Merrell Bare Access XTR

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Jared ShumateJustin Andrews

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Merrell Bare Access XTR: Review

β€œA minimalist trail running shoe with a zero-drop platform.”

Overview


The Merrell Bare Access XTR is a trail running shoe designed for runners who prefer a minimalist approach. This shoe is known for its zero-drop platform (heel and forefoot are at the same height), which means the heel and forefoot are at the same height, promoting a natural running form.

Key Features:

  • Zero Drop: Promotes a natural running form by keeping the heel and forefoot at the same height.
  • Vibram Outsole: Provides excellent traction and durability on various terrains.
  • FlexConnect Technology: Enhances stability and flexibility with bidirectional grooves in the midsole.

The Merrell Bare Access XTR is an ideal choice for trail runners who prioritize a natural running form and excellent ground feel. Its lightweight design and breathable mesh upper offer comfort, making it suitable for shorter trail runs and training sessions.

According to our analysis of prices across the internet, at current rates it's in the cheapest 10% of running shoes.

Verdict

The consensus on the Merrell Bare Access XTR


The Merrell Bare Access XTR is a solid choice for trail runners who appreciate a minimalist design and zero-drop platform. According to reviews, the shoe offers a low-to-the-ground, sensitive ride that helps runners feel connected to the trail. However, it may not be the best option for ultra distances or highly technical terrain due to its limited cushioning and foot protection. The shoe's lightweight design and breathable mesh upper make it comfortable for shorter runs, but the narrow fit and high arch may not suit everyone. The Vibram outsole provides good traction on smooth surfaces, but the tread may be too light for more rugged trails. Overall, the Merrell Bare Access XTR is a good value for runners who prefer a natural running form and don't need extensive foot protection. It's an economical choice for zero-drop enthusiasts who run on less technical trails.

Comparable Shoes


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The Altra Superior 4.5 is a good alternative for runners who need more cushioning and foot protection. While it also features a zero-drop platform, the Superior 4.5 offers a wider fit and more aggressive tread, making it suitable for more technical terrain. However, it is heavier than the Merrell Bare Access XTR and may not provide the same close-to-the-ground feel.

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The Salomon Sense Ride 3 is another option for trail runners who need more cushioning and protection. It features a higher stack height and more substantial midsole, providing better shock absorption and comfort for longer distances. The Sense Ride 3 also has a more aggressive outsole, making it suitable for a wider range of terrains. However, it is not a zero-drop shoe and may not offer the same natural running form as the Merrell Bare Access XTR.

Special versions of Merrell Bare Access XTR


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The Merrell Bare Access XTR Sweeper is a special edition of the Bare Access XTR, made from 100% post-race recycled products. This environmentally friendly version offers the same minimalist design and zero-drop platform as the original but with a focus on sustainability.

10 Merrell Bare Access XTR Pros & Cons


5 Pros

Economical price point.
Lightweight design.
Zero-drop platform promotes natural running form.
Vegan-friendly materials.
Good traction on smooth surfaces.

5 Cons

Narrow fit may not suit all runners.
Limited cushioning and foot protection.
Tread may be too light for technical terrain.
High arch may not be comfortable for everyone.
Upper may not be durable in high-wear areas.

In Depth


Upper

The upper of the Merrell Bare Access XTR is made of lightweight mesh, which provides excellent breathability and helps keep the foot cool during runs. The mesh is reinforced with thin TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) overlays that add structure but may not offer enough protection in high-wear areas. The upper's design aims to provide a snug fit, which can be beneficial for stability but may feel too tight for some runners, especially those with wider feet.

Midsole

The midsole of the Merrell Bare Access XTR features FlexConnect technology, which includes bidirectional grooves that enhance stability and flexibility. This design helps runners maintain a natural running form and provides a responsive feel. The midsole also incorporates Shock Dampening EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) material, which offers some protection against uneven terrain and helps absorb impact, making the shoe suitable for shorter trail runs.

Outsole

The outsole of the Merrell Bare Access XTR is made of Vibram TC5+ material, known for its excellent traction and durability. The lug pattern is designed to grip well on smooth surfaces like rock and dirt trails, but it may not be aggressive enough for more technical terrain. The outsole's design aims to provide a natural tread and stability, making it a good choice for less rugged trails.

Size/fit

The Merrell Bare Access XTR has a narrow fit, particularly through the midfoot and up to the ball of the foot. This snug fit can provide a secure feel, but it may not be comfortable for runners with wider feet. The shoe also features a high arch, which may not suit all runners, especially those who prefer a more neutral arch support.

Comfort

Comfort in the Merrell Bare Access XTR is subjective and may vary depending on individual preferences. The shoe's lightweight design and breathable mesh upper contribute to overall comfort, but the narrow fit and high arch may not be ideal for everyone. The shoe is designed to provide a close-to-the-ground feel, which can be comfortable for shorter runs but may not offer enough cushioning for longer distances.

Who should buy the Merrell Bare Access XTR?


