Merrell Trail Glove 5 vs New Balance Minimus 10 Trail Shoes: What’s the Difference?

Merrell Trail Glove 5 vs New Balance Minimus 10 trail shoes, which is the right choice for you? Read this guide till the end for a definitive comparison. The Merrell Trail Glove 5 and New Balance Minimus 10 are both trail running shoes that aim to provide a minimalist experience for those who love to run off-road. While they have similar features, there are some notable differences between the two pairs of shoes as well.

So, what is the difference between Merrell Trail Glove 5 vs New Balance Minimus 10 trail shoes? Merrell trail glove shoes have more padding and thicker sole, due to which they provide more protection from rocks. New Balance Minimus shoes have a relatively thin sole, due to which it offers more barefoot feel. Also, the more pronounced arch in Merrell Trail Gloves can take some time to break in if you’ve flat feet.

Merrell Men's Trail Glove 5
Merrell Trail Glove 5
New Balance Men's Minimus 10 V1
New Balance Minimus 10 V1

Also Read: Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

Merrell Trail Glove 5 vs New Balance Minimus 10 Trail Shoes Review

According to users, Merrell Trail Glove sneakers are good for walking/hiking and New Balance Minimus shoes are truly minimal shoes for running. In the comparison of Merrell Trail Glove 5 and New Balance Minimus 10 shoes, I’ll review the following features:

  • Upper
  • Sole Design
  • Fit and Sizing
  • Durability

Upper Design

In Merrell Trail Glove 4 shoes, there was an issue with engineered mesh. Merrell Trail Glove 4 shoes feature a tight-closed mesh that starts degrading after 200 miles of running. This issue has been resolved in the Trail glove 5 version.

Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes offer a thicker and looser weave of the upper, which makes it more flexible and provides better ventilation without compromising durability. Furthermore, thin TPU prints on the shoe side increase abrasion resistance and also offers a secure fit.

The mesh of New Balance Minimus 10v1 shoes is fairly soft and thin that it conforms to your feet like a sock. Unlike Merrell Trail Glove 5, New Balance Minimus 10v1 upper does not feature prints of TPU for a snug and secure fit. Instead, there are rubber straps to avoid unneeded movements during trail running.

Some users feel that the textile strap, which is across the ball of the foot region of the upper, may cause the initial fit too snug on both sides of the ball of the foot. Moreover, if you have bunion issues, the strap can also squeeze the swelling due to bunion and cause pain.

strap on new balance minimus shoes can cause discomfort to the foot

However, that synthetic strap on the front can prevent your foot from jamming against the front of the shoes when you’re running downhill.

Padding

New Balance Minimus shoes do not have any padding on the collar. They are made to provide a truly minimal feel as they feel just like a second skin of your feet. The absence of padding can restrict the use of New Balance Minimus 10 shoes on soft trails. If you wear them on hard concrete surfaces, you might feel uncomfortable.

However, the advantage of minimal padding in New Balance Minimus shoes is that this makes them highly flexible. You can fold them easily in your backpack. Furthermore, due to the absence of spongy padding material, New Balance shoes dry out quickly if you step into the puddle.

On the other hand, Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes have a lightly padded heel collar to provide ankle support while doing hiking. This is a good point if you want to wear shoes without socks, the snug ankles collar will prevent rubbing and blisters. Moreover, the padding would provide comfort to your feet if you walk on hard concrete surfaces. So, you can use Merrell Trail Glove 5 as a day-to-day shoe.

Midsole and Arch Support

Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes feature a 4mm compressed EVA foam midsole, which is flexible and lightweight to absorb the shock. Also, in the forefoot, Merrell Trail glove 5 shoes feature Rockplate Technology, which acts as a barrier to shield against the sharp trail debris and irregular rocky surfaces.

However, the downside of rockplate beneath the midsole of Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes is that the rockplate does not let you feel the dirt and uneven trail underneath your feet. The feel of shoes is going to be quite numb and flat.

Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes also feature a pronounced arch, which seems to be the biggest con of Merrell Trail Glove shoes for most people. This rigid arch support is offered by the nylon shank. After around three weeks of breaking them in, the arch support will get milder, but it will remain still there.

merrell trail glove 5 shoes have high arch support due to rigid nylon shank

According to the testers of Merrell Trail Glove 5, if you’re a forefoot runner, this arch support will help the arch of your foot, while still providing a barefoot feel. If you’re a heel striker, the pronounced arch can lift your forefoot off the shoes, causing instability. You can also check out this thread on Reddit for further clarity.

The midsole of New Balance Minimus shoes is made of Acteva material, which is an exclusive cushioning technology developed by the New Balance brand. Acteva foam is lighter than EVA foam, with more durability.

Unlike Merrell Trail Glove, New Balance Minimus shoes have zero arch. On the other hand, New Balance Minimus shoes have 4mm heel drop, while Merrell Trail Glove shoes have zero heel drop. The small heel drop of New Balance Minimus shoes is great for heel strikers due to additional cushioning underneath the heel.   

Furthermore, as there is no rigid nylon shank or rockplate in New Balance Minimus shoes midsole, you can gain the feel of rough terrain and enjoy the comfort of flexibility. Also, the midsole of New Balance Minimus shoes takes a little time to soften up and become more responsive.

The downside of the extra flexible midsole of New Balance Minimus shoes is that your toes may curl inside the shoes instead of pushing down and digging into the dirt.

Merrell Men's Trail Glove 5
Merrell Trail Glove 5
New Balance Men's Minimus 10 V1
New Balance Minimus 10 V1

Outsole Design

Merrell Trail Glove shoes feature a Vibram TC5+ outsole, which provides premium grip on wet or dry surfaces to give you better control over your foot placement. Also, the mild gripping lugs allow you to wear Merrell Trail Glove shoes on flat areas like Asphalt. There are some quality issues with the outsole lugs as the low-quality glue is used to stick lugs with the rubber. After some time, the lugs start separating.

The outsole of New Balance Minimus shoes is also made of Vibram material. However, there is a difference in grip pattern. The cool circular grip pods on these shoes are perfect for going down grassy hills for bouldering and other things like that. These grippy dots also wear down with time, but they don’t separate like the lugs of Merrell Trail Glove.

Sizing and Fit

Both New Balance Minimus and Merrell Trail Glove shoes are available in half sizes. In addition, New Balance shoes are available in wide widths (2E), while Merrell Trail Glove shoes are only available in standard widths.

Although New Balance Minimus shoes are available in 2E widths, wearers complain that the toe box of New Balance Minimus shoes still runs narrower, due to which the toes strike against the sides.

So, if you’ve too wide forefoot, go for a full size up in Merrell Trail Glove shoes and half a size up in New Balance Minimus shoes (for 2E width).

Merrell Men's Trail Glove 5
Merrell Trail Glove 5
New Balance Men's Minimus 10 V1
New Balance Minimus 10 V1

Final Verdict about New Balance Minimus 10v1 and Merrell Trail Glove 5

The Merrell Trail Glove 5 and the New Balance Minimus 10 are both excellent trail shoes in terms of flexibility, breathability, and comfort. Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes are slightly heavier (193g) than New Balance Minimus 10 shoes (178g). This is because of the weight of padding and nylon shank in Merrell Trail Glove shoes.

If you’re a forefoot runner, Merrell Trail Glove 5 shoes are great for you. I would not suggest you run in them if you’re a heel striker and have flat feet as the protruded arch support in Merrell Trail Glove shoes might cause trouble.

Another important difference that I observed in Trail Glove and Minimus shoes was that the Minimus shoes would immediately feel better after just putting the shoes on and walking a bit, but the rigid arch support in Trail Glove shoes midsole would need some weeks to break in and conform to the feet.