I had my suspicions that these lime green shoes would blend in with the trail I usually run and in fact, they did. But the colour isn't the only compatibility factor I experienced: these shoes are adaptable and comfortable enough to sneak up on any spies I might encounter (like the monkeys hanging around MacRitchie Reservoir footpaths that look plenty suspicious to me.)
Features and Benefits
As I took my Merrell Bare Access Flex Knit shoes on their maiden voyage, I felt an immediate connection to the ground beneath my feet. Having read information from Merrell, I understand why I felt this way: they've been engineered to deliver ultimate adaptability and comfort, weighing in at a remarkable 7-ounces of lithe materials.
Technically, the molded TPU Hyperlock heel counter felt snug and I agree that underfoot comfort driven by 3mm of cushioning are responsible for this minor phenomenon. The foot bed is integrated, and the lace and lock system adds a final element of constraint that made me feel very secure, even when I felt I was being followed.
I've no doubt that the 14.2mm stack height running the length of the heel-to-toe span and 2mm lugs can be credited with transporting my steps evenly and precisely, and I've no complaints whatsoever about the FLEXconnect dual-directional flex groove midsole constructed of EVA material.
If Looks Could Kill
Allow me to begin talking about this shoe's appearance by explaining how grateful I felt to have opened the sample box sent by Merrell and discovered no tomato red Bare Access Flex Knit kicks inside. I believe the red style was popular on the other side of the planet, but who wants to attract notice while going undercover as an inconspicuous trail runner?
Instead, my feet luxuriated in the feel and performance of my lime green testers and I quickly understood why folks who got the first pairs of Merrell Bare Access Flex Knit shoes to find their way to store shelves were so impressed by the "feel." Elastic threads are woven into a remarkably malleable mesh shoe that feels so much like socks, I had to keep looking down to make sure I hadn't forgotten to put my shoes on.
Happily, no animals were killed to produce these shoes, either. Vegan-friendly, one assumes that only synthetic textiles were sacrificed in the production of these shoes, so even if you have been fearful or hesitant about shifting from a traditional trail-running shoe to a knit version, it's time to take the risk.
- The fit is incredulous; I mean it when I write that I've never experienced a better one.
- I found this shoe sized accurately; not sure if it's the elastic mesh or design that deserve credit.
- Merrell keeps brand-loyal shoppers in mind every time they return to the design table.
- I was prepared to criticise the non-stretch bungee laces. They don't stretch, but that doesn't matter; I can always use them as a defensive tool if a ninja sneaks up on me!
- When I heard rumors of bad fit (e.g., they run large), I figured I'd better warn review readers of this possibility.
- If you don't like the low heel that separates barefoot models from Merrell athletic shoes, keep walking.
- Not everyone says they're comfortable. That can be problematic when undertaking a long surveillance job!
For Your Eyes Only
I've always had a warm spot on my heart for spies. They work like crazy-who knows when they eat and sleep? On the other hand, I can't imagine a better shoe for trail run because Merrell Bare Access Flex Knit shoes are stealthy and comfy, conforming to my feet as if they were custom-made for me.
Would I recommend those red kicks? Hardly. You don't want to stand out. But if your mission is bettering your trail-running numbers and figuring out the many benefits of wearing a state-of-the-art mesh shoe to reach new goals, you needn't go undercover.
Slip on a pair and try them out. If you're not convinced that they can help you achieve mission impossible in ways you couldn't wearing your old trail runners, I promise not to out you. Besides, my mobile is unlisted and I'll be changing out the chip just as soon as I finish writing this review.
Do you think that mesh knit shoes are the wave of the future?
Merrell Bare Access Flex Knit is retailing at S$189 in Royal Sporting House. They are available in 5 colours – lime, vapor, red (mens, US 7 -13) and aqua, navy (womens, US 6-10).