I’m a sucker for a two-strap comfort sandal, whether I’m running errands, going for a casual stroll, or just puttering around the house. In fact, outside of when I’m doing something more active, I’m rarely caught in anything but my Birkenstock Arizonas.
Then, when SELF’s 2023 Sneaker Awards came around, I had the opportunity to test a sample of the Merrell Hut Ulta Wrap, a sandal similar in style to my Birkenstocks but waterproof and with more cushion. As a big fan of water sports, I’m always excited to try out new pool- and beach-friendly options, so I was intrigued by this new product. I slipped on a pair to see if they could earn a regular spot in my footwear rotation.
Who it’s for
This sandal is made for people who want a convenient, waterproof recovery shoe. For example, if you’re someone like me who loves to swim laps, this is the perfect pair to wear to and from the pool. It’s also a great option if comfort is key for you: Merrell is known for durable, comfy shoes, and the Hut Ultra Wrap Sandal takes it a step further with the inclusion of two different types of foam for cushioning and support.
Out of the box
My first impression of the shoe was that it seemed like the epitome of the ugly-chic trend. I tried a pair in the Burlwood colorway, a pretty neutral pink-and-beige combination (which actually doesn’t particularly remind me of burl). “They’re so ugly and cute at the same time,” I slacked my colleagues upon receiving the sandals. I meant it as a high compliment.
Fit and feel
There’s a whole lot of foam in the Hut Ultra Wrap, which makes for a very lightweight shoe. Its adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit to the right width for you, and they were sturdy enough so my feet felt secure and stable when I walked in them.
On my activity
I first wore the Merrell Hut Ultra Wraps to the pool, where I spent the afternoon with a friend. We went from there to an art studio-warming party nearby, and I ended up wearing the sandals for the rest of the evening. The shoes were great at the pool; they were easy to slip in and out of, and dried quickly even after I took a shower in them. Later, at the party, I stood around socializing in them for several hours and felt comfortable the entire time.
After that night, I wore them countless times to the pool and the beach. These sandals provide an extremely comfortable cushion, and no matter how much water splashed onto them on the pool deck, they didn’t remain soaked. Another thing I loved about these shoes is that they were sturdy enough to drive in—my previous go-to waterproof sandals were not.
I did take the Hut Ultra Wraps on a 15-minute walk from my house to a nearby restaurant one evening, and that was a step too far. They don’t have quite enough support for that kind of a stroll. (Luckily I got a ride home that evening.) I decided that, as amazing as these sandals are, they’re best used for recovery or more chill days rather than being more active.
The bottom line
I love these sandals. They are the perfect recovery shoe for anything water-related, and I actually enjoy them so much that I find myself using them on dry land almost as much. The Merrell Hut Ultra Wraps have replaced my flimsy flip-flops, and my feet are so much happier for it. If you’re in the market for a sturdy, comfortable recovery sandal, I can’t recommend these enough. Though they’re not supportive enough to wear during higher-intensity activity, they’re great for pretty much everything else.