• Terrain


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


    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 normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low 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.

  • Use

    Daily running

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


    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
  • Weight
    Men: 8.5oz
    Women: 6.7oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 0mm
    Women: 0mm

    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.

  • Heel height
    Men: 17.2mm
    Women: 17.2mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 17.2mm
    Women: 17.2mm
  • Width
    Men: Normal
    Women: Normal
  • Release date
Show more facts

Expert Reviews

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88 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 82 / 100 | Antoine Corpel

    Merrell Bare Access XTR a comfy minimalist shoe built for speed

    More photos

    We tested the brand new shoe of Merrell, the Bare Access XTR. With only 240 grams, this shoe has been made for zero drop enthusiasts who want to run fast with a barefoot feeling.



    This is the promise made by the Michigan based company. Let’s find out if the magic happens after 220 km of running over the forested and rocky trail of Grenoble!

    With the Bare Access XTR, Merrell retains the characteristic that makes their brand a success: Comfort. This is the initial thing you notice when you lace up the shoe for the first time.

    The roomy toe box allows your foot to move freely as you run. It gives a very pleasant feeling, especially at tempo pace.

    Then, the light build of the upper lets your foot breathe perfectly even after a hard interval workout or on a very hot day. This makes the Bare Access a pretty good shoe for summer racing.

    Concerning the lacing system, it’s quite simple and works pretty well. You can tighten it up accurately.

    Regarding the outsole and midsole materials, there are 17.5mm of materials between you and the ground. Thus, the Bare Access XTR is a less radical pick than the Merrell Trail Glove.

    It allows the zero drop and minimalist runner to enjoy fast running on the trails without too much pounding.



    The outsole is made of the Vibram Megagrip, with 3mm lugs. With this outsole, the shoe provides a good grip on most trails and removes debris such as mud and small rocks effectively.

    The midsole is to the most interesting part of the Bare Access. It uses the flex connect technology, which makes the shoe quite flexible and allows the runner to feel the ground perfectly at each stride.

    The energy rebound of the midsole is also superb. It makes the XTR one of the most sensitive trail running shoe on the market.



    The mix between comfort, sensitivity, and grip highlights the Bare Access as one of the best trail running shoe for interval workouts and faster sessions


    • Comfortable
    • Sensitive
    • Durable
    • One of the best shoe to start with minimalist running


    • Weak grip on wet surfaces
    • Not built for very technical trails
    • Lacks cushioning

    Zero drop and sensitivity: The perfect combo on fast trails

    The Bare Access XTR performs really well on soft surfaces like grass, forest track, and muddy trails. We were really pleased by the sensation that the shoes give while traversing those terrains.

    The shoe is really fast on the flatter and faster section, and the bounce of the outsole is real. It allows the runner to have an airy stride.

    Forefoot strikers will especially like the feeling of running close to the ground. The shoe will highlight the slightest acceleration.



    Uphill, the traction of the outsole and the lightweight construction of the Merrell Bare Access XTR allows the runner to keep a good pace even on the steepest trails.

    Downhill, the shoe sensitivity combined with the zero drop construction allows you to have a quick and precise forefoot strike, which is really pleasant on a steep descent and technical terrain.

    Regarding the stability, the Bare Access satisfied us in this aspect. Our feet have remained in place at a faster pace, even on quick turns.


    Just be careful not to go too fast on very rocky surfaces. We experienced some slips on trails completely covered by rocks.

    Not a good shoe for technical terrain and difficult condition

    The Bare Access doesn't work really well on mountainous trails or hard surfaces. During our training session in the Alps, we felt sharp rocks a lot especially when running downhill.

    This is not a good shoe to run on concrete either. The lightweight construction of the outsole and midsole is really pleasant on a soft trail.

    However, it does not perform well on harder surfaces. This could be a big issue for athletes who have to run on the road before hitting the closest trail nearby.

    Best use for

    • Interval workout on soft terrain
    • Slow jogging on soft surfaces to get muscles used to minimalist running
    • Short mountain running race, Verticalkilometer

    Do not use for

    • Long run (i.e. longer than 1h45m)
    • Hard training on rocky trail/concrete
    • Skyrunning, ultra running race


    A durable affordable and eco-friendly shoe

    Let’s conclude this test with a good point in favor of the Bare Acess XTR: the shoe is resilient.

    After 220 km (136 miles) on a wide variety of terrains, the shoe does not show any sign of premature wear, neither on the mesh nor the outsole.

    This is a very strong point for Merrell because it is relatively cheap (110$) for a durable shoe.



    This is all the more pleasant as the Bare Access XTR is made of recycled materials, plastic, and scrap rubber.



    Grip Sensitivity Comfort Value for money
    17/20 13/20 18/20 18/20 16/20

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 90 / 100 | Runner's World | | Level 3 expert

    The shoe takes roots in the brand’s “All I Need” approach, which aims to provide just enough protection underfoot for the most connected experience possible on the trail.

  • First look | Merrell

Become an expert

- This trail running shoe, the Merrell Bare Access XTR, utilizes the breathable mesh lining and TPU upper. It is coupled with a traditional lace closure that offers enough ventilation for the feet while running. 

- The FLEXconnect® technology is integrated into the Merrell Bare Access XTR. The primary goal of this is to provide providing a midsole unit with bidirectional grooves. These grooves allow the user to run faster even on uneven ground. 

- Devised for minimalist running, it produces an instinctive, zero-drop experience. This is vital in giving the runner full foot contact on a lightweight shoe without sacrificing durability. 

- The Merrell Bare Access XTR utilizes the Vibram® TC5+ rubber sole that guarantees safety on the flat and sloped landscape as well as wet and dry roads.

Like the Merrell Trail Glove 5, the Merrell Bare Access XTR is equipped with the Vibram TC5+ rubber sole. This component of the shoe aims to deliver the much-needed traction when tackling any kind of terrains. 

Crafted with aggressive 3mm lugs, the shoe ensures a better grip on uneven landscapes. This is essential in making the shoe ideal for rough road and trail runs.

Designed for adaptability on trail and road running, the Merrell Bare Access XTR uses the Merrell FLEXconnect® dual-directional flex-groove EVA midsole technology. This feature of the shoe provides maximum support. It also promotes the natural movement and flexing of the foot while running on any terrain. This technology improves the runner’s speed, stability, and ground connection even on wet and uneven surfaces.

The shoe utilizes the Merrell Barefoot construction. This feature provides the wearer with the ability to be flexible and agile during the run using a lightweight pair of shoes.

One of the features of the Merrell Bare Access XTR is its breathable mesh lining and TPU upper. This combination enables superb ventilation during the runs. Therefore, better inflow and outflow of air is encouraged.

The shoe uses the Hyperlock™ TPU film heel counter. Merrell added this feature to give optimized stability on sudden upward and downward slopes as well as sharp turns during high speed runs. As a result, the user remains firm on foot on a wide variety of terrains.