Barefoot Monologues

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Review: Merrell Women’s Dash Glove

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First off, I’d like you all to give me a pat on the back for finally breaking out the old DSLR camera for my review shots. Up until now I’ve been a lazy ass and have been taking pictures of shoes with my iPhone camera. And while the iPhone is not bad for drunken bar night candids and quick snapshots of weird people at Walmart, I can do much better with the Nikon I paid $800 bucks for and therefore should really be taking out much more often. Besides it saved me about an hour of Photoshopping.

With that said, on to the review.

Fun fact: I didn’t actually have to do a review on the Merrell Dash Glove. Before I met any contacts at Merrell, I was lucky enough to win them from a giveaway on Running and Rambling‘s awesome blog (which I read pretty religiously). Soon as I learned I’d won them I decided to write a review, because up until now I have had nothing on here from Merrell, one of the biggest minimalist shoe companies out there.

Looks
The look of the Dash Glove is bar none. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments from friends, coworkers, even strangers on my pink and purple pair (titled “Ultra Marine” on their site). They look as great under a pair of jeans as they do on the roads. Lots of right-on color choices too. I almost went with the juicy orange-toned “Lychee” color instead, they looked good enough to eat. Much kudos to Merrell’s designers on the look of this shoe – they got feminine and sporty all at once, something not everyone does right.

Fit and Feel
How do they fit? Well, as most of you have heard at least 27 times, I have really wide feet. My only previous experience with Merrell’s barefoot shoes before winning the Dash Glove was of a pair of lime green Pace Gloves that I bought and nearly maimed my poor feet, from their obscenely narrow width (this was before learning that they offered a wide width version). But that’s for another post. What that experience earned me, though, was a wary fear of purchasing anything else from Merrell. So I suppose it was sort of good that I won these shoes. No monetary risk if I didn’t like them. I figured I could give them away to my friend Killeen if they didn’t fit me, because she has a much narrower foot.

So the first time I wore them, I put them on with jeans and wore them to work. At the end of the day I still wasn’t 100% sure about them. They do have a much wider sole than the Pace Gloves, but it was still narrower than I’m used to. I figured they would probably give me some major foot problems if I ever wore them on a run.

So in typical Trish Reeves fashion, I wore them on my 4-miler the next day.

And I’m glad I did, because something interesting happened to this shoe once I got running. The mesh upper started to soften up after about a half mile (probably from sweating – which I didn’t do at work the day before), and molded to my foot. I wasn’t wearing socks so it got a little swampy in there (and I did get a little blister on one big toe), but by the end of my run the Dash Glove really did earn its name. I have been pleasantly surprised.

One interesting, if contradictory thing, about the fit of the Dash Glove is that it is rather constricting to my mid-foot. I would typically find this to be a disadvantage, given that the constriction is technically a form of support, but I admit I like the help (sshhh – don’t tell the minimalist shoe gods). Doesn’t make my foot work quite as hard and keeps the tired away longer.

But it also keeps me from wanting to recommend this shoe to a newbie minimalist runner, because I believe a beginner should run in practically nothing until they get their form down (more on this below).

I’ve put about 30 miles on these babies so far, and you can see the footprint I’ve made on them in all the pictures (I prefer taking worn-in photos – you can see brand new shoes all day long on company websites). I very much like these shoes, they are quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Minimalist vs. Barefoot
The biggest thing to know about the Dash Gloves is that they’re actually the most shoe I have ever worn running since I went barefoot/minimalist two years ago. Most of the shoes I tend to reach for the most can be described as “slipper-like” or “kind of like a sock dunked in Plasti-Dip.”

Although they are definitely zero-drop and by anyone’s definition, absolutely a minimal shoe, the Dash Glove has a thicker, firmer sole than anything else in my closet. So to me they definitely fit more in the “minimalist shoe” category than the “barefoot shoe” one. Because of this, in my own (only slightly humble) opinion, a beginning minimalist runner might be better off first perfecting good form in a more lightly-soled shoe than the Dash Glove, because this shoe has just enough sole thickness to shield poor/heel striking form.

