Comment from: Joshua [Visitor]  
Joshua

Dude! I was looking for another review of this shoe! Thanks! So, I currently run in Saucony Hattori and Bedroc Sandals; each up to 9 miles or so. Looking for a new shoe for 15+ mile runs, and was thinking about the Bare Access. Or the road glove. Or the new Altra Samson. Suggestion? Love your website!!!

02/27/12 @ 09:11
Comment from: Jonathan Auyer [Visitor]
Jonathan Auyer

I am an avid wearer of Vibrams, and I utilize the Merrell Trail Gloves for rockier, technical terrrain. What I have wanted is a shoe that will give me a bit more cushioning for longer distance running (at least on pavement). I am wearing the NB Minimus, but the heel-toe differential leads to some heel striking when my form goes to pot at the end of runs. If the Bare Access has The same snug feeling as the Trail Glove then perhaps is would be a good cushiony shoe for longer runs for those trying to run in barefoot-type or minimal shoes but whose feet are not quite strong enough to endure longer distances.

So how would the Bare Access stack up against the Minimus in these regards? Any thoughts?

02/27/12 @ 09:37
Comment from: admin [Member]  

@Jonathan,

I think this is actually where the Bare Access would shine -- no heel-to-toe differential would be a big benefit for you.

02/27/12 @ 09:58
Comment from: A C C [Visitor]
A C C

When a shoe has more than 11mm of stack height, more than 9oz weight, and 4mm of heel-toe drop it is no longer minimal or transitional to me.

7mm is probably the same thickness as a pair of old flip-flops you buy from a discount store and if add on a velcro heel strap just so it doesn't slide off you pretty much have huaraches or a fake Vivobarefoot Achilles.

There's a ton of things that are released I'd consider transitional but they aren't zero drop. There's a few that are zero drop though. The Saucony Hattori, for example, is 12mm stack height, zero drop, and the sole is mostly foam. I'd even consider the Vivobarefoot Neo/Evo, since both have a 9mm stack height with the insole in place and a weight of ~8oz.
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@ Jonathan

If you are just looking for zero drop with moderate stack height, you'd best wait and try the Minimus Zero before jumping the gun with the Bare Access. People tend to take issue with the normal width Merrells and I took mine to a cobbler to get them widened for when I wear Injinjis in them (New Balance has more wide widths, but their normal widths seem to have the same pinky toe problem).

The Trail zero probably has more stack height (vs Bare Access' 10-11mm), but is supposed to be slightly lighter (~4.4oz). (The Minimus Road Zero will be slightly heavier at ~6.4oz.)

02/27/12 @ 19:59
Comment from: Andrew [Visitor]  
Andrew

Thanks for the review. I've just ordered a pair of these and I'm eager to try them out.

I am sold on the bareform concept. I've been running in trail gloves, my first pair of bareform shoes, since October. Running in these shoes has conferred on me the usual benefits that everyone talks about (better gait, stronger feet, etc.), but so far one thing I've been disappointed about is that I really can't run as fast in these as I could in my old cushioned shod shoes.

For whatever reason (maybe some combination of imperfect technique, running solely on asphalt and lack of the necessary level of foot conditioning), I find that if I try to run at the 15:50 5k pace in my trail gloves that I could run in my old shod shoes, my feet wind up feeling bruised either during my run, or the next day. Sometimes the bruising is bad enough that I have to take the next day off, and my weekly mileage suffers. Just running at that pace over asphalt can be sufficient to cause bruising, but in addition to that, when I'm running full tilt I'm much more likely to step on things like sharp rocks or fallen branches, and when that happens while I'm wearing trail gloves, instant pain and bruising frequently results. Just out of a desire to avoid that pain, I run slower in trail gloves. Because of that, my cardiovascular fitness level has declined, even if I have stronger lower legs and feet.

I love my trail gloves and I fully intend to wear them on many or even most of my runs. As I said, some of my problems might be the result of some aspect of my running form being slightly off, and maybe over time improvements in my technique will resolve my foot bruising issues. Maybe I'll have to run routes over slightly softer ground. I don't know. But my feeling is that with cushioned zero drop shoes like this, I'll have the option of running as hard as I can, keeping my fitness level up, without having to worry about risking debilitating foot bruising or being on a pair of high-heels that will encourage me to unlearn the improved form my trail gloves have helped me acquire.

As I said, I have yet to try these shoes, but if they solve the particular issues I've been having, I think there is definitely going to be a place in the market for these.

