In honor of the old shoes we love: May they help us run farther, hike longer, and live better.
Sometimes, the best things come into your life unexpectedly. That’s what happened with these old shoes.
Unable to resist the clearance price tag, I bought an unassuming pair of Merrell Pace Glove shoes on a whim five years ago.
And my life’s never been the same since.
1,000 Miles of Adventure
By conservative estimate, these shoes have logged more than 1,000 miles, an average of five miles a week for five years. Through rain, mud, dust, and sand—wash after wash, day after day—they kept on.
Fresh out of the box, we drove south of Asheville, N.C., to hike along Blue Ridge Parkway. Meandering down the trail, it marked the first time I’d ever hiked solo, without another to lead the way or set the pace. I was free to travel as I wished.
And that was just the beginning. Together we covered miles of white, sugar sand beach up and down the Florida coastline, hiked to the top of Colorado mountains, and waded into surprisingly balmy Minnesota lakes. In Maine, we ate lobster rolls and explored Acadia National Park. In California, we discovered the beauty of the Mono Lake Tufas and accidentally sank into knee-high mud.
But it didn’t matter. One quick wash, and they were good to go.
Updated shoes were released, and the barefoot movement lost steam, but I never considered trading these in. They were familiar, comfortable, broken in perfectly. They slipped on easily and formed to my feet in such a way as to never, ever cause a blister.
Light and packable, they were an obvious choice when traveling overseas to Cyprus and vagabonding across Ecuador. They took up little space and easily tucked into the saddlebag while I motorcycled across North America.
Some may say I’ve lost my mind, that these are just worn out shoes undeserving of such fanfare. But anyone who’s had those lucky sneakers that helped you run a bit faster, the broken-in hiking boots that made the brutal ascent seem possible, or the everyday shoes that pounded the pavement, hiked the approach and weekend-warriored like nobody’s business—well, you get it.
You understand that it’s about the shoe and so much more. It’s tied to the experiences, the memories, and items crossed off the bucket list. And each time I looked down at my feet, they reminded me of all these adventures past.
Merrell Pace Glove Review
Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of shoes. I’d rather run around barefoot or wearing a light pair of sandals. And that’s why I loved these shoes. First created during the height of the barefoot running craze and the Born to Run glory days, the Pace Glove is a zero-drop minimalist trail running shoe.
The upper uses breathable mesh that molds to your foot while the sole has grippy Vibram rubber. Best of all, they’re light. Each shoe weighs 4.7 ounces (though the updated Pace Glove 3 has increased to 5.8 ounces per shoe).
I found the 4-mm compression-molded midsole provided plenty of cushion while trail running, hiking, or walking on pavement around town.
Best of all, they washed up great. I regularly threw them in the washing machine and, on a few occasions, the dryer. Toward the end, the rubber on the front toe started to pull away slightly, and the mesh ripped in a couple places. But otherwise, these shoes have lasted impressively well through 1,000+ miles. If I needed to, I could continue wearing them.
But, sadly, it’s time to move on.
So today I’m officially trading in my old shoes for a new pair of Trail Glove Shoes (full review to come after logging some more miles). The new shoes are soft, comfortable, and full of life. But that’s not what this is about.
An Ode to Old Shoes
This one goes out to all the loyal, worn-out, beloved old shoes out there. To the shoes we obsessively research and carefully choose, and the ones we try on randomly but immediately love.
To the shoes we carefully clean after each use. And the ones we carelessly toss into the trunk dirty and worn.
This is for the shoes we wear to hike, bike, run, walk across town, and trek over mountains. The shoes that help us set PRs and summit peaks. For the shoes that take us on inaugural hikes and propel us across finish lines. This is for the shoes that are always ready for life’s adventures.
We wear you until you’re falling apart, and then go on wearing you a little bit longer. Because we love you.
And even though we know we’ll find a new pair, it’ll never be quite the same.
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