Tesla Minimalist Shoe Review

If you love the Merrell Vapor Glove, you will certainly love the Telsa Minimalist Shoe which is a trail running shoe that is literally a carbon copy of the Merrell Vapor Glove. The only major difference between the Merrell Vapor Glove and the Tesla is that the Tesla is more affordable.

Tesla Minimalist Shoe

Tesla Minimalist Shoes

The Tesla Trail Running Shoe is barefoot-inspired and I would strongly advise forefoot runners to give this minimalist shoe a try because it will accelerate foot and ankle strength due to the lack of cushioning and arch support structures. The Tesla is also super light, making your feet feel weight-less, which helps improve running performance as the lighter the shoe, the lower the cost of transport of the leg during running.

Tesla Minimalist Shoe Review

Just Like The Merrell Vapor Gloves

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

Tesla Minimalist 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.

The Tesla however, is not made with a Vibram outsole like the Merrells and the Tesla’s also have more padding, especially in the forefoot.  Nonetheless, the Telsa’s are barefoot-feeling enough to deliver great ground-feel, helping you avoid heel strike.

Weather-wise, the Tesla’s aren’t very breathable despite the upper being made of thin materials, so for me, the Telsa’s are best suited for cooler temperatures. You can wear them in the summer, but without socks.


Tesla Mens Trail Running Minimalist Barefoot Shoe

The entire shoe is very flexible, especially the upper, which provides more dimensions for enhanced movements and full mobility, thereby preventing soft tissue degeneration. Remember, your feet need to move (if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!).

Tesla Minimalist

Tesla Running

Overall, if you are looking to achieve biomechanical perfection for forefoot running, it can only be done if you run barefoot, or at least, in a running shoe that feels like you are barefoot and the Tesla’s, I think, is one of the better choices for capturing your best forefoot running capability.

For a more in-depth review of the Telsa Minimalist shoe, watch my YouTube review below:

Here are more reviews on barefoot inspired running shoes for forefoot running.

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

More From Run Forefoot:

Say NO to Shoe Cushioning – Find out how your body takes a beating when running in cushioned running shoes.

Orthotics, Say NO to Them, Too! – Discover how you can actually do better without your orthotics!

Barefoot – The most inexpensive therapeutic experience for your feet!

Cadence – Read what researchers say about stride rate and its affects on performance.

Bretta Riches

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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