(Pocket-lint) - Merrell have long been adorning the feet of trendy clubbers and outdoors people alike. Merrell’s new Waterpro Ultra-Sport is firmly aimed at those with a penchant for watersports. We go wet and wild to test them out.

Coming from Merrell, the first thing you notice is that the Waterpro follows similar styling to other Merrell shoes, with the criss-cross lacing and reinforced eyelets forming part of the overall look.

As is common on

Merrell shoes

, there is a solid Vibram RinseMaster sole, with larger lugs to provide grip on varied surfaces. The sole is very grippy as you’d expect from a shoe designed for playing in the water.

The front of the shoe has a reinforced rubber toe cup, which provides protection for your delicate digits when crashing about – it also means you can kick your foot into a rock without damaging yourself.

The biggest defining point however in the construction of the shoe is in the fabric of the upper – it’s mesh. Yes, mesh, so it holds no water. Of course, this also means that you miss out on a lot of padding and support that you’d find in many other sport shoes. But the mesh does hark to the shoe’s pedigree – this really is designed to get wet and the dirty little blighters love it when they do.

In the water and the shoes drain well, avoiding those ultra heavy trainers you might be tempted to wear. The grip works well wet or dry, so there is no problem clambering out of river beds, or across the deck of a boat. The dynamic lacing system also means its not going to fall off.

So in the water, this shoe is a treat – but what about on land? The mesh uppers let the air circulate, so on a warm summers day you have a proper shoe option offering more protection than a sport sandal. There is the dilemma of socks, of course. If you are getting wet, you don’t want socks. When walking, the lack of soft cushioning in the uppers become apparent and it calls for a sock – if you are going to be walking far. Round the shops or down the pub, they are perfectly comfortable, but on a 4 hour hike, you might need more protection.


Overall an accomplished shoe, designed for those in and around the water. It offers peace of mind and you know that you’ll have a good grip, whether it be kayaking, coasteering, yachting or canyoning, you’ll have everything you want in this shoe.

It comes in a range of colours to suit all tastes for men and for women. Priced competitively at around £45, we’d expect to see these on the streets as much as we would in the water. A superb watersports shoe.

Writing by Chris Hall.