Hiking boots are great. They protect your feet from the hazards of the trail, give you a grip on the most difficult terrain, and keep you comfortable in erstwhile challenging conditions. Problem is, they’re not exactly the best footwear to get you through your backcountry adventures in the summer. You know, those ones where you spend as much time in the river as you do on the trail. The Merrel Choprock should offer a better option.
Billed as “water-friendly hikers,” the shoes are designed for exploring trails located around lakes, rivers, and swamps, providing the necessary performance to keep you safe and comfortable the whole time. Whether you’re hiking through a mountain stream, wading through a shallow lake, or racing rafts on a river, this thing will keep you balanced, comfortable, and on the top of your game.
The Merrel Choprock looks like a cross between hiking shoes and aqua shoes, combining elements from both to make the footwear viable on both wet and dry surfaces. The outsole, for instance, is made with Vibram’s Megagrip material, which has proven itself extensively on slippery surfaces, allowing the shoe to keep you balanced and stable while traversing wet rocks, muds, and other wet sections of the backcountry. They pair that sticky material with 5mm lugs that provide the necessary traction for uneven terrain, ensuring you can hike through erstwhile difficult surfaces without slipping or losing balance.
A firm compression-molded midsole allows the shoe to provide additional stability and comfort, along with a molded TPU heel counter and integrated webbing loops to secure your feet all throughout the hike. It comes with a removable contoured EVA insole that’s fitted with a water-friendly top cover, so it maintains its appearance no matter how much it gets wet.
So far, it sounds like any of the outfit’s myriad of hiking shoes, right? Well, the Merrel Choprock also comes with a synthetic mesh upper that allow your feet to breathe, while drying quickly, so you can get it wet as much as you want without the darn thing staying that way all throughout the day. Midsole channels and drainage ports provide added ventilation while allowing water to quickly drain, so you never need to walk around with a puddle under your feet the moment you get off the water straight to shore. Basically, it gets the quick-drying, water-draining capabilities of hiking sandals sans the lack of protective cover.
Ever stubbed your toe while crossing a river with plenty of rocks on the bed? Not a problem here, with the shoe’s rubber toe bumpers keeping your feet’s tips protected against impact of all sorts, while the upper mesh takes care of keeping all debris away, leaving this way more protected than a standard hiking sandal. We know, it’s not going to deliver the same armored protection as traditional hiking boots, but it should be enough to keep you reasonably protected for hikes along water-heavy trails.
Available in four colorways, the Merrel Choprock is priced at $120.