A lot has been said about the new Merrell Bare Road minimalist running shoe (with Vibram). But of the new range, my pick of the bunch is the simple Bare Access. I’ll explain why in a second.
Having been blessed with a near perfect sample sized foot (who’d have thought!), I get to try all the new shoes on when our favourite suppliers come by to show us their new range of shoes..
When Merrell popped by recently, I was like a kid in a candy shop. I am a big fan of my Merrell True Gloves – as previously reviewed here. I have not only managed to get great use out of them, but they have become a real favourite pair. As soon as Hamish (our Merrell sales rep) pulled the range out of the bag, I grabbed the Road Gloves, eager to try them out and compare them to the new New Balance Minimus Road (zero drop).
They were sweet. I recalled a similar experience when trying on the True Gloves for the first time. Very minimal and flexible, with a subtle sense of support. In the True Gloves, this sense of support eased a bit and the shoes became a true minimal feel, most similar to my pair of Vibram Five Finger Treks. I’d expect the Road Gloves to wear in the same.
I next popped on the Bare Access. Instantly, my foot felt at home! It was light, flat, slightly cushioned but not supported. Very similar to my pair of Inov-8 F-Lite 195, but with a slight firmer outsole, and no heel-to-toe drop (ie zero drop).
Glancing at the techsheet for the Bare Access, I noted that it comes with an 8mm sole but does offer a bit of cushioning. The sole is pretty flat (ie. devoid of off-road lugs for grip), which makes me think it could make for a great road running barefoot shoe too.
They felt a lot simpler than the rest of the range – a bit like me.. Perhaps that’s why I liked them!
It’s going to be a tough call replacing my True Gloves (if they ever wear out, that is). But, for now I’ll keep a space in the cupboard for the Bare Access.