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The Summer Sandal That’s Up for Anything (and Won’t Ruin Your Feet)

Summer is sandal season, but it’s also the time of year when foot pain can be at its worst. Flat sandals, flip flops, and the like are notorious for offering zero support, and that simply doesn’t work for many travelers. Unless your only vacation goal is sitting barefoot on the beach, walking is going to factor in.

With this in mind, I’ve taken Merrell’s Women’s Around Town Backstrap sandals beyond just town, to test them on city sidewalks, country roads, and mountain trails. Because any good travel shoe worth its weight should be able to take on a variety of terrain, right? This sandal does.

Price and Where to Buy: $95 from

How It Rates:

  • Usefulness: 9/10. These sandals offer just the right amount of support, style, and comfort. They don’t slip on as easily as a sandal without that backstrap, but the backstrap is precisely the thing that keeps them from slipping off when you’re going up- or downhill or are on a slick surface, so it feels like a fair trade.
  • Value: 9/10. At $95, these sandals are priced well, especially for being Merrell.
  • Portability: 8/10. They don’t fold up like sandals with less support, but it’s fairly easy to slide them into the side of a suitcase since the straps press down into the footbed without much problem.
  • Durability: 9/10. I was not gentle to these sandals in my tests, and their solid construction shined through. The only weak point was that they ended up with a small grease spot after an incident with a falling hamburger.
  • Cool Factor: 10/10. These sandals are on-trend in both urban environments and in mountain towns.

Final Verdict: The Around Town Backstrap sandals offer style, support, and a can-do attitude.

Follow Christine Sarkis on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.

Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at

(Photo: Merrell)

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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