Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Merrell Trail Gloves Review

Levi Dodd
July 2011

As the standard introduction, I will periodically be posting these reviews of various products and brands.
At the end of the summer I will publish all of the reviews in a PDF and make that available to anyone who wishes.
Note that I am reviewing products that I have done a good bit of research on First before including them in my list of products to review so I am anticipating most all of the products will receive favorable feedback (these are not 'blind' tests).
Also, all reviews will also be posted on my facebook page


I was fairly eager to get my hands on a pair of these Merrells as I was very excited about the possibility of another great minimalist running shoe entering the market. They looked great (aesthetically speaking), seemed to have the right features in mind (zero drop, wide toe-box, 4mm sole,), they were featuring Vibram soles, and I loved that they partnered with Jason Robillard to promote, and educate, minimalist/barefoot running.

I was extremely fortunate to receive a pair from Planet Shoes to put through the paces.

First off, let me say that Merrell did not disappoint! They, unlike so many other would-be ‘minimalist’ shoe companies out there, are listening to minimalist minded people, paying attention to what’s important, enlisting the help of actual barefooters, and have produced an excellent shoe.

The particular flavor I am reviewing is the Trail Glove (I have not tried any of the others – but I will say that the pure glove made me a little nervous: when I held them in my hand they did not seem to be nearly as flexible and just didn’t…. ‘feel’ right). First impressions were great. The shoe looks great, and being in my favorite color scheme of red and black didn’t hurt either!

As I’ve said before, as a I am a minimalist shoe runner, the general rule has been if they’re ugly, they just might be good, but if they actually resemble a shoe, forget about it – these are a step in the direction to reversing that stigma by offering a great shoe that looks like any other shoe out on the market

• The Vibram sole is just what you would expect: bullet proof yet surprisingly flexible.

• Though I haven’t had the shoes for long, being that the sole is Vibram, I feel confident that the shoes will wear out long before the soles do!

• I have heard some people complain about the lace design, stating that they make the shoe too stiff. I actually didn’t mind the lacing at all and actually found the laces to be largely just for looks anyway: the shoe is made in such a way that you could actually pull the laces out and still run just fine in them. As such, I simply laced mine extremely loose and had no problems.

• The upper is very breathable and did not “sweat my feet” – which was both good and impressive as when I ran in them for the first time last week the heat index was 104 degrees!

• The Trail Glove does not have a removable insole (which I like)

• The Trail Glove has a 4mm midsole and a 1mm “forefoot shock absorption plate”. 4mm (and 5mm on the forefoot) is certainly a great thickness for a minimalist shoe and ground feel was good, however they do not provide as much ground feel as the original Sprint/KSO VFFs (there ground feel is similar to the new VFF Bikilas). Here’s a point I feel is worth making: the ground feel is still exists, but it is marginal. I feel this is important to mention because many people reading this will want to feel every pebble under their foot, and while this shoe allows about as good a ground feel as one can have in a shoe, it is not barefoot. However, there are those out there who simply do not want to feel every pebble and crack underfoot, and for them, the somewhat marginal ground feel will be a plus. I, personally, thought it was a good balance. I could feel the cracks in the sidewalk, feel rocks underfoot, but they were differences in terrain, but did not provide any sharp responses in my feet.

• The Merrell Trail Glove is a very light shoe, weighing in at about 6oz! To give some reference here, the Fivefingers range from around 5.6 oz to 6oz a piece, while an Asics Kayano tips the scales at just under 12 oz a Piece.

• Another + for this shoe is the fit. I like that it has a narrow “snug” heel and then it widens as it goes forward. The toe box is wide (all the way out to the end of the toes-not just where the toes join the foot) and allow for good toe splay. That being said, I had read many reviews talking about the “ridiculously huge ginormous 8ft ultra mega wide toebox!” and I found that simply not to be the case. They are wide enough to provide ample toe splay for an average runner, but are narrower then the VIVOBarefoot line of shoes. For me, the combination of narrow heel and wider toe box provided a perfect fit (for my size 8.5 foot).

• Also on the fit, I feel that they ran very close to “true-to-size” in length (if anything they may run ¼ of a size long).

Thank you again to Planet Shoes for the opportunity to review the shoes and for your support of The Barefoot Runners Society and minimalist runners.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Merrell Trail Gloves

Hey guys, I know a lot of you have been asking about the new "barefoot" Merrells and I just received a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves from Planet Shoes this morning.

- just walked around in them today, didn't get to take a run in them yet, but my initial impressions are positive.

