Merrell Vapor Glove 2 – A Product Review
Whether you're just getting into parkour or ready to join the stunt crew for a Hollywood blockbuster, you'll need the right footwear. There are many footwear choices available for parkour enthusiasts but it can be hard to tell what will suit your needs best. In this article, we will look at one excellent option—the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 trail shoe.
In the last few decades, Merrell has become one of the most trusted names for active footwear and for good reason. They make tough, affordable, and high-performance shoes and boots for hiking, cross training, and trail running in a range of prices and styles. For this article, we have broken down the Vapor Glove 2 considering features, price, durability, breathability, design quality, and weight.
We also dug deep on a few competing shoes from some other leading brands in the industry. For each shoe, we gave a few pros and cons to serve as a quick reference and we also gave an overall rating for the Merrell Vapor Glove 2. If you're in search of a light, versatile, and affordable trail shoe to take your parkour training to the next level any of these trail shoes could serve as a strong option.
What Is the Merrell Vapor Glove 2?
The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is a barefoot style running shoe that provides superior ventilation and traction in an ultralight package. It has a woven nylon top and minimal eyelets to reduce any possible hotspots while you're on the trail or at the gym. These shoes have a modern look to match their up-to-date technical specs and a low profile that truly lets your body work as it should.
The star feature of the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is a robust molded Vibram outsole. This tough, premium bottom layer will stand up to many miles of abuse and has a natural curvature to match the shape of the human foot. It's a very flat surface compared to traditional running shoes, which are highly cushioned. The benefit, however, is that they help to align the foot for more centered placement that puts less strain on the knee and hip joints. These Vibram outsoles also have no lugs directly beneath the arch, so you won't get hotspots on the softest part of the foot.
Breathable and Low Odor
Merrell created a breathable upper for these shoes making them an ideal choice for runners and parkour enthusiasts in warm climates. The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 shoes also have the benefit of an M Select Power insole bonded to the inside of the shoe. This is a natural odor fighting insole that will provide ample support and long-lasting comfort. The entire Merrell Vapor Glove 2 can be put in a standard washing machine and cleaned in cold water with mild detergent.
Merrell's Vapor Glove 2 trail running shoes share their DNA with minimal sandals and shoes popularized by environmentally minded folks in the 1960s and 70s. In those days simple, back-to-land designs feature rope and leather that could be far less comfortable and durable. While these shoes use much tougher and more comfortable materials, they include zero animal products and are therefore certified Vegan by Merrell.
Merrell footwear varies widely in price depending on the model, features, materials, aesthetics, size, and gender. The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 trail running shoe currently available through various online retailers.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- Low-profile trail runner featuring lace-up vamp and pull tab at counter
- Breathable mesh and thermoplastic polyurethane upper
- Sticky Vibram outsole for traction
The lightweight synthetic mesh upper will make these highly breathable shoes.
While all barefoot style trail runners will be less durable than traditional style trail runners, the robust Vibram outsole on these shoes will help them hold up better than most.
The brightly colored and swirling designs on these shoes may not appeal to everyone, but the all-vegan materials are a welcome benefit.
These shoes are extremely lightweight at just 5.8oz per shoe.
- High-abrasion rubber perimeter in a rugged Waffle outsole provides multi-surface traction and durability.
- Midfoot fit system locks the foot down.
- Zoom Air unit in the heel for low-profile, responsive cushioning.
Nike's Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 running shoes are similar trail running shoes to the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 but not quite as minimal. These shoes are inspired by the barefoot running shoe movement but have a touch more cushioning and foot protection than a true barefoot shoe like the Merrell Vapor Glove 2. The Wildhorse 4 boasts some premium features like a reinforced foot plate to give added protection on sharp or uneven surfaces plus a light cable wrap system on the forefoot.
The Nike Wildhorse 4 could be a great option for a parkour trainer or trail runner who wants the lightweight feel of a barefoot shoe but needs more cushioning underfoot. They will also provide slightly improved durability since they are made to absorb more shock. If you've never tried barefoot-style runners before these could be a perfect option to help you work on a mid-foot running technique. They could also be a great option if you're currently using traditional running shoes and just want to cut a bit of weight off your feet when you go off-road.
With a blend of various synthetic upper materials, these shoes will be very breathable.
Though very lightweight, these shoes will provide solid durability.
These shoes have a classic and sporty design available in a range of colors.
