Merrell Vapor Glove 5

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Merrell Vapor Glove 5: Review

β€œA minimalist shoe for a natural and barefoot-like running experience.”

Overview


The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is a minimalist running shoe that stands out for its ultra-thin design and exceptional natural feel. Part of the Merrell Vapor Glove family, this model continues the legacy of providing a barefoot-like experience for runners who prefer minimal interference between their feet and the ground.

Key Features:

  • Ultra-thin Outsole: The shoe features a 2mm Vibram Ecostep outsole for superior ground feedback and improved proprioception (awareness of body movement).
  • Recycled Mesh Upper: The upper is made of 40% recycled mesh, enhancing breathability and featuring a stretch collar for a snug fit.
  • Barefoot 2 Construction: Designed to mimic the natural shape of the foot without additional support or structure, promoting a more natural running form.

The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is an ideal choice for experienced barefoot runners who prioritize a natural running experience and environmental consciousness. Its minimalist design offers a close-to-ground feel, making it suitable for road running and gym workouts.

According to our analysis of reviews from experts around the world, it averages a review score of 73%. This puts it in the lowest rated 10% of comparable running shoes. According to our analysis of prices across the internet, at current rates it's in the most expensive 10% of running shoes.

Verdict

The consensus on the Merrell Vapor Glove 5


The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is a minimalist shoe that delivers a barefoot-like experience, ideal for runners with strong feet accustomed to minimal footwear. Its ultra-thin Vibram Ecostep outsole and recycled mesh upper provide a natural feel and responsive fit. While the shoe excels on pavement and in the gym, its traction on trails may be less reliable. The stretch collar and snug fit enhance the shoe's responsiveness, though some may find it confining. Despite these considerations, the Vapor Glove 5 offers excellent value, balancing flexibility, breathability, and a superlight design at an affordable price point. For seasoned barefoot runners seeking a high-performing minimalist shoe, the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is a top contender that continues to define the category.

Updates to Merrell Vapor Glove 5


The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 sees significant updates from its predecessors, such as the Merrell Vapor Glove 4. The latest model features a redesigned outsole for improved durability and a stretch collar for a more responsive fit. The use of recycled materials in the mesh upper and Vibram Ecostep outsole reflects a move towards more sustainable production.

6 Merrell Vapor Glove 5 Pros & Cons


3 Pros

Ultra-thin and flexible outsole for a natural running experience.
Recycled mesh upper and Vibram Ecostep outsole for environmental sustainability.
Stretch collar and snug fit enhance responsiveness and comfort.

3 Cons

Less effective grip on technical trails compared to other trail-specific shoes.
Stretch collar may feel too tight for runners with wider feet.
Not suitable for runners new to minimalist footwear due to lack of cushioning.

In Depth


Upper

The Merrell Vapor Glove 5's upper is constructed from 40% recycled mesh, providing a breathable and environmentally friendly design. The stretch collar ensures a snug fit, enveloping the foot for improved responsiveness. This design choice, while promoting a seamless integration with the foot, may feel confining to some runners. The shoe also features a thin TPU film at strategic points for added durability without compromising the lightweight structure.

Outsole

The outsole of the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 has been redesigned with a homogeneous pattern of 2mm lugs made from Vibram Ecostep rubber, which is 30% recycled. This new design aims to improve durability and direct feedback, essential for a natural running experience. While the outsole performs well on pavement, its grip on off-road terrain may be less effective, making it more suitable for road running and gym activities.

Size/fit

The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 offers a sock-like fit with a stretchy collar that contours to the shape of the foot. The shoe's Barefoot 2 construction is designed to mimic the foot's natural shape without additional support, providing a snug and responsive fit. The wide toe box allows for natural toe splay, while the heel pocket ensures the shoe does not feel oversized or floppy.

Comfort

Comfort in the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is defined by its barefoot-like feel and lightweight design. The shoe's integrated 4mm EVA-foam insole and ultra-thin outsole contribute to a ground-hugging experience that enhances proprioception. The breathable mesh upper and stretch collar add to the overall comfort, making the shoe suitable for extended wear during runs or workouts.

