Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Minimalist Trail Running Shoe Review

The Merrel Vapor Glove 2 minimalist trail running shoe is one of the most popular and revered barefoot-inspired running shoes out there! The Vapor Glove 2 is prized for its zero-drop, wide, barefoot design because its necessary for improving foot functional strength, balance and helps you uphold efficient and safe forefoot running mechanics!

The Vapor Glove 2 performs well when running on grass, pavement and the treadmill and provides reassuring grip and traction for the trails as well as for obstacle course races. The Glove 2’s overall construction is impressively durable for running long distances as well.

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe Review

The Vapor Glove 2s are also very versatile as they’re great for weight-lifting and any form of cross-training, hiking and just casual, everyday wear.

The Merrel Vapor Glove 2 is a continuation of the original Merral Vapor Glove in that both shoes are made with same super thin Vibram outsole, but the Glove 2 has an upgraded upper thats more durable, flexible and stretchier than the original Vapor Gloves, making the Glove 2 more adaptable to a wider foot-shape! The Glove 2 is also thinner than Merrell Road Glove 3’s.

As compared with other minimalist shoe brands, the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is lightweight, weighing around 5.4-oz which is heavier than the Sockwa X8, but still tremendously lighter than most trail minimalist running shoes. For a comparison of their lightness, the Vapor Glove 2 feels light like the Vibram FiveFingers KSO and the Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO.


The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 sits on a 5.5-mm thin, zero-drop rubber outsole that gives a similar underfoot-feel to the Vibram Bikila LS. In fact, the Glove 2 outsole is so thin you can distinctly feel gravel under your feet.

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe Review

The Glove 2’s rubber outsole is flexible and molds with the contours of your underfoot and delivers a smoothing of the trails while providing good clutch and grip on any rough surface.

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe Review


The upper of the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is vegan-friendly and has a structurally configured human foot-shape design to accommodate a wider-than-average foot and optimal toe-slay for better balance and improved foot shape! The upper is also more durable than most Vivobarefoot shoes, too!

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe Review

As compared to the upper of Vapor Glove 1, the Vapor Glove 2 is equipped with stronger structural reinforcements in the areas that were prone to wear and rips in the Vapor Glove 1.

The upper of the Glove 2 is also light, stretchy and so airy that you can feel the breeze through the shoe. Even though the upper is highly breathable, it’s also slightly insulated, enabling you to run comfortably in cooler weather.

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe Review

Despite being light and flexible, the upper is still thick and protective enough when crossing streams and running through puddles.

Better yet, the inner lining of the upper allows you to wear the shoe comfortably sockless without having any problems with irritable rubbing or blisters.

Last but not least, the uppers colors are more bright and vibrant in person than in the photos! The Vapor Glove 2 are also machine washable, too!

Final Thoughts

Neither quality nor performance was compromised in this update! The Vapor Glove 2 is a nice balance of barefoot-feel and protection and like everyone else who has worn the Glove 2, you too will be overly satisfied with the shoes smooth, responsive, barefoot ride!

I also did a video review version of the Vapor Glove 2s:

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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!