TSLA Barefoot Shoes Review

If you love the Merrell Vapor Gloves barefoot shoes, you will  love the TSLA barefoot shoes because the TLSA is a carbon copy of the Vapor Gloves with some important difference:  the TLSA is offered at a MUCH lower price point and is also flatter, more comfortable and lasts outlasts the Vapoer Glove by a long shot! 

Tesla Minimalist Running Shoes Review
ALL the materials that make up the TSLA merges into a fully functional assembly that doesn’t interfere with your foot’s motion which will make your feet stronger than ever as compared with traditional running shoes.

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Whats the TSLA Good For?

The TSLA barefoot running shoes perform solidly on the roads and gravelly, gnarly trails in warm or cool conditions. They are also a super dependable gym shoe and are more than perfect for every day, casual wear.

More important, the TSLA’s work as expected as a barefoot shoe, thanks to the shoes level, low-to-the-ground platform that enhances the natural stride of forefoot running. You’ll also appreciate that the shoe’s lightness makes your feet feel weightless which helps running performance since the lighter the shoe, the lower the cost of transport of the leg!

Tesla Minimalist Running Shoe Review
Aside from its minimalistic functionality, what I like most about the TSLA running shoes is that its a more affordable shoe without compromised durability and quality.

Tesla Minimalist Running Shoes Review
The TSLA’s are a strong combination of barefoot-inspired minimalism and functionality. It’s also a sharp looking shoe in its design with a vibrant color scheme that doesn’t fade in the face of Mother Natures elements.

The TSLA running shoes are barefoot-inspired meaning the shoes don’t have an obstructive fit, rather the shoes provide on unrestricted fit where your feet are freer to engage functionally which is what they need to thrive in strength! Aside from that, the Tesla minimalist running shoes have a long-list of winning features that make the shoe the perfect utility for helping you nail down the perfect forefoot strike during running. 
Tesla Minimalist Running Shoes Review

Tesla Minimalist Running Shoes Review
Barefoot runners looking for a tad more protection without the added bulk or loss of much ground-feel will be pleased with the Tesla’s which are a solid choice for running and racing on smooth to mild debris-littered trails as well as smooth or harsh roads. You’ll also appreciate the toe bumper, a rubberized toe cap that keeps sticks and stones from stinging the your toes!

As I briefly mentioned, the TSLA minimalist running shoe not only looks like the Merrell Vapor Glove, but feels very similar as well! Both running shoes are zero-drop (completely flat) and have a 2-mm rubber outsole with similar tread patterns.

Tesla Minimalist Running Shoes Review
Look familiar? It’s not the Merrell Vapor Glove, as most of you would have guessed. It’s the Tesla Trail Running Shoe! The Tesla’s have a smooth, rubber, grippy outsole. Remember, you want a running shoe that is barefoot-like. The bottoms of our feet do not have treads, so your minimalist shoe shouldn’t have tread either, even for trail running.

Unlike the Merrell’s, the TSLA is not made with a Vibram outsole, but gives a similar underfoot feel to that of most Vibram FiveFingers minimalist shoes. Tesla also has more padding, especially in the forefoot, and the overall underfoot feels firm, not squishy, which helps you secure better footstep stability, making you feel more confident and comfortable about the terrain under your feet.

Even better, the TSLA’s sole provides robust protection on rocky, debris-heavy surfaces, dry pavement and the treadmill, but despite the light cushioning and durability, I was surprised by how natural the underfoot feels and how it lets in excellent ground-feedback, helping keep your forefoot strike safely in line, while shielding your feet form harm.TSLA Minimalist Running Shoes Review

The TSLA’s sole also features multi-flex cuts and indented grooves that makes the shoe lighter, more flexible and more nimble.


Upper Specifications

The uncluttered upper is made with soft and light materials that bends, flexes and swiftly moves with your entire foot. Also, the lower cut at the ankle reduces  weight and improves the fit for a more minimalist experience.

TSLA Barefoot Running Shoes Review
The TSLA running shoe’s upper wraps the foot in a soothing embrace that makes long runs feel much shorter! Even better, the interior has soft lining as well, so you can enjoy running, walking and hiking blister-free!

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Even better, the upper is stretchy to allow fuller foot expansion and lots of freedom of movement for the toes! Equally important, the TSLA’s have no heel-to-toe slope (zero-drop) which will push your forefoot strike in the right direction during running.  

that secure the foot to the sole and gives a snug, natural-feeling fit throughout. 

Weather-wise, the TSLA’s aren’t very breathable, despite the upper’s material thinness, making the TSLA’s well-suited for cooler temperatures.

TSLA Barefoot Running Shoes Review
Like the outsole, the TSLA’s upper is incredibly flexible and is a super-light foot covering that doesn’t have an obstructive fit, enabling the shoe to move completely fluid with your foot.

The entire shoe is adequately flexible, especially the upper, which provides more dimensions for enhanced movements of natural motions and an anatomically correct fit which are good fundamentals for lasting improvements in foot functional strength. Remember, your feet need to move (if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!).

Bottom line, the TSLA’s feels fast enough to race in and is a better choice for minimalist runners who are rugged road runners wanting a bit more protection with a hint of ground-feedback. The TSLA’s are also great for fast workouts on the track and performs just as well on dirt surfaces as it does on pavement.

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Even though, there’s no substitute to barefoot running, the lightweight, flexible and low-slung design of the Tesla running shoes does an admirable job at offering an intimate, stable connection with the ground, making the shoe a good barefoot-alternative that helps set in motion the mechanical adjustments good for lighter, more balanced foot-steps and injury-prevention!

Where to get the TSLA’s minimalist running shoes? They’re available here!

If you’ve enjoyed my review on the TSLA barefoot running shoes, here are my other reviews on the best barefoot running shoes! 

If you’ve enjoyed this barefoot shoe review, you’ll love my YouTube channel where I provide more in-depth analysis on minimalist running shoes optimized for improving foot health and biomechanics!

If you’d like, you can support Run Forefoot and help keep it going by making a donation in any amount of your choosing:

Or, you can also support Run Forefoot by shopping at the following top minimalist shoes brands, and be sure to bookmark the links:

Be Lenka: https://www.dpbolvw.net/click-7600968-14330828

FeelGrounds: https://www.feelgrounds.com/?p=RunForefoot

Xero Shoes: https://xeroshoes.com/go/Run_Forefoot

Iguaneye: https://www.iguaneye.com/?ref=8tfXVc92

Soft Star Shoes: https://shrsl.com/3mp1b

Wilding Shoes: https://bit.ly/3lIygQP

Earth Runners: https://earthrunners.com/?rfsn=6763579.f7f9c9

Vivobarefoot: https://shrsl.com/3kvih

Zappos: https://goo.gl/J1CeAd

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!


  1. Are Tessa trail running shoes available for women? Or can I just order men’s? I have a narrow foot.

  2. Hi, I just received my pair and I can see several small differences here and there from your photos. I’m wondering wether I got a knock off:(

  3. I am a men’s size 11.5 USmed ( Merrell, New Balance) I see the tesla shoes in that size do not offer half sizes. what do you suggest? thx

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