Merrell Barefoot Run Road Glove

Discussion in 'Shoes and Apparel' started by 6LOVE, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    Now that I run and train in minimalist footwear, I decided to experiment with "zero drop" shoes on the tennis court. Although my favorite shoe is Asics Onituska Tiger Tai Chi (viturally a slipper), I chose Asics Mexico 66 (which is a little more substantial). NOTE: I line the footbed of my shoes with PPT foam padding (medical quality) to absorb shock.

    Playing in the Mexico 66s was all good, except the soft bottoms were nearly worn out after a couple hours on the hard court. A little online research pointed me to the Barefoot Run Road Gloves, for their unsurpassed combination of performance and durability. I'm glad they did.

    The Barefoot Run Road Gloves are not only my new tennis shoes, I wear them daily for CrossFit training and running as well. I believe these shoes are candidates to become the first minimalist tennis shoe (with a couple minor adjustments).
     
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  2. banter

    banter Semi-Pro

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    I like minimalist shoes. If I wore it on the tennis court, I fear that I would rip through them. What minor adjustments have you made?
     
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  3. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    No adjustments (except for the PPT foam liner for extra cushioning).

    Barefoot Road Gloves are made for road running. They have a rubber toe bumper and durable Vibram sole (TC-1 rubber).

    I've been using them on hard courts for 2 weeks now and they are holding up as well as most tennis shoes.
     
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  4. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    You guys should really consult a podiatrist foot doctor about this. I think a foot doctor would advise you that you are risking serious injury doing this.
     
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  5. Vlad_C

    Vlad_C Semi-Pro

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    Why wear shoes at all?
    Go barefoot, like a real man.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    I don't mean to be rude, because I know you mean well, but I was hoping this thread would not turn into a yet another debate between ill-informed alarmists and those of us who understand the pros and cons of "zero-drop" footwear.

    Thanks for your concern, but I actually consult closely with my podiatrist because I (like too many of us) have suffered through some painful bouts of plantar fasciitis. Some minimalist shoes do not have enough cushioning to protect the tendons, which is why I add that layer of PPT foam padding.

    So if you don't like minimalist footwear, please just leave us on our own. Thanks.
     
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  7. PKfan1

    PKfan1 Semi-Pro

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    I run in minimalist footwear, but they could not possibly work for tennis. Lack of cushioning and support aside, their is not protection for the tops of your feet. If I played 5 minutes in my running shoes the tops of my toes and sides of my feet would be bleeding.
     
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  8. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    My main concerns would be durability and cost. I'm sure I could play in minimalist shoes, but I'd burn through them quickly and most of them are more expensive than the tennis shoes I wear.

    It would be nice if a tennis shoe company would step up and make a zero-drop tennis shoe without a lot of padding, but with a durable tennis outsole. Sort of old-school with lightweight and modern materials.

    By the way, 6love, you must have narrow feet as I can't wear the Tigers or the Road Gloves because they pinch my toes.
     
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  9. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    Must be that I'm a "low-impact" mover around the court (probably because I'm 53 years old), but I don't notice any difference in protection. Of course, keep in mind that these Kevlar-plated, titanium-reinforced shoes are a relatively modern invention. The tennis shoes we wore back in the day (Fred Perrys, Jack Purcells, Tretorn whatevs) were as flimsy as our running shoes. I don't remember many bloody feet though.
     
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  10. TennisD

    TennisD Semi-Pro

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    Oh my god, just the thought of this is making me cringe. Even if you are a "low-impact mover", the thought of wearing a shoe made for road running in a situation that, even at the most amateur of levels, requires a good amount of later support is beyond terrifying. I'm sure your ankle are just going to love it the first time you have to change direction quickly...
     
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  11. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    Relax. I can change direction no problem without stressing my ankles because I'm low to the ground. I'm actually ON the ground. Modern tennis shoes only need lateral stability because they're up so high. Old school tennis shoes had no lateral stability either.

    From your vantage point, high up there on a modern tennis shoe, you are absolutely correct about needing lateral support. From my point of view, I'm safe and sound with my feet on the ground.
     
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  12. Al Czervik

    Al Czervik Professional

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    If you have a platform serve like Federer, I could sort of see this. But, if you toe drag, those expensive minimalist shoes will be gone in half a set.
     
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  13. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    very interesting - are the merrell's stiff enough across the width of the foot to help prevent the foot from rolling?
     
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  14. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    For me they are. These are quite a bit stiffer than the other minimalist shoes I've seen.
     
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  15. Borrelli

    Borrelli Semi-Pro

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    That is quite a disturbing photo. Not surprising coming from Joe Willy.
     
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  16. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Totally true.

    Actually the ground supply the stiffnes/stability.
     
