Merrell Vapor Glove 2

8.7 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.7)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.3 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Review Facts

The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is a breathable and lightweight trail running shoe. The solid barefoot feature functions well. An uninhibited and natural stride is created by a washable mesh that conforms to the shape of the foot.

It is comfortable in hot weather. The flexible shoe is recommended for daily training. It allows for natural movement of the feet. The shoe is comfortable and fits well. Neutral runners who want a minimalist shoe will be pleased with this shoe.

The Vapor Glove 2 is a barefoot, low-profile, running shoe that is part of the company’s End Connect series. It is the purest, most minimalist shoe offered. The shoe is inspired to help runners feel their world.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Good traction and arch support
  • High-quality materials
  • Secure and breathable coverage
  • Vibram outsole
  • Upper is somewhat delicate
  • Not comfortable on wide feet


Vibram Outsole TCI is a high-quality rubber compound used on the outsole. It delivers traction that prevents users from slipping when traveling on different surfaces. The outsole grips trails and roads.

Just like the rest of the shoes, light groove patterns on the outsoles are flexible. They move naturally with the feet. The excellent durability of the shoes allows miles of travel without losing traction or wearing down.


CMEVA (Compression-Molded Ethylene Acetate) is used on the midsole. It also lasts for miles without wearing down. The midsole has responsiveness for springy takeoffs. Its flexibility allows the midsoles to bend with the feet when running.

Movement is natural and unrestricted. The zero heel drop adds to how natural the shoes feel. A footbed made of M-Select Fresh microfiber provides an extra cushioning layer. The footbed cannot be removed. It has antimicrobial properties to keep the feet healthy and clean. The footbed is integrated with the outsole as one unit which makes for a barefoot-like and minimalist running experience.


The Vapor Glove 2 has a breathable upper, a natural rise platform, and a superior ground connection. It has an upper is made of air mesh, synthetic material, and textile. The air mesh is durable, soft, flexible, and thin.

The mesh upper of the Vapor provides excellent breathability and comfort. It protects against the heat and gives the shoes excellent flexibility and breathability. Additional durability is provided with the use of TPU on the outside edges.

The laces aid in giving the shoes a snug fit. Heel support is provided by a synthetic leather Rear Foot TPU Sling. It keeps the feet from sliding and the ankles from rolling without adding extra weight.

The toe bumper protects objects such as rocks. The lack of stitching reduces hotspots and the risk of blisters. The liner is treated with an antimicrobial to prevent the barefoot shoe from reeking up the closet. The shoes are machine washable.


The Vapor Glove 2 is lightweight in nature. The lightweight feature gives users stability and comfort as they run. Along with the thin synthetic heels, there is no unnecessary padding or overlays that add weight, which makes them minimalist shoes.

The shoes strike a reliable and dependable spot between durability, flexibility, lightness, and thinness while remaining a lightweight shoe. The average shoe for men weighs 5.8 ounces. The average weight of shoes for women is 4.8 ounces.


Excellent breathability is accomplished with high-quality materials that are lightweight. The highly breathable mesh uppers shape to the feet while providing superior comfort and ventilation for moisture and heat in hot conditions.

The antimicrobial footbed material aids in helping to keep the feet fresh and odorless. The lack of stitching improves breathability in the upper. Airflow is not blocked in those areas. The footbed and mesh lining are coated with M-Select Fresh odor-wicking technology.


The Vapor Glove 2 is a reliable and comfortable pair of shoes. They conform to the shape of the foot. The toe box has ample room for runners with medium width feet to splay the toes. An excellent lacing system allows customization of the tightness level to match the preference of the user while providing a fit that feels secure.

The antimicrobial properties aid fungus prevention. The lack of stitching reduces hot spots, blisters, or irritation risks. Very soft material is used on the inside if the shoes. The flexible shoes give the feeling of natural feet.


The shoes creatively take the natural shape of the feet. They have a sporty look and are comfortable at the same time. The interior of the shoes is comfortable enough to wear without socks.

Those who want a barefoot-like off-road experience will like the shoes. The shoe is intended to be worn barefoot for a next to skin feel. The 100 percent vegan-friendly construction is appreciated by many runners.


The shoes are safe to use on many surfaces such as loose scree slopes, bare rock, forest floor, and hard-packed snow. They are functional, abrasion-resistant, and long-lasting. The evenness of the shoes means no striking pattern is favored over another.

The midsole also passes the durability test. The upper of the Vapor Glove 2 resists abrasions and punctures to allow venturing off-road. The lacing system lasts for many miles without deteriorating.

Because the shoe is flexible, it does not wear down quickly. Some testers reported durability issues of the mesh in the upper after a few months of use. The outsole is made of reliable and durable Vibram.

One tester, who had the shoes for six months, put them through extreme abuse. Merrell could not have designed a shoe for what he did to them. The tester is a minimalist at heart. He wants simplicity at all costs.

Spending a bit more on something that he feels is quality, and serves multiple functions and purposes is not a problem for him. The damage included ripping most of the sides of the shoes.

An inside edge was ripped and duct taped and super glued back together. Up top of the shoe, there was a tear. He used black thread to mend it. With all the damage, he highly recommends the shoes.