Should have a full review of them up next week

Friday, July 15, 2011

FREE Training dates set:

To get everyone ready for the Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) 5k this year, I'll will be doing a series of free training days. On these days we will have discuss proper form, training advice, how to run, how to land, how to breathe, etc. as well as do training runs each time as well. Additionally, on the first night I will provide everyone who attends with a free training program designed to get you ready for your first 5k in just 7 weeks (not only that - but in just 3 days a week and just 20-30 minutes each of those days - you can do this!).

Each night will begin and end with an open forum for people to ask questions specifically related to their own needs, form questions, general running questions, barefoot and/or minimalist questions, questions about/from Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed, etc.

If you are an experienced runner, come learn about barefoot and minimalist running, better efficiency, and injury prevention

If you are a novice runner, come get instruction specific to your own needs and concerns and get yourself in racing form

If you are a brand new runner (or one who has Never run) come learn from the ground up (literally) and gain the information and confidence to go from not being a runner at all to running your first 5k in just 7 weeks!

The dates: (note - all runs are held at 7:00pm at the World's Fair Site in Knoxville, TN)

August 9th
August 16th
August 23rd
August 30th
--we will NOT meet September 6th--
September 13th
September 20th
And the race is on September 24th

Also, come on out for the informational 'Captains' luncheon on Wednesday August 3rd at noon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. VMC will provide the lunch, but for the Captain's lunch you must RSVP with Karol:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Training Tip Tuesday:

Training Tip Tuesday:

Don't let your adrenaline get the best of you!
Start your race at YOUR (or even a little slower than normal) pace, not the pace of the sponsored ultra-runner next to you - you'll burn out too quickly at the front end and have a hard time getting into Your groove

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

3 Exciting races coming up:

I'm finalizing details on 3 very exciting events coming up:

The first one is with the
Volunteer Ministry Center

The VMC is a WONDERFUL homeless ministry in Knoxville, TN that works tirelessly on spreading grace, love, support, training, and long term planning for the homeless population in the Knoxville area.

The VMC race will be held at the World's Fair Park in Knoxville, TN on September 24th.

First off, I've been involved with the VMC for somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 years now and find it to be a great organization with unbelievable leadership! This year I am blessed to get to partner with them to help promote their 5k race and as part of that promotion I will be leading a series of training runs to help people prepare for the race.

Beginning on Tuesday, August 9th, at 7pm (location TBD but probably the World's Fair site) I'll host weekly (final schedule will come out soon) training runs to serve a couple of purposes:
*Give experienced runners a forum where they can ask questions and compare tips

*Give anyone interested in minimalist and/or barefoot running a place to come and learn the ins
and outs first hand

*To give novice runners, and those who have Never run before, a chance to come out and receive
training on form, foot-strike, breathing, etc.

*And to train a group of people to run a 5k!
This training will be beneficial to runners of all skill levels and will have a special focus
on those wishing to run their first (or first in quite a while) 5k!

On the first night I will provide everyone who attends with a copy of my training schedule that will be able to bring those who come out from having never run a mile to completing their first 5k! Best of all, the training runs and training schedules are all completely free -- so come on out and let's have some fun!


The 2nd Event, which I am very excited about, is the
Naked Foot 5k!

The Naked Foot 5k is the nation's first barefoot race series! I'm partnering with them for the race in Nashville, TN on October 15th. I'll have a table set up, info on running, info on Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed, and (what I'm most excited about) I'll be bringing a group of people with me who I have worked with and trained to run to enjoy the event. For most of them, it will be their first ever 5k!


Finally, there's the race that needs no introduction:
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

This race will be a 5k also and will be held in Knoxville, TN on October 22.

What offers a neat connection this year with the race with the greatest slogans of all time is that Susan G. Komen is using the first race (the VMC race) as a "training race" for the Race for the Cure. So they are trying to get people to come out to my training classes in August, then run the VMC race September 24th to 'get their feet wet', and then run their SGK race October 22.

Additionally, Susan G. Komen and the Race for the Cure will be putting out 'Training Tips Tuesdays' - every Tuesday they will feature training tips on the facebook page pulled from me and 'Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed' to promote healthy running and get everyone ready for these exciting races!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just "playing"

Many of you know I'm a soccer player and coach. Well, this week I coached a high school soccer camp and got plenty of running - in a very different way.

It's easy to get caught up in our running plans and feel that hitting the pavement in a straight line is the only way we can meet our running requirements. This week afforded me the opportunity to get lots of running in, without ever hitting the streets!

Through conditioning days (the Coach Dodd 10 Cycle!) and speed work, and from scrimmaging with a bunch of high schoolers I was able to log plenty of miles this week while "playing"

Don't take this the wrong way, I love running, and running on the roads or the trails is such a stress release for me that I do because I deeply Want to, but it's fun sometimes to get the running time in in other ways -- what ways do you get your runs in while "just playing"?