Verdict from 2 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The shoe delivered a precise fit, a couple of users stated.
  • The Merrell Bare Access Flex Knit gave just enough support for everyday running, wrote a reviewer.
  • Many users appreciated the convenient lacing system.
  • The midsole gave adequate cushioning despite being a barefoot shoe, said a buyer.
  • The toe box was pleasantly spacious, a wearer mentioned.
  • One reviewer was amazed at the sock-like sensation of the upper.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners claimed the Bare Access Flex Knit did not feel like a minimalist shoe because of its bulky
  • A bit stiff in the heel, a user observed.
  • One tester experienced discomfort after wearing the shoe for an extended period.

Bottom line

The Merrell Bare Access Flex was able to impress both new and loyal users of the brand, as the shoe received several commendations regarding the fit and efficiency of its features. However, it seemed to have missed on providing a good feel, according to some wearers. Therefore, Merrell still has some areas to improve on the Bare Access series.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Good to know

  • Merrell releases an updated version of their barefoot running shoe that offers adaptability and a lightweight comfort: The Bare Access Flex Knit. As the name implies, this release uses a knitted material in the upper that aims to give a luxurious feel and an accurate fit. This shoe will appeal to vegans as well, as it uses no animal products in its creation.
  • The upper gets a couple of reformatted elements, the most notable of which is the knit material mentioned previously. Another new design Is the lacing system, which was incorporated to bring convenience to the runner.
  • The midsole and outsole still feature the same technologies as the base shoe: The FLEXconnect™ cushioning with an integrated footbed, and the M-Select™ GRIP+ rubber that supplies multidirectional traction.

The knit version of the Merrell Bare Access Flex runs true to size. The knit upper is made of supple threads that will stretch accordingly, thus accommodating all foot volumes. The shoe is available in width profiles of D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

The M-Select™ GRIP+ outsole of the Bare Access Flex Knit equips the runner with a slip-resistant stability on both dry and wet ground, over varied terrain. This anatomically-shaped structure is sticky and sturdy, allowing optimal traction on any surface.

The lugs are 2-mm in depth and come in triangle shapes, positioned back-to-back in pairs. These angled shapes help in gripping the surface of both road and trail.

As it uses the FLEXconnect™ technology, the ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole of this shoe has dual-directional flex grooves that supply agility and stability. The grooves are found on the lateral and medial sides, and they make the shoe adapt better to the natural movement of the foot.

The shoe includes an integrated footbed to provide additional underfoot cushioning, as well as an enhanced arch support.

The 3D knit upper of the Bare Access Flex Knit enables a 360-degree sock-like fit. This kind of material means the runner will get superior comfort and breathability all over, and their foot will be well-accommodated. Meanwhile, the shoe’s internal lining is a breathable mesh that lets sweat and moisture evaporate quickly.

There is a Hyperlock™ molded thermoplastic urethane (TPU) heel counter for security. It brings a locked-down fit, thus preventing the foot from unnecessary movements.

The lacing system features a unique closure method, which allows the laces to be tucked beneath the tongue. With this technique, the laces have no chances of untying and getting in the way of the run.

How Bare Access Flex Knit compares

This shoe: 82
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: £130
All shoes average: £130
£60 £240
This shoe: 212g
All shoes average: 296g
170g 680g
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.