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Free Shoes For You, Him and Me

Barefoot running has always intrigued me. Maybe intrigue isn't the right word. I've always been curious, but in a kind of, "did you guys know that they make real shoes?" kind of way. Sure, I would be interested in trying a pair of minimalist shoes just to see what the fuss was about, but I wasn't about to pay $100+ just to relearn how to run.

And then I was contacted by, who offered me the chance to try out a pair of minimalist shoes from Merrell. Oh, they're free? Then, yes. Yes, I'm interested. I tried out the Merrell Bare Access Arc in the very fancy color of Adriatic. Um, that's blue for you people who don't speak Crayola 64.  They have a 0mm heel to toe drop (AKA, no chunky heel) and they weigh less than five ounces. That's really, really noticeable. They are incredibly light to hold in your hand and to wear on your feet.

My first reaction was that they looked a little...not fast. Yeah, I know, I'm far from the epitome of fast and shouldn't be talking. But they have a rounded front that is not at all what I expected, so aesthetically I wasn't impressed. I know it's not supposed to be about how the running shoes LOOK, but there you go.

I was tempted to just toss them on and go for a run, but then I remembered that that's the worst idea ever. I read up on how to transition to barefoot running. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert, but I will say that my first run in them was half a mile, and it took me a while to transition to beyond a full mile. If you are interested in the transition, here are some expert links: Active, Huff Post and Harvard.

Final opinion of the shoe: I would not recommend them unless you are dealing with chronic injuries that you haven't had success treating any other way, or maybe if you want to gain some speed in short distances. Honestly, I can't imagine wearing these for a long run. Even after a long, slow transition, I still get slight pains in the Achilles tendon area after frequent use. But, I look forward to trying them out for an upcoming mile race or maybe even a 5k. Since they force you to run on the ball of your foot, it feels natural to get into that sprinting mentality and pick up the pace.

So, free shoes? I got mine. Want a pair too? Head over to this voting contest - your vote will be your entry into the contest for a free pair of Merrell shoes (up to $110 value).

Now, um....I hate to influence your vote here. No, I'm lying. The point of writing this is to influence your opinion. If you have ever read the very funny Detroit Runner, then you might want to vote for him! There are only four people in this contest (for who best lives the Merrell lifestyle) and I'd love him to win. So, go over there and do your good deed for the day. If it nets you a free pair of shoes, so be it, right?

Have you ever tried barefoot running? Anyone have any tips to share about the transition?
Before this, I had never tried it. Honestly, I'm happy I gave it a try but I'm not sure that it made much of a difference for me, primarily because I didn't have any stride issues, knee pain, etc. to start with.

Do you wear the same shoes for all your runs?
Right now, yes. I always have. I rarely have more than one kind of shoe on the go, and if I do it's two of the same pair. However, I felt faster in these (probably because they are so light) and I think I'll make it a habit of wearing a lighter shoe for these short races - although not necessarily a minimalist shoe.

I received a pair of Merrell running shoes for free courtesy of, but the review is my own. Got that, FTC? Good.


  1. Pretty much the only barefoot running I've done is when I'm in the kitchen getting a drink or something and Eric yells out "it's back on!" referring to whatever show we are watching. Now we have DVR so even that no longer happens. Wearing a shoe for half a mile then going back home to change into another pair of shoes for the rest of my run isn't really appealing for me.

  2. I'm a stay at home wife, so I spend nearly everyday with naked feet. Unless I'm running or headed to the store, I don't wear shoes or socks. I've got some track flats that I do speed work in, but otherwise I run in lightweight trainers or cushion shoes---and feel no need to train otherwise. I also don't have chronic injuries that would force me to look elsewhere. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? :)

  3. I run barefoot when I'm trying to catch a toddler, but that's pretty much where it ends. I'm a fan of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" and normal shoes work just fine for me.

    I would probably try a free pair, just because I'm a shoe whore.

