Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review
The Merrell Vapor Glove is a shoe for someone looking for a barefoot experience, but once just enough shoe to keep their feet clean and give a little protection from cuts. Of the shoes in the Merrell "glove" range, the Vapor does the best job of fulfilling the promise. Unlike in the FiveFingers, the Vapor does not have an individual compartment for each toe, so perhaps they should have used the word "mitten", but I find the Vapor to be rather more natural than the FiveFingers. It's also much easier to get a good fit with the Glove series than with the FiveFingers, as of the latter need to fit your foot shape quite precisely. The Vapor Glove is significantly more minimalist than even the Trail Glove, and in the past I've tended to prefer the Trail Glove in many situations, as the Trail Glove offers a little more protection, and it is a little harder wearing. More recently, I found myself wearing the Vapor Glove more and more, predominantly when walking. I only swap to hiking boots when I need to keep my feet dry for extended periods, or when I'm over really gnarly ground. Incidentally, both the Trail Glove and the Vapor Glove make excellent casual driving shoes, with the Vapor Glove doing a little better (they are not fire resistant, so you can't use them for most serious driving.) The previous version, Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is almost identical; the only difference I could spot was how the lace eyeholes are formed. (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)
- . The Vapor has a minuscule amount of cushioning from the rubber outsole, and there is a tiny bit of cushioning from what you might consider the insole were it not for the fact that the insole is sown in. The Vapor Glove is as close to uncushioned as I've found.
- . The Vapor Glove is zero-drop, as you'd expect (but don't always get) from a Minimalist shoe.
- . The Vapor really does feel like a glove, and has no more interference with your foot movement than a latex glove would on your hand. I find that the Vapor actually has less interference than FiveFingers which artificially separates your toes a little.
- . The Vapor Glove is extremely flexible, and more flexible than most of its main competitor, the FiveFingers. The Vapor moves and bends very naturally with your foot, and doesn't have any crease where the shoe wants to bend in a specific line.
- . The sole of the Vapor is made up of blown rubber outsole with a slight pattern that really doesn't provide much in the way of nubs for traction. The rubber is moderately sticky, and obviously conforms to the shape of the ground, but on slick mud you won't find much traction (of course you would find much traction barefoot either.) I've put a lot of miles on my second-generation Vapor Glove and they lasted extremely well. The Vapor is so thin that when it wears down you do end up with a shoe that is offering the relatively little protection. It's only now I'm wearing this a third generation Vapor Glove that I realized just how thin my previous generation had become.
- cut open the toe box. It's like the Vapor was designed for the human foot, something that is sadly rare. I actually find the shape of the Vapor better than the shape of most of the Altra shoes. . The Vapor Glove is nicely shaped, and one of the few shoes where I don't have to
- . The upper is a thin, but has limited breathability when compared with a more open mesh found in some running shoes. The forefoot and midfoot is unpadded, but there is a tiny bit of padding around the heel, though it might be fairer to describe it as thick a material than true padding. There is some minimalist padding around the ankle opening as well. I find the Vapor to be remarkably comfortable, even for protracted periods.
- . The Vapor Glove has a thinly padded, traditional tongue that is held in places by a tab for the laces.
- . The laces are traditional flat laces that stay tied without any problems.
- Heel Counter at all. . Thankfully, there's no
This review was made possible by readers like you buying products via my links. I buy all the products I review through normal retail channels, which allows me to create unbiased reviews free from the influence of reciprocity, or the need to keep vendors happy. It also ensures I don't get "reviewer specials" that are better than the retail versions.
2 Cushioning, Running Economy, & Performance
There is scientific evidence that a little cushioning can improve Running Economy, which means it takes less effort to run at the same pace. The Vapor Glove does not offer enough cushioning to provide that increase in, so you'll probably be slower than you would be in a slightly more cushioned shoe.
3 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes
If you're looking for "the best of the best" running shoe, here are my top picks. Of course, the answer will depend a little on what you're looking for, so I have recommendations for various categories.
For a more detailed on running shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.