He plans to order two more pairs of the Vapor Glove 2 -one as regular walking shoes and one to replace the but up shoes for the kind of activity in which he engages such as cutting grass. The hole on the top of the shoe had nothing to do with the design.

He caught the shoe on barbed wire when running off-trail through wooded areas and old fields. He follows deer trails which are incredibly rough terrain. The shoe was snagged as he went over a fence.

It ripped the mesh but could be sewn back together. The holes in the sides were due to his running while wearing the shoes in the winter. During warmer seasons he runs barefoot. The Vapor Glove 2 was purchased for winter wear.

There were 43 inches of snow in Iowa, where he lives. The tester runs through the deep parts of snow. As snow warms and melts, it creates extremely hard ice. As he ran putting pressure on the shoe, the ice crystals acted like razor blades and gnawed at the edges.

It took three months, running 30 miles per week, for the holes to develop. There was constant jarring and ripping into the ice. He runs through the stubble of Iowa been fields that continuously cause jarring of the shoes.


There is little protection offered by the Vapor Glove 2. The toe box has a toe bumper meant to protect the toes from sharp rocks and stones on the trail. The thin mesh in the upper protects against the heat.

There is no protection against extreme cold. The heel is protected by the TPU Sling. Under the sole, the 3.5mm thick outsole and two-mm midsole cushioning make up the 5.5mm stack height. A low stack height on a flexible shoe means every stick or stone on the trail or road will be felt.


The entire shoe is relatively responsive. The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is flexible and very light. It allows natural and easy movement for extended periods of use without causing fatigue. Some testers have suggested a midsole cushion system that is more responsive.


The flexible sole of the Vapor Glove 2 gives minimal support. It promotes strong muscles and better balance in the foot and leg. The simple shoe does a job that cannot be done by wearing stiff shoes that force the heel to hit first.


The shoe is made for road, gravel, and trail terrains. Vibram TCI rubber, combined with the outsole tread pattern, makes the shoe ideal for walking or running on textured and dry surfaces.

The model and shape make the shoes uncomfortable on terrain that is rock or has lots of debris. The shoes do not provide proper traction on the icy and snowy ground. The shoes give as close to a barefoot feel as possible.


The shoe sells for prices ranging from $78 to $86, depending on the chosen features. For a shoe with the reliability and high-quality features of the Vapor Glove 2, the price is affordable. It is a fair price for shoes that lack the stability and cushioning of more expensive shoes.


Throughout the outsole, Vibram TCI rubber provides an even layer. There is tread in the outsole that offers traction on hard surfaces like paths, paved roads, or dirt. The tread offers a steady grip on gravel and light trails also.

Protection against surfaces that are particularly rough is not provided because of the thin midsole and outsole. Users can go up and down hills on hard surfaces. Good traction on slippery or wet surfaces is not provided.


The user can roll the shoe into a ball, fold it, or twist it. It is incredibly flexible and gives comfort to the feet. There is no restriction of movement. Users maintain their natural structure. The Vibram outsole is ergonomically designed to flex with the foot while providing superior traction and ground connection for ease of movement and enhanced stability.


Neutral runners are provided with enough stability to control every stride on uneven terrain or off-road trails. A thin sole having a zero drop is lightweight. It also has a contoured TPU heel sling to help keep the foot secure so that it doesn’t flip out during a short or long run.


The shoe has a zero drop, zero heel cushion, and 5.5mm heel stack height. The zero drop provides a more natural gait cycle and running form. It helps to build muscles and distribute cushioning throughout the shoe.

Unlike high drops that heel strikers prefer, the zero drop allows for a variety of strike types. The Vapor Glove is built on a zero drop barefoot platform. There is no elevation between the heel of the foot and the ball of the foot.

The configuration puts the foot in the most natural position. It stimulates muscles, strengthens feet, and helps to align posture. The platform is contoured. When coupled with the upper, it gives a sock-like fit for a foot-hugging experience that feels very natural on the feet.

Key Features

* Antimicrobial properties of M-Select Fresh microfiber footbed prevent fungus and absorb odors
* Breathable textile and mesh
* Landings cushioned by CMEVA foam
* Natural barefoot feel due to zero drop and minimal cushioning
* Pull tab allows heel to be lifted
* Rear Foot TPU Sling helps prevent sliding or rolling and supports the heel
* Snug fit provided by lace-up vamp
* Synthetic and TPU upper
* Toe bumper to protect against rocks and debris
* Vibram TCI outsole for traction on various types of surfaces
* Zero drop and natural barefoot feel

Bottom Line

The shoe is well-made, stylish, comfortable, and lightweight. Runners experience excellent ground contact. The Merrell Glove series changes frequently to fit the anatomy of the foot. The Vapor Glove 2 is true to the foot shape.

The width of the toe box provides lots of room without being excessively roomy. A traditional lace closure ensures a snug, secure fit that allows the tension to be customized. The shoe is reasonably priced.

Areas some testers say could use improvement include thicker outsoles for protection against items in the road, wide shoe sizes, more cushioned midsole and more durable upper. All in all, the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is an excellent choice for those who want a minimalist shoe to improve running form and increase speed.