Over the last few years, Toe Salad has published some articles and reviews about Merrell shoes suitable for winter use. Winter here means sub-freezing temperatures and snow which often requires thicker insulating soles than typically found in most minimalist shoes. Since shoe models change so quickly and there is no way we could review them all before the cold hits, we thought we would give you a short overview on a few Merrell models that might help get you through the impending winter.

Two models we previously reviewed have been updated/superseded by two new models, that are almost identical. The first is the Proterra which has now been replaced by the Verterra, and the second is the Ascend Glove which has now been replaced by the Bare Access Trail.

Bare Access Trail

The Bare Access Trail is a zero-drop shoe with 8 mm cusioning and 15.5 mm stack height (2 mm more cushioning and 5 mm more stack height than it's predecessor). It is available in both waterproof (GoreTex) and non-waterproof versions. The lugs have a maximal depth of 4 mm. This shoe can be used for running and hiking but also looks good enough to be used as an around-town sneaker. It comes in bright but also less striking colours.

Similarly, the Bare Access Arc comes with 8 mm of cushioning and 13.5 mm of stack height, is designed for road running, and has a different sole. The Arc is not available with waterproof uppers.

The shoes are all washable and vegan friendly.

Merrell Bare Access Trail - Waterproof for Men
The Merrell Bare Access Trail with waterproof (GoreTex) uppers for men.
Merrell Bare Access Trail - Waterproof for Women
The Merrell Bare Access Trail with waterproof (GoreTex) uppers for women.
Merrell Bare Access Trail - Sole
The outsole of the Merrell Bare Access Trail.


The Verterra, like the Proterra, has 4 mm of drop and 21.5 mm of stack height. With its wide toebox, flat sole, and great underfoot stability, the Proterra was a good option for winter. The sole of the Proterra was not very suitable for off road hiking so Merrell has designed a new sole for the Verterra. This new sole has relatively flat lugs so it will perform better off-road while still giving a stable ride. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph the new sole - sorry!

The Verterra will be made available in several versions: a mid-height and a low-top shoe, a non-waterproof and two types of waterproof shoes. There will be a leather waterproof shoe with Merrell's own M-Select Dry technology and a sport version made with mesh and GoreTex. Availability of the different types might differ depending on which country you live in.

Merrell Verterra
The Merrell Verterra. On the left is the mens version, on the right is the womens.

Concluding Thoughts

Merrell's barefoot shoe line seems to be moving in the direction of more cushioned shoes. The Road Glove 3 that we recently reviewed is being dropped. Merrell will also stop making minimal shoes for kids. This is very unfortunate, as they made a very nice zero-drop Proterra for kids last winter.