  4. I tried to run in this kind of shoes.....I got hurt and I also I gave up!
    I use 2 different shoes for now...I was supposed to keep track of mileage but I have been very bad at doing this. ( go see all the new pics I uploaded lots of YOU in the 389)

  5. I think it's ridiculous when people buy minimalist shoes just because it's trendy, etc. I mean, you can seriously injure yourself. However, if you are really looking to transition to going barefoot and have done the research, then I think it's great. Obviously, I'm biased because Mike is a legit barefoot runner (as in no shoes), so I've seen how it can work and be great for you.

    I love my shoes and haven't had any problems with them, so I see no need to go minimalist myself.

  6. I tried the Brooks Pure Flow shows about 8 months ago after hearing aton of people loving them. They are an in between shoe for regular vs. minimalist with a 4mm drop instead of 0 and I've absolutely fallen in love.

    I had no issues with my previous shoes but these are much lighter and I'm forced to land mid-foot. Haven't had any injury problems since!

  7. I love the Saucony Kinvara 3. I think it has a 4mm heel though, so it's not a TRUE minimal shoe, but it's got a much lower heel drop than a normal running shoe. I used them for my last marathon and they were great! I love the lightness especially!

  8. i’ve attempted the brooks pure flows-and they were screwing me up. i have newtons too-but didn’t love them. i run in my brooks defyance or my mizuno wave riders. or, let’s hope i will be in the next 6 weeks or so :):)

  9. Thanks for the shout out. I've been trying to catch up with my blog reading!!

  10. Hi Vanessa! I tried the Altra Eves and they are the same idea. i absolutely cannot wear them for long runs. I run completely different in them (on my toes, like you said) and it just hurts too much if I wear them for more than about a 5K. They are perfect for doing Insanity and other plyometric exercises though because they are so lightweight!

  11. I have an old inury with my left foot that flares up a lot. I wouldn't dare try it...but who knows, maybe it would be good for it? Btw, I'm cool with our views differing when it comes to politics...we still have running, right? :) LOL.

  12. I've been barefoot running or running in minimal footwear for 4 years. Literally changed my life and got rid of chronic back pain and knee issues. I'm lucky to live in an area with a large barefoot running community. Some of our races even have a barefoot division for awards.

    I spent almost a year researching proper technique and ramping up my miles slowly. That is key! I've done a half marathon in Vibram Five Fingers but prefer 5 and 10ks because i'm built for speed not distance. :-) It is recommended to learn technique completely barefoot - which isn't necessarily practical i know! For shoes i alternate among Merrell Pace Gloves, New Balance Minimus and VFFs for trails and Nike Frees for longer road runs.

    Plus you can teach an old dog new tricks. I'm in my 50s and routinely place in my age group now. I've noticed some of the local elites are incorporating barefoot time into their training. As is one of the world's elite ultra runners - Tony Krupicka. He does 100 mile runs in minimal New Balance.

    If nothing else, it's definitely interesting to learn about.


  13. I have never run barefoot - I am too much of a heal striker - I am sure I would get injured.

    I have been running in the same (brand/model) of shoe for about 5 years now.

  14. i have a pair of new balance minimus, but i really only lift weights in them. don't see myself running in them because i heel strike like crazy!

  15. Hi! I just found your blog. I haven't been running for long so I'm no expert, but I love running in Vibram FiveFinger shoes. I have the Seeya and Komodo sport. I switched over to minimalistic shoes because I have a lower back injury from years ago and snapping hip syndrome. My brothers persuaded me to try them out and I am so grateful! I don't have back pain or snapping hip anymore. I actually didn't take any time to transition, I just jumped right in and haven't had any problems.

  16. I just wanted to say that when I got my Altras I HATED HATED....I tried to run in them and then I took a break, switched back to brooks BUT my running form I guess didn't go back, so I was still properly striking. I recently began running in my Altras again (which are a zero drop shoe) and I LOVE THEM. I have no idea how or why it happened, it just did. The longest I've run in them is only 8 miles though. I know that Suz likes them, she runs halfs in hers.

    Anyway my point is - just sub them in every once in a while and you may find you actually like them later on.


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