28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Merrell Men's Barefoot Bare Access (Apparel)
The good - These are VERY comfy shoes. They're my first Merrell shoes for barefoot(ish) running. I've been running in the 5-Fingers for about 4 years now, but I injured my foot on a distance run in them, so now they're only good for training on the treadmill. Since the injury, I still run forefoot, but I use standard running shoes because I need the extra support. These Merrells have just enough cushn' for the pushn' to keep my foot from hurting while running. I'm not sure I'll take them on anything longer than 5 or 6 miles, but time will tell. I have really wide feet (4E) and they're plenty wide/stretchy enough for comfort. My wife has a pair too, and they're still comfy for her little skinny feet. We both ordered them online and our standard sizes fit perfect.
The possibly not so good - as you can see from the picture (on the Merrell website), the bottoms are these are made from two different types of material. The Vibram sections are placed under the heel and balls. The Vibram sections offer good grip and look pretty durable. The rest of the bottom seems to be made of cushn' for pushn' material. I'm not sure how durable/lasting this material will be. It could turn out to be great and long lasting, but it just doesn't seem like they will. Again, time will tell.
The bad - I've used these shoes for doing Insanity (calisthenics) on a tile floor. Once the floor became a little wet with my man sweat, the cushiony material on the bottom became really slippery. The Vibram sections had no issues maintaining good grip, but if I had to do a maneuver that required me to be on my toes (the cushy material), I lost all confidence in my ability to stay on my feet.... It was slick!
Overall - My wife and I don't regret the purchase, and I'd recommend them to anyone who wants a barefoot(ish) running shoe, but doesn't want to go true minimalist. I'd also recommend them to anyone who just wants a sporty looking, super comfy, low profile shoe for walking around. I got the Ash and my wife the Black, and we both love the look of them.
*** Update 12 Aug 12****
I've put A LOT of miles on these now, and I really do love them. The cushy part of the soles do have wear, but I wouldn't call it excessive, but maybe more than average. The vibram part of the soles are holding up great.
I've given up using them for any athletic exercise besides running. In all fairness to Merrell, that is what they're designed for. I (my wife) washed them in a standard American machine last week, and let them air dry, and besides the wear, they cleaned up good as new.
I'm changing my rating from 4 to 5 stars. Merrell puts theses on the market as near-minimalist road running shoes... for that, they're pretty perfect.