Merrell Bare Access 4

8.7
8.7 score
(WalkJogRun) score (8.7)/10

Our WalkJogRun score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Merrell Bare Access 4 Review Facts

Merrell designs shoes that are meant to be worn on trail terrains, that’s just a fact. Their shoes usually feature designs that enable them to really “feel” the trail underneath their feet. They generally feature outsoles made from Vibram rubber and an upper that provides their forefoot and heel areas with a substantial amount of airflow while on foot. Their shoes are known for being extremely minimalist and for their signature zero-drop midsole design which really allows the shoe to provide the wearer with that all around comfortable feel. If you’re looking for a responsive and comfortable shoe, look no further than Merrell’s line of barefoot sneakers, and especially the Bare Access 4.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Low drop
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Not the most durable
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Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 3.0 hours analyzing a total of 408 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

Positive
  • My quest to find the right shoe started with the issues I have with foot problems and heel pain. I run about five miles a day and switched to Merrell Bare Access 4. I love them!
  • These have much more tread than the previous version. I have confidence in these that I can run faster and hit those corners. The grips on these allow me to move from asphalt to trails. I anticipate getting a lot of hard running months out of these.
  • I used to be a Vibram Five Fingers fan but their shoes of late don't do it for me. The Merrell Bare Access 4 is the most comfortable shoe that I've worn in a while. They are fantastic!!!
  • I was looking for a street running shoe and found them. These are similar to the Trail Glove just with more padding. The Bare Access 4s are a great running shoe for the road. If you choose the colors that aren't so popular there is a price break.
  • I recommend these to anyone who is looking for a running shoe with a zero drop. These are lightweight too. Very similar to the Road Glove which is discontinued.
  • These are Merrells so obviously they fit great and they feel great too. I love them! An added bonus is that they can be worn to work as they are slip resistant.
  • We won't wear any other shoe besides Merrell shoes. However, there is a getting used to them period that if you are willing to take you won't be sorry. What makes these shoes so comfortable is the zero drop and barefoot feel. But if you are used to a shoe with a lot of padding these might be a little uncomfortable at first until your feet build and tone the muscles. Once you get through the initial period you will be able to wear any Merrell shoe.
  • As a respiratory therapist, I can log up to six miles a day at work. I've also had issues with both feet and the arch support in my Merrells are excellent. I finally had to get another pair after two and a half years.
  • A great minimalist running shoes that provide support where it counts. The toe box is roomy. These are equally great for road and trails.
  • Bare Access 4s where my intro to barefoot style shoes. I prefer this shoe over the Trail Glove 3. I did have to go up a half size though.
  • My recent purchase is replacing an older version that lasted for years. I like that these have more tread not fond of the mesh top. These are more of a running shoe rather than an everyday shoe in my opinion. It's a tight fit so don't wear a sock or wear a thin sock at the very least. Hopeful that these will last as long as my last pair.
  • I intend to buy these until they discontinue them. I haven't had a better shoe than these. I use my Bare Access 4s for working out, running and everyday use.
  • On my last pair, I put up to about 300 miles. These fit my foot perfectly and I have a skinny heel and medium arch.
  • Like other reviews, these are the second pair of Bare Access. They are lightweight and comfortable. I feel ready for a full force workout. They provide support with a zero drop. I've also used them while playing tennis and they grip the ground nicely.
  • I just want to say thank you to the Merrell company for making the best shoes on Earth. These are my fifth pair. These shoes are the best running shoes for me. I use them for training and marathons and my feet feel great after a marathon despite the little cushioning. Plenty of room and a perfect fit.
  • These are comfortable out of the box. I am a big fan of this minimalist running shoe and the Merrell brand. I've had no issues after a 10-mile run. Great shoes.
  • These are the best running shoes that I have worn in years. It did take a few weeks to get used to running with a zero drop. No injuries since. Love them!
  • Although my toes feel a little confined, these shoes are very nice. Love how lightweight they are and the arch support.
  • Once I got used to how these shoes encourage you to alter your step, I've had no heel pain since. It's been years since I've been pain-free.
Negative
  • The toe box is a little tight
  • It's a structured shoe with too much arch support to be minimal
Reviewmeter
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 408 reviews we found in total, 16% were negative, and 84% were positive.
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Outsole