02/27/12 @ 21:59
Comment from: Rich [Visitor]
Rich

I really like the merrell barefoot line (and all merrells, actually. I have traditional hiking shoes and boots from them, and they are all awesome). To me, this has the same flaws as the just-reviewed Altra Instinct - namely, that I do not believe in transition shoes (having tried them extensively). But I have no doubt they are comfortable and well made, so probably a good option for those who want a little more cushioning for longer/harder runs.

02/27/12 @ 22:41
Comment from: Vitor [Visitor]
Vitor

Zero drop is what matters to me, it's what allows the feet to have proper form. Arch support and heel elevation are what kills a shoe to me, cushion not so much.

02/27/12 @ 22:44
Comment from: Angi [Visitor]
Angi

I just finished reading your article about the non-running couple who now lives in their VFFs. Like them, I am not a runner. As a matter of fact, I had three knee surgeries back in my early 20s (I'm 32 now). I haven't run since I was a very little girl. I got into barefoot style shoes because I was hoping that stronger feet would mean stronger knees and better posture and therefor less knee pain. On a side note, I live in a downtown area and do not own a car. I walk an average of 8 to 10 miles a week.

About a year ago I got my first VFFs. I got the Bakila LS. I found them to be great for outdoors in the summer but as soon as it dropped below 65 degrees my feet got too cold. I also had issues indoors in air conditioning (in the grocery store for example). Maybe my feet just run cold but either way I found it uncomfortable.

So next I bought a pair of New Balance Trails. I got the ones that are waterproof/water resistant. These proved to be great in the fall when it was rainy and damp. When combined with my Smartwools, my feet were warm and dry. However, I found the soles to be much too hard; particularly in the forefoot. I regularly ended up with bruising under the "knuckle" of my big toe, so I would end up wearing non barefoot shoes for a few days until the bruising healed.

Then comes my latest acquisition into my shoe line-up. (Here's where the story finally ties into your above post) I bought a pair of Altra Intuitions. I have had them a little over a week and they are so comfortable that I sometimes forget to take them off when I get home. That has never happened before. I have always wanted to rip my shoes off the minute I got in the door. Around the house I never wear anything more than socks. I have also been wearing them at the gym where I find that little bit of extra cushion over my VFFs to be appreciated.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that although shoes like the Altra Inuition or the Merrell Bare Access may not be good for transitioning to barefoot running they are crucial for those of us non-runners looking for footwear with zero drop, flexible soles, and wide toe boxes for everyday casual wear or exercise/fitness.

03/09/12 @ 10:53
Comment from: Shanonn [Visitor]
Shanonn

MFor the past 2 years I've been running exclusively in Vibrams. Until today. Today I did my longest run' to date-20 miles, in Merrell Bare Access. It was the first time I put them on. I've run up to 15 in Vibes, which have completely saved & resolved my knee issues. Problem was I'd get some pretty nasty pain in my foot pads after about 10 miles on pavement. I'm training for my first marathon & just felt like I needed a little something more between my feet & the road.
Enter the Bare Access. I actually didn't plan on running so far in them, but was doing a 5k first, was running late, & couldn't find my Vibes. So, in spite of knowing I shouldn't a long run in brand new shoes I'd never worn before, I.went for it.

These shoes are fantastic. Just enough rubber to the road to protect while allowing good ground feel. Plenty of room for splay in the toe box, even for a Vibram addict. I suggest going a 1/2 size up. No foot pad pain, no hotspots. I'm hooked.

03/17/12 @ 20:07
Comment from: Stacy [Visitor]
Stacy

I just bought a pair of these today, and so far I think I'll be happy with them.

I've been transitioning to minimalist/barefoot running for the past month or so by running barefoot on concrete sidewalks, building up from shorter distances.

Although I love running barefoot, I needed a shoe that I could wear on the gym treadmill. Any type of sandal, slip on or water shoe is forbidden.

My search was exhaustive but limited to shoes that I could try on in person. I tried VFF's but even with socks the back bit into the back of my heel so that I had a blister after less than a mile. This is a common blister spot for me with all shoes and if shoes irritate that spot there is NO breaking them in.

I wanted to love the Merrell Pace Glove, which are the very lightest ones. Unfortunately, they are VERY narrow and my feet are short and wide. Merrell's website does offer them in a wide size, but the Pace Glove also bit into the same spot in the back of my foot, due to the odd ridging in the back of the shoe.

The Bare Access fit more like a regular tennis shoe, and most importantly, they are different in the back and don't irritate that spot on the back of my heel. So while I would prefer less cushion and I'm not a fan of the arch "support" I trust that the zero drop will allow me to run at the gym without wrecking my form. I'll trade the above complaints for a shoe that doesn't make me want to cry after less than a mile because the back of my heel is so badly blistered.

05/13/12 @ 23:23
Comment from: joshua [Visitor]
joshua

How thick are the rubber pods on the bottom? Im thinking about using them for parkour. Which I think they would shine at.

