Last Updated on January 31, 2022 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
Just over a year ago, I posted about my very first pair of true minimal shoes. The Merrell Pace Glove. Those lightweight, amazing pair of purple shoes made a huge impact in my life, in more ways than one. At the gym, on the trails, even in numerous mud runs and obstacle course races. And despite the abuse they have taken (as well as the multiple trips through the washing machine) they still remain one of the top go-to shoes in my collection. Plus, they were my first introduction to Merrell, a company that I’ve grown to really love, not just for their fantastic products but for their love of the outdoors and getting people MOVING.
So imagine my surprise and thrill when the Merrell Pace Glove 2 unexpectidly showed up on my front step.The Pace Glove 2 looks and feels incredibly similar to the original Pace Glove, with a few changes.
For my fellow sneaker junkies, here are the Pace Glove 2 specs:
UPPER / LINING
• Synthetic leather and breathable air mesh upper
• DWR-treated upper repels water and resists staining
• M-Select FRESH naturally prevents odor before it starts for fresh smelling feet
• Wash as needed in cold water (gentle cycle). Air dry.
MIDSOLE / OUTSOLE
• 0mm Drop / 4mm Cush / 9.5mm Stack Height
• TrailProtect pad in the forefoot offers support off road
• Vibram® outsole
• Vegan friendly footwear
Women’s Weight: 5ozs (1/2 pair)
First, let’s hear what Merrell says about the changes from the original Pace Glove to the Pace Glove 2:
|Original Pace Glove (left, purple) vs. Pace Glove 2 (right, green). Click photo to enlarge.|
What I Say:
There was only one glaringly obvious difference to me between the Pace Glove and the Pace Glove 2, and that was a much looser fit. As you can see in the picture to the far right (above) the original Pace Glove had a cinched fabric on the heel that helped keep the shoe in place. They have removed that from the 2, and I definitely noticed. While both shoes are the same size (women’s 10, yeah I have big feet), I immediately noticed the Pace Glove2 to feel much looser, even when tied very tight. If I were to order again, i would order half a size down.
Other than that, the Pace Glove 2 provided the exact same attributes that I love about the original Pace Glove. A very minimal shoe that is not quite as barefoot as the Merrell vapor glove, or a Vibram five finger, but provides an incredibly flexible sole and a glove like feel, with still enough “shoe” to feel protected from the elements. I love my vapor gloves, but landing on a rock while running on a trail is brutal. The Pace Glove sole is thick enough to provide protection without the cushion and lack of flexibility of traditional sneakers.
The Pace Glove 2’s aren’t limited to running. The minimal feel makes them an ideal gym or cross training shoe, as they help you feel connected to the ground. Box jumps? No problem. Deadlifts? They’ve got it. In my opinion, they also make a great recovery shoe. Comfortable and stylish enough to be worn around town with a pair of jeans post long run, to let your feet stretch and breathe after double digit training miles. And after tomorrow’s Spartan Race at Citi Field, I’ll let you know how they perform in the obstacle course racing world!
If you are a fan of the original Pace Glove, I would absolutely recommend giving the Pace Glove 2 a try. Or, if you are looking to enter the world of minimal running, these are a great shoe to start with, as they still provide a nominal sole and support. (Be sure to follow proper instruction on easing into barefoot running). The Pace Glove 2 is currently only available online or at REI, so if possible, get to an REI location near you to try a pair on. Otherwise, carefully examine the sizing guide on Merrell’s website to determine the correct size for you.
READER QUESTION: Do you train in barefoot or minimal shoes? Full time, part time, cross training? If so, what do you look for in a barefoot shoe? If not, are you interested in trying? Is anything holding you back? Sound off!
And then, GET OUTSIDE!
**Merrell provided me with a pair of Pace Glove shoes for review at no cost, however, all opinions expressed in this review are my own, and non compensated.
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.