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  17. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Looks like the road gloves outsole curls up enough in front to provide durability for toe dragging. If not, it would be great if a minimal shoe came up that adresses this easy solved problem.
    Edit: In the description of the Merrel it says: Fused rubber toe bumper provides durability and protection. Hope it is good enough for toe dragging.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
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  18. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    If you are a toe-dragger, do you really drag your toes with those shoes?
     
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  19. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I dont know, I'm no toedragger.
     
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  20. liuser

    liuser New User

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    If you think that playing in running shoes or minimalist shoes is perfectly fine for tennis, you aren't playing at a competitive enough level.

    I've worn minimalist shoes for working out before and there is no way in hell I would ever trust those shoes for competitive tennis. I would use them for rallying while messing around.

    I would NEVER EVER even think about using them for match play or even slightly serious hitting.
     
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  21. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Too much man...doesn't even need a tennis court!
     
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  22. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    What are PPT foam liner - where can you buy these?
    My concern are the sides - since Tennis involves a lot side to side movement will the top separate from the sides?
    Also what style of tennis do you play? Aggressive, competitive type or social type tennis?

    My current tennis shoe is on it's last leg - I was thinking about going the minimalist route - but all the shoes look like they are designed for running and not side to side movement - would like to see reinforcements on the side where top and the soles meet.
     
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  23. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    Can you say "plantar fascitis"?......sure you can!
     
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  24. Bowtiesarecool

    Bowtiesarecool Rookie

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    I would love for someone to design a minimalist shoe with a 6 month garauntee for the sole. THAT would be worth something.
     
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  25. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    The argument minimalist shoe supporters are making is that shoe cause this condition.
     
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  26. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    But all the pros play in proper "high heeled" tennis shoes. I understand the endorsement argument for clothes, but let's face it, they wouldn't wear something that endangered their career.

    Anyhow, tennis shoes are great for my ankles, knees and feet but if minimalist shoes work for others then good for them. :)
     
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  27. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I cured my PF by going barefoot a lot. My feet noticeably strengthened and I haven't had any other problems.

    The injuries you hear about from running barefoot are usually heel bruising (from heel striking with bare feet), stress fractures (usually front of foot), and calve pulls (those high heels do seem to shorten the muscle).

    You can't just take off your shoes and try to move the same way without getting injured. To be successful you have to strengthen the feet and move differently.
     
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  28. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Most of the top professionals play in shoes that they are paid to wear. There's no reason to assume that these shoes are optimal.

    I would guess if you asked them, most pros wouldn't be able to tell you the heel elevation of their shoes. I would also guess that some of the top pros have the shoes altered to fit better (there are rumors of using custom lasts), and the lower level pros most likely use a shoe they subjectively find comfortable and believe helps them perform.
     
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  29. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    This is what puzzles me about the claims that not using chunky tennis shoes will inevitably lead to catastrophic foot and ankle injury.

    I look at the pictures of players from the 60s and even 70s and I see shoes that look downright flimsy. So why wasn't everybody destroying their feet and ankles back in the day?

    I know the game as a whole is more athletic now, but are many rec players really playing a more athletically taxing game than the pros of yesteryear?
     
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  30. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    I, and everyone else already know the bolded since we've all said it before. But you honestly believe the pros would rather have flat heeled shoes? If they did all the top guys would play in them and still get paid. It's also more than rumors that a few of the top guys have custom shoes- it's fact. Murray for instance still uses the retail B5 sole pattern for hard courts as he's used to how it stops and goes. But they're clearly not playing in Merrell Glove profile shoes though- and the claims the higher shoes increase injury risk just don't stack up against guys who make their living from playing the game and can obviously control the style of shoe they wear.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
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  31. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Even if the shoes seem to have a flat heel, Shirley most have custom inserts possibly with a heel lift added.
     
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  32. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I honestly believe that the pros don't think about shoes much at all beyond liking the way they fit and thinking they have decent traction. If you've ever been around high level athletes, you'll know most aren't exactly engineers or research kineseologists. Like most of us, they probably rely on personal experience and advice from coaches and companies.

    Murray also has ankle problems and wears braces on both ankles (clearly visible during his US Open final), so the B5s aren't keeping him from rolling over on his ankles.

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that Merrell Glove shoes are particularly good tennis shoes. However, higher stack heights on shoes do reduce stability. If you wear a high stack height you can shove more outsole durability and cushioning under the foot but it doesn't help stability.

    My guess would be that shoes without cushioning are better for stability but reduce performance of certain movements because you can't slam your heel into the ground as hard before bruising it. I believe that pros are actually trading off performance in one area for loss of stability.

    My prediction is that as materials continue to improve over the next decade, shoes will get both lighter and lower to the ground.

