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Merrell Vapor Glove 6 Review | The Lightest Barefoot Shoe on the Market?

CEO Tinh Phung
Are you a fan of barefoot shoes? If so, you're in for a treat with the new Merrell Vapor Glove 6. This latest addition to the Vapor Glove shoe line is making waves with its...

Are you a fan of barefoot shoes? If so, you're in for a treat with the new Merrell Vapor Glove 6. This latest addition to the Vapor Glove shoe line is making waves with its lightweight construction and impressive performance. In this review, we'll take a closer look at what sets the Vapor Glove 6 apart from its predecessors and why it might just be the perfect shoe for you.

The Evolution of the Merrell Vapor Glove

The Merrell Vapor Glove 6 is the sixth iteration of this popular line of barefoot shoes. With each new model, Merrell has made improvements to enhance both the comfort and functionality of the shoe. As a fan of the Vapor Glove 5, I was excited to put the Vapor Glove 6 to the test, and I must say, it did not disappoint.

A Perfect Shoe for Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Merrell Vapor Glove 6 is the ideal choice for those who love to adventure outdoors. Whether you're hiking, trail running, or simply exploring nature, this shoe has you covered. With its slightly more aggressive tread patterning and extended outsole over the toe and heel, you'll enjoy added traction and protection on any terrain. Take a look at this image showcasing the shoe's versatility:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 for hiking

Versatile Performance for Indoor and Outdoor Workouts

Not only does the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 excel in outdoor settings, but it also delivers a solid performance for indoor workouts. The shoe offers a nice level of sole articulation and breathability, ensuring a comfortable experience. With a low stack height of 6mm, you'll feel connected to the ground, allowing for an enhanced workout experience. The shoe's width is suitable for most foot anatomies, providing adequate room for toe splay. Here's an image showcasing the shoe's upper construction:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 Upper

If you're looking for a budget-friendly shoe that performs well both outdoors and in the gym, the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 is an excellent choice.

Not for Formal Settings or Heavy Lifting

While the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 excels in various workout environments, it may not be the best option for daily wear in formal or business casual settings. Its "outdoorsy" look might not fit the bill for those occasions. If you're in search of a barefoot shoe that looks good for everyday wear, I recommend checking out the Icarus Ascent or Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit models.

Furthermore, if you're a dedicated powerlifter or seek a shoe specifically for heavy squats and deadlifts, the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 may not be the best fit. Its lugs could be off-putting for those wanting a shoe that brings them as close to the ground as possible. In such cases, alternatives like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III may suit your needs better.

Pros of the Merrell Vapor Glove 6

Throughout my testing process, I discovered several aspects of the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 that stood out:

  1. Light and Breathable Construction: The shoe's lightweight design and mesh upper offer a minimalist feel, perfect for those who prefer a lighter barefoot shoe. The breathability is also a major plus, keeping your feet cool and comfortable.

  2. Good for Outdoor and Indoor Workouts: This versatile shoe performs admirably in a wide range of settings, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor workouts. Whether you're hitting the gym or exploring the great outdoors, the Vapor Glove 6 has you covered.

  3. Made with Recycled Materials: Merrell's commitment to sustainability is evident in the construction of the Vapor Glove 6. The shoe utilizes various recycled materials, including the mesh lining, upper, and footbed, as well as the laces and webbing.

Here's an image highlighting the flexibility of the Merrell Vapor Glove 6:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 flexibility

Cons of the Merrell Vapor Glove 6

While the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 has its strengths, it also has a few drawbacks to consider:

  1. Not the Most Aesthetic Barefoot Shoe: The Vapor Glove 6 may not be the most visually appealing option, particularly for those looking for a barefoot shoe that can be worn in formal or business casual settings. Its "outdoorsy" appearance and water-shoe vibes might not suit all occasions.

  2. Midfoot Construction May Not Suit All: The shoe's midfoot construction, with its slight arch, may not be comfortable for all foot anatomies. Flat and wider midfeet may find the sole bothersome. It's worth noting that the sole may break in over time, but it's something to consider when choosing the Vapor Glove 6.

Here's an image showcasing the outsole construction of the Merrell Vapor Glove 6:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 Outsole Construction

  1. May Not be Ideal for Heavy Lifting: If you're a serious powerlifter or require a shoe specifically for heavy squats and deadlifts, the Vapor Glove 6 may not be the best choice. Its lugs might not provide the level of flatness and stability you're seeking. Alternative models like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III may be more suitable.

Performance Assessment

To thoroughly assess the performance of the Merrell Vapor Glove 6, I tested it in various contexts, including lifting, versatile training, short runs, hikes, and daily wear. Here's a breakdown of how it performed:

Lifting

The Vapor Glove 6 consistently delivered excellent performance in most strength training scenarios. With its 6mm stack height and good traction, it offers a solid connection to the ground. Whether you're performing kettlebell swings, lunges, or other exercises, the shoe articulates well and provides the necessary grip. Here's an image showcasing the shoe's suitability for lifting:

Using the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 for leg day

Versatile Training

The Vapor Glove 6 truly shines in versatile training settings. Its lightweight construction and breathability make it an excellent choice for high-intensity interval training or athletic-style sessions. The shoe provides adequate grip for multi-directional movements and plyometrics. Here's an image showcasing the shoe's versatility during training:

Testing the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 for HIIT

Hiking, Short Runs, and Daily Wear

For hiking, the Vapor Glove 6 is a reliable companion, particularly during warmer months. Its breathability and traction make it suitable for most hiking terrains. However, it may not be the best choice for rough and rocky terrain due to its minimalist design. It also performs well for short runs and daily wear, providing comfort and durability. Here's an image showcasing the shoe's suitability for outdoor hikes:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 for outdoor hikes

Sizing and Fit

For sizing, it's generally safe to go true to size with the Merrell Vapor Glove 6. The shoe's length is true, and the toe box offers sufficient room for most foot anatomies. It's suitable for narrow and neutral-width feet, as well as those with a bit more arch. However, individuals with noticeably wide feet may want to approach with caution. Here's an image summarizing the sizing and fit assessment:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 Sizing and Fit Assessment

If you have any sizing or fit questions about the Merrell Vapor Glove 6, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Price and Construction Details

The Merrell Vapor Glove 6 is reasonably priced at $90 USD, making it a budget-friendly option for those looking for a lightweight barefoot shoe. Additionally, the shoe is constructed with sustainability in mind, incorporating various recycled materials in its design. Here's an image showcasing the insole of the Vapor Glove 6:

Merrell Vapor Glove 6 Insole

Final Thoughts

The Merrell Vapor Glove 6 continues the trend of excellence in the Vapor Glove line. Its lightweight and breathable construction, paired with its versatile performance, make it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts and fitness enthusiasts alike. With its fair price point, the Vapor Glove 6 offers great value for its performance and sustainability. However, it's essential to consider the specific use cases where this shoe excels to make an informed decision.

If you have any additional questions about the Merrell Vapor Glove 6, please leave a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

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