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Merrell Mix Master Move Glide – Bare Access Arc 2 – Road Glove Dash 2 – Womens Running Shoe Review

David: Merrell continues to create a variety of running shoes for those interested in 0 – 4 mm heel-to-toe drops with minimal to moderate midsole cushioning.

EB contributors, Olga King and Julie Dolph received three test-drive pairs of tread to play in on both the dirt and road. After a month or so of pavement cruising, dirt dancing, rock navigating, and creek splashing, both Olga and Julie shared their thoughts on each pair of Merrell shoes.

Enjoy their test drive thoughts of the Merrell Mix Master Move Glide, Merrell Bare Access Arc 2, and Merrell Road Glove Dash 2

Merrell Mix Master Move Glide

Specs of Interest

  • Light and responsive with a sticky rubber sole.
  • Low profile 4 mm heel to ball drop. (Merrell spec)
  • Running Warehouse Stack Height (distance from foot to ground): 16 mm (heel), 11 mm (forefoot)
  • Bellowed tongue to keep debris out.
  • Molded nylon arch shank.
  • EVA removeable footbed. (Julie – I left mine in.)
  • Low profile vegan friendly, breathable upper mesh.
  • DWR treated upper repels water and resists staining.

Julie’s Test Drive

The Merrell Mix Master Move Glide is so similar in feel to my usual running shoe, the Saucony Kinvara, that I had no trouble getting used to running in it. It has a solid, no frills feel to it and is an excellent transition shoe for runners trying to make their way into more minimal shoes. There is a little bit of stiffness to the sole and just enough padding to take on my longer road runs although they perform very well on my local trails too which are a mix of sandy, clay and rooty terrain.

Like the Kinvara, it has a 4mm heel to ball drop which is my sweet spot for shoes. I’ve been wearing these for any road run longer than five miles. Arch support is minimal, which I like personally like. The toe box is very wide with more than enough room for my toes to splay naturally, something I consider important in a running shoe. At a light 7 ounces per shoe, they offer the best of minimal and cushion. Awesome! I’ve not ran through any large water crossings in these shoes but have ran in the rain with them and found them to drain well and stay comfortable.

Olga’s Test Drive

More sturdy shoe, but still lightweight. They good protection for long road runs and nasty trails. Runs well on both. The toe box is not as wide but kind of high so the toes still feel good. Cushy ride, BUT it seems that the sole wears off fast (squeezed in as if I made it 300 road miles, which I haven’t done even 70 total in those). They also do NOT drain! What’s up with that upper??? I would use these shoes for road marathons, but they are less bendy than Road Glove (guess not a glove after all). Hard to call it “beefy” as they are lighter than many road shoes or trail shoes, but they are not as contouring to your foot or the trail.

Usage: long road training runs, long trail runs on not very technical terrain (due to less flexibility).

Post test drive tread shot

Post test drive tread shot

Merrell Bare Access Arc 2

Specs of Interest

  • 0 mm heel to ball drop (Merrell spec)
  • Running Warehouse Stack Height (distance from foot to ground): 14 mm (heel), 13 mm (forefoot)
  • Lightweight EVA midsole
  • Vibram Pods for grip
  • Bellowed tongue keeps debris out
  • Reflective details for increased visibility in low light
  • Weighs in at a light 5.5 ounces

Julie’s Test Drive

The Merrell Bare Access Arc 2 feel like a glove on my foot . It’s hard for me to imagine a more comfortable shoe right out of the box. With that said, I’m not quite ready to run long distances in a zero drop shoe so these are my 5-mile-or-less shoes. The shoe hugs my mid-foot and feels like it provides a little bit of arch support. No worries about traction in these shoes, the Vibram soles are grippy and make it easy to toe off. While recovering from my first 50-mile trail race and needing a short shake-out run, I took these sexy little shoes for a spin through the neighborhood and was so impressed that I wore them to work the next day. Double duty shoes! I’ve also did some trail running with them and even unintentionally took them for a ride on some gravel and they happily performed great in all situations. I didn’t feel any of the sharp little rocks but still experienced that feeling of running barefoot as a kid. The shoes feel incredibly light and I’m able to comfortably wear them with or without socks with no blisters.

Right now these are relegated to my shorter runs but I hope to move down to a 0 mm drop shoe for my longer runs and when I do, these are the shoes that will be on my feet all the time. Fun, stylish shoes that make running even more fun!

Olga’s Test Drive

Basically, racing flats. Most close resemblance with either Nike road flats or NB 101 (the only New Balance trail shoe I ever owned and can compare to), but a touch more support at the bottom (what I personally loved). Great flexibility, super-light, enough protection from uneven hard surface, hugging around the heel if laced up properly. Makes you look speedy and feel speedy. Good on roads, track and trails – tried up to 13 miles total per run, no problems. Wide toebox – me like it!

