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Zero drop, but not zero cushioning.

If you're ready to explore the world of barefoot-style running but want to take a gradual approach, your next stop is the Merrell Men's Bare Access Running Shoe. This shoe features a zero heel drop (your heel and toe are the same distance from the ground) to enable you to start working on your barefoot form, while the 8mm of cushioning in the outsole, or 'connection with cushion' as Merrell calls it, lets you develop a feel for the road and build up leg strength without dropping the cushioned feel of your old running shoes cold-turkey.
  • Integrated footbed features 2mm of EVA for light cushioning
  • Natural flex outsole with 2.5mm lug depth allows for dynamic foot movement
  • Bare Access sole with Vibram rubber pods in the strike zone offers stability and protection
  • Breathable mesh lining is treated with Aegis antimicrobial solution for odor control
  • Reflective details increase your visibility in low light

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Review Summary
8 4
4 3
1 2
0 1

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Merrell Bare Access Running Shoe - Men's

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Here's what others have to say...

5 5

Great stuff

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

1. Super light weight - picking them up to put them on was a surprise
2. Very comfortable - these are perfect for road or gym. I don't know what idiot would wear these up kings peak and back....(not enough padding for miles of sharp rocks).
3. Durable - these held up great. After almost 18months the rubber started to separate from the foam sole. That was it too. I put these through the wringer.
4. Barefoot - these were my first. I have always had monster calves so I figured I'd only run a mile and a half the first time. I was sore for over a week, although it wasn't completely painful. It took about 5 uses before I got use to these. The toe box at first seemed odd, but that is one thing I ended up liking the most. As long as you don't turn these into slip ons they'll fit just fine (lace Em up tight like)
5. Satisfied

3 5

Not durable

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

I wore these for a few months to the gym at maybe 2 times/week. Id did not run in these and the vibram peeled off. Disappointing, but the shoe was comfortable and I enjoy how light they are. Sending back and will work out bare foot.

4 5

Well made minimalist shoes

I've put about 25 miles on them out of the box without performance issues. The muscles in my legs felt like I'd been snowboarding, but that's a good thing to me, and I bet the transition was not as noticeable as five-toed shoes. My only complaints are that the toe box is somewhat roomy, so I've worn thicker socks to compensate, and that the soles, even though Vibram, are somewhat slick. All in all, I'll still give them 4.5 stars for what they are.

Responded on

I consider the roomy toe-box a plus. Let your toes free - as long as the shoe holds the rest of your foot well, your toes should be free to splay. Restricted toes lead to poor mid-foot running form.

4 5

Great Shoes... but durable?

  • Gender: Male

I have had two pairs of Bare Access and they are great running shoes. It is very light due to the foam material sole, and flexible. I run maybe 10 miles a week primarily on road surfaces, and dry or slick these shoes have had a good grip (Trail Gloves, not so much). The issue is durability. I wore out the sole on the first pair of Bare Access after about 4-5 months. I sent them back to Merrell and they gave me a new pair of the Bare Access 2. I still switch around and rotate between the two.

Responded on

I just picked up a pair as well, and though I love them, I am concerned over the lack of vibram cover for durability and grip. I hope they last.

5 5

Great shoe!

I trained about 150 miles and ran a marathon in these shoes and loved them. I had a pair of the Merrill Road Glove shoes before these which were also very comfortable but very minimal padding and wore out in about 400 miles. The Bare Access are a great zero drop shoe but with enough padding and sole to do distance, a great step up from the glove series.

5 5

Great shoe!

I trained about 150 miles and ran a marathon in these shoes and loved them. I had a pair of the Merrill Road Glove shoes before these which were also very comfortable but very minimal padding and wore out in about 400 miles. The Bare Access are a great zero drop shoe but with enough padding and sole to do distance, a great step up from the glove series.

5 5

Merrell Bare

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

In a word... AWESOME! absolutely love these shoes. I had the five fingers for quite a while and wasnt that impressed. prefer these hands down tho them. wouldnt suggest them for s long trail use though

5 5

Merrell Bare Access shoes are great

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I ran for a year in Vibrams, but they were uncomfortable after about 3 miles. Then I ran for several months in huaraches - but with just a 4mm piece of rubber between my foot and the pavement, they were uncomfortable after about 7 miles. The Merrell Bare Access have solved that problem. Extremely light, well cushioned with zero drop, and well ventilated for when I run through water. Had a slight problem with arch blisters, but that went away quickly as my feet adjusted to the shoes (I don't wear socks). Very happy with this choice. I actually chose to buy from BackCountry because of the "any time any reason" return policy. The local stores sell these shoes but won't take them back if you have worn them outside (so no way to try them out). So I bought from BackCountry, and I'm not returning them anyway!

1 5

Sticking with the Gloves

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I purchased these with the hope of wearing them for a marathon. I have 300 miles on my Trail Gloves (including a couple 16milers) and 50 on my Road Gloves. Love both of those shoes, but was hoping these would provide the same feel with a little more cushioning. I wore them for 6 miles over 3 runs and lateral side of my arch was in agony. The fit was similar, but a little looser throughout. Something is just off about the sole, which feels harder than the Road Glove. This is only the 2nd pair of shoes I have ever had to return in 15 years.

5 5

Merrell Bare Access Review

This is the first minimalist shoe I've tried and I've taken it out a few times. I feel like it is great for pavement but the sole has two patches of vibram rubber and is otherwise very soft foam. I punched a stick through it while running on a packed down trail - so these are not for trail runners. However, I was able to run pretty well in them right off the bat without any transition time. Time will tell if they hold up and if they do good things for my form and occasional aches and pains. I'm a size 11 and these fit really roomy in the toes but nice around the heel. I could wear a 10.5 for a snug fit, but the 11 is fine.

4 5

These shoes have sole

I've become very fond of my Merrell foot gloves, but let's face it, for most of us that smidgen of a cushion can lead to some sore heels and uncomfortable stone bruises if you're using them on streets or clambering over rocky trails. This shoe is certainly no glove -- it fits like an extremely light, comfortable, pliable runner -- but that's OK with me since I was looking for a little more sole when hiking and walking on pavement. Have only run in these when chased, but they seem to provide plenty of support with good ground feel. The toe box is a little wider, which makes sense since these are a more structured shoe, and that makes them extremely comfortable. They seem a tad larger all around and take a light sock quite happily. I have also worn another pair as a cross-trainer and like their performance on wood, too. My only complaint: because these are a more structured shoe, I am more aware of my toes against the end.

4 5

Barefoot runner for newbies

Exactly as advertised: no foot drop caused by cushioning, with some toe and sole protection. Encourages you to strike less with the heel and more with the forefoot. Fits true to size - I am a 12 and the US size 12 fits perfectly. Merrell's usual finish quality and appearance. Only downside is the grip, which is a little slippery (specially in damp conditions).

5 5


I've been listening to the bare foot debate for some time now and decided to see what the hype was about. Now I know why people love it. these shoes help keep your foot in the correct anatomical shape while forcing all the little muscles to work. In the last couple weeks I've noticed an amazing increase in my balance not just while wearing these but in general as well. i wouldn't jump straight to running in them, but work up to it and you'll never look back.

5 5

Great Road Shoe

This shoe is awesome. It lets you feel the road but with the added protection of a little bit of padding. If you have a good running form already then these shoes will reinforce that, if you are a heal striker then these will be a bit rough at first but your form will improve and you will love it.