Barefoot Shoes

Merrell Vapor Glove Available for Sale!

Wouldn’t ya know it? Merrell’s much-anticipated Vapor Glove is now available for sale.

Check it out.

These are the shoes I reviewed a few months back (here). I’ve spotted the men’s in black at CitySports and the women’s in blue/orange or pink at REI.

The Vapor Gloves retail for only $80 (which means they ship free) and puts them only $5 more than the FiveFingers EL-X.

I mention the EL-X because in my opinion, the Vapor Glove and the EL-X are perhaps the two best “barefoot shoes” available today given their price and offering. In both cases, you get a super lightweight shoe. Both have very, very thin Vibram rubber soles that are incredibly flexible and transmit a lot of ground feel. Both even have some cutaway patterning for grip and rubber soles that wrap the ends of your feet.

The standout differences between the two shoes are obviously the articulated toes of the EL-X and the laces of the Vapor Gloves. And really, I don’t think you can go wrong with either shoe.

That said, the Vapor Glove has gotten closer than any other minimalist shoe on the market to embodying the “barefoot shoe.” It just nails the concept. If you fancy minimalist shoes, you at least should try these on.

And let me know what you think if you do!

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

12 replies on “Merrell Vapor Glove Available for Sale!”

I have had the Vapors for about two weeks – 6 runs. My initial impression is that they are best min running shoe on the market. Of course I haven’t tried everything but I’ve been through Classics, KSOs, TrekSports, Bikilas, and Trail Gloves. It has been said by you and others, but this is the shoe Merrell should have led with. For some reason, I run more quietly and soft in them, which is desired. My only hope is that they have the stellar durability of the Trail Gloves – which has been kind of scary. I can’t see how they could be improved – maybe more color options – but that’s about it.

The blacks also look good with jeans / no socks.

I’ve been holding out for this shoe for some time – mostly due to your preview some months ago. So thanks for the rec!

The 1 million dollar question is: are the vapors free from that annoying arch pressure that plagues the trailglove?

I had an opportunity to try these on at my local store. They are very thin and flexible and super lightweight, but like most other Merrells, they are too narrow. If Merrel would offer more models in wide widths and actually have a substantial difference between regular and wide, then they would definitely have a winner here.

Yup, they’ve been available on Zappos for at least a few weeks now.

After about 50 miles of mixed road/trail use, I’m willing to call these the best shoe to date (and I’ve tried a lot of shoes over the past few years).

I tried a different style of Merrells and they were not nearly wide enough for me. I like five-fingers because all that toe spread allows my wide feet to splay out. Is the new style wider?

Merrell has them available in all colors on their website. Loving the women’s green color. Would really like to try these on and see how they compare to the Vivobarefoots.

Just went to City Sports to try and buy. I usually wear a 11.5 in everything and a 43 in Vibrams, but I had to get down to a 10.5 in these. They feel good, I just bought them so I haven’t ran or anything to comment on overall feel and durability.

No problems with the mesh upper. Its a special
Mesh. Skinlike and flexibe just get your size and
You are ready to go. Also no arch support or anything. I got the vapor gloves anx I love them.
People commenting here about them being too
Narow.. what? Do you really own a paif or just being
Paid by someone to put merrell down???!
I will say it again:
The mesh upper is a made from a material you’ve
Unlikely seen before. The trail gloves upper is completly different. Try it for yourself and see.

Regarding Bobby’s comment above: for some of us, the Merrell’s just don’t fit through the mid-foot. He mentioned the upper, but the discomfort is caused by the shape of the sole and has nothing to do with the upper material. The soles are too tight and (for me) squeeze the foot right where the arch and ball of the foot meet.

Just because somebody comments on the Merrell fit, does not mean they are being paid to do so. That is insulting. The poor fit that some runners experience with Merrell shoes has been discussed all over the interwebs since the Trail Gloves first hit the shelves.

Merrell has pretty much kept the same last shape throughout their Bare Access line, which means, if the Trail Gloves don’t fit you well, the Road Gloves and Vapor Gloves probably won’t either. That said, if the Trail Gloves were uncomfortable, you should still try the Vapor Gloves, maybe in a different size. As with any shoe, you won’t know for sure unless you actually spend some time in them.

My Merrells were too narrow, but I found something that helped. To address the narrow feel of my Merrell Edge Glove Brackens that I wear on casual Friday’s, I loosened the laces as much as possible without them being sloppy, took them out of the eyelets closest to my ankle and cut them off; knotting the ends beneath the vamp(?). Then I used a 2nd set of shortie laces in the vacated eyelets nearest the ankle for a snugger tie-down. Definitely more comfortable on the fore-foot!

hi there -@@Aaron R. – copied from your comment:

“Merrell has pretty much kept the same last shape throughout their Bare Access line, which means, if the Trail Gloves don’t fit you well, the Road Gloves and Vapor Gloves probably won’t either.”

btw-if you’ll read justin’s vapor glove
review, here on you’ll
know some facts about the vapor gloves and not assumptions.

picked the vapor glove recently – like em quite a bit – i look for ground feel primarily and these remind of the feedback of a seeya – the seeyas are – to me – more minimalist so i think they will remain my running choice – but i have been wearing the vapor alot as my casual shoe – glad i picked them up – its nice to not get the ‘toe shoe look’ all the time or have to be a spokesperson for the vibes all the time – and i think they are also a better choice for activities with alot of lateral movement

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