Facts

Discontinued
Terrain

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 / cushion / high arch

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

Motion control / severe overpronation / 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.

Price
$100
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 6.4 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • Most runners applauded the lightweight construction of the Bare Access Ultra.
  • Some runners noticed that the outsole traction is sturdy enough for off-road running.
  • High performance rubber on the soles provides impressive stability, durability and slip-resistance based on several reviews.
  • Majority of the runners were impressed with the flexibility feature of the Merrell Bare Access Ultra which is very outstanding.
  • This shoe has a very roomy toe box.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners felt that this shoe is not durable enough as expected.
  • Some users are disappointed with the narrow midfoot fit of the Bare Access Ultra.
  • The size runs small.

Bottom line

The Merrell Bare Access Ultra is a minimalist shoe that offers impressive barefoot mechanics. It is very lightweight and flexible. It provides full foot contact to the ground and is ideal for long-distance runs on the road.


Rankings


Ratings

4.4 / 5 based on 151 ratings

5 star
67%
4 star
17%
3 star
6%
2 star
6%
1 star
4%

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.

86 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 87 / 100 by Joe Hewitt • Joe Hewitt • Level 1 expert

    I haven’t had any trouble with blisters from them or anything like that and they actually have a decent amount of cushioning. I haven't noticed any bruising on my feet… I've been pretty happy with them.

  • 80 / 100 by William Semo • William Semo • Level 1 expert

    Nice shoes. Really nice cushioning, really nice grippiness to 'em.

  • 92 / 100 by Gear Institute • Donald Buraglio • Level 5 expert

    The Merrell Bare Access Ultra presents a well-constructed combination of barefoot mechanics and durable, high-performance comfort. The Ultra’s protective features make this one of the most attractive shoes of the fall for natural runners.

  • 86 / 100 by The Shoes for Me • The Shoes for Me • Level 2 expert

    Again though, not a very aggressive trail shoe, so if you want to rip it down a packed snowy mountain, this might not be the shoe for you.

  • 93 / 100 by Mindful Running • Mindful Running • Level 1 expert

    They feel so secure, light and springy, I’ll looking forward to the trail runs when I need to wear a shoe

  • 88 / 100 by Denver Fitness Journal • Kyle Norman • Level 1 expert

    All of this adds up to a shoe that feels light and fast.

  • 74 / 100 by The Hibbits • The Hibbits • Level 1 expert

    Supposedly this is a hybrid road/trail shoe, but in my opinion, its a pure road shoe. I expected this one to be simply a replacement of the Bare Access 3.

  • 70 / 100 by Runner's World • Running TImes • Level 1 expert

    They found the well-balanced, flexible Bare Access Ultra breathed effectively and "felt like a second skin.

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These are visual presentations, not reviews


Updates to Merrell Bare Access Ultra

  • The Bare Access lineup just got better and deeper with the introduction of the Ultra. Considered as the road version of the Bare Access Trail, this low profile shoe is very light, has superb flexibility, and zero heel drop geometry that minimalist runners will clearly love.
  • The main difference in this shoe and the trail version or most shoes with minimalist characters is the 12mm cushioning offered by the M-Bound midsole. Despite this chunky piece of foam, runners can still get that solid ground feedback and flexibility that are often the trade-offs with this kind of cushioning.
  • Like its trail cousin, the Bare Access Ultra is versatility personified. It can tackle various distances and at different speeds due to its unique combination of moderate cushioning and light weight. This is another great option for those looking to gradually shift to a more barefoot kind of running or a double-action race day shoe/trainer.
  • As a superior road shoe with excellent versatility, Merrell also enhanced the durability and traction of the outsole that makes it a nice choice for light trail running.

Merrell Bare Access Ultra size and fit

The last used by Merrell normally has a very snug midfoot to complement the decent space in the heel and the wider forefoot. Merrell offers an anatomically-based last that most runners will find very comfortable. There are also enough volume and width in the toe box for a more luxurious feel when racing or training. Medium is the available width of the Bare Access Ultra. Sizing is on the spot with options 6 to 14 for the men’s and 4 to 11 for the women’s.


Outsole

Merrell, yet again, brings the Vibram rubber compound and configuration in one of its shoes. The moderate aggressiveness of the lugs gives the Bare Access Ultra solid grip on practically all kinds of surfaces, except the really rocky, technical, or rugged terrain. Vibram’s new rubber compound promises serious traction, even in wet conditions.


Midsole

The M-Bound DST, which is made of premium EVA and other proprietary materials, is a 12mm cushioning that is quite responsive, very light, and offers decent tactile feedback. It is with this foam that Merrell is able to achieve its purpose of creating the Ultra to be a minimalist shoe with more than adequate cushioning and support.


Upper

The wrap of the upper is very similar to a glove because of its adaptable fit. It has a mesh that is very breathable and bonded synthetic overlays that help lock down the foot. The interior of the shoe is quite plush as it is lined with soft fabric. Considering that the upper is near seamless, runners can run without lesser risks regarding hot spots or irritation. A moderately padded heel and tongue add to the cozy feel. To get a more personalized fit, Merrell uses traditional laces to tie things up.