Bare Access 3
  • Just got a pair of the Bare Access 3s in sky blue (good looking shoe). I haven't run in them yet, but I figured I'd mention a few changes from the second version, and there really are only a few. The mesh the upper is made of is different - it seems thinner but also a tighter weave. Also, they added a gusseted tongue, which is connected to a soft layer of mesh inside the shoe. Little stones getting in the shoe was my main complaint about the BA2, so it's a welcome addition to me. The last is unchanged, but the shoe does feel a bit wider in the forefoot, maybe due to the new upper material. It seems a lot of people loved the BA2, so it's good that Merrell only made minimal changes, and so far at least they all seem positive.

  • I'll concur with Dan and put in another endorsement for the BA3. The new
    upper mesh is the selling point for me. I had the BA2, but the mesh was
    too flimsy - it started tearing by the ball of the foot after 150 miles
    or so (had the same problem with a pair of Ascend Glove, which uses the
    same mesh as the BA2). I've got 200 miles on my BA3 now, and they seem
    sturdy - most of that is on the road, but probably 20%+ is on trails.
    Mesh is still pretty breathable without feeling too weak.
  • Do they fit the same as the BA2?  The upper on mine was burst through at least partially at the ball of my foot on both pairs I had.
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • How's the cushioning?  I love my BA2s, and wear them casually literally every chance I get, but they are too firm for me to run much more than 5K or so without my feet feeling pounded upon.  I'd love to able to run these shoes for a half marathon or greater.
  • My feeling about Merrell's cusioned shoes is similar to Jake. Too firm for my taste. Been running in the AllOut rush and it's a jarring ride on anything but a really soft surface.
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  • Bryan- Fit is the same, as far as I can tell. I had the exact same problem with the BA2 upper blowing out on me. But Merrell was good enough to exchange them for the BA3. Uppers on these ones seem much sturdier w/o being heavier. If you've still got 'em, try contacting Merrell to get them swapped out!

    Jake - Cushioning is not noticeably different that the BA2, so only look here if you need a good casual shoe! I'm lucky enough to do most of my "road" running on dirt/farm roads or other soft surfaces, so the cush is usually okay for me (except for long+fast runs, I'll admit).
  • Jake, I should add to my previous comment, it's not firmness that causes me problems, but more that I need a bit more cushion on some of my longer+ faster runs.

    Also, the cushioning does soften up considerably over time. Just tested out the feel of the ones I'm currently running in, compared to an unworn pair I've got as a backup. The unworn ones are certainly firm, but the used ones are really pretty darn comfortable. Wish I could say how long it takes to break in the cushioning, but I can't really remember specifically when they softened up.
  • I agree completely. I did a long run in the new BA3s yesterday and my feet felt pretty beat up, but the same long run in my old BA2s last week felt fine. I've run a half marathon in them before, but I'm planning to try them in a full marathon this spring. I don't mind the firm midsole, but I'm still looking forward to trying the BA Ultra when they come out.

  • I have had the same issues. I have been a Merrell supporter for years. I ran in all three versions of the BA and experienced great things, but also had some wear issues around the ball of the foot at around the 200 mile mark.

    I have increased my mileage dramatically in the past 9 months for marathon and 50K training. In that time I have used the Pearl Izumi Road and Trail N1's while keeping my BA for shorter runs and daily training.

    The BA Ultra looks good. Does anyone know when it will come out. Needing to replace my N1 road version and would love to try those.

    Merrell All Out Fuse - Anyone tried that?

  • I haven't put on one pair of Merrell shoes that I've liked. I don't know how people run in those things. I haven't tried the Vapor Glove though. It seems to me that if you want a good minimal road shoe, just get a racing flat. There is no "minimalist" shoe better than the Mizuno WU 5.
  • That premise is a bit flawed.  There're people who'd claim there're better minimalist shoes out there.
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • PD- Word is that the BA Ultra is slated to come out beginning of June, but I heard that back in January/February. Couldn't find anything more on release date when I went looking about a week ago, so not sure if that's still the target release.

    Got 300 miles now on one of my pairs of BA3, and they seem to be holding up well - no signs of wear along the arch where several of us had problems with past models.

    As for the Fuse, I think Pete tried that but found it a bit firm (like he's found much of the Merrell line). Haven't heard much else about it.

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