The bad: NOT water-draining! Also, some water sips from the soles too, so if the road is even remotely wet, you get it on your socks/feet. The upper mesh also got a tear on the inside from no more than 70 miles total! The outsole also looks more worn than should have for the amount of miles/time used.

Usage: track, shorter (up to half-marathon or marathon for lighter runners) road distances, more groomed trails (PNW style).

Post test drive tread shot

Post test drive tread shot

Merrell Road Glove Dash 2

Specs of Interest

  • 0 mm heel to ball drop keeps you connected to your terrain (Merrell spec)
  • Running Warehouse Stack Height (distance from foot to ground): 11 mm (heel), 11 mm (forefoot)
  • 4 mm compression molded EVA midsole
  • Bellowed tongue keeps debris out
  • Vibram Pods for grip
  • Reflective details for increased visability in low light
  • Lightweight

Julie’s Test Drive

The Merrell Road Glove Dash 2 is so similar to the Merrell Bare Access 2 that it’s almost impossible to distinguish between the two — until you put one on each foot. The main difference is that the Bare Access 2 has more mid-foot cushioning and arch support and the Road Glove Dash 2 has slightly less cushion and more of a barefoot feel.

For the trial run, I took my Road Glove’s on a short trail run (I know, I know – they are ROAD gloves. But they feel great on trails too!) and I was impressed at how snugly they hugged my mid-foot and heel. As with most Merrell shoes, the toe box was roomy and felt great and my toes were happy. These shoes do best on roads and that is what they are designed for with the pancake smooth sole, but do perform well on tame dry trails.

My second run was on my neighborhood streets and these shoes are FAST and FUN! I noticed a subtle bit of support in the arch and mid-foot area but with these shoes I was able to feel the terrain and use my toes to curl and grip the road which gave me a quick, powerful toe-off. I go back and forth on which shoes I think are more comfortable, the Bare Access 2 or the Road Glove Dash 2 and honestly, it’s a toss up. They are both incredibly light and fun to run in. I’d say if you prefer a bit more arch support and cushion, go with the Bare Access 2. If you want a more minimal shoe without much support or cushion for maximum ground feel then you’d probably like the Road Glove Dash 2 more. I don’t think you could go wrong with either shoe. Both shoes are winners in the ever enlarging minimal footwear pool.

Olga’s Test Drive

Great road shoe! As with Bare Access 2, very light, have a bit more protection on the bottom, but very flexible and contour the rocks on trails greatly. Stood a test of 27 very gnarly trail miles and 15 road miles – both A+. Wide toe-box. Held together better than Bare Access 2 in about 90 miles total of mixed road and trails (Texas trails at that). Surprisingly great grip for the thread.

The bad: NOT water-draining! Also, some water sips from the soles too, so if the road is even remotely wet, you get it on your socks/feet. If you cross the creek or are in the rain, you have standing water to the end of the run (in my trial case it was 40 minutes and still wet and almost felt full inside).

If it wasn’t the draining problem, this shoe would be my choice for years to come to use in trail races up to 50 miles and in road marathons! Favorite of the three I had.

Post test drive tread shot

Post test drive tread shot

Overall Impressions on these three Merrell shoes (I used these three pairs rotating non-stop for exactly one month):

  • Light
  • Flexible
  • Wide toebox
  • Comfy ride, enough protection
  • Not water-drainable, seeping water through the bottom as well
  • Not very durable in upper OR sole (tears, wears off inside crease, compresses with use too much)

David: If interested in any of the above Merrell tread, you can purchase them at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).

Thanks to Olga and Julie for test driving and sharing their thoughts with us on a few of the ever growing lineup of Merrell shoes.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

Olga King and Julie Dolph Olga King (Varlamova) has picked up a second wind of running at the beginning of her fourth decade. With the success of being a self-proclaimed “freight train that never stops”, she has finished over 100 races at distances from the marathon and beyond. Julie Dolph's running journey began 13 years ago and has since learned so much about herself. She learned about personal strength and perseverance. Anything is possible! Three years after starting this trail running journey, Julie is proud to have finished a variety of distances up to 50 miles. For more information on Olga and Julie, check out the About page .

One Response to “Merrell Mix Master Move Glide – Bare Access Arc 2 – Road Glove Dash 2 – Womens Running Shoe Review”

  1. on 18 Mar 2013 at 11:01 am jason

    Nice job ladies. I think the guy in NM should probably get his comments in very soon!