike the Vibram Fiver Fingers with their five individual toe pockets. Since I had problems with the Five Fingers causing blisters, I decided to wear a pair of lightweight socks while testing the Pace Glove shoe. I wear a size 8 or 8.5 street shoe and usually go a size up with all my running shoes. I did my first half marathon wearing a running shoe the same size as my street shoes and ended up with my toes hitting the top of the shoe the entire run which caused one of my toenails to turn black and fall off, not cool!
I went with a size 9 for the Merrell Pace Glove. It's the perfect size for me, and I can wear them with a lightweight sock. I have worn the Pace Glove's around the house, without socks, and they felt really comfortable. But I am still a little leary about running barefoot in them after the problems I had with the Vibram Five Fingers.
Lightweight Racing Flat
The Merrell Pace Glove is an incredibly lightweight and flexible running shoe. If you are looking for a barefoot type running shoe, and want the option of either wearing socks, or not wearing socks, the Pace Glove may be the perfect shoe for you. The Pace Glove has a snug fit throughout the forefoot, arch and heel area. The heel has an elastic insert which provides a more secure fit and helps prevent your heel from slipping out of the shoe.
I would use the Merrell Pace Glove for 5k, and shorter, running races, but would probably switch to a shoe with a bit more substance for longer distances. I like using Brooks T6 Racers for races up to 10k (6.2 miles) in distance and Brooks Launch for my half marathon events. The Pace Glove are a perfect shoe if you are looking to go FAST at short distances and you don't want the weight and cushioning of a traditional running shoe to get in the way of setting a PR.
The Pace Glove would also work really well for running on grass, dirt or gravel roads. I don't think they have enough substance to do a hard core trail run with a lot of rocks and tree roots, I usually use Brooks Cascadia 5 trail running shoes for technical trail runs.
Official Merrell Pace Glove Details
For all you techno-geeks, here are all the details of the Pace Glove from the Merrell website:
• 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
• 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
• Wash as needed in cold water, gentle cycle and air dry
• Vibram® Trail Glove Sole/ Rubber Compound TC-1
Women’s Weight: 4.7 ozs / 133.3 gm (1/2 pair)
Lynn Smythe AKA the Run Diva