|Saucony Type A Review||Saucony||A/A7||Recommended||$100||6.0||6.7||12.1||19||22||1||4.1||7|
|Saucony Type A6 Review||Saucony||A6||Highly Recommended||$100||7.7||6.1||9.5||17||21||4||4.7||7|
|Saucony Type A8 Review||Saucony||A8||Highly Recommended||$90||7.1||6.2||9.7||19||20||-1||4.4||7|
|Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review||Adidas||Adios||Worth considering||$140||4.4||8.6||13.4||17||27||11||3.8||6|
|Hoka Bondi 5 Review||Hoka||Bondi||Recommended||$150||5.7||11.6||18.1||38||42||5||6.7||2|
|Hoka Clayton 2 Review||Hoka||Clayton2||Highly Recommended||$150||8.6||8.3||12.9||23||28||1||7.1||5|
|Hoka Clifton 4 Review||Hoka||Clifton4||Worth considering||$130||7.2||9.3||14.5||30||35||10||6.7||3|
|ON Cloudflash Review||On Cloud||Cloudflash||Worth considering||$180||4.2||8.3||14.6||19||26||7||3.5||6|
|On Cloudracer Review||On Cloud||Cloudracer||Worth considering||$130||5.4||8.2||12.8||19||27||5||4.4||7|
|ON Cloud X Review||On Cloud||CloudX||Not recommended||$140||4.3||8.3||16.3||21||27||7||3.6||7|
|Mizuno Wave Cruise Review||Mizuno||Cruise||Worth considering||$120||6.3||5.9||12.5||17||20||7||3.7||6|
|Newton Distance IV Review||Newton||Distance||Worth considering||$155||7.1||9.1||14.2||26||31||3||6.4||5|
|Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review||Asics||DS Racer||Worth considering||$110||7.8||7.0||10.9||21||26||6||5.4||5|
|Altra Duo Review||Altra||Duo||Recommended||$130||5.6||8.4||13.1||29||29||1||4.7||5|
|Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review||Mizuno||Ekiden||Worth considering||$115||5.3||5.7||14.6||13||18||6||3.0||8|
|Saucony Endorphin 2 Review||Saucony||Endorphin 2||Worth considering||$115||7.5||5.1||9.6||15||13||-1||3.8||8|
|Adidas Energy Boost Review||Adidas||Energy||Worth considering||$160||6.8||10.0||15.6||20||30||7||6.8||5|
|Altra Escalante Review||Altra||Escalante||Best of the Best||$130||8.6||8.7||13.5||28||25||-1||7.5||6|
|Saucony Fastwitch Review||Saucony||Fastwitch||Highly Recommended||$90||9.0||7.1||11.1||20||22||4||6.4||7|
|Topo Fli-Lyte 2 Review||Topo||Fli-Lyte2||Highly Recommended||$100||6.4||9.1||14.2||24||26||3||5.8||5|
|Reebok Floatride Run Review||Reebok||Floatride||Worth considering||$150||7.2||9.6||14.9||28||34||10||7.0||5|
|Saucony Freedom Review||Saucony||Freedom||Recommended||$160||5.1||10.7||16.6||25||29||3||5.4||6|
|Skechers GORun 4 Review||Skechers||GORun||Not recommended||$100||5.7||7.5||11.7||15||23||3||4.3||7|
|Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review||Skechers||GRU||Worth considering||$90||7.1||10.0||15.6||28||34||8||7.1||4|
|Asics GT 2000 Review||Asics||GT 2000||Not recommended||$120||4.5||11.2||17.4||28||35||5||5.1||2|
|New Balance Hanzo S Review||New Balance||Hanzo||Worth considering||$110||7.1||6.9||10.7||21||19||2||4.9||5|
|Hoka Hupana Review||Hoka||Hupana||Recommended||$115||5.7||8.9||13.9||31||36||7||5.1||4|
|Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review||Asics||Hyper Speed||Highly Recommended||$75||10.2||6.3||9.8||22||26||5||6.4||6|
|Altra Instinct 4.0 Review||Altra||Instinct 4.0||Worth considering||$120||5.7||9.8||15.3||29||25||-1||5.6||5|
|Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review||Asics||Kainos||Worth considering||$130||9.4||6.9||10.7||17||27||9||6.4||6|
|Altra King MT 1.5 Review||Altra||King MT||Recommended||$140||4.1||10.7||20.8||19||21||-1||4.4||5|
|Saucony Kinvara 8 Review||Saucony||Kinvara 8||Best of the Best||$110||8.8||8.6||13.4||26||31||3||7.5||5|
|Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Review||Altra||Lone Peak||Highly Recommended||$120||4.9||11.4||17.7||23||25||-2||5.6||4|
|Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review||Nike||LT3||Best of the Best||$80||8.3||5.4||8.4||16||21||4||4.5||5|
|Nike Zoom Streak LT 4 Review||Nike||LT4||Recommended||$90||9.2||5.5||8.5||15||21||5||5.0||7|
|Nike LunarSpider R5 Review||Nike||LunarSpider||Recommended||$125||6.5||6.7||10.4||17||21||3||4.3||6|
|Hoka Mafate Speed Review||Hoka||Mafate||Highly Recommended||$170||7.1||11.9||18.5||39||40||4||8.5||1|
|Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review||Pearl||N0||Highly Recommended||$100||7.5||6.5||10.1||14||20||4||4.9||8|
