Facts

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Terrain
Trail

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Arch support
Neutral

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Use
Competition

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

Price
$100
Weight
Men: 8.3oz
Women: 7.2oz
Show more facts

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

Summary

We spent 9.4 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • The Bare Access Trail features breathable upper and reflective details for increased visibility when running in low light.
  • This shoe provides unmatched flexibility as mentioned in several reviews.
  • The Merrel Bare Access Trail has a roomy toe box, according to some runners.
  • The synthetic overlays keep the midfoot secure and well-connected to the heel area as most runners’ observed.
  • The shoe’s flat platform promotes stability while running on technical terrains, based on a handful of comments.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners felt the Bare Access Trail a bit narrow in the midfoot area.
  • The size runs small.
  • Based on some reviews, the shoe failed to provide a minimalist feel.

Bottom line

The Merrell Bare Access Trail is ideal for runners who are looking for minimal comfort and protection for long trail runs. It offers locked-in fit from the heel to forefoot. It is a great option that will deliver a great running experience while running on technical terrains.


Rankings


Ratings

4.5 / 5 based on 397 ratings

5 star
71%
4 star
16%
3 star
6%
2 star
4%
1 star
3%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

Experts are running shoe geeks, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

87 / 100 based on 11 expert reviews

  • 93 / 100 by Gear Institute • Donald Buraglio • Level 5 expert

    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.

  • 90 / 100 by Runner's World • Runner's World • Level 5 expert

    The almost-zero-drop, close-to-the-earth shoe offers plenty of feel--too much feel for those who tested it on rocky trails, where the underfoot protection was inadequate against sharp impact.

  • 88 / 100 by Caveman Clarke • Caveman Clarke • Level 3 expert

    They are an ideal natural-feeling shoe for longer, dryer and rocky trails, and I look forward to my continuing use of them for both training and racing. 

  • 85 / 100 by Run Bulldog Run • Steve Speirs • Level 3 expert

    The tongue is slightly padded and does not put pressure on the foot like other trail shoes sometimes do. 

  • 83 / 100 by Run Bulldog Run • Steve Speirs • Level 3 expert

    The lace system is simple, yet effective and best of all, the laces stay tied. The tongue is slightly padded and does not put pressure on the foot like other trail shoes sometimes do.

  • 80 / 100 by 220 Triathlon • James Witts • Level 3 expert

    Offering durability as well as good levels of flex.

  • 80 / 100 by Caveman Clarke • Caveman Clarke • Level 3 expert

    The comfort is outstanding, the quality is excellent, and the grip performs well over a variety of terrains, with the only exception being deep mud.

  • 98 / 100 by Adventure Inspired • Adventure Inspired • Level 1 expert

    They're comfortable, look good, perform well, and allow me to concentrate more on the run than what's on my feet.

  • 89 / 100 by From Sofa to Ultra • From Sofa to Ultra • Level 1 expert

    Despite the light weight nature of the shoe, they offer a heavily padded inner and especially around the heel and the tongue. This creates a snug fit but with plenty of room for flexibility.

  • 80 / 100 by Trailpoetry • Judith • Level 1 expert

    The shoe might be a little too flexible for longer, stony alpine trails, but for anything less stony than that, the features are put together well to work on all kinds of trails.

  • 80 / 100 by B Bone 99 • bb99 • Level 1 expert

    The shoes are no gels muted impact so if you are accustomed to Nike and indeed any conventional running shoes, then watch out for longer distances,

Show moreless reviews
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Updates to Merrell Bare Access Trail

  • Merrell’s mastery when it comes to shoes with minimalist features is very evident in the Bare Access Trail. While this is not the ultra-minimalist type, the shoe offers more than enough flexibility, a low to the ground feel, and good ground feedback to moderately mimic barefoot running.
  • Versatility is a huge upside in the shoe as this can be an excellent race day option or it can be a rugged, everyday trainer because of its superior cushioning relative to its weight. This becomes a hybrid option as a racer/trainer, road/trail alternative or a transition shoe for those who are looking to experience more of the minimalist type of running shoe.
  • Without placing a midfoot insert, Merrell made the ride stable in the Bare Access Trail. It begins with a low platform, a zero drop, and moderate tread patterns that allow runners to be very secure, supported, and confident in their gait cycles.

Merrell Bare Access Trail size and fit

Runners who fancy a tight heel and an even snugger midfoot that ultimately leads to a wide toe box will easily fall in love with this shoe. Generally, the fit of the heel to the midfoot is narrow to medium. Luckily, the wide forefoot accommodates a large number of runners and is perfect for a really plush platform every takeoff. Medium is the available width of the Bare Access Trail. Sizing is fairly standard. For those wanting to have more space in the heel and midfoot, going half a size up is a good option. Sizes are from 5 to 15 for the men’s and 4 to 11 for the women’s.


Outsole

The Vibram outsole continues to be the rubber of choice in most of Merrell’s trail shoes for its superb traction and durability. Merrell creates a really versatile shoe as the rubber configuration is not too aggressive. Running from the door to the trail, even technical trail is a handy capability of this shoe.


Midsole

Merrell packed the midsole with several of its premium foams. There is the UniFly foam, which gives decent ground feedback despite its moderate cushioning features. The M-Bound foam is also located here for its responsive cushioning. Adding underfoot support and enduring performance is an 8mm strip of EVA.


Upper

The upper is durability personified with a very durable and breathable mesh that is supported by TPU overlays. It is definitely an upper that can take a serious beating on the trail. Comfort is provided by a decent padding in the heel and tongue while the proprietary M-Select Odor Control fights off bad smell. A traditional lace-up closure using simple but very effective laces enables runners to get their best fit. Additionally, these laces stay tied from the start to finish.