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.
  • The 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.

2 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.

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.


Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 7oz | Women: 5.4oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 0mm | Women: 0mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Strike Pattern: Forefoot strike
Distance: Competition
Heel height: Men: 17mm | Women: 15mm
Forefoot height: Men: 17mm | Women: 15mm
Brand: Merrell
Type: Low drop | Zero drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $100
Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey, Yellow
Small True to size Large
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A top rated Road running shoe

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, 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.

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83 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 87 / 100 | 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 | William Semo | Level 1 expert

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

  • 92 / 100 | Gear Institute | | Level 4 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.

  • 70 / 100 | Runner's World | | Level 4 expert

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

  • 86 / 100 | 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 | 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

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  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.