Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Last updated date: April 23, 2021

DWYM Score

8.8

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

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We looked at the top Women's Trail Running Shoes and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Women's Trail Running Shoe you should buy.

Update as September 14, 2021:
Checkout The Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe for a detailed review of all the top women's trail running shoes.

Overall Take

With this stylish pair of women's trail running shoes, you'll want to spend more time in the great outdoors. The shoes have a mesh upper to allow for proper air flow, so you're feet stay nice and cool while you run. They're also designed for durability, so you won't have to worry about replacing them prematurely.


In our analysis of 50 expert reviews, the Merrell Flex Women's Trail Running Shoes placed 8th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Powered by FLEXconnect™ for hybrid performance—experience ultimate versatility, comfort, and ground connection on the trail, road, and beyond.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

9.2
6 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.1
573 user reviews

What experts liked

The Bare Access Flex delivers a nimble ride with just enough cushioning to handle most terrain.
- Runner's World
Breathable mesh and TPU upper reduce moisture and temperature
- Runner Click
There were some who thought that the toe box was nicely shaped; not too wide but also not restrictive.
- RunRepeat
The zero-drop design will appeal to minimalist runners, and the shoe does offer a fair amount of responsiveness on the road and trail, resulting in an agile feel with good traction on both surfaces.
- Women's Running
It's a good looking and bare bones looking upper that actually conceals some nice extra features. The lining is a neoprene material that's meant to control moisture and odor, as is the anti-microbial footbed (which is not removable).
- Road Trail Run
This footwear is designed for all sorts of terrain yet they're amazingly lightweight.
- Run Society

What experts didn't like

Testers also reported that the upper fits a little snug.
- Runner's World
Zero drop is not for everyone
- Runner Click
The fabric of the upper has worn out after a brief time, a lot of users observed.
- RunRepeat
Testers noted that the arch was high and the midsole was very firm, resulting in discomfort for some.
- Women's Running
They do run large, so I recommend sizing down from your usual running shoe size by a 1/2 size.
- Road Trail Run
You could have a little issue to get a perfect fit if you need ½-size as there is no availability of ½-sizes.
- Run Society

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

An Overview On Women's Trail Running Shoes

Running is a great form of exercise for fitness novices and seasoned experts. When done on a regular basis, running helps to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system. Runners also typically have strong leg and thigh muscles, in addition to having high bone density in the legs and hips.

Many runners choose to run on even ground, such as on treadmills and sidewalks. While that certainly has its own benefits, trail running can provide additional physical benefits. Trail running involves running on uneven terrain. It also includes running uphill and downhill, often on very steep inclines.

As a result of running uphill and downhill, trail running actually provides better strength training for legs as compared to road running. Trail runners also need to sharpen their balance and agility skills, ensuring they don’t fall on uneven ground, which is often full of rocks and tree roots. In addition, trail running involves navigating sharp turns and steep slopes, so runners need to be acutely aware of their surroundings.

In addition to the physical benefits of trail running, there are also numerous benefits to one’s mental health. Running helps to increase vitality and enhance energy. It can also help to reduce stress and tension. Exercising in the outdoors can help people feel more relaxed and build a closer bond with nature. This is known to boost creativity and feelings of positivity.

In order to protect the joints and muscles from the strains of trail running, it’s critical to have the proper shoes. Road shoes and trail shoes are built differently as they are made for two completely unique environments. Road shoes are made of lightweight material to encourage speed. There is not much need for traction in the soles of the shoes, as roads are an even surface.

Trail shoes, on the other hand, are more heavy-duty. Their job is to protect the foot from the elements of the uneven terrain. The soles of the trail shoes have enhanced tread patterns so that the runner doesn’t slip or fall while navigating stones, sticks, roots and other obstacles on the trail.

“You’re looking for that traction on the bottom of the foot but also durability on the outside of the foot,” Stephanie Mansour, a certified personal trainer and the founder of fitness brand Step It Up Steph, advises. She notes that you want a trail shoe made with materials that will support and protect your foot from rocks, tree roots or anything else you may knock into on the trail

“Unlike a running or a walking shoe, you’re looking for a shoe that is a little bit stiffer,” Mansour says. “This is because it needs to withstand the treacherous environment that you won’t find in a gym or on a sidewalk! These shoes need to be built to last.”

The Women's Trail Running Shoe Buying Guide

  • The most important element to consider when purchasing your trail shoes is the sole of the shoe. This is what will protect your feet from the various terrain you’ll encounter on your run. The ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes boasts a strong rubber sole with multi-surface traction. Other shoes have a rubber outsole that allows the runner to experience a more responsive feel of the terrain. They provide a strong grip on the uneven terrain. The New Balance Fresh Foam Women’s Trail Running Shoes features a rubber sole with all-terrain tread.
  • In order to have the comfort you need to complete long, intense runs, it’s critical for your trail running shoe to have solid support for your foot. Women’s trail running shoes with a cushioning system are an excellent choice. Some even have a removable foam sock liner that accommodates orthotics. A shoe with removable insoles is ideal, as it’s designed to support the arches. This helps you to transfer weight over the ball of the feet and not put too much pressure on the arch.
  • When running outdoors, it’s important to choose a shoe that can withstand the elements. You want a women’s trail running shoe that is waterproof, so you can easily run in the rain without soaking your socks. Keep in mind that some shoes take a long time to dry when they get wet.
  • If you have a particularly wide or narrow foot, it’s important to choose a shoe that accommodates your size. The ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes is known to have a narrow inside, which can limit the flexing of the feet. The New Balance Fresh Foam Women’s Trail Running Shoes, on the other hand, is good for those with wider feet.
  • When dealing with rough terrain with lots of loose rocks and dirt, your trail running shoes are bound to get a bit muddy. If you want your shoes to look spic and span after a few wears, it’s important to choose one that can be easily cleaned. It can be difficult to wash the dirt out of the mesh fabric of the ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes.
  • For some runners, style is as important as function. It’s nice to have the option to choose a trail running shoe that comes in color combinations that reflect your unique style. All four trail running shoes come in multiple color combinations. Note that the ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes and the New Balance Fresh Foam Women’s Trail Running Shoes come in fewer colors than other trail running shoes.