Earlier this summer I came across a pair of sneakers that I absolutely fell in love with: the Merrell Barefoot Run Bare Access Arcs. A zero drop shoe with the feel of a sneaker. I put them through the wringer: at the gym, in the box, on the trails. They were so comfortable, and at 4.9 oz, so lightweight it was almost like wearing nothing at all. Which was also the problem. The only complaint I had with the Access Arc was that it felt somewhat flimsy, like it would self destruct at any moment. I was wishing Merrell could have made the Access Arc more like the glove series: the dash or the lithe have been to running hell and back with me, including Spartan races and subsequent trips through the washing machine. The bottom sole of the Access Arc 1 felt very foamy, not the traditional vibram sole I was used to with Merrell's barefoot series.
So needless to say, I was incredibly excited when Merrell contacted me asking if I'd like to review the newly remodeled second generation of this shoe: the Run Bare Access Arc 2 .
What Merrell says:
You want the feel of barefoot, but also some cushioning? Enter our Bare Access Arc 2, which adds uniform toe to heel cushioning that buffers impacts while still letting your foot land flat. Lightweight and low cut, this is perfect for transitioning to barefoot, and features a synthetic leather and breathable mesh upper with rear heel stability. Vibram® pods on the Bare Access Shape sole stick and spring off of any surface.
• Cement construction
• 51% textile upper
• Low cut upper
• Bellows tongue keeps debris out
• Lining treated with Aegis® antimicrobial solution
• 0mm Drop / 8mm Cush / 8mm Stack Height
• Lightweight EVA Midsole
• Merrell Bare Access 2 Sole / Vibram® Pods
Women’s Sizes: 5-11
Women’s Weight: 5.5oz (1/2 pair)
As soon as I received the shoes, I immediately put them to work on a run/hike up a local mountain here in Southern Vermont. Immediate differences I noticed
Top: Bare Access Arc
Bottom: Bare Access Arc 2
I have used mine as both a trail shoe and a work shoe, standing in them for up to 9 hours at a time, and have had no issues or complaints. They get the Run Faster, Mommy! seal of approval.