Merrell Barefoot

It seems logical to me that footwear is the single most important piece of equipment we purchase for backcountry travel. How our feet feel during a hike has a great impact on how well we enjoy our escape into the wilderness.

I am not going to go into biomechanics nor any of the other pointless laboratory  doctrine as to why someone’s technology is the best. To me, only about a third of the information is useful and the rest is to line corporate pockets with money and make us sound smart.

What we understand today will eventually become the ignorance of tomorrow. We waste so much time isolating specific philosophies that the dynamic balance can no longer be achieved. This carries over in every facet of the human race whether it be religion, science, or just plain old shoes.

I realize everyone wants a piece of their pie, but when money drives the noblest of causes just so we can die a daily so called “life”, then it’s evident humanity is on the wrong path and benefitting only a small number of this earths inhabitants. Footwear carries us every step of the way and their designs reflect every bit of our foolish vanity.

This is going to be about the one third of information I found useful for myself in regards to the Merrell Barefoot shoes that have become my primary footwear. The introduction was to get some cerebral juices flowing.

Everyone is unique enough that one style of footwear works for some people and not others. All I can relate is what does or does not work for me, nothing more. The beauty of being human are our differences, they make us interestingly individual.


In 2012 I climbed Mt. Olympus, crossing Blue Glacier in a pair of Merrell Train Sonics. It was a definite statement to myself that barefoot shoes and sandals were to be my only hiking footwear of choice from this day on.

Climbing Mt. Olympus in Merrell Train Sonics, 2012

My search for a better pair of hiking boots reached a crucial point when the fact that every time, not once in awhile, every time I was within a mile of returning from the trail my ankle gave out and I fell down hard. Healing time was getting longer and I was getting frustrated.

Around 2007 Golite introduced the Spike Tail and they were amazing. Then Golite sold out their shoe business and they were no longer available so the search began again.

Five Fingers entered the scene but I could never get them to work for me. I am not a glove person, I like mittens.

Then the clouds parted, angels sang, and Merrell spoke holy words of promise to free my feet from slavery by introducing Barefoot Commandments. And I felt that they were good. I was now given the blessing of wandering the wilderness without injury. And so I did.

Salvation isn’t gained without suffering, and converting to barefoot shoes is no exception. It takes time to repair the damage traditional shoes have cause us throughout our lives. There are many barefoot evangelist with much more information than I am willing to write about this. I am going to just leave you with one bit of advice – Go Slow. It has taken me over two years of complete dedication to get my feet and body re-conditioned to my childhood.

My posture still sucks and I doubt I will ever get that back. What I can say is that ever since I have worn barefoot shoes, my ankles and knees have become stronger. To this day, I have not fallen due to my ankle giving out as it used to. Blisters have become a distant memory. I’m not going to say my feet haven’t been sore, they have on occasion. But, by morning they feel great.

Here are a couple places you can get technical information on going barefoot.

  • Barefoot Jake – A good friend and very knowledgeable. He’s practical and knows how to listen.
  • Birthday Shoes – This has to be one of the most exhaustive websites about the barefoot lifestyle I have ever seen. It’s too much for me but what society seems to cater to.
Wearing barefoot shoes is a lifestyle change and nothing you try once in awhile and think you know everything about it. If a person hasn’t given barefoot culture at least a year doesn’t know what it truly means. This isn’t some instant gratification today’s society has grown to expect. No miracle pill or diet, it is going to take time to train your body and muscles for the barefoot path.
We were born barefoot, we learned to walk barefoot, I think it’s for everyone. My reasoning is that footwear should be as minimal as possible.


I thought I would try a shoe with less mesh so tried out the Train Sonic. After wearing out one pair in around 700 miles I decided to get another pair for my hike with Barefoot Jake across the Olympics in 2012.
What I like about the Train Sonic:
  • Warm in the snow.
  • Great Traction for creek crossing and beach rock.
  • Comfortable.
  • Don’t fill up with sand when hiking beaches.
  • Very durable.
  • Easy to wash.
  • Perfect amount of sole thickness. Can feel the ground yet are protected from sharp debris.
  • The orange matches my jacket.
What I don’t like about the Train Sonic:
  • They take forever to dry
  • Not cactus proof.
Merrell Barefoot Train Sonic & Australian Shepherd Barepaw
Breaking in my Merrell Train Sonics for a 450 mile hike across the Olympics.
Good Traction On The Merrell Train Sonic.


My introduction to Merrell Barefoot was the Run Glove. I’ve worn out two pair now. This year I begin my hiking season in a pair of version 2 of the Run Glove. I am getting consistently getting around 700+ miles with them before the tread smooths out enough to lose traction. At the point I just use them for street shoes.

What I like about the Run Glove:

  • Great ventilation. Feet stay cool.
  • Awesome traction.
  • Comfortable.
  • They dry fast.
  • Durable.
  • Perfect amount of sole thickness. Can feel the ground yet are protected from sharp debris.
  • The colors are not neon.
What I don’t like about the Run Glove:
  • They fill with sand and needles easily.
  • Not cactus proof. Found that out the hard way.
Merrell Barefoot Run Trail Glove


My shoe size is 9.5 so I always get a 10. The reason is that as they break in they shrink a little. It has worked out perfectly for me on all my barefoot shoes. I decided to get a 9.5 one time and that was a mistake. While they fit nice and seemed to have plenty of room, they did not. It wasn’t long before they became too small for my feet.




 – 15911d14h35m


Longway is the trail name for Tim Todd and is quite fitting due to the fact that every aspect of his life consist of taking the longest route and time to arrive. For Longway the journey is the destination.

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