Merrell Kahuna lll Women’s sport sandal
UK price: £75
Pros: Sturdy, light, easy to clean
Cons: Not available in half sizes
Verdict: A good sandal for walking and hiking in the heat
Rating: 4 stars
Available: Merrell stores and online
For most of the time, I can wear trainers or stout walking boots to tramp around cities. But come fine weather and sunshine, one definitely needs a pair of sandals.
There are two types of sandals. Firstly, the ones you wear to walk a few feet from the car to the restaurant you are visiting. These are flimsy, albeit pretty affairs, totally impractical but extremely attractive. The second types are the ugly, thick, heavy boys’ sandals/Greenham Common variety that I resisted for years. But having more blisters on my feet than freckles on my face on a particularly memorable jaunt around Washington DC, I decided I really should get myself a decent pair of sensible footwear for hot weather.
Cue Merrell Footwear. Two things surprised me about the sandals. Firstly, they were really light. And secondly, they were not that ugly. In fact, they looked quite OK. I had chosen a neutral grey and painting my toenails to match, they almost looked attractive.
So far so good. I have never had a comfortable pair of sandals in my life, so as you can imagine, I was not optimistic. I broke them in a bit around the house for a few hours and then jumped in at the deep end by wearing them on my next trip – to Milan, in a heat wave – on a day I planned to do some serious clothes shopping, walking several miles over about seven hours.
The sandals are cleverly designed so that there is nothing to chafe. The toes protrude at the front, the heel is held firmly with a cushioned support and a Velcro strap holds down the top of the foot.
To begin with, I had the strap too tight, so after a bit the top of my foot hurt, but once I had adjusted this, the sandal felt very comfortable.
I also took them with me to India. It was monsoon season, so as well as the humid, intolerable heat of Delhi, my sandals also had to deal with occasional heavy rain. They coped very well in both instances. Footing is secure, even in the wet (except on wet marble, but I doubt anything is secure on that surface).
The sandals are easy to clean with a quick wipe of the insole with a damp cloth, so always feel fresh.
Needless to say, I have a new respect for these ‘hiking’ sandals and they will be accompanying me on my trip to Buenos Aires and I suspect, all my jaunts to hot weather locations.