To spread the success of the trail glove to other markets, a more road friendly version of the Road Glove is set to release. I got a chance to run a 5k in the prototype Road Gloves back in June, but had to keep it on the lowdown. The prototype and the production model are the same.
After a few runs in the Road Gloves, I can tell that these will be my preferred shoe for non-trail running. I use the term "non-trail" instead of road because I like them for anything that is less than technical. With many minimalist options like FiveFingers, huaraches, or water socks, I find myself wondering, "will I be going on gravel or debris-covered roads?" before I head out. Granted, this problem is more specific to those with a complete arsenal of minimalist shoes than people with enough sense to keep it simple. The Road Glove provides enough insulation to run gravel, chip and seal, rocks, and other rough stuff. The tough exterior doesn't greatly diminish the Road Gloves efficacy as a true minimalist shoe. Like the Trail Glove and the rest of Merrell's lineup, Roads are on a zero-drop platform.
|Merrell's Sonic Glove(left) and Road Glove(right)|
The lug pattern on the sole is quite similar to its loamy soil seeking counterpart, but much less aggressive. As you can see, there is still enough there to keep a runner stuck to the ground on a variety of surfaces.
|The tread pattern on the Vibram outsole has smaller lugs than the trail version.|
So far, the shoe has given me no hot spots or blisters from sockless wear. The upper on the Road Glove is even smoother than on the Trail Glove. Though it doesn't have the sophisticated lacing system of the Trail Glove, it fits quite well and allows for some adjustability. I found it aesthetically pleasing. It looks like a standard road shoe and comes in some cool colors.
I think the Merrell Road Gloves are a huge step in the right direction. They reach out to the newest adopters of barefoot or natural style running. They reminded of the simpler days of running when I just wore my road shoes for all but the most technical trails. Traditionally shod runners who want to go minimal will love these. Most minimal shoes are built on the idea of starting from barefoot and building up. The Road Gloves feel more like a traditional road shoe that's been stripped down. Take a modern road shoe, strip away arch support, heel, and cushioning, and you've got the latest offering from Merrell. If I'm ever in doubt of which shoe to grab and go, I'll grab my Road Gloves.
|The toe spring in these pictures is sort of an optical illusion. Its negligible while running.|
The Road Gloves were provided by Merrell. Though I'm a bit of a moral deviant, I can't be bought that easily.