With that said, after two years of minimalist running experience, the thicker sole has been nothing but a relief to my feet. After about 6 or 7 miles, my feet typically start feeling a little beat up, especially on the roads where my forefoot hits the ground in the same place over and over again. Those extra millimeters of rubber between foot and pavement kept the beat-up feeling at bay for much longer. Last week’s 11-miler in these shoes was on the hilly streets of Boston, and the balls of my feet thanked me when I was done.

About six months ago I probably would have shunned such a statement. I would have proclaimed that if my feet can’t handle 7 miles of pavement, they didn’t need more shoe, they needed more training. But now I am starting to see that everything, like the Dash Glove, has its place and its moment.

And to me, the perfect place for the Merrell Dash Glove is the long road run, and it will be my shoe of choice at my next half marathon, coming up in the next few weeks.

My only question to Merrell is this:¬†Since these shoes are basically the female equivalent of the men’s Road Gloves, why didn’t they just call them (Women’s) Road Gloves? The word “Dash” just doesn’t come to mind as easily. Just me…?

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15 thoughts on “Review: Merrell Women’s Dash Glove

  1. Great review! I love my Road Gloves… and yes, why didn’t they just call them the same? so confusing. Anyway, unless I find something else I like better, these will be the go to shoe for my first 1/2 this summer.. just a great all around “shoe” that doesn’t always fee like I’m wearing a shoe. I’ve had visions of being “that” barefoot running guy, but in reality, barefooting for me will probably remain that fun thing to do that feels great, and helps “reset” my form, but for long road and trail runs… minimalist shoes will be the ticket…

  2. I agree, Jeff. I really do like running totally barefoot, but the act has definitely been relegated to those perfectly warm (but not hot) days when I’m doing a short run on pavement. Otherwise, it’s good that companies like Merrel have given us the perfect shoe for every running situation.

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  6. What is the difference in width between these wide width Pace and the Vivo Neo?
    Which are you liking better?

    • While both of these shoes are nice and wide, they are very different.

      The Neo sole is very flat, thin with a consistent width toe to heel, really a lot like a slipper. It serves as a barrier to the ground and that’s about it.

      The The sole of the WW Pace Glove has a lot more structure than the Neo. It’s narrower in the mid-foot (not too narrow, just more narrow than the toe box). It holds your foot in place more. It’s also a bit stiffer.

      That doesn’t make one better or worse, really, just different. It really depends on what you want to use the shoe for. The pace glove is a really great trail shoe, although you can use it for roads as well. The Neo I would probably stick to roads with it.

      Both shoes are fantastic choices, IMO.

      If you choose the Neo remember to order one size up because they run very short. The PG runs a tad short as well, but not as bad. If you choose to purchase the Neo, I’d be super grateful if you click on the banner to the right to reach the VB site!

      Thanks for reading, Cheryl. Let me know if you have any more questions.

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  9. Hi Trisha,

    I’ve been running in my five fingers for 2 years now and I’ve recently completed a 100 mile relay race with them (14 miles of it). I just signed up for my first full marathon though and I’d like to find a shoe that will allow some room for swelling (which became a bit of a problem by the end of my race with the five fingers). Do you think the merrell dash glove would be enough cushion for a full marathon? Running “barefoot” has completely changed my life and my five fingers are still a favorite but I need another option. Do you recommend these?

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Sincerely,
    Kristen

    • Hi Kristen, thanks for reading and congrats on your relay! To answer your question, everyone is different but I really love the Dash gloves. I have worn them
      In several long runs, most notably my last half marathon. They were great. They are more snug than a lot
      Of the other “shoe” varieties of minimalist shoes, but they may have enough give for swelling simply because they have the laces where most VFFs don’t. Only thing you may notice is they will feel a little warmer than youre used to if you’re primarily in VFF at the moment. That said, I do find the dash glove to be among the more breathable of the road shows I’ve tested.

      Hope this helps!

  10. THANK YOU for this review! I just bought a pair of these yesterday (they were clearanced at Macy’s for less than eighty bucks!) and I’m now more excited than ever to run in them. I’ve been running in VFFs since March and am currently training for my first-ever 10K. My issue has been that, now we’re into cooler weather and I can run outside rather than on a cushy indoor track, I’ve been struggling to get past three or four miles before my feet just call it quits. I LOVE my VFFs, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been on the hunt for a closed-toe shoe for winter, and I’m pumped to discover that this shoe might also help me bust through that six-mile barrier! Hooray!

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