My injury frustration started with trying to find some replacement shoes for my zem’s which are going to get holey in the not too distance future. This has been extremely stressful for me, but seeing as running hasn’t been an option for me lately, I figured it was time to start looking again.
I always find it frustrating doing this as I don’t want to waste money on shoes that simply won’t work for my feet. I did lots of research, on top of the research I had already done before, and finally settled on something I wanted to try: the Merrell Vapor Glove 2. They are pretty expensive at close to £70 but I decided that it was worth a shot and I can always send them back. I was quietly confident in this choice of footwear after reading this review:
http://www.barefootjosh.com/?p=3429 (This blog doesn’t seem to exist anymore).
Barefoot Josh did a good job at selling this shoe to me. He seemed to desire all the same qualities in a shoe that I did. There are many blogs out there that are “barefoot” orientated yet the bloggers favour a cushioned shoe or something I wouldn’t dream of wearing as it takes away too much ground feel for me. However this blog post was the first I had read that was spot on with my requirements for a shoe. So I was confident I may just have some luck if I went for this shoe.
Everything Barefoot Josh says is spot on. This shoe is absolutely what I was looking for to replace my Zem’s but it’s actually better! Considering I only paid £7 for my Zems, I would hope so too. The Zem’s would rub the top of my big toes and give me unsightly calluses (no pain or issue with this just ugly) but I can’t see that happening with these as they don’t touch the top of my toes.
They fit perfectly, with some room in the top (I wear a size 6 (EU39) but snug and “glove-like”. I don’t have wide feet and so this fit works perfectly for me. I like the lacing system too. Around the ankle there is an extra hole just incase the ankle is too loose – so there is the option to make them slightly snugger if I wanted (I may have to when I actually get to run in them). This has been the downfall of other shoes I have loved, like Solerunners shoes, where the ankle has just been too loose for me and sadly I haven’t been able to keep them.
The sole is lovely and thin – obviously not as thin as I am used to in the Zems where the sole has worn down considerably – but it is still really thin and it will eventually get to that point in the future anyway. The shoes do not have any insoles either which I like. The soles also have grip too so these can double up quite nicely for trail shoes. I have never really needed grip for trails unless it’s a cross country mudfest, but this may be something others would consider a plus.
I don’t particularly like that they are laced shoes but that’s because I struggle with tying shoes properly as I very rarely wear laced shoes. However, laces are almost essential for offroad running. Last time I wore my Zems offroad they got pulled off by the mud!
- Thin sole
- Good ground feel
- No insoles
- Glove-like fit
- Grip for offroad running
- Laces – this isn’t really a con, it is more a preference.
- Colours – there were 2 choices of colour green/purple or this bluey/peachy set. I don’t like “feminine” coloured shoes so opted for the green/purple which I don’t mind. I love blue though just not with peachiness. I think I would have liked to have seen a black pair for women.
So far I have done lots of walking in them and have taking them to the gym with me for classes. I love them. I know they are going to feel fantastic to run in. There is no inclination that these are going to rub my heel either and they haven’t done so so far. I actually prefer these over my everyday shoes which are a pair of Vivobarefoot’s I got from ebay. I am extremely excited to get back to running now!
So if you like thin minimal shoes with no cushioning, these may just be as awesome for you as they are for me and Barefoot Josh.