Merrell Kahuna blends an open toe with support and comfort. A suede upper with a neoprene-like lining, including a band over the forefoot, combines side strapping with ventilation, to create a versatile all-terrain sandal. While the toe is open, the footbed is shaped, and slightly tipped up, to offer a small amount of front protection. Side protection and foot security is excellent, with the suede strapping sitting inside the edge of the footbed, with reinforcing at the ankle. The back loop hugs the heel; it has no adjustment but I didn’t need any (I have an ‘average’ width heel). The footbed is grippy when wet and dry, with a hint of instep support. A Velcro strap at the ankle and a small plastic buckle at the forefoot are secure and positive. The sole unit has small lugs with a 3mm depth, which worked well on all types of terrain and offered cushioning on rough ground, although I find rounded lugs slip on wet rock.
First published: Spring 2014