    Also, I think zero-drop tennis shoes will be available because the raised heel seems to be an affectation adopted from running shoes, and even with running shoes, race spikes and flats tend not to have the downward slope of jogging shoes.
     
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  33. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    In all peacefullnes I would like to add that it is rather new thing, this minimal shoe development (allthough it is also partly throwback), so many players pro and others have probably not tried it, and therefore dont know what its merits are. When I hear about players with foot, knee, back and hip problems, I cant help wondering whether they are partly caused by their footwear.
     
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  34. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    I think I've posted this before somewhere here, but I don't really understand why tennis shoes and futsal shoes look so different.

    Soccer players would seem to require at least as much support and lateral stability as tennis players, but tennis shoes tend to be a lot chunkier and have higher heels. They also seem to be more expensive on the whole...

    Indoor soccer shoe examples:

    Diadora Forza

    Adidas F10

    Would wearing something like this be a problem for most tennis players?
     
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  35. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I think you ask a reasonable question. Indoor soccer shoes don't need the outsole durability of a tennis shoe. Perhaps they also don't need as much cushioning as a shoe designed for a hard court. But the overall design doesn't need to be much different, though the tennis shoes wouldn't need the contact surface on top of the foot designed for guiding the ball.

    My ideal tennis shoe would have zero drop, a low level stack height, a wide toe-box (that's the way my feet are shaped), and a durable outsole with a toe guard. In many respects, something like an indoor soccer shoe with more ventilation.

    I've considered getting some indoor soccer shoes for tennis, but I haven't tried enough of them. The few that I've tried have been too narrow for me.
     
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  36. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    How does the foam padding make them minimalist shoes? I thought one of the major problems with "traditional" running shoes was too much padding. Aren't you basically taking a minimalst shoe and converting it back to a traditional shoe?

    Could you spend a few minutes and educate us on the minimalist footwear scene?

    For example:

    1) What did your podiatrist tell you?

    2) Do you feel your injuries (plantar fascitis, etc) were caused by the wrong footwear? Incorrect running style? Why do you believe what you believe.

    3) What shoes were you wearing before the minimalist shoes? Why did you choose the shoes you did?

    4) What types of foot problems are minimalist tennis shoes aimed to cure?

    5) Etc.

    I'm not trying to be rude, but you seem very informed on the minimalist running scene, so I'd like to pick your brain a bit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  37. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    There is fashion in the functionality/design. Often along the lines of "more is better". The new model has to look more hightec than the previous. Perhaps we are at the end of this line.
    That the tennis shoe is not for kicking with, allows the designers to make it bigger and more clunky.
     
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  38. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  39. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Minimalist shoes can have insoles and still be zero drop, and far more close to the ground than traditional shoes. So its not a question of "all padding is bad", more "too much padding is bad", a bit like with carbohydrates.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  40. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I really wasn't looking to start an argument.

    I think any shoe that performs the function well and doesn't cause injury is the right shoe for you. If minimalist works, I'm all for it.

    I was just curious if the OP (or you Povl) could tell me why it works for you.

    Afterall, if you are going to recommend others try something "different", I think you should be able to make a strong case as to why they should.

    In my case, I'd wager I've logged many 100's of road mile more than both yourself and the OP combined. I found the shoe for me 20 years ago (I know my specs). I had some HORRIBLE running shoes in the past (and they all had too much cushioning rendering them unstable and/or pronation/supination support, which doesn't suit my running gait).

    With tennis shoes, I've had good and bad ones. I know what I like and pretty much why I like it too.

    I think shoes make a BIG difference in running. I don't notice it so much in tennis. But I have had bad tennis shoes where my feet would hurt a bit after I was done. But never anything major.

    For me, this type of thing is best decided by each individual by trial and error. You'll know when you have the "right" shoe. Then simply take down the specs and buy "that shoe" in the future (no matter what company makes it).
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  41. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    and don't call me Shirley!

    [​IMG]
     
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  42. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    #42
  43. rommil

    rommil Legend

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    Fits like a glove and in the right color , you can carry out your revenge with them on:)
     
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  44. TeamHumphrey

    TeamHumphrey New User

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    I have also gone to a minimalist shoe – I didn’t think it would work, but the difference is amazing on the court. That said, it is much more expensive. I’ve been going through Inov-8’s in about two months. I had better luck with durability with some of the New Balance with Vibram outsoles…but the shoes transmitted too much force from certain heel impacts, so I went back to Inov-8. 6’0”, 190lbs.
     
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  45. 6LOVE

    6LOVE New User

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    Which Inov-8's are you using?

    I'm very happy with the Merrell's. Similar durability: about 2 months on hard courts.

    Just found the Barefoot Road Gloves at Cabelas for $69.95. Picked up a pair in each color! Get 'em while you can!
     
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