Verdict from 10 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The upper unit is made from mesh and TPU materials, which offer secure and breathable coverage.
  • Many runners appreciate the 100% vegan-friendly construction.
  • The mesh lining and footbed have been coated with the M Select FRESH odor-wicking tech.
  • The outsole unit is made with a very durable and dependable Vibram layer.
  • The footbed has been integrated as one unit with the outsole, making a very minimalist and barefoot-like running experience.
  • The 2nd version of the Vapor Glove has a very lightweight nature.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners experienced getting the upper unit torn after a few months of use.
  • A few thought that a midsole cushioning system was needed to fully provide a responsive platform for their feet.

Bottom line

The Vapor Glove 2 from Merrell is a solid barefoot running shoe that can function well. Its security is snug and precise, and its flexibility is next to the natural movement of the foot. It’s a great option for daily training.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

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Video reviews

Good to know

  • Flexibility and natural stride is the purpose of the 2nd version of the Vapor Glove from Merrell. It retains most of the quality features of the original Vapor Glove, but improves upon them with heightened durability, consistent pliability, and the minimalist design that allows runners to move naturally through the gait cycle.
  • Breathability is part of the main services of the Vapor Glove 2. It makes use of upper fabrics and materials that ensure the runner consistently experiences utmost protection from sticky, moist feet, and the discomfort from getting too warm because of a stifling shoe interior.
  • The close-to-the-ground experience from wearing this running shoe is supported by its relatively thin mid-sole unit. Comprised of only a 2mm-thick foam, the mid-sole still delivers protection and cushioning for a more comfortable stride.
  • One of the most enduring and reliable outsole components has been utilized in this running shoe. The outsole itself is durable and flexible, and yet it delivers superior traction over the surfaces with the grip capability of the compounds that are found in it.

The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is slightly larger in size than the standard measurement. It is recommended to choose ½ size option when purchasing this shoe to get the right length. It has a medium width when it comes to its heel and mid-foot sections, though its forefoot area has a medium-to-narrow width. It can accommodate those with medium-sized feet.


The Vibram Outsole TC1 is one of the high quality outsole components in the market. It consists of a rubber compound that’s very reliable when it comes to delivering traction over a variety of surfaces. Its grip on the ground and hard asphalt is dependable and it doesn’t let the runners slip.

The outsole unit itself has a light groove pattern that allows the unit to flex naturally. One can actually bend and fold the entire shoe because it was truly meant to allow natural movement to fully occur. It’s also durable, so any runner can rely on it to last long, even after many adventures. Other popular Merrell shoes for running also offers great amount of flexibility. Examples of these shoes are the Merrell Gove 5 and Vapor Glove 3.


The mid-sole unit makes use of a compression molded Ethylene vinyl acetate or CMEVA. This material is very durable and it delivers responsible cushioning at all times. It’s not restricting, so flexibility is still very high for this layer of the Merrell Vapor Glove 2.


The upper unit makes use of the Air Mesh. It’s a sturdy material that gives breathable and comfortable coverage. It’s a solid feature that allows runners to go through their activities without worrying about sweaty or warm feet.

Heel support is afforded by a Rear Foot Sling that’s made from TPU. Made from synthetic leather, it helps in keeping the heel in place without adding bulk or weight.

Protection from rocks and debris is still important for this minimalist shoe. That is why a Toe Bumper is placed at the edge of the forefoot area. Made from rubber, it protects the toes from debris and other hazards that might come in contact with the foot while running through the great outdoors.

A non-removable microfiber foot-bed with M-Select Fresh is placed right above the mid-sole foam. It adds a bit more cushioning. Its anti-microbial capability allows it to maintain a clean and a healthy interior environment for the foot.

How Vapor Glove 2 compares

This shoe: 86
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: £80
All shoes average: £130
£60 £240
This shoe: 164g
All shoes average: 296g
164g 680g
Author
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.

jens@runrepeat.com