Thursday, March 19, 2015

Merrell Bare Access 3 (Review)

While I was busy trying (and failing) like hell to wear out the four pairs of flawless Trail Gloves and one pair of Bare Access 2's I own, it seems Merrell went nuts and created  the Bare Access 3 Bare Access 4, Bare Access Trail, and Bare Access Ultra. I use all of my Merrell's exclusively for road running, and the occasional grassy cross country style 5k, and that being the case these puppies are all but indestructible. I still run in 5 of the 6 pairs of Merrell's I've ever owned, but a couple weeks ago I took a tumble on the ice and ripped a hole in the 5th pair (Bare Access 2's), prompting me to make a new addition to my rotation. That brings me, finally, to the Bare Access 3. I fully expect the Bare Access 4 to be out of production before I chance to need them.

When I bought my Bare Access 2's (review) in the winter of 2013/2014 I must admit I was less than satisfied. Preferring the energetic "naked" feel of my trail gloves, the Bare Access felt dull. But I grew to love them, and they became my go-to shoe for 5k to half marathon distance road races. By the time I started shopping for a replacement in early March 2015, the Bare Access 3 was an obvious choice.

Usually these reviews begin with a list of "likes" and the descend into a list of complaints stemming from the shoe industry's propensity for over-tweaking and turning a great shoe into an unusual mess. With the Bare Access 3, Merrell does no such thing. In fact, the only visible alteration to the shoe is a change to a lighter, more breathable material in the dual layer mesh upper. While this may not make for a very interesting review, it certainly makes for a dependable shoe. If you liked the zero drop, medium stack height, soft interior, wide toe-box, and flexible forefoot of the Bare Access 2, you will not be disappointed with your upgrade.

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