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Water Shoes

Merrell Choprock Sieve Water Shoe Review

The Merrell Choprock Sieve Water Shoe is built exactly like you would expect from a company that primarily focuses on hiking boots. These hiker-focused water shoes are rugged, effective and ready for whatever terrain you throw at them.

Merrell choprock water shandal. That's right, "shandal."

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With their quick-pull bungee lacing system, these shoes wrap tightly around the foot, providing one of the snuggest fits of any water shoes we've tested. This lacing system worked flawlessly in our testing, and Merrell refers to these as "quick-action" laces.

If you are on the hunt for a more secure fit, you can tighten the laces to any level. The soles of these shoes are sturdy and thick, definitely the best support of any water shoe we tested. They kept us from feeling rubble and rocks at all points of the testing process. In addition, the waterproof synthetic uppers provide a structured feel that is supportive without any rubbing or slippage.

Initial Thoughts on Unboxing

When we unboxed these shoes, the first thought that went through our heads was that we ordered the wrong item. But it was no mistake, these shoes just appear nothing like your average water shoes. The bottoms feature the same Vibram outsole you expect from Merrell hiking shoes and boots, and their outward appears makes their toughness immediately obvious.

These shoes weigh in as some of the heaviest we tested, bested only by one of the options from KEEN, which offer similar features for hiking and at a similar price point. That said, these shoes are the real deal. When it comes to water/hiking hybrids, these shine, but do have some disadvantages as a result.

Putting Them Through Their Paces

We spent a lot of time testing the Merrell shoes in the elements at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Our tests included:

  • An ocean test: sugar sand, waves, and hard packed sand.
  • Next, a river test: rocky creek beds, sandy shorelines, and flowing water.
  • Finally, a hiking test: over pine needles, sand, puddles, and standard trail surfaces.

Now, find out how they fared.

The Ocean Test

The Merrell Choprock Shandal didn't perform well in the ocean test. They are a heavier, bulkier shoe than most others we tested, and this hinders their performance in deep water. Remember, Merrell built these for splashing through streams or while hiking. For this reason, they didn't do great when moving through sugar sand and when trying to move around in the ocean. This didn't surprise us: these shoes are not for the ocean, but we like to be thorough!

The River Test

se shoes performed admirably in the river test. The Vibram soles did a wonderful job sticking to rocks without slipping or sliding. We felt no sticks or sharp rocks through the soles during the river testing process.

The Hiking Test

The Merrell Choprock excels in hiking as Merrell made them specifically for this use. With the soul (and sole) of a hiking boot, they breezed through our hiking tests. In fact, we've since put them through much more strenuous hikes and they've held up to many miles of walking and hiking through all sorts of terrain.

Side by side view of the lacing system and the Vibram outsole of Merrell water shandal

Advantages and Disadvantages

While the Merrell Choprock water shoe performed well, with features such as a quick pull bungee lacing system, heavy duty uppers, a thick Vibram outsole, and more, there are some pros and cons to these shoes. You'll find a quick summary of these points below.

Advantages of the Merrell Choprock Sieve Water Shoe

  • Incredibly comfortable shoes in all areas except deep sugar sand, this option from Merrell is wonderful both in and out of the water. We thought these would take an hour to dry, but as an added bonus they dried out incredibly fast!
  • Putting these shoes on and taking them off was a breeze thanks to the patented and well thought out lacing system. These laces also provided a really snug fit, ideal for more intense hiking scenarios.
  • The treads on these shoes (Vibram soles, remember) provide intense gripping on every surface we tested. These soles were ideal for hiking (for example, the Narrows would be a piece of cake).

Disadvantages of the Merrell Choprock Sieve Water Shoe

  • With continuous, heavy use across a variety of terrains and adventures, we believe these soles will wear down relatively quickly. They have such large cutouts to improve traction, that it reduces the surface area, and that bottom surface will then wear down more quickly. Many reviewers mention that as the sole wears down, their traction falters as well.
  • For our hiking, the relatively large openings along the sides of the upper tended to let in a good bit of rock, sticks, and dirt. We stopped to clean them out more than once.

Our Final Thoughts on the Merrell Choprock Sieve

The Merrell Choprock water shoe fared incredibly well in both the river and hiking tests. However, they waterlogged quickly and felt extremely heavy on sandy terrains and in deep water. But, if you find yourself hiking through wetter areas or across streams and are not concerned about occasional rubbing from dirt, these water shoes will take you the extra mile in the grip and comfort departments. Overall, we liked these shoes for hiking, and they're one of our top choices. A similar offering we tested that you might want to look at for comparison is in our review of the KEEN Newport H2 sandal.

For more water shoe options for hiking or for other activities, check out our comprehensive guide to the best water shoes.

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