I have a pair of Merrel Vapour Glove 4, which I wore in the Loch Ness Marathon in October’19.
This is what Merrel say:
This minimal trainer provides little between you and the ground for maximum freedom and connection underfoot.
• Traditional lace closure
• Hyperlock™ TPU film heel counter for security
• M Select™ FRESH antimicrobial agents reduces shoe odor
• Breathable mesh lining
• Integrated insole
• Merrell Barefoot 2 construction for enhanced proprioception and stability during variable movement
• Vibram® TC5+
• Stack Height (heel/toe): 6.5/6.5mm; insole: 0mm; insole: 3mm; midsole: 0/0mm; sole: 1.5mm web, 2mm lug
• Weight: 4oz / 122g (1/2 pair)
The Wife has had a pair of the Vapour Glove 3 for a while, and she raves about them. I have been barefoot running for 3 years now, however, I had a partnership with SoftStar Shoes for the majority of this time. So I always ran and walked in those for the most part. However that partnership came to a natural conclusion, and I needed some new running shoes for my marathon. I was happy to get the 3 but the 4 were almost the same price, so I went with the newer model.
It is a very nice shoe, I think it looks great. Some barefoot shoes look a bit naf and silly, but these just look like normal running shoes really. So they would probably be something a barefoot newbie would think looked good.
They are very comfy and my foot stays nice and cool in them, they are narrower than a lot of barefoot shoes, but there is still ample room. I like to loosely tie my laces, the lace closure allows this whilst also being stable and not feeling like they will fall off. I do wear socks with them, and I have suffered no blistering or discomfort. These are excellent if you mainly road or track run. I have found them to be sub-optimal on gravely trails where you slip a bit and the stones hurt. I haven’t tried them on grassier trails or fells, as I do not think they would be suitable. However, they do a Trail Glove for such things, which I do not have.
All in all, this is a well made barefoot shoe, at a very reasonable price, made by a recognisable brand. The sole is hard wearing, and the upper is made with quality materials. They have lasted 6 months so far during the high mileage part of a marathon training plan, and still, look brand new. You could do a lot worse than starting a barefoot adventure in these.