It’s mid-Summer here in Oregon at the time of this posting – and as close to sandal weather as there can be here in the PNW. So when I discovered that Merrell had more in their arsenal than just solid trail running shoes, I was ready to jump on board. While the aesthetics of many casual footwear options created by running shoe brands can be something of a hit-or-miss, the Bravada Cord Wrap looks like a sandal I want to wear.
Outside of the feel to my feet, it is great to see that these sandals are made well and semi-sustainably.
Per the former, the Bravada’s almost look minimalistic. That’s not a bad thing – assuming they aren’t going to fall apart after a summer of use or cause my feet pain the entire time. It is clear these are made strong and integrate a comfort that us runners need when we aren’t running. Going from pounding the pavement for hours each week, to slapping on a cheap pair of sandals and expecting no foot discomfort is not where we want to be.
The midsole of the Bravada’s are made with an EVA foam insole – giving the support and cushion I definitely need. The hook and loop closure system has actually held the sandals comfortably in the right spots with some maneuvering – something that the quick adjustability of the top allows for. Lastly, the rubber outsole looks like it could be on any number of running shoes out there and hold up quite well.
In terms of sustainability, here is what Merrell commits to in the Bravada:
- 100% recycled webbing upper
- 20% recycled EVA foam midsole
Fit and Feel:
All that aside, if sandals don’t feel good – then all the functional design in the world doesn’t mean much. I am happy to report that these are a huge step up in my footwear game and I am guessing will be for you too. They fit a bit narrow, so if you have a need for a wider bed, these may not be optimal for you. I was a little worried about the toe “thong”, but it has proven to not be a detractor from the Bravada yet. Granted, I have mostly worn these casually and have yet to put in longer walks in them (I’ve stayed under 3 miles), so it remains to be seen as to if that would cause discomfort. I do know that this is a challenge for many sandals in this style. It seemed to do well in those shorter distances and, for me at least, if I do have plans to walk multiple miles consistently I’m going to toss on a pair of shoes regardless so this isn’t a huge drawback for me.
Honestly, I didn’t really realize what a disservice I was doing to my feet until comparing the Bravada to my previous summer sandals. It’s a night and day difference and my feet are thanking me for it.
- Bravada Cord Wrap | $85
- Weight: 6oz.
Thank you to Merrell for providing us with test sandals. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.