Merrell sandals are well-proven and regularly feature at the top of Trail’s annual summer footwear review. This latest version offers most of what most people will want and it’s ideal for most situations too, a bit like a pair of clean and comfortable jeans. The price is a great too, sitting around the middle of the scale, yet still managing to hold off the higher-priced alternatives. What you get here is a great deal of features that really count when you are out and about. So you get a synthetic upper, which means it is fast-drying and ideal for water sports as well as land use. The straps offer a little more protection than some simple designs. While most sandals here are comfortable, these are definitely a little smoother on the foot. Like most other sandals the straps are secured with Velcro, but you also get a plastic buckle as well, which to my mind neither adds or detracts from the shoe … it is just there! The sole is precurved, which allows a more natural walking action than lesser sandals. Underfoot the sole stiffness is very good, which means you can step over rocks, or stumble off the curb without feeling too much discomfort underfoot. The outsole lug pattern is not quite as aggressive as some, but it is still good enough for general walking on most terrain that sandals would be expected to carry you. Finally the weight of this shoe is a little less than some others too, which is a real advantage to the backpacker. But if you pay more you can buy an even better sandal, although the benefits are slight rather than life-changing. However it is possible to get sandals that are even more comfortable, with an even stiffer sole and with a more aggressive lug pattern. A number of other sandals are lower in price, so if you are on a tight budget then the Merrell may not be for you.
Upper: synthetic leather, neoprene padding
Sole: Vibram Chameleon sport, antimicrobial footbed
Trail fit profile: forefoot 2; heel 2; volume 2; length 1
Sizes: 7-13(men’s); 4-8 (women’s)
Weight: 644g (size 11)
Made in Far East
Stores in UK: England 17; Wales 2; Scotland 9; Ireland 4
Verdict: Buy it if you want a mid-priced sandal that offers the level of performance you can rely on to make walking, river crossing, backpacking, travel and just lounging around comfortable.