“They will give you wild foot tan lines, but I am weirdly attracted to them” writes Chris Black for his column in New York Magazine, a quote that pretty much sums up the latest product of one of Merrell’s most advanced construction techniques, the Hydro Moc. It seems there’s something about these amphibious outliers that people can’t seem to put their finger on. They’re weird, radical, water-ready and totally wearable.
Since its launch in the US, the Hydro Moc has found itself at home on the banks of the Colorado River to the sidewalks of Manhattan, dividing opinions wherever it marks its unique trail. In the Wall Street Journal, Dale Hrabi wrote “I personally don’t want to walk around in shoes that look like a blend of molten lava, an overwrought Frank Gehry building and something from the mind of H.R Giger”, fair enough, but for Ridley Scott’s Alien fanatics and Vesuvius enthusiasts this single-density injection mould of EVA may just be the ultimate aftersport addition to their backpack or weird house shoe for these equally-weird times.
Artist and 1TRL advocate, Nicole Mclaughlin, wrote in Complex “I feel people either look at this and they’re like, “this is really cool,” or they’ll look at it and be kind of grossed out by it. There’s something about it that’s really interesting to me.” Floating between sandal and shoe, whilst dipping its toes in suburban Croc-infested waters, certainly makes for an interesting footwear concept. Though unlike its contemporaries, the Hydro Moc is created with the same essence of durability manifested in any Merrell model. Its 2mm lug depth makes it incredibly resistant to slippage, alongside a surprisingly light 410g weight, reducing resistance in the water to minute levels. Basically, it’s an improvement on your bare feet, protecting you against sharp rocks and other hazards found on riverbeds.
The Hydro Moc was further mentioned by Graeme Campbell, Style Editor at High Snobriety. Saying “These are like galaxy brain Crocs.” It’s true, the marbled pattern reflects the constantly moving properties of water, but there is a future-facing feeling to these water shoes that sets them apart from the others on your rotation. There’s something very accessible about the Hydro Moc that appeals to us beyond our inner hypebeast.
The big question, and the Hydro Moc raises a lot of questions, is why this polarising water shoe is having a moment a far cry away from the environment its designed for, most notably amongst New York’s art scene. Artist and model, Camille Deterre, recently flaunted her very own pair of Hydