At the end of October I bought a pair of Merrell Bare Access Flex. Absolutely loved the shoes from the first run. I instantly became a fan of the zero drop shoe style which is closer to running barefoot.
After only about 80mi / 130km of running, I started to notice some tearing forming on the outside of both shoes near that darker rubberized swoosh.
Turns out I’m not the only one experiencing these problems. I saw the reviews before I bought the shoe but I didn’t want to believe them. I still didn’t want to believe it. How could a shoe that felt so great start to fall apart so quickly? I had already put 300mi / 500km on my last pair of Nike running shoes so this seemed awful.
I did what the Merrell customer service team suggested to do on many of those reviews – contact them. I sent them a picture of the damage, details of the purchase, and an explanation as to what was happening. They got back to me shortly after and asked for me to select three alternatives to this shoe from their site and another picture of the damage. After about a week I got a notice back saying they would be replacing the shoes with my first choice but I’d need to cut the tongues out of the shoes and send them a picture to prove their destruction.
I replied back asking if it were possible to destroy them after receiving the new pair – my old running shoes really were in a bad shape and I didn’t want to use them. After another week of no reply I sucked it up, cut the tongues out, and sent them the picture.
These shoes had plenty of life left in them and it felt awful having to make them useless. But in the end they replied back shortly after and said my replacement shoes were on their way.
I just got the replacements today and already took them for a spin. The Merrell Trail Runner 4 shoes are very similar in design (zero drop, lightweight, flexible) but are a bit tougher since they’re made for trail running. They also seem to be a little more appropriate for colder weather.
Here’s to getting more than 80mi out of them!