Women's MERRELL® BARE ACCESS ARC :: If you're peering down the path to barefoot running the women's Merrell® Bare Access Arc is your perfect entry point. Get the strengthening benefits of running shoeless with the look and fit of a traditional running shoe. Increased heel-to-toe cushioning offers extra protection and shock absorption, ideal for those new to the experience of barefoot running. 4.9 ounces
Features & Benefits:
Barefoot strobel construction: Offers flexibilty, a barefoot like fit, and lightweight comfort
Reflective overlay details: Provides increased visibility in low light conditions
Integrated footbed with 2mm EVA midsole: Maximizes barefoot like fit with enough comfort and cushion for barefoot beginers
Breathable mesh lining with Aegis: Creates a breathable sockless option that also resists odor
8mm Merrell Bound cushioning: Ultra lightweight material offers flexibility and traction for entry in barefoot movement
0mm heel to toe drop and foot shaped design: Provides ultimate in foot alignment, balance, and overall natural foot landing
Vibram rubber pods: Gives perfect balance of lightweight material and durable rubber outsole
Women's specific last design: Is the ultimate in gender specific fit and feel designed for women only
I bought these shoes because I believed that a move to forefoot/midfoot running might be the key to unlocking my running potential. I tried Vibram Five Fingers but didn't love the feeling of material between my toes and they didn't cushion my landings well enough for my tender, new-to-barefoot feet. The desciption of this shoe, zero rise but with added cushion, sounded like what I needed.
I have been trying to increase my distance for the last couple years, and at age 48, my body seemed only to tolerate 4-5 mile runs, regular runs longer than that and I would get an injury. So I decided I should try to reduce concussion and try a switch to forefoot, zero rise. I am 120 lbs, and I took my time making a switch.
Three months later I was happily running 6 miles, having successfully changed my stride, and decided to train for a half marathon having never considred such a thing before. Two months after that I completed my first half and I ran every training mile and the race in these shoes.
The shoes are very soft, very pliable, very lightweight. They cushioned my landings well. It took a while to build strength in my coddled feet til they had the muscular strength to go the distance (not to mention the strength building that needed to happen in my calves when making the switch). These are flat shoes, they have no arch, that's the point of them. These shoes are built to protect your feet while your feet do the supporting of you. You need to strengthen your feet to run in these shoes if you are coming from built up conventional running shoes. The soles of these shoes are very soft, I think I ran 500 miles in them. The sole was starting to fray just a bit here and there at 500 miles.
After the race I bought Bare Access Arc 2 shoes, with vibram soles. The Arc 2s don't have quite as much padding but they do have a vibram sole. I am not sure I would have been as happy making the transition without the softness in the first shoes. I ran a second half marathon in the Arc 2s 4 months after the first one.
Another reviewer mentioned the Arcs felt like slippers. They do! They are that comfy. And so my beat up old shoes are my house shoes now. But I love that I can go run 6 miles in my slippers and sometimes I still do run in them and still love them.
I have been anxiously waiting to read reviews of these shoes by other runners, so am writing my own asap. I was hoping these would fit like the Merrell Pace Glove, which I love, but add additional protection in the sole of shoe for longer road runs. Unfortunately this is not so. These do not hug my foot nearly as well as the pace gloves-they feel like a soft loose bedroom slipper. As far as the additional sole, I can't really tell if it is any better than the pace glove. The pace glove's full vibram sole actually feels better underneath my feet as it is slightly stiffer and firm on the road. The Access Arch sole feels softer to me. A bummer is that after only two 4 mile runs the non-vibram part of the sole right behind my midfoot is starting to chafe off. I had high expectations for these shoes that they did not live up to. Perhaps runners looking for a real barefoot feel will like these as they truly do feel like a soft slipper upper with a bit under foot for protection.
Womens Merrell Bare Access Arc Running Shoe
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