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July 26, 2023

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 vs. Xero Shoes Prio | Barefoot Shoe Comparison & Review

Inside this article:

Introduction 👟

Want to hit the ground running with the right barefoot shoes? Then let's delve into a comparison between two cutting-edge models under the spotlight: Merrell's Vapor Glove 6 and Xero Shoes Prio. 👟

Whether for a casual jog, a challenging trail run, or simply striding around the city, wearing the right barefoot shoes can literally change the game. Both the Vapor Glove 6 and Prio are praised for their minimalist design, promoting natural foot movement and offering the much-needed barefoot feel.

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 barefoot shoes

The Merrell Vapor Glove 6, aimed at trail runners, boasts a lightweight framework and its construction allows a full range of motion. If you're a fan of Merrell's barefoot shoes, this could be your new favourite. With 100% recycled materials, these shoes are also a solid choice for the environmentally conscious runner.

Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe

On the other hand, the Xero Shoes Prio, versatile in nature, is designed for a variety of activities such as running, trail hiking, or gym workouts. The Prio steals the limelight with a combination of freedom and protection. Looking to explore beyond running? This could be your perfect match! 🏃‍♂️

A man wearing Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe

In this comparison review, we'll be comparing these two shoe models on various aspects like versatility, design, fit, price, and customer reviews. We'll explore their unique features, the activities they're best suited for, and how they fare when it comes to truly offering a 'barefoot' feel. Ready to step into the world of barefoot shoes? Let's dive in!

Remember, to better understand the benefits of barefoot shoes and how they enhance your performance, you might want to check out our post on the Benefits of Barefoot Shoes: A Beginners' Guide. 🏁

Purpose and Versatility 🦶

When it comes to the activities each shoe is designed for, both models aim to enhance your barefoot experience in different scenarios.

Merrell's Vapor Glove 6 is primed for trail running, specifically in light trails. Its Merrell Barefoot 2 construction keeps your foot in a natural position; the intention is to make your transition to barefoot running as seamless as possible. But that's not all. The Vapor Glove 6 can also double as your go-to shoe for casual wear or light hiking—versatility at its best indeed! Just bear in mind that these shoes might not be the best option for sports activities that require substantial sole thickness.

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 barefoot shoes

The Prio from Xero Shoes. It doesn't confine itself to one specific activity. You can wear it for running, hitting the gym, or even trying out a new trail. The FeelTrue® rubber outsole and optional insole allow you to customize the "barefoot feel" of these shoes. It is not only a statement for performance, but the Prio also carves a niche in the world of minimalist footwear for its exceptional protection.

People running with Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe on

In essence, both models- the Vapor Glove 6 and Prio offer an impressive range of versatility. If you're a trail runner who relishes lightweight performance and a truly "barefoot" experience, you might lean towards the Vapor Glove 6. But if you seek a multipurpose shoe that you can wear virtually anywhere while still enjoying a minimalistic shoe design, the Prio could be your perfect match.

For deeper insights into getting started with barefoot running, consider checking our beginner's guide here.

Design 😍

Eyeing the Vapor Glove 6, the 100% recycled breathable mesh upper stands out not only for its sustainable production but for its function – keeping your feet ventilated and comfortable throughout your trail runs. The sole, composed of Vibram® Ecostep recycled outsole, speaks to 30% recycled rubber, providing a durable and grippy surface for wet and dry conditions. Add to that the Merrell Barefoot 2 construction, designed to keep the foot in a natural position, and you’ve got a shoe that certainly delivers on a barefoot experience.

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 barefoot shoes

Let's turn our attention to the Xero Shoes Prio. Alongside its aesthetic appeal, we see design features such as the Huarache sandal-inspired reflective heel and instep straps, helping keep the foot secure while allowing your toes to move freely. The lightweight design (just 8.8 ounces per shoe for a men's size 9) is a huge plus for those seeking a true minimalist shoe. The Prio’s sole also commands attention, made from 5.5mm FeelTrue® rubber, and offers a good balance of protection and ground feedback.

Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe sole

Both the Vapour Glove 6 and the Prio have worked hard to keep their carbon footprint low with the use of recycled materials. Both are vegan-friendly as well, this is perfect for those seeking environmentally conscious footwear options.

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 barefoot shoes

When it comes down to the weight of the shoes, the Vapor Glove 6 comes in slightly lighter, but given the robust design of the Prio, the difference in weight can be justified.

Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe upper side

To sum it up, both shoes have their unique qualities in design. The Vapour Glove 6 emphasizes a lightweight, breathable design with effective grip, while the Prio focuses on security, flexibility and protection.

