Merrell Bare Access Flex

8.5
8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (7.4)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.5)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 14 user ratings
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Merrell Bare Access Flex Review Facts
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With Merrell’s Bare Access Flex you are getting a hybrid shoe that is great on the roads or the trails. This is a shoe for the runner who can’t decide if they are a trail runner or a road runner and doesn’t want to. It has a zero millimeter drop, making this a great choice for the runner who is looking for a minimalist running companion. The price is a major plus too. Coming in at under $100, it is a rare occasion to find such a high quality at a low price. This is a rugged, comfortable, lightweight shoe for the road and trail-loving minimalist.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable price tag
  • Breathable mesh and TPU upper reduce moisture and temperature
  • Comes in a variety of bright, attractive colors
Cons
  • Tends to run large
  • Zero drop is not for everyone
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of these shoes provides the runner with maximum grip and protection to keep them feeling safe and secure no matter what terrain they are running on. Merrel's patented M Select Grip+ not only provides a more durable underfoot for runners to that the shoe takes longer to break down, but it also means that the shoe is slip resistant. Runners can feel safe on dry or wet surfaces, regardless of the conditions of the road or trail that they are running on.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole of this shoe is comprised of a traditional EVA midsole foam. This creates a very flexible, responsive ride for the runner. In addition to the traditional EVA midsole foam, the midsole also uses Merrel's patented FLEXconnect technology which provides added cushioning and stability to the runner who is looking to explore on uneven or slippery terrain.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the Bare Access Flex is unique in that is utilizes not only a breathable mesh material, but it also incorporates TPU material through the design of the upper. TPU material is a combination of a soft silicone material and a harder, dense rubber. Some brands are using it as an alternative to EVA foam. The upside of incorporating this material into the upper is that it improves the durability of the shoe. It is also highly temperature resistant which means that it works to maintain a consistent temperature for your foot regardless of the outside temperature that the runner is working out in. The mesh material used in the upper is also very breathable. It gives another layer of comfort and durability. The upper of this shoe can handle the elements of average road running with no problem, but the unique features and materials make this a great trail running shoe too.
Weight
Weight

Weight

This is certainly a lightweight shoe. The weight for the Bare Access Flex is a mere 5 ounces for women and 7 ounces for men. This certainly puts it the lightweight trail and road shoe category. This shoe is a minimalist running companion, so runners should not expect a ton of stability features or heavy cushioning. Instead, Merrel works hard to add in technologies in this shoe that keep the weight low but provide the runner with the needed supports to stay safe and protected on their runs.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Bare Access Flex provides maximum breathability to runners. The upper of the shoe is constructed using a breathable mesh material. That, combined with the TPU material of the upper keeps the cool dry and comfortable regardless of the temperature you are running in. Providing maximum airflow and keeping the foot cool and comfortable is key to eliminating unwanted friction and blisters.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Runners loved the glove-like feel of these shoes. They also appreciated the superior breathability that gives runners a comfortable and dry running experience from start to finish. Comfort can mean different things to different people, and for runners who look for comfort as in added cushioning, padding, and stability elements, this shoe may not be for them. It is a lightweight shoe with a zero drop and runners love the natural feel this shoe offers.
Style
Style

Style

Runners who love a brightly colored, vibrant looking shoe love the Merrel Bare Access Flex. Shaded Spruce and Aruba Blue are some of the unique color combinations available in the men's and women's versions - to mention just a few. Additionally, the shoe features reflective properties along the upper to provide a great and functional look.
Durability
Durability

Durability

All of the three main components of this shoe up the durability in their own ways. The upper uses a TPU material that is a combination of a softer silicone material and a harder plastic making it ideal as a longlasting material. The EVA midsole can take a pounding and still maintain its form and function. The outsole is made from a durable rubber that is lugged out for durability and traction.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Merrel Bare Access Flex considers the runner's safety in a variety of ways. In one seemingly simple way, it has incorporated reflective material into the upper of the shoe to protect the runner during their evening runs or in low visibility areas. In addition to this, the outsole contains sturdy lugs for added traction and grip to keep you safe even on uneven or slippery terrain.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The zero drop of the Merrel Bare Access Flex provides excellent responsiveness for runners. Runners reported loving that they could feel the road below them and the shoe is quick to respond to their changes in direction and speed. The high responsiveness of the shoe and their lightweight nature make them a great choice for speed work.
Support
Support

Support

The key support components in this shoe are the slip-resistant technologies used in the underfoot. Runners reported that regardless of the terrain or the conditions that they were running in, they felt supported and safe. In addition to this, the shoe comes equipped with a secure heel counter, Hyperlock, that keeps the heel in place and supports the runner on their adventures.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This is a versatile shoe that can handle any terrain you throw at it. It is a lightweight, zero-drop shoe that makes it great for speed work on the roads or track. However, because of the unique weather control upper and the added traction of the outsole, it is also a great trail shoe too. The slip-resistant Flex connect technology protects the runner from slipping even on the most uneven or slippery terrain. Runners reported that they felt safe and comfortable on a variety of terrains in a variety of conditions.
Price
Price

Price

Runners are raving about the price point of these shoes. Runners know it is difficult to come by a high-quality shoe that won't break the bank, but these shoes can be purchased for less than $100. Considered the durability, various technologies, and dependability of the Merrel brand, this is a price that is hard to beat. If cost is the main factor for you, this is a shoe that will last a long time and won't break the bank which makes it a great option.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The unique lug pattern on the underfoot of this shoe provides superior traction. It includes a slip-resistant design that is great even for wet conditions. The unique underfoot design makes these a great choice for the runner looking to incorporate more hill training into their workouts. The heel of the shoe is designed to snugly secure the heel to avoid friction or unwanted movement. Because the Bare Access Flex provides superior traction on the uphill and maximum grip for the downhill, they are a good choice steep ascends or descends on the road or the trail.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Runners who are looking for a flexible shoe are going to love the Bare Access Flex. The outsole material, though durable, uses a lugged material that flexes with each movement of the runner. The under sole is extremely grippy and lets the runner move freely. The midsole utilized a traditional EVA midsole foam material that promotes natural movement.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Zero drop shoes aren't for every runner. For runners who are looking for more cushioning and stability features, zero drop might not be the best option. A zero drop shoe like the Merrel Bare Access Flex is not a great option for the overpronator who is looking to improve their gait and protect their joints with a stability shoe.
Drop
Drop

Drop

This is a zero drop shoe, making it a true minimalist running shoe. Zero drop shoes boast benefits such as reducing heel striking and overall preventing injuries in the long run. Merrell works hard to create a zero drop shoe that is also durable and protective to its runners.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

- M Select Grip outsole is extra gripping, ideal for hill training and running on uneven terrain
- Flex connect technology provides ideal responsiveness
- Hyperlock Heel technology keeps the heel in place and protects you from injuries and blisters
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Overall, runners can expect a durable, lightweight minimalist shoe for a great price in the Merrell Bare Access Flex. The shoe comes with some of the best minimalist technologies, like Merrell's patented Hyperlock heel, Flex connects that adds extra grip for superior traction and the M Select outsole, that stay true to the zero drop but add in elements to up the comfort and durability of the shoe. One of runner's favorite features about this shoe is the cost. At under $100, you will have a hard time finding a better shoe for a cheaper price.