|Saucony Nomad Review||Saucony||Nomad||Worth considering||$110||4.1||10.5||17.2||25||27||2||4.3||4|
|Hoka Odyssey Review||Hoka||Odyssey||Highly Recommended||$130||8.0||9.4||14.6||37||45||5||7.5||3|
|Altra Olympus 2.5 Review||Altra||Olympus||Highly Recommended||$150||6.9||11.8||18.4||34||34||2||8.2||3|
|Altra One 3.0 Review||Altra||One||Recommended||$100||5.8||8.8||13.7||23||23||0||5.1||6|
|Altra Paradigm 4.0 Review||Altra||Paradigm||Highly Recommended||$150||3.6||11.0||17.1||28||30||3||4.0||9|
|Asics Piranha SP 5 Review||Asics||Piranha||Recommended||$100||13.1||4.2||6.5||11||15||5||5.5||8|
|Brooks PureFlow 5 Review||Brooks||PureFlow||Worth considering||$110||4.3||9.7||15.1||26||29||4||4.2||6|
|Salming Race Review||Salming||Race||Worth considering||$130||7.1||6.5||10.1||16||19||5||4.6||8|
|Altra Escalante Racer Review||Altra||Racer||Highly Recommended||$140||7.1||7.6||11.8||24||26||6||5.4||7|
|New Balance RC1600 v2 Review||New Balance||RC1600||Highly Recommended||$110||8.4||5.6||8.7||15||21||6||4.7||8|
|New Balance RC5000v2 Review||New Balance||RC5000v2||Best of the Best||$125||17.6||4.0||6.2||13||21||4||7.0||7|
|Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review||Skechers||Ride||Worth considering||$85||4.6||8.5||18.9||18||28||3||3.9||8|
|Nike RN Distance 2 Review||Nike||RNDist2||Worth considering||$120||8.7||9.2||14.3||25||28||3||8.0||4|
|Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review||Inov-8||RXT-220||Worth considering||$120||6.6||8.0||12.5||14||17||1||5.3||6|
|Salomon Sense Ride Review||Salomon||Sense||Worth considering||$120||5.7||10.0||15.6||24||29||0||5.7||7|
|Altra Solstice Review||Altra||Solstice||Highly Recommended||$90||9.9||8.1||12.5||23||25||6||8.0||0|
|Topo ST-2 Review||Topo||ST-2||Highly Recommended||$90||7.3||7.3||11.4||20||18||0||5.4||5|
|Hoka Stinson Lite Review||Hoka||Stinson||Highly Recommended||$160||4.1||11.6||18.1||35||40||4||4.8||5|
|Altra Superior||Altra||Superior||Highly Recommended||$110||6.3||9.9||15.5||22||25||2||6.2||3|
|Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review||Adidas||Takumi Sen 3||Highly Recommended||$160||7.9||6.6||10.2||17||21||-1||5.2||4|
|Topo Terraventure||Topo||Terraventure||Review Pending||$110||4.6||10.8||16.8||24||24||2||5.0||5|
|Altra Timp Review||Altra||Timp||Best of the Best||$130||2.3||11.6||28.8||30||31||0||2.7||10|
|Altra Torin 2.0 Review||Altra||Torin||Worth considering||$125||4.2||9.6||14.9||31||25||-1||4.1||6|
|Hoka Tracer Review||Hoka||Tracer||Recommended||$130||4.2||7.4||17.3||22||24||1||3.1||9|
|Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review||Merrell||Trail Glove 4||Best of the Best||$100||6.0||8.4||13.1||13||13||0||5.1||8|
|Topo Tribute Review||Topo||Tribute||Recommended||$100||1.7||7.3||29.5||20||18||0||1.2||10|
|Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review||Mizuno||Universe||Highly Recommended||$125||22.9||3.1||4.8||9||12||8||7.1||2|
|Altra Vanish-R Review||Altra||Vanish-R||Recommended||$100||9.2||5.3||8.2||19||21||6||4.9||5|
|Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review||Merrell||Vapor Glove 3||Highly Recommended||$85||10.6||6.1||9.5||6||5||9||6.4||6|
|Nike Vaporfly 4% Review||Nike||Vaporfly||Best of the Best||$250||11.1||7.2||11.2||25||37||4||8.0||6|
|New Balance Vazee Pace Review||New Balance||Vazee Pace||Worth considering||$110||7.9||8.6||0.0||18||24||8||6.8||3|
|Asics TartherZeal 3 Review||Asics||Zeal||Worth considering||$140||10.3||6.3||0.0||17||27||1||6.4||5|
|Saucony Zealot 3 Review||Saucony||Zealot3||Recommended||$130||6.0||9.5||0.0||29||32||0||5.7||7|
|Nike Zoom Fly Review||Nike||Zoom Fly||Worth considering||$150||6.6||8.7||0.0||29||36||-1||5.7||7|
It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot, the Hoka Tor Speed 2, and the Inov-8 Roclite 325 hiking boots
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review, Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review, Asics 33-DFA Review, Hoka Conquest Review, Saucony Cortana Review, Puma Faas 100 R Review, Saucony Fastwitch Review, Nike Free Review, Asics Gel Lyte 33 Review, Skechers GOmeb Speed Review, Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review, Nike LunaRacer Review, Altra Paradigm Review.