Sizing and Fit Advice 📐

Getting the right fir with barefoot shoes is critical to enjoy their many benefits. For the Vapour Glove 6, they come with a full forefoot, allowing for natural foot movement. If you're acquainted with typical Merrell sizes, take note as the Vapor Glove 6 tends to run a ½ size larger. You might want to order a ½ size smaller than your usual Merrell size for a similar fitting. This unique sizing can be attributed to the brand's aim of providing a more 'barefoot' experience. 😊

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 barefoot shoes

On the other hand, with the Prio by Xero Shoes, you can order your regular size. The brand upholds a straightforward sizing approach for easy and distinct fit. For first-time barefoot shoe buyers or those transitioning from traditional footwear, you might want to check out our complete guide to barefoot shoe sizing.

Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe

Remember, it’s not uncommon to experience a transition period when moving from standard shoes to minimalist barefoot shoes, including some discomfort and unfamiliarity.

Our Don't Buy Barefoot Shoes Before You Read This guide offers some grat tips on how to ease into wearing minimalist footwear seamlessly.

Price Comparison 💰

When it comes to the cost of barefoot shoes, value for money is a key consideration. Let's take a closer look at the price points of the Vapour Glove 6 and the Prio.

The Vapour Glove 6 is priced at $90. With such a competitive price for a minimalist trail running shoe, it positions itself as a affordable option within the barefoot shoe market. The shoe's lightweight and breathable design, coupled with its use of 30% recycled materials, delivers a strong value proposition at this price point. Do remember though, it's not just about the upfront cost - consider the long-term value and check for Minimal-list sales for potential discounts on Merrell shoes.

Merrell Vapour Glove 6 barefoot shoes

On the others hand, the Prio is slightly cheaper, priced at $89.99. Given its design for versatility across a range of activities - from running to hitting the gym to hiking, the Prio delivers considerable bang for the buck. The shoe also comes with a 5,000-mile sole warranty, ensuring protection for your investment. And of course, don't miss on checking out if the Prio is on sale at our Minimal-list sales page.

Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe

In summary, both shoes provide good value for money given their individual features and intended use. Your final decision should be guided by your specific needs and budget. While the Vapour Glove 6 excels in trail running, the Prio positions itself as an all-rounder. Keep an eye out for discount codes or sales to get the best deal possible! 💸

A man sylining with Xero Shoes Prio Barefoot Shoe on

For more tips on getting your hands on the beast deals on barefoot shoes, check out our post on barefoot shoe buying hacks and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter here.

About Merrell and Xero Shoes

Merrell has been a leading name in outdoor footwear for decades. Their dedication to innovation and functionality is evident in their product lineup. Known for their comfort and durability, Merrell shoes are created to equip you for any adventure that comes your way. While they offer a wide range of footwear, they shine in the barefoot shoe segment by offering an unrivaled balance of minimalist design and impressive performance. Their waste reduction initiatives and usage of recycled materials showcase their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.😉

Xero Shoes, a brand that embraces the concept of natural foot movement with their product offerings. This brand is not just about shoes; it's about a philosophy of embracing the natural function of your feet. Xero Shoes have made quite a name for themselves in the barefoot shoe community with their innovative, lightweight, and flexible designs. Their model, the Prio is a fantastic representation of the brand's ethos. Apart from their high-quality barefoot shoe designs, Xero Shoes expresses their confidence in product durability by offering a remarkable 5,000-mile sole warranty. Interestingly, they design their shoes using vegan-friendly materials and contribute positively towards cruelty-free products in the footwear industry 🌎.

It's impressive to see how each brand brings its unique perspective to the barefoot shoe market. Whether you're a seasoned barefoot shoe wearer or a beginner looking for help transitioning, both Merrell and Xero Shoes bring reliable options to the table.

Returns & Customer Reviews 💬

Before finalizing your choice between the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 and the Xero Shoes Prio, consider both their return policies and community feedback.

Merrell offers free standard shipping on orders over $49, and gladly accepts returns of unworn merchandise within 30 days from the ship date. The return process is quite simple with free exchange shipping if you use the PDF label provided by them.

On the other hand, Xero Shoes provides a 24-month manufacturing guarantee and a 5,000-mile sole warranty. They accommodate returns or exchanges within 45 days for unworn shoes, but international customers may have to deal with import duties.

As fas as community feedback goes, customers seem to enjoy the Vapour Glove 6 for its comfort, though there are concerns over durability, leading to frequent replacements, as gathered from community reviews. The Vapor Glove 6 is also deemed to be narrow and some customers have criticized its fit.

Comparatively, the Xero Shoes Prio, despite being pricier, has been praised for improving foot strength and encouraging athleticism. Some users, however, have reported a need for a break-in period, and have raised concerns with respect to the sole durability and sizing inaccuracies.

Overall, the Vapor Glove 6 and Prio offer different experiences, both with their unique strengths and potential drawbacks. Keeping this in mind, coupled with their respective return policies and user feedback, should guide you towards making an informed decision.

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