Outsole

Most Merrell shoes have Vibram technology incorporated into their design. When a shoe is designed with an extremely abrasive material and also has slim features, you can tell that it is going to be able to provide one with what they need in terms of traction without sacrificing flex. The shoe has Deep Flex Grooves incorporated into the design that enables the shoe to really be able to move while on foot and doesn’t hinder the feel of the shoe in any way. The actual design of the outsole is one that features pods made from the Vibram material itself; the pods allow the shoe to really move and, as is normal on trail shoes, is able to really dig into the ground and achieve that level of grip that is necessary.
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole on this shoe is designed to keep in-line with the minimalist feel that Merrell is usually going for; this means that the midsole on this shoe is extremely thin and provides the wearer with a flex, unlike anything that some other shoes have provided in the past. The shoe features MBound material in the midsole unit that allows the wearer to really gain a high level of responsiveness due to the softness that it brings to the cushioning in the midsole and the feel that stems from that. Unlike its predecessors, the design of this shoe features slightly more cushioning, which also allows the shoe to have a bit more in terms of the stability that it provides as well.
Upper

Upper

The upper of this shoe is designed from a mesh material; plain and simple right? No, alongside the mesh is synthetic leather that adds a bit of a flair to the design of this shoe and all-around enhances the feel of the shoe overall. While leather may be a part of the design, the shoe still achieves a fairly decent level of airflow while in use due to the incorporation of the mesh into it's designed. The upper on the shoe is also seamless, which adds tremendous levels of comfort to the design of the shoe. The material on the upper of the shoe moves with the foot and still maintains that level of integrity that is necessary for the shoe to function while in use. The shoe has various overlays in place that also provide the foot with what it needs in terms of protection and enhance the integrity of the design quite a bit. The design of the upper on this shoe hasn’t changed much from previously and still functions to give the wearer what they need in terms of protection and durability.
Weight

Weight

The shoe itself has a design that is meant to be extremely lightweight and must be in order for it to really function as a barefoot shoe. Before anything else is said, I must say that the design of this shoe is one that weighs, in total, 6.4 oz. The upper of the shoe has various overlays as well as a blend of materials incorporated that allow it to really function but, still doesn’t come together to weigh much. The same can be said for the sole unit of this shoe and the thicker design of the midsole; it provides the wearer what they need but doesn’t to really impact the design of the shoe and add any weight to it overall.
Breathability

Breathability

The Merrell Bare Access 4 features a design that allows it to continuously provide the wearer with what they need in terms of airflow without taking away from the feel of the shoe or the overall structural integrity whatsoever; for a running shoe, mainly a trail shoe, that becomes increasingly important as time goes on. The upper of the shoe is perforated to allow the air to just seep in and to prevent the uncomfortable accumulation of sweat that generally occurs when one uses a shoe to participate in a strenuous activity.; odors are also something that don’t occur while the shoe is being used which is another good thing about owning the Merrell Bare Access 4.
Comfort

Comfort

The breathable, flex and the cushioning in the design of the Merrell Bare Access 4 add to the overall comfort level provided by this shoe. The sole unit of the shoe doesn’t have very much cushioning in place, but the cushioning that it does have is used in an effective manner; the cushioning that is a part of the sole unit allows the shoe to bend to the will of the wearer’s foot in a way that is honestly unlike very many other shoes; this, when coupled with the design of several other shoes allows the wearer to do what they need to in terms of providing the wearer with an overall comfortable feel. The one thing about the cushioning in this shoe is that it does require a decent length of time to really felt “broken in”; this simply means that straight out of the box that the cushioning isn’t the most comfortable but after a decent length of time in the shoe it seems to loosen up quite a bit. The upper of the shoe is also quite comfortable and is designed to give the wearer what they need in terms of comfort; the snug feel of the upper prevents the wearer from really feeling the effects of the material and allows the wearer to keep their comfortable feel while the shoe is in use.
Style

Style

This is a trail shoe all the way; every part of the design is meant to give the wearer what they need in order to tough the rough trail terrains and really function without giving the wearer any type of blockage while traversing a terrain. The design of the shoe is one that is rather thin or compact if you will; this is completely necessary for a shoe to really be considered a trail shoe and for it to really be able to get a grip and decent level of flexibility while the shoe is in use. The shoe comes in various colorways as well which allows it to give the wearer what they need in terms of variety while they are in use.
Durability

Durability

A trail shoe must be able to last for a decent length of time for it to really be able to function at a high level. The material in the sole unit of this shoe enables the wearer to do what they need to do in terms of achieving a decent level of cushioning and ensures that the wearer doesn’t have to deal with the material in the shoe breaking down while the shoe is in use or even after only a few months of owning the shoe. The upper has a few overlays in place that keep it from breaking down or in other words, ripping; please keep this in mind, no one wants a shoe that rips after only a few times being worn. Something to keep in mind is that this shoe doesn’t really have the most durable outsole; the outsole of this shoe was changed from that featured in previous models. So in terms of durability, the shoe has a decent level of it, the only thing to keep in mind would be the outsole of the shoe.
Protection

