After opening the box of my new Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove, I was instantly happy with how they look. They have a minimal sole (of course) but look a lot like a traditional shoe. I think this will come in handy when I don't have time to explain to everyone I see why I am wearing shoes with toes. Not only are they discreet on the street, but the black pair I got is "fancy" enough to wear around the workplace. The only problem I have with them aesthetically is color selection. I tend to gravitate to the bright colors (Men's Bikila in Sky Blue is my all-time favorite color scheme), so the color selection is a little too muted for me. In the future, I would love to see some electric colors!
For the true test in my Merrell Barefoot shoes, I ran to a track near my house, since the trails are slip n' slides right now. I have been working on increasing my speed and I ended up running my fastest 5k this year. A facebook fan mentioned that he was concerned about Merrell Barefoot shoes causing calf fatigue, so I payed special attention to this. I did experience a little calf fatigue, but I would not say that this was due to the shoes, as I was running faster than usual. My calves weren't sore the next day either, so I cannot say that the shoes caused me any calf trouble. However, the heel is really hard. I didn't notice this around work, but when I got sloppy and reverted to the heel strike while running, I knew it right away. If you're a heel striker, the Merrell Barefoot Gloves should fix this problem pretty quickly for you.
I think it's safe to say that nothing feels as barefoot as my Vibram KSOs, but I still have big plans for the Merrell Barefoot shoes. In locations and situations where I don't want to draw attention to my feet, my Pace Gloves fit the bill. I have also been searching for a minimal triathlon running shoe, since my VFFs take a while to put on. For this Tri season, I am planning on wearing my Pace Gloves.
PS I should add that after I wrote this, I used them on a trail run. While my companions were slipping and sliding, I stuck to the trail.