Durability

Despite its minimalist design, the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is reinforced at key points to improve durability. The TPU film covering the big toe, pinkie toe, and heel pocket helps prevent damage from abrasion. The Vibram Ecostep outsole is also designed to be durable, addressing previous concerns about wear and tear, especially for runners who frequent technical terrain.

Who should buy the Merrell Vapor Glove 5?


The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is best suited for runners who have already transitioned to zero-drop footwear and are looking for a shoe that provides a barefoot-like feel. It's ideal for those who value a natural running form and seek a shoe that offers minimal interference with the ground. The Vapor Glove 5 is also a good choice for environmentally conscious individuals due to its use of recycled materials.

Who should not buy the Merrell Vapor Glove 5?


Runners who are new to zero-drop shoes or those who require additional cushioning and support should not buy the Merrell Vapor Glove 5. It may not be the best option for trail runners who need more grip and protection on rugged terrain. Those with wider feet might find the stretch collar too confining. Instead, they could consider shoes with a more generous fit and a focus on trail features.

Merrell Vapor Glove 5: What's it good for?


The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is particularly good for road running and gym workouts where a close-to-ground feel is beneficial. Its lightweight and flexible design make it a strong contender for activities that require agility and balance. However, its minimal outsole may not provide the grip needed for more technical trail running.

4 Merrell Vapor Glove 5 FAQs


Is the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 suitable for beginners to barefoot running?

The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is designed for experienced barefoot runners. Beginners may need a transition period to adapt to the minimal cushioning and zero-drop design.

Can the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 be used for trail running?

While the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 can handle light trails, its minimal grip may not be suitable for technical off-road terrain.

How does the recycled mesh upper of the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 affect its performance?

The recycled mesh upper of the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 enhances breathability and contributes to a snug, responsive fit, while also being environmentally friendly.

What type of outsole does the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 have?

The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 features a 2mm Vibram Ecostep outsole made of 30% recycled rubber, designed for durability and natural ground feedback.

Merrell Vapor Glove 5 alternatives

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Released
Apr 2021
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Weight
Weight
170 g
M: 235 g
W: 184 g
M: 213 g
W: 179 g
M: 232 g
W: 179 g
M: 249 g
W: 207 g
M: 238 g
W: 190 g
Forefoot
Forefoot
7 mm
16 mm
17 mm
16 mm
20 mm
M: 20 mm
W: 18 mm
Heel to toe drop
Heel to toe drop
4 mm
6 mm
8 mm
4 mm
8 mm
Heel
Heel
7 mm
20 mm
23 mm
24 mm
24 mm
M: 28 mm
W: 26 mm
Brand
Brand
Merrell
NikeNikeNikeNikeNike
Strike Type
Strike Type
Fore/Midfoot strike
Fore/Midfoot strikeFore/Midfoot strikeHeel strikeFore/Midfoot strikeHeel strikeFore/Midfoot strikeFore/Midfoot strikeHeel strike
Techs
Techs
Nike FlyknitNike FlyknitNike Flyknit
Environmental Characteristics
Environmental Characteristics
Vegan β“‹Vegan β“‹Vegan β“‹
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Merrell Vapor Glove 5: what the experts say (1 review)

Merrell Vapor Glove 5 characteristics and specifications

Specificationsvs Average
Model
5
Released
Apr 2021
Measurements
Heel to toe drop
Heel
7 mm
Forefoot
7 mm
Weight
170 g

Evolution of the Merrell Vapor Glove product family

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AuthorTom Green
Tom is the founder of geerly. Based in West London, he found his passion for running in his mid-30s. He’s best at longer distances, and is a regular at the London Marathon, where he's edging closer to sub-2.40. He started geerly because he found it frustrating when shopping for running shoes spending ages trying to find the best deal in his size, and wading through verbose, waffling reviews clearly designed to appeal to search engines rather than be helpful to users. For geerly he's passionate about writing reviews that get straight to the point, and helping runners find the right gear at the best price.
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April 15, 2024 at 9:55 AM
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πŸ“Š Stats | Powered by geerly.com πŸ‘Ÿ πŸ•’ Official time: 00:22:45 | Course PB 🚨 🏁 Overall position: 35/549 🚹 Gender position: 21/299 🎯 Age grade: 61%