After a disastrous attempt to complete my second marathon (collapsing at mile 25, in case you’re wondering – couldn’t have got much worse!) I’d kind of put running on the backburner for a while. But with the threat of the inevitable Christmas overindulgence looming over me, I decided that now was probably a good time to get the running shoes back on. But the problem was which shoes?
As I was researching this question, I started to consider the barefoot running approach. Having lived in Brighton for a few years it was not unusual to see people running around the city with no shoes on at all. While I didn’t quite fancy this, I was interested to see the running shoes which are available for those wanting to ease themselves into the barefoot running style.
There are arguments for and against barefoot running and I think it’s up to individuals to decide what is best for them, based on their own health and running style. However, as I have had knee problems in the past, I opted to go for a pair of shoes which are designed to ease the wearer into it.
The Merrell Women’s Bare Access Arc 2 has a 0mm ball-to-heel drop to encourage ‘ground feel’ (meaning the sole is level against the ground, letting your foot fall naturally) but also contains some cushioning to help you get used to the style of running. This made me feel more confident about making the transition.
The shoes are only available in light blue from Blacks, although it does stock other pairs from the Merrell range.
The first thing I noticed when I put the shoes on was how lightweight they were. The synthetic mesh design and lightweight sole means they weigh just 326g so, compared to my normal running shoes, it already felt as though I was barefoot. (This will definitely be a benefit if I want to pop them in my backpack when I’m travelling.)
The shoes are designed for trail running so I headed to my local park to test them out.
They were very comfortable to run and walk in and have sticky rubber pods on the sole to help with gripping.
The only downside with such a lightweight shoe is that it’s not going to be waterproof, which may be a bit grim when you’re out on those trails.
In the first few runs I’ve done in the shoes I feel as though I’ve adapted quite easily to the style of running, although I’m keeping a close eye on my knees. But all in all I’m very pleased with their design and comfort and I think they’re helping me to adapt well to the barefoot running style. Hopefully they’ll be just what I need to get me back out there, counting down the miles.
A big thank you to blacks.co.uk for the shoes. All views are my own.