Merrell Vapor Glove 5

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Editor’s Conclusion
Merrell has always been one of my top brands for walking and running. They’re renowned for their innovative designs and the technologies they use to enhance the performance their shoes offer the user. I like their bold designs and their bulky nature; they have always exceeded my expectations and I expect they will continue to do so.

I couldn't quite hide my surprise when the Vapor Glove 5 landed in my lap. Different from many other Merrell's I have been acquainted with, the Glove 5 is streamlined, slim, and fitting. How could such a streamlined and thin shoe be worthy of a trail run? Would they last and give me the support, comfort, and protection I need?

Ready to find out, let’s go…
Merrell Vapor Glove 5 Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons


Glove like fit

Minimalist shoe


It wouldn’t be suited to a mountain trail or a trail that has evasive ground.

Key Features


The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is an attractive-looking trail shoe, the minimalistic design is lightweight and flexible.

It benefits from mesh and TPU uppers providing a nice airflow and moveable material for the foot, especially necessary on any trail run as you will be moving, dodging, bending, and shifting your weight.

The Vapor Glove 5 is lined with mesh material for added breathability and to encourage air circulation whilst on your runs, it’s a feature that you will become most fond of.

The Glove 5 comes in 3 different colors, all equally as attractive as the other. They have the Merrell name printed across the heel and the outsole displays the Vibram logo. They have a low arch for the ankle and a Merrell barefoot construction for helping keep the foot in a natural position.

They have a stretch collar, perfect for easy pull on and off The only thing I would say is they won’t offer you the support you may be used to with other trail running shoes.

Minimalist Shoe

The Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is a 'barely there' minimalist shoe - its fit is shaped to the foot rather than your foot
fitting in the shoe. With the Glove 5, you will benefit from that lightweight snug feel that is not only breathable for your feet but will feel like they aren't even on. You will be able to move quicker, easier, and with precision.


EVA Midsole

Anyone who understands shoes will know that an EVA midsole is exactly what you are looking for in any running shoe. It is designed to be lightweight; resists compression set and will give a good cushioning for your feet making for a comfortable ride- the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 features EVA.


Born in 1994, the Vibram ECOSTEP is a great choice for the outsole of any trail shoe - it is durable, provides sustainability and performance, and is a flexible outsole allowing the foot to move with every stride.


Lugs are so important, especially on trail runs - they give you the grip you're going to need to stay on your feet. The Vapor Glove 5 has 2mm lugs which will have more contact area with the ground. They will provide the sole with good traction and more protection; however, they aren't deep enough to protect you from rocks/heavy ground.

Comparison to Similar Trail Runners

Altra Escalante Racer – Another minimalistic shoe that provides cushioning, comfort and the breathable upper mesh will be like a second skin. They are the perfect racer but probably not durable enough for a trail run.

Vibram V-Train 2.0 – These are definitely not your average running shoes. They offer good durability, comfort, and stability. They are most certainly breathable and have great ventilation qualities.


In all honesty, I cannot fully vouch for the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 being a trail shoe that I would use for the type of trails I am used to. I would use these running shoes for softer ground runs, beach runs, soft field runs in dry seasons or for treadmill runs.

Merrell is a reputable brand and their running shoes are innovative and brilliant but check the intended purpose of the shoes before you purchase them and be mindful that your perception of a trail run may not be the same as others.