07/15/12 @ 11:09
Comment from: Katie S [Visitor]
Katie S

Hi thanks for the great review. I've tried these shoes and they try on at the store great. I'm not a runner but a walker. I totally ascribe to the mInimalist doctrine. I love my feet!! But...I don't want to speed walk barefooted. I want a little shoe. Do you think these would be good shoes for speed walking? I was interested in a mInimalist shoe I can't find any that fit my wide foot. The Bare Acess feels awesome.
Thanks again

07/20/12 @ 22:22
Comment from: Jesse W. [Visitor]
Jesse W.

In the Army, you gotta have socks and shoes, no 5 fingers allowed. No exception. That's okay, since we don't always have the best running surfaces when we deploy. Afghanistan consistently has triple digit heat, and wickedly cold winds in the winter. Rules aside, foot protection of some kind is important for anybody out here(even the dude from Dual Survival. Asphalt is HOT). Often, a lot of us run with weight, such as backpacks and/or body armor, which will usually add close to 50lbs. Bare accesses are the shoes I have been wearing, and I swear by them. No thorns, bits of metal, no cuts from hidden garbage buried in the moon dust. For some of us, the fact that they aren't 5 fingers (or birthdays, for that matter) is actually their most important feature. Maybe not great for purists, but when you have to have some kind of shoe, and need something that is good everywhere, that 10mm of foam is something special.

08/02/12 @ 07:20
Comment from: Richie [Visitor]
Richie

I been wearing a pair of True Gloves almost daily to work for the last 6 months and absolutely love them. These were my first barefoot shoes. I havent been an avid runner over the last few years, but am about to get back into it. Only 5k-10k road running. So, I am looking at going with a barefoot running shoe. I have tried on both the Bare Access and the Trail Glove. Both feel good to my foot, each with a different feel. The Trail Glove fits like my True Gloves, and the Bare Access feels more like a "normal" running shoe. Any suggestions between these two for my scenario or should i look into the Road Gloves? I think i tried on some RGs awhile back and didnt care for them for some reason (cant remember why).

09/04/12 @ 15:36
Comment from: Ivan [Visitor]
Ivan

Nice review. I run barefoot (really barefoot) but liked the Merrell Trailglove for wet/cold weather runs. The soles of my feet just get torn up when the they get wet. Now I am getting into longer runs (10+ miles) and I do find that my soles just don't hold up when my weekly mileage goes up above 30. I also find that wearing the Trailgloves for the long runs actually causes me discomfort because my form just falls apart. Enter the Bare Access. I can keep my forefoot/midfoot strike. My feet feel good, and I can keep up my higher weekly mileage. Transition shoe? Maybe. But for me they may be a transition away from barefoot.

10/06/12 @ 13:44
Comment from: Seth [Visitor]
Seth

Thanks for an honest review and for understanding that not everyone can go barefoot. I live in an industrial neighborhood in Chicago, and it would be downright dangerous to run with no shoes at all. I've found the bare access shoes to be a good balance of comfort, protection from the many shards of glass, rocks/gravel, nails/screws, and other random degree on the streets and sidewalks. I know I have to be more careful with my form, but the improvement over regular running shoes is good enough for me. These are a great pair of shoes for a city runner in my opinion.

05/15/13 @ 15:11
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
Richard

Ok, so I bought these at half price on line, and based on your and Jason's reviews. I ran 3 times with them thus far, all 5km max. My take:

Fit was nice, light and roomy. My first run was without socks and that run was short lived as I started a blister in my right arch and left achilles just half way in. Nothing new since running sock-less seems an ongoing challenge for me regardless the brand and model. They felt good at first. They kind of are my first zero drop shoes (if you don't count my Luna sandals which I tested twice). I have been running with NB MO20s for about a year. The Bare Access have a slight more bounce to them and a better hug at the heel and arch.

My second run was with socks. It lasted much longer this time. I still felt discomfort at the left achilles. Not much to say about this one.

My third run was dead just 10 minutes in for several reasons. I was feeling a light discomforting pain in my right knee. Related? Not sure. But for the shoes, I again noticed some digging into my achilles even though I was wearing ankle socks again. And oddly enough, this time I felt my right second toe dig into the from box as I often felt in my NB MR10s from a while back. Suffice to say that this shoe or brand might just not be right for my feet.

On the matter of durability, as mentioned in the articles, the blue foam will not hold up very long, especially if you're a heavy or huge km runner.

I might give them one last try but, should they fail me again, I will definitely look into the Altra brand.

I hope this can serve you well...Thanks

Rich
Québec, Canada

07/02/13 @ 21:22