The Merrell Bare Access Trail worked best for minimalist runners looking for a small amount of comfort and protection for long trail days, or trail runners seeking a low and lightweight race shoe for distances up to 50K. The Merrell Bare Access Trail’s locked-in fit from the heel to forefoot, and classic laces allowed me to customize tension to my preference.
The Merrell Bare Access Trail is an evolution of Merrell’s Barefoot series that stays true to its minimalist pedigree while providing enough cushioning and protection to run high mileage on demanding terrain.
Security (of fit) The Merrell Bare Access Trail’s locked-in fit from the heel to forefoot, and classic laces allowed me to customize tension to my preference. Synthetic overlays kept my midfoot secure and connected to the heel area. Merrell’s last is narrow in the midfoot area, medium in the heel, and roomy in the toe box.
Stability (on impact) A Vibram rubber outsole with moderate tread held firm on all kinds of surfaces though it did slip on the loosest scree. The grip remained secure in wet conditions as well. The low and flat platform further improved stability on technical terrain.
Smoothness (flexibility) The 8mm of Merrell’s MBound midsole material provided a responsive ride while maintaining a strong ground feel. I found flexibility was outstanding throughout the shoe, allowing my foot to move completely naturally.
Comfort The Merrell Bare Access Trail’s upper breathed and dried effectively, and the roomy toe box prevented any chafing due to constriction during multi-hour runs. Light padding around the ankle collar improves fit and comfort as well.
Speed and agility The The Merrell Bare Access Trail provided solid energy return for a minimal volume of EVA. Lightweight construction plus a strong grip and ground stability equals a shoe that loves going fast.