Protection

This trail shoe has several protective features in place that keeps the wearer of the shoe form really taking on any level of damage while the shoe is in use; the dense midsole in the shoe is in place I such a way as to keep the shoe from ever handling any type of penetration into the material. Remember, for a shoe to really give one a decent level of protection for the bottom of the foot, the layers that make up the sole must be able to keep their level of integrity in full and allow the wearer to do what they need on technical terrains. The upper of the shoe also keeps the foot from really dealing with any level of damage; the upper doesn’t have very many overlays but, due to the thickness of the material in itself is able to keep materials from entering into the sole unit of the wearer’s foot.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

In terms of responsiveness, the midsole has a material in place that gives the wearer a bit of bounce; the bounce provided by the sole unit gives the wearer what they need in terms of transitions as well. The material in the outsole is rather flexible; a flexible sole unit is one of the main reasons why a shoe is able to gain a decent level of movement while a shoe is in use. While on the topic of responsiveness, keep in mind that the design of the shoe is one that is meant to eliminate heel striking, which is something that only works to add tot eh feel of the overall shoe and keep the foot moving in a natural manner while the shoe is in use. The upper of the shoe doesn’t have all of the different overlays that are normally present in the design of a shoe of this type and gives the wearer what they need in terms of ease of movement, which translates into a comfortable feel for the overall shoe. Think of the design of this shoe in this way; it is meant to be in use and feel as if the wearer of the shoe is running while barefoot; an effect that it readily achieves.
Support

Support

Okay, so the design of the sole unit in this shoe is one that gives the wearer what they need in terms of support, usually. The sole unit of the shoe is rather minimal and varies the level of support that is provided in a rather phenomenal way. Those who are used to using shoes that have a minimal midsole section and can function on various terrains with no issues, then this shoe is for them. Those who aren’t used to barefoot shoes and require a decent level of arch support may not really enjoy this model; it is a barefoot shoe which means that the comfort that the wearer gains in the way of support really depends on the wearer of the shoe themselves.
Terrain

Terrain

Again, the design of this shoe is one that can maneuver on a variety of terrains with relative ease and ensures that the wearer retains the flexibility in movement that is required for them to really move successfully while the shoe is worn. Just because the shoe is designed for use on roads, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be worn on the more strenuous terrains such as trails; the only thing to keep in mind if one is considering using the shoe on a trail is that the design of this shoe doesn’t have the traditional lugs that are a normal part of the sole unit in trail shoes.
Price

Price

The Merrell Bare Access 4’s aren’t the most expensive shoes in the bunch that’s for sure. These shoes can honestly be found for a price that won’t hurt one’s pockets and still provides the wearer with what they need in terms of support and protection. The cushioning in the shoe always gives the wearer what they need in terms of functionality and allows the wearer to function while the shoe is in use. The overall design of the shoe allows the wearer to do what they need to do while the shoe is in use. When it comes to trails shoes, this one takes the cake and does what it needs to do so that the wearer can move with relative ease.
Traction

Traction

The sole unit of the shoe enables the wearer to do what they need to so that the shoe functions in the way that it needs to; the sole unit is designed Vibram and achieves a level of grip that is necessary for the shoe to function for the wearer of the shoe; Vibram gives the wearer a level of grip that is on par with various other models of shoe due to the overall rubber design of the material. The level of flexibility that is achieved by the sole unit of the shoe is also one of the contributing factors to the grip that is achieved; the grip of the sole unit is combined with the level of flex and allows the shoe to really move and attach itself to the ground.
Flexibility

Flexibility

The mesh upper of the Merrell Bare Access 4 allows it to really gain a high level of flexibility and a decent range of motion while the shoe is in use; mesh is rather malleable and since the shoe doesn’t have very many overlays is able to move with ease. The sole unit of the shoe is also able to move in tandem with the movements of the wearer's foot; the outsole has flex grooves that closely pattern the bottom of the wearer’s foot.
Stability

Stability

The shoe must have a decent level of stability and be able to function so that the wearer doesn’t feel unsecure while the shoe is in use; the upper of the shoe doesn’t have very many overlays but, has such a snug design that the wearers foot doesn’t have much room to move around while the shoe is being used. The midsole of the shoe also works to be rather firm and allows the shoe to be snug and keeps the wearer’s foot from sinking into the ground while the shoe is in use.
Drop

Drop

This is a barefoot shoe; barefoot shoes, by design, do not have high drops. In fact, the design of this shoe doesn’t have a drop at all; much like the usual Altra shoe, the Merrell Bare Access 4 is a zero-drop shoe.
Key features

Key features

• Zero-drop
• Mesh upper
• Vibram outsole
Verdict

Verdict

The outsole of this shoe allows the wearer to do what they need while the shoe is in use. The price of the Merrell Bare Access 4 isn’t that bad and gives the shoe so much value that it really makes no sense; seriously, the shoe has a decent level of grip and is flexible enough to use the grip to its full ability. The outsole of the shoe doesn’t really last for very long, but while it can be used it functions to the level that it needs to.