Today's review is brought to you by Jason Renda, gear review ninja. He has reviewed dozens of outdoor recreation products and is the Head Gear Geek at OutdoorInformer. When not at work, he can be found bushwhacking through Western Pennsylvania.
Early in the year, I hit a milestone birthday – four oh. And
with it came a renewed interest in understanding the importance of anaerobic
exercise in slowing down the aging process. Human growth hormone (HGH) production is increased with
high intensity exercise.
When I received the Merrell Bare Access 2, its features made
it seem like the right running shoe for my sprint workouts. Gone are the long
training runs. Those have been replaced with full out 100 and 200-meter
sprints. These workout were the testing platform for the Bare Access 2.
The shoe mimics the features of a barefoot runner with its
light weight. The size 10 that I tested was less than seven ounces. Just like a
barefoot runner, it has a zero-drop heel. Though unlike a minimalist runner,
the Bare Access 2’s sole is beefier, providing greater shock absorption.
Merrell has partnered with Vibram to use their ingredient
technology for the shoe’s sole. The tread pattern on the Bare Access 2 is best
for road, track, and treadmill running. You could also take them on crushed
The upper is a nylon mesh, another feature that
helps the Bare Access to remain light. Mesh has its drawbacks, however. It doesn’t
provide any protection from inclement weather. Your feet will undoubtedly be drenched if running on water logged surfaces or if caught in a downpour.
The performance of the Bare Access 2 was impressive. Its
lightweight construction made my sprint efforts close to effortless. Compared
to some of the other lightweight runners that I have used, the weight was close
to 1-1/2 ounces lighter for the Bare Access 2.
The reduced weight was noticeable and added speed to my
high-intensity workouts. The sole provided flexibility in the front foot. The
flexibility is a must for sprint workouts since you are running on your toes
for the entire sprint and your heel should not really even hit the pavement.
Merrell has added some nice design features including
reflective details for running in lowlight. The footbed is treated with Aegis, which cuts down on odor that is typically caused from bacteria.
The Merrell Bare Access 2 fit a sprint running niche for me, and I would
recommend it as a lightweight barefoot style runner for the gym or on the street. (Men's and Women's available: MSRP $90)