Guest Review by Bobby Gillespie
The Barefoot Run Vapor Glove is the latest shoe I am reviewing from the Merrell barefoot line from both a running and CrossFit perspective. It is true, running and CrossFit can live in harmony. I prove that all the time at PUSH511, the gym I belong to in Baltimore City. I’ve been wearing the Vapor Glove to workouts for the last month. They are the most minimal shoe in the Merrell Barefoot collection.
Here is what Merrell is saying
Give your feet a breath of fresh air on the run with the barefoot breathability of our Vapor Glove. Zero drop cushioning lands your foot pancake flat for full ground contact, merged with its all mesh upper (washable!) that molds to your foot while ventilating heat and moisture.
• Barefoot construction
• Breathable mesh upper
• External TPU heel sling for contoured support
• M-Select FRESH naturally prevents odor before it starts for fresh smelling feet
• Reflective details for increased visibility in low light
• Integrated microfiber footbed treated with Aegis®
• Wash as needed in cold water (gentle cycle). Air dry
• 0mm Drop / 0mm Cush / 5.5mm Stack Height
• Vibram® outsole
Men’s Weight: 5oz (1/2 pair)
The Vapor Glove is like the slipper of athletic shoes. They have no rigidness or support of any kind, and that is a good thing. I like to wear my shoes loose & without socks, so I never untie the laces and just slip them on like a par of rubber soled socks. The upper mesh is really thin but not cheap or fragile; my foot just breaths and stays cool throughout even the most grueling AMRAP. Like the other shoes in the Merrell Barefoot collection the Vapor Glove features a rubber toe that is a rap around of the Vibram® sole, this ensures durability and mostly protects your toes from excessive abuse. There is zero drop, cushion or support in the Vapor Glove, just protection from the ground in the form of the super flexible rubber sole. I reviewed the Russet Orange color and a few coaches and buddies at PUSH511 were interested in the shoe both in terms of looks and function. I honestly recommend them to everyone if they are looking for an ultra minimal shoe. Obviously I have enjoyed working out in the Vapor Glove. I feel like my feet are free while in the shoe and able to do their thing: toes splaying and gripping, feet and legs getting stronger, and allowing me to set up properly while lifting heavy things or moving my body weight. The Vapor Glove is also a great shoe for smooth trails and even in the water. Don’t worry about getting them wet, jump right into the river and keep on rocking.
I’m still not a high fan of the look of the Vapor Glove. The mesh is a bit shiny and the colors are not my preference. I say if you are going minimal go all the way,. that includes style. Even with the Vibram® rubber toe double unders will cause some serious stinging in the toes if you catch yourself. It does hurt,, but I accept it and try to not miss a step to avoid jumprope punishment. I would not recommend runs in the Vapor Glove over a mile unless you have conditioned your body to handle the stresses and feel of barefoot running. But if you are conditioned to run barefoot, the Vapor Gloves are solid. But don’t take them out on a muddy or technical trail, there isn’t enough shoe to keep you going happily.
The Barefoot Run Vapor Glove is an ultra minimal shoe the is very comfortable and built to take a beating without sacrificing function. This is the shoe for the athlete that wants all the ground feel and likes to set their feet free without sticking their toes into tiny pockets. The full mesh upper is a huge plus and the overall design is strong and made to last.