As a responsible reviewer of things, I wouldn't just recommend a brand new pair of Merrell Barefoot Road Gloves and leave you to your own trials and errors. No, the real test of a shoe reviewer's mettle comes after a sufficient testing period to gauge the durability and overall value of a thing. In short, you need to know how the Road Glove will fair if your dog assumes it's a play thing.
Well, I'm happy to report that The Road Glove holds its own against the gnashing teeth of a 10-month old mutt. I took this pair on a 12-mile run a few days after taking the photo above. And, they felt better than ever.
I suppose you'd like to know about running-related durability, too. Aside from an incredibly puncture resistant upper, the Vibram outsole is typically tough stuff. It's more solid than most of my trail shoes, actually.
You'll see in the photo below that this outsole does not wear down quickly. After 100-ish miles of running, there's just a bit of black coloration giving way to the orange color beneath on the big toe area. Those nubs just don't want to go away, providing exceptional grip on all sorts of road-like surfaces for miles and miles!
(Okay, yes, my imperfect form is betrayed by those fading nubs at the heel of the shoe on the right. Sorry. I'm working on it. Maybe the dog did that)
So, as far as durability is concerned, I have to say that the Road Glove is one of the best I've tried. (And, I've tried more shoes than most)
There's something of a breaking in process with these shoes, too. They feel fine and dandy when you first put them on. Maybe you have to get used to the grip around your arch area. (Maybe you decide you can't get used to it, which is fine and understandable; because not everyone can accept such a unique element of a shoe)
Perhaps, too, you feel that the ankle cuff is a little conspicuous as you walk around in the new Road Gloves. "Did Merrell make a faulty, bothersome ankle cuff that will cause chafing?" you wonder. No, no that's not it at all. You just need to let these shoes get used to your feet.
They change, morphing into custom gloves for your running endeavors. The somewhat rigid-for-a-minimalish-shoe midsole and outsole loosen up after a while. The toe box and midfoot area of the upper conform to the motions of your running feet. And, pretty soon, you wish you had another pair.
You may even find yourself surprised by how quickly you run in the Road Gloves. The appearance of such a wide toe box incites the prejudices of your subconscious shoe aesthetic. But, do not worry. The grip and natural efficiency afforded by these Merrell road runners makes them a capable racer. I've witnessed first-hand one fast barefoot runner wearing the Road Gloves in a trail marathon. So, think about that.
There are new colorways coming out in the near future.