Tesla Barefoot Shoes Review for Forefoot Running

If you love the Merrell Vapor Glove minimalist running shoes, you will certainly love the Tesla barefoot shoes which are literally a carbon copy of the Vapor Gloves. The main differences between the two is the Tesla’s are more affordable, flatter, they run 1/2 size larger and feel more slipper-like. 

Other than that, the Tesla running shoes are a solid execution of a minimalist road or gravelly trail running shoe with an upper that’s stretchy enough to allow foot expansion and lots of freedom of movement! More importantly, the Tesla’s have no heel-to-toe slope which is going to push your forefoot strike in the right direction during running.  

Tesla Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
All the shoe’s materials merge into a functional assembly that doesn’t interfere with your foot motion and will serve you well in strengthening your feet!


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


Telsa Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
The Tesla’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 Tesla 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 Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running

As a minimalist running shoe, the Tesla’s work as expected thanks to the shoes level, low-to-the-ground platform that enhances the natural stride of forefoot running. You’ll also appreciate the shoe’s lightness, making your feet feel weightless which helps improve running performance as the lighter the shoe, the lower the cost of transport of the leg during running!

Tesla Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
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 Tesla 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.

Telsa Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
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 Tesla 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 Tesla’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.Tesla Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running

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

As for the upper, its made with soft and light materials that bends, flexes and overall swiftly moves with your foot. Additionally, the lower cut at the ankle reduces the overall weight and improves the fit for a more minimalist experience.

Tesla Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
The Tesla 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!

The uncluttered upper is made of light materials and minimal seams that secure the foot to the sole and gives a snug, natural-feeling fit throughout. 

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

Telsa Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
Like the outsole, the Tesla’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 Tesla’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 Tesla’s are also great for fast workouts on the track and performs just as well on dirt surfaces as it does on pavement.

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 Tesla’s minimalist running shoes? They’re available here!

Last but not least, for a more in-depth review of the Tesla minimalist running shoes, watch my YouTube review below:

























Here are more of my reviews on barefoot inspired running shoes best suited for forefoot running and for making lasting improvements in foot functional strength conditioning!

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 also support Run Forefoot by making a donation in any amount of your choosing: https://www.paypal.me/RunForefoot

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.

If you’d like, you can support Run Forefoot by shopping at the following, and be sure to bookmark the links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yvQvT4

Lems Shoes: http://bit.ly/2YZwe1r

Zappos: https://goo.gl/J1CeAd

Xero Shoes: http://bit.ly/2UIR9YK

You can also show support and help keep Run Forefoot going even stronger by making a donation in any amount of your choosing: https://www.paypal.me/RunForefoot

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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