We spent 9.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Most consumers have welcomed the close-to-the-ground profile of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4.
  • The flexibility of this product is lauded by testers.
  • Several reviews emphasize the lightweight structure’s capacity to permit all-day wear.
  • The traction equipped by the outsole unit is deemed reliable by a lot of purchasers.
  • The aesthetics of this running shoe are appreciated, with some testers believing that the facade is great for casual walks.
  • Fans of minimalist running shoes like the barefoot-like quality of their performances when wearing the Vapor Glove 4.
  • The sole unit provides an excellent ground feel, according to a few users.
  • A couple of purchasers have observed the upper material to dry quickly whenever they run in wet conditions.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners have complained about the materials of the insole and the upper being susceptible to odor.
  • The thinness of the underfoot platform paved the way for worn outsoles and holes, according to a few testers.
  • A couple of wearers have noted the frontmost eyelet rubbed against the skin uncomfortably.

Bottom line

People generally like the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 and what it has to offer. This product is deemed versatile and accommodating, particularly to those who welcome a near-the-ground experience. The highlights include the flexible construction, the cool looks, and the effective gripping capacity. On the other hand, some have complained of fabrics that are prone to odor while others criticized the flimsy durability of the outsole.

Fans of neutral running shoes that don’t have a lot of heft to its construction are likely to enjoy the Vapor Glove 4.

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Reviews from around the internet

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Video reviews and unboxing

  • The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 is an update to a well-known speed training option that caters to the near-barefoot experience. This model only features a few obvious updates, though the changes aim to better the in-shoe experience and the overall quality of the build.
  • One of the minor changes is in the forefoot design as the 4th version now has a more protective toe barrier than the Vapor Glove 3. Condura® mesh serves as the outer part of the upper unit; it’s a breathable and flexible material that is touted to be more durable than regular mesh.

Merrell used the standard sizing measurements when they made the Vapor Glove 4. Runners are open to choose a pair with their usual sizing choices in mind. However, it is worth noting that being able to appreciate a precise in-shoe hug is accommodated by actual testing of the shoe or an observation of the sizing scheme from the feedback of other users.

The fit is expected to be form-fitting, especially since this product is intended to accommodate a near-barefoot performance on the road. A semi-curved shape welcomes the natural curvature of the foot while a rounded forefoot design encourages toe-splay.

The outsole unit of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 uses the Vibram® TC5+, a layer that is tasked with becoming both the midsole and the outsole. The platform construction is cut down significantly to bring the foot as close to the asphalt as possible. The Vibram® technology is still protective against abrasion. It also doles out traction, a trait of a shoe that is highly essential for the quality of the run. TC5+ is an attribute that is used in many Merrell products like the Trail Glove line.

Traction nodes litter the surface of the external pad. These mild protrusions are designed to heighten the gripping capacity of this running shoe. The angular edges of each tread-pattern affect the steadiness and confidence of every step.

Flex grooves permit the platform to bend and move in conjunction with the foot as it transitions through the gait cycle. The flexibility also allows this shoe to be stowed away in a bag without using a lot of space.

Underfoot cushioning is not the most substantial element of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4, particularly since it is not made to exhibit the best underfoot support. Only the outsole and an integrated insole are used for the protection of the foot-pad. Optimal balance and performance are responsibilities that are transferred to the runner. Running shoes that accommodate barefoot-like adventures have such descriptions.

Proprioception is the way the foot perceives the ground and balances itself to meet the comfort and performance needs of the runner. The Vapor Glove 4’s Barefoot 2 construction, a curved platform and a cradle-like outline that mimics the foot-pad, encourages proprioception.

Condura® is the fabric that is used for the upper unit of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4. This textile is touted to maintain breathable and form-fitting support. The difference between this material and the typical mesh is the touted durability. Condura® is advertised as a sturdy layer that is resistant to abrasion and tearing.

The inner sleeve is a smooth lining that wraps the foot seamlessly. It has tiny pores which preserve the breathable aspect of the facade.

M Select™ FRESH is an antibacterial feature that graces the inner sleeve. This technology prevents odor-causing microbes from affecting the health and cleanliness of the foot-chamber.

The Hyperlock™ technology is a strip of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that is printed onto the heel of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4. The purpose of this layer is to lock the foot in place and prevent accidental shoe removals.

A traditional lacing system graces this product, which makes use of flat laces that snake through fabric loops on the eyestays. These elements work together to provide a snug yet secure coverage. The isolated structures of the lace-loops are meant to prevent hot spots from cropping up with the tightening of the fit.

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.