At just 10.8oz for a full pair, these are amongst the lightest shoes available on the market.
Saucony's Peregrine 8 running shoe represents a bigger and tougher offering for those looking to hit the streets or the trails with abandon. While these shoes share a neutral foot-strike with the Nike and Merrell options, they are considerably more cushioned and offer a stout two-part sole. The EVERRUN top sole provides premium cushion and energy transfer between the foot and shoe while the PWTRAC outsole gives high-end stability and foot protection.
Saucony finishes this shoe off with their PWRFOAM mid-sole to give a slight lift and added protection where you'll need it most. This is a great option for those who need more cushion than a barefoot shoe can provide but still want to get the benefits of a neutral strike shoe. With a high-grade and multi-level sole, they will also keep your joints happy during long runs and training sessions.
If you're in search of a mid-strike trail running shoe that will help you go easy on your knees and hips these could be worth a close look. You'll get excellent grip and durability without adding too much unnecessary weight.
With added stability and cushion these shoes will sacrifice a bit of breathability.
These shoes are ultra-tough and will stand up to lots of abuse.
Though the Peregrine 8 is built for toughness and comfort they look like many running shoes before them.
Despite their durable sole, these shoes are very light at just 5.0oz per shoe.
- TRAIL RUNNING SNEAKER: Featuring an aggressive grip, precise foothold, & lightweight protection, the Salomon Speedcross...
- ALL THE WILD PLACES: With a monster grip for soft trail conditions, the lightweight, highly cushioned Speedcross 4 is...
- GO THE DISTANCE: Whether you love daily road running in your neighborhood, an escape to a local trail, or something more...
Salomon's Speedcross 4 trail runner marks the toughest and most aggressive competitor to the Merrell Vapor Glove 2. The standout feature of these shoes is Salomon's proprietary Speedcross lug pattern grip. This is a tread that looks as much like a truck tire as a sneaker sole and it's truly made for off-road use only. The Speedcross also boasts a high level of customization with their Sensifit with Quicklace system. This is a cable lace that pulls tightly and uniformly across the entire foot for a quick and secure fit.
At 10.5 ounces for the pair, they are slightly heavier than either the Nike or Saucony options but fall right in line with the Merrell Vapor Glove 2. A key difference about this trail runner, however, is that it is balanced for a heel-strike in the gait as opposed to a neutral strike. This will make these shoes feel far more like a traditional running shoe than any of the others and it will feel vastly different from the barefoot-inspired Merrell Vapor Glove 2.
These shoes would be an excellent option for trail runners and parkour practitioners who plan to stay completely on soft ground and need the utmost durability. They will provide maximum grip and durability, but won't give the seamless feel of a barefoot trail running shoe like the Merrell Vapor Glove 2.
Like the Saucony shoes, these will breathe somewhat but not as well as other options.
Like most Salomon products, the Speedcross 4's are built like a tank.
These shoes come in a wide range of colors and have many innovative and unique design features.
While heavier than some options, these are still quite light for trail running shoes.
One of the great draws about training for parkour is that there is not much specialized equipment needed to explore the sport. If you've got the physical aptitude, some comfortable clothes, a few good obstacles, and a lot of creativity you can be off and running within hours. The one key piece of equipment that you will need, however, is a great pair of shoes.
Whether you choose running shoes, skate shoes, cross trainers, or something else entirely, your feet will need a lot of support to endure parkour. The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 could be an ideal choice for parkour because it will provide a lot of comfort and stability while also giving a very intimate connection to the ground. A barefoot-style trail running shoe is in many ways the perfect choice for parkour as they are light and fast but without any unwanted bulk you might find on other shoes.
The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is an innovative and well-designed shoe that will stand up to a surprising amount of abuse. If these shoes have anything less than a premium Vibram outsole we might question its durability. With such robust traction, however, we think this shoe will keep you cruising up walls and over handrails with just a bit of routine upkeep.
What sets these shoes apart from other barefoot-style trail runners for parkour is that they are completely washable and made from entirely vegan materials. With so many high-grade synthetics and recycled textiles on the market today it is becoming easier and easier to choose footwear that not only gives you the performance you demand but also some extra peace of mind. The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 completely fits that bill and we think these shoes are an excellent choice for anyone curious about the sport of parkour or a seasoned veteran looking to take their game up to a new level.