2,000 years ago, a Roman who lived somewhere between Dishforth and Leeming in North Yorkshire, England, decided to combine two pieces of his mainly toga-based wardrobe to create one of fashion’s most controversial looks. Although stylistic choices probably weren’t on the mind of the man with cold feet, far away from Mediterranean home soil. It was a choice out of necessity, a principle that has driven the design of 1TRL’s Kahuna Web sandal.
Fast forward to early 2020 and this ‘high crime of fashion’ was witnessed on the catwalks of Paris, London and Milan. However, the contemporary origins of socks with sandals lie in a different European country, Germany. It would make sense considering the long white socks of Lederhosen Man, but the look was formed mainly outside of the country. With the German people being the most travelled population in the world, they looked for functionality from their footwear. If you’re travelling around Southern Europe’s most beautiful trails, urban or natural, blisters are the last thing you want, and socks with sandals certainly won’t give you a reason to complain.
Another origin story for socks with sandals also starts in Germany. The Birkenstock, first designed in 1946, found a new home in the counterculture movements of the 60s, brought to California by German-American designer Margot Fraser. The free-breathing, cork-sporting sandal of the hippies drew a stark contrast to the leather brogues of Madison Avenue.
Adidas furthered the concept with the Adilette, a slider designed for athletes to wear in locker room showers, has been paired with socks by another generation of west coast wave makers. The socks and sliders combination became synonymous with hip-hop culture, particularly in Los Angeles’ hot Californian climate. A look that has evolved and inspired a new wave of rap icons such as Kanye West and Tyler the Creator to flaunt the once fashion faux pas.
In 1996, Merrell saw a gap in the market for a functional, rugged outdoor sandal. The question for the design team was how you can bring in hiking boot features into a model purely designed for summer. The answer lay in simply trying everything, trialling neoprene and other tactile materials. The original Merrell sandal used a recycled tyre tread for the sole, way before the recycled models we see today. This groundwork paved the way for what was to become the ‘aftersport’ category, going on to form another iconic Merrell creation, the Jungle Moc. Although Merrell wasn’t known for its sandals, this has subtly changed over time as the charge has been led in the same spirit of experimentation Randy Merrell brought to his original hiking boot.
Drawn from the Merrell archives, the Kahuna Web is a sandal designed to withstand long walks down the trail. Uniquely supportive for a sandal of its type, the Kahuna web features a Merrell Air Cushion in the heel that absorbs shock and adds stability, vitally replacing support lost from not wearing hiking boots. An EVA midsole and footbed adds to overall stability, with an extra layer of comfort built in. As well as a Vibram outsole, giving you traction in wet or dry conditions. Not to mention, they look great with a pair of socks.
Hued in subtle, earthy tones like olive, brindle and black for a minimal look. Or for the more intrepid, the Kahuna Web is iterated into blue & orange, mountain view and apricot orange. Available in UK 6.5-14 and EU 40-50, full and half sizes.
Discover the Kahuna Web and other Merrell 1TRL models online now.