First, I need to get something off my chest: I LOVE THESE SHOES!
I’m one of the few runners who can run in minimal shoes and it does me more good than harm. I finally took these shoes out for a muddy run which probably wasn’t the smartest idea since they have tiny lugs and practically no grip on anything but dry dirt. And yet, as you can see by the photo, it was so much fun!
The trail gloves are zero drop with only enough rubber to keep your feet from getting trashed on the trails. As you can see, they have a Vibram sole and little to give you traction in the mud. I slipped and slid all over the trails on this run, laughing the whole time since my friends and I were also playing in the puddles, trying to see how dirty we could get the other. I did a little too much sliding on one part, doing an awkward fall face first into the mud. My friends have enjoyed telling that story ever since.
As soon as the trail gloves came in the mail, I slipped them on and ran a loop around my house. I was so excited. They have a wide toe box, a narrow mid-foot and heel, absolutely no cushion whatsoever and only that thin bit of rubber between your foot and the road. They are mesh so water does not stay in them long. There is nowhere to attach a gaitor. There is a rock stopper on the big toe, but there is no rock plate. The shoe is very light and flexible, giving your foot the ability to move whichever way it needs without being hindered by the shoe in any way.
Yet, as much as I love these, I will be honest about their limitations. They are not meant for technical trails. Or maybe, they are not meant for technical trails that are anything less than dry. They are light enough for flat easy dirt that doesn’t require the need of traction or ability to grip the earth. Your toes combined with the Vibram sole will help with the overall grip, but the shoe can’t save you in the mud.
Just remember, minimals aren’t for every runner and when switching, transition s-l-o-w-l-y, mile by every other mile.