Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove: First Impression Review

Merrell Sonic GloveLast last week I received a pair of Merrell’s newest offering in it’s Barefoot line of running footwear – the Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove (disclosure: these were media samples and were provided free of charge by the manufacturer). The Sonic Glove is very similar to it’s sibling the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove, and thus I feel comfortable writing about it after having used it on just one run – a wet 5 miler on trails.

In a nutshell, the Merrell Sonic Glove is the Trail Glove constructed with a soft-shell upper instead of a more open mesh. The new upper gives the Sonic Glove a bit more of a substantial feel, and the closed nature of the upper material in the Sonic Glove helps to keep out both trail debris and moisture. Merrell also modified the lining on the interior of the shoe in the region around the midfoot. In the Trail Glove there was a nylon-like material in this region that frayed slightly in my shoes and caused blistering when I ran sockless in them. This material is absent in the Sonic Glove, and I had no issues with this region when I ran yesterday. As far as I can tell, the zero-drop soles of the two shoes are identical.

Merrell Sonic Glove SideMerrell Sonic Glove Medial

On the run, the feel underfoot in the Sonic Glove is identical to the Trail Glove, so in terms of performance the shoes are pretty much the same. My sense is that the Sonic Glove will run a little warmer than the Trail Glove, but I have not yet run in them on a hot day, so hard to say if heat might be an issue. On the plus side, the Sonic Glove might be an ideal option as a barefoot-style shoe for winter running. I ran through last winter in the Trail Gloves and they performed marvelously, and the added warmth and ability to block out moisture should allow the Sonic Glove to perform even better in cold, wet conditions. The moisture-repellant nature of the Sonic Glove upper became apparent yesterday when I dipped my forefoot into the river while my dog took a swim. When I pulled my foot out, the water beaded up and rolled right off my shoe (much like the little bubbles of mercury we used to push around a lab bench in middle school – I’d probably be arrested if I tried that today!). I continued to play around a bit in the river, and the only way that water got into the shoe was if I submerged the tongue and laces. Otherwise the upper seems to pretty much block water entry completely – it was pretty cool actually.

Merrell Sonic Glove Sole

One final note – I love the colors. They might look a bit like a Halloween pumpkin, but the loud colors of the Sonic Glove are right up my alley!

In summary, the Sonic Glove is a nice addition to Merrell’s lineup of barefoot-style running shoes. It’s not hugely different than the Trail Glove (read my Trail Glove review here), but if you want the alternative of a water-resistant and debris blocking upper, the Sonic Glove is a great option.

My wife also now has a pair, so they do come in a women’s version as well (it’s called the Merrell Barefoot Lithe Glove). She has not run in them yet, but I’ve gotten her to run and walk in the Pace Gloves, and she seems to like them – hopefully I can get her to write a review!

Merrell Sonic Glove BothTopMerrell Sonic Glove FrontMerrell Sonic Glove HeelMerrell Sonic Glove Sockliner

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Keep in mind that the Sonic Glove falls in the middle of the Trail Glove and the Embark Glove (Merrell’s Gore-Tex version due out Fall 2011).  So, if you want true protection from the winter elements, you’re probably better off with the Embark.  The Sonic’s softshell material is better geared for a slight chill in the air, and/or with light rain or little water.

  2. Ted Beveridge says:

    I wear my barefoot gloves every day and run in them at least once a week. They do run warm and as a consequence I tend to sweat quite a bit. The reason I bring that up is “funk ” builds accordingly. Absolutely my favorite shoe of all time.

  3. David Lynch says:

    Thanks for that review. I am running in the Merell trail gloves, but wasn’t sure exactly where the Sonic glove fit into their run line. Like the colour.

  4. Kevin Schell says:

    Finally Merrel added some style and color to a great shoe design. Just got my dark cheddar trail gloves in the mail on Friday! The spraypainted yellow gradient looks good. Still remind me of Agassi’s shoes.

  5. Justin Johnson says:

    To keep you guys in the loop.  In the fall Merrell also plans to release the Embark Glove.  It is a braefoot shoe with a Gore-Tex upper.  I will come in around 9 oz for a size 9.  If you need a truly waterproof Barefoot shoe then this might be the one.  If you just need something that is resistant then the Sonic Glove will me the choice.  I am glad to hear they changed the midfoot material in the shoes, in my review of the True Gloves. link to ymmvreviews.com… I had the same problem with it fraying.  Keep up the good reviews.

    JJ
    YMMV Reviews

  6. Tarn Mower says:

    One of the things I really like about the Trail Glove, personally, is its permeability. The water goes in – and then it falls right back out as I keep running! I find it much much more useful than a more closed shoe that might admit some water but then have a tough time letting go of it. I combine the Trail Glove with some thin wool socks and lots of creek crossings in near freezing weather for a good time!

  7. Paul Magno says:

    Looks like the perfect shoe for running here in the Pacific NW (e.g., Seattle).  I already have the Trail Gloves but I might just have to pick these ones up come winter time. 

  8. Any idea when these will be available in UK? (Or Finland, but I can probably find them easier in UK.) Because these sound quite perfect for the winter.

  9. Justin Parker says:

    What is the common opinion on road running in Merrels barefoot shoe range? I’m looking to go for a minimalist shoe, and love the look of Merrels shoes, but i spend more time on the road than on trails?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I use them on roads with no trouble. They will be coming out with a
      road version next year I think.

  10. Daryl @ running clothes says:

    I really like the look of these shoes.  The yellow is loud but the overall earthy look is nice and rugged.

  11. Interesting. That mid-foot nylon piece that has been replaced is exactly the place that frayed to the point of complete separation in both my Trail Gloves and my True Gloves after just a few short weeks.

    This time I think I’ll wait a few months to see what happens instead of being one of Merrell’s guinea pigs.

  12. Ashwyn Gray says:

    Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!

    Another one for the I-want-this-shoe-list. Thanks for the preview, Pete!

  13. Man, I can’t even keep up with all these shoes.

  14. The color is fantastic. Also,my father have been wearing trail gloves for almost a month and I can tell you that he had never complained anything about it. 

  15. Ken Skier says:

    A barefoot running friend of mine says that her Merrells have a “rock plate in the toes and a lot of *rock* protection under the arch.”  She enjoys them on the trail but finds them very unpleasant on the road.  So I’m wondering:

    Do the Sonic Gloves have a rock plate underfoot, or just some thickness of Vibram?

  16. Lance S says:

    boy, and I thought the trail gloves were expensive! $125… I need to start a blog ; )

  17. Mofootankle says:

    Thanks for the review! A lot of our patients who are runners ask for suggestions about good running shoes. Check out our website if you ever have any problems (hopefully you don’t!) link to mofoot.com

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