Verdict from 1 expert and +100 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D’s foot-like shape has garnered numerous positive responses from different users. 
  • One of the features that received overwhelming approval from the testers and experts was the comfort that the shoe offers.  
  • Some of the reviewers praise the shoe’s versatility; it can be worn for everyday wear and as a workout companion. 
  • The shoe’s durability is lauded by several runners.
  • A lot of the runners highly appreciate the sufficient protection provided by the shoe. 
  • One customer has noted the improvement on the shoe’s upper, which is now made of 3D knit. 
  • The flexibility that is promoted by the shoe is admired by a few users. 

4 reasons not to buy

  • One runner complains that the Vapor Glove 4 3D has caused some blisters on foot. 
  • A reviewer has mentioned that the Hyperlock™ thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel counter was too stiff. 
  • When the shoe is tightened, the blood flow around the ankle is constricted, according to some wearers.
  • The laces of the Vapor Glove 4 3D are too long, and they easily unravel, a few users remarked.

Bottom line

A lot of people have said that the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D is the most comfortable trail running shoe they ever have worn. The credit is all due to the highly-praised 3D knit upper of the shoe. Several testers and experts have reported that this minimalist running shoe is highly durable to the extent that one runner used it for a marathon. The vegan-friendly quality of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D is an added plus to a lot of people. 

Although there have been issues raised by a few users around the shoe lacing system, the overall reception of the shoe has been highly positive. Some wearers claim that they will surely get another pair of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D. 

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

  • One of the most prominent features of the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D is its vegan-friendly build. Essentially, this means the materials and technologies of the shoe are made without the involvement of animals or animal-derived products.
  • The Vibram® TC5+ is an outsole technology that features arranged lugs to ensure that the shoe has a big grip on varied surfaces. This technology also increases the durability and protection of the shoe from different elements. 
  • The shoe employs the M Select™ FRESH. This helps with the odor elimination of the shoe and is incorporated in the inner sleeve of the Vapor Glove 4 3D. This contains anti-bacterial agents that break down the odor-causing bacteria inside the shoe to keep the shoe fresh after use. 
  • A 3D knit upper also helps with the flexibility of the shoe. This allows the runner to move the foot without any restraint.

The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D is available in standard sizing scheme for both men and women. However, to ensure perfect in-shoe experience and fit, it is advised to have actual testing of the shoe first before proceeding to purchase. An accurate fit can also be achieved by observing other users’ feedback on the sizing and fit of the shoe. 

Several technical elements affect the fit of the shoe. One of these is the shoe’s 3D knit upper that ensures the general sock-like fit of the shoe. The Hyperlock™ TPU molded heel counter, which helps secure the foot in place, also contributes to the shoe’s sizing. The Vapor Glove 4 3D also utilizes a traditional lacing system, which is also very common among other running shoes

Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D employs Vibram® TC5+ as its outsole component. This technology is also incorporated into the Merrell Trail Glove 5. This helps ensure safety on any terrain, including level and sloping grounds. This technology also features front lugs that are arranged to gain a huge grip on irregular surfaces. 

An integrated insole is also incorporated into the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D to promote stability and added support. 

The Vapor Glove 4 3D’s Barefoot 2 construction helps the shoe balance both its anatomical fit and its zero-drop feature without sacrificing stability and underfoot protection. This technology basically helps with the proprioception—the ability of the foot to sense the surface it is on. To achieve this, Merrell carved out a support zone in the shoe’s midsole, which cradles the arch, while allowing the foot to move freely and to instantly adapt to its environment. 

The upper of the Vapor Glove 4 3D is made with 3D knit. This technology ensures that the shoe has a 360-degree sock-like fit. This feature of the shoe allows a secured in-shoe hug to the foot. 

To further the security of the shoe, a traditional lacing system is employed by the shoe. This promotes a lightweight feel when running while giving an adjustable fit. The shoe also uses a breathable mesh lining to enhance the support and security of the shoe even further. 

The shoe also sports a Hyperlock™ TPU molded heel counter- providing added support and security to the shoe, especially for long-distance trail running. This also serves as an added component for protection to the shoe from different elements when treading through trails. 

M Select™ FRESH is embedded on the inner sleeve of the Vapor Glove 4 3D. This contains reactive and friendly microbes that reduce the shoe odor. These anti-bacterial agents basically break down the odor-causing bacteria upon contact. 


How Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 25% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Top 15% Merrell running shoes
All Merrell running shoes
Top 40% minimalist running shoes
All minimalist running shoes


The current trend of Merrell Vapor Glove 4 3D.
Compare to another shoe:
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.