The Merrell Bare Access XTR is best suited for trail runners who prefer a minimalist design and a zero-drop platform. Runners who enjoy a natural running form and want to feel connected to the trail will appreciate this shoe. It's also a good choice for those who run on less technical trails and don't require extensive foot protection. The shoe's lightweight design and breathable upper make it suitable for shorter trail runs and training sessions.

Who should not buy the Merrell Bare Access XTR?


Runners who need more cushioning and foot protection for ultra distances or highly technical terrain may want to look elsewhere. The narrow fit and high arch may not be comfortable for those with wider feet or who prefer a more neutral arch support. If you require a shoe with more aggressive tread for rugged trails, the Merrell Bare Access XTR may not be the best option. Consider looking at other models with more cushioning and a wider fit.

Merrell Bare Access XTR: What's it good for?


The Merrell Bare Access XTR is good for trail running on less technical terrain. Its zero-drop platform and lightweight design make it ideal for runners who prefer a fore/midfoot strike and a natural running form. The shoe's breathable mesh upper and snug fit provide comfort and stability for shorter trail runs and training sessions. It's an excellent choice for runners who value a minimalist design and want to feel connected to the trail.

5 Merrell Bare Access XTR FAQs


Is the Merrell Bare Access XTR suitable for long-distance trail running?

The Merrell Bare Access XTR is better suited for shorter trail runs and training sessions. Its limited cushioning and foot protection may not be ideal for long-distance or ultra-distance running.

Does the Merrell Bare Access XTR have good traction?

The Merrell Bare Access XTR features a Vibram outsole with a lug pattern designed for good traction on smooth surfaces like rock and dirt trails. However, the tread may not be aggressive enough for highly technical terrain.

Is the Merrell Bare Access XTR vegan-friendly?

Yes, the Merrell Bare Access XTR is made with vegan-friendly materials, meaning it contains no animal by-products.

How does the Merrell Bare Access XTR fit?

The Merrell Bare Access XTR has a narrow fit, particularly through the midfoot and up to the ball of the foot. It also features a high arch, which may not suit all runners.

What is the weight of the Merrell Bare Access XTR?

The Merrell Bare Access XTR weighs 241 g (8.5 oz) for men and 190 g (6.7 oz) for women, making it a lightweight trail running shoe.

Merrell Bare Access XTR alternatives

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Jul 2019Mar 2018Nov 2015May 2019
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productAthletes
Pro athlete users
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Jared ShumateJustin Andrews
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Jeffrey SternPablo Villalobos
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+5
Elov OlssonRyan Woods
Weight
Weight
M: 241 g
W: 190 g
M: 241 g
W: 190 g
215 g
M: 204 g
W: 170 g
M: 221 g
W: 176 g
M: 181 g
W: 142 g
Forefoot
Forefoot
17 mm
17 mm
16 mm
M: 18 mm
W: 16 mm
8 mm
5 mm
Heel to toe drop
Heel to toe drop
4 mm
3 mm
Heel
Heel
17 mm
17 mm
20 mm
M: 21 mm
W: 19 mm
8 mm
5 mm
Terrain
Terrain
Trail
TrailTrailMudTrailTrailTrail
Brand
Brand
Merrell
MerrellSalomonHokaVibramVibram
Shoe Type
Shoe Type
LightweightLow dropZero drop
LightweightLow dropZero dropLightweightLow dropLightweightLow dropLightweightLow dropZero dropBarefootLightweightLow dropMinimalistZero drop
Techs
Techs
Vibram
VibramVibram
Waterproofings
Waterproofings
Water repellent
Environmental Characteristics
Environmental Characteristics
Vegan β“‹
Vegan β“‹
Vegan β“‹
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Merrell Bare Access XTR: what the experts say (1 review)

Merrell Bare Access XTR characteristics and specifications

Characteristics
SportsRunning (+2002)
TerrainTrail (+523)
BrandMerrell (+34)
Support TypeNeutral (+1563)
Pronation TypeNeutral pronation (+1543)
Strike TypeFore/Midfoot strike (+1083)
Arch TypeHigh arch (+1490)
Shoe TypeLightweight (+401)Low drop (+274)Zero drop (+95)
FitMedium toe box (+826)
MaterialsRubber Sole (+14)
TechsVibram (+80)
Environmental CharacteristicsVegan β“‹ (+246)
ColorwaysAcai, Black / Grey, Blue Dazzle, Blue Peacoat, Castlerock, Goldfish, Green Forest, Grey Monument, Highrise, Olive / Blue / Green
Specificationsvs Average
Released
Jun 2019
Measurements
Weight
M: 241 g
W: 190 g
Heel to toe drop
Heel
17 mm
Forefoot
17 mm

2 pro athletes who've used Merrell Bare Access XTR

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AuthorTom Green
Tom is the founder of geerly. Based in West London, he found his passion for running in his mid-30s. He’s best at longer distances, and is a regular at the London Marathon, where he's edging closer to sub-2.40. He started geerly because he found it frustrating when shopping for running shoes spending ages trying to find the best deal in his size, and wading through verbose, waffling reviews clearly designed to appeal to search engines rather than be helpful to users. For geerly he's passionate about writing reviews that get straight to the point, and helping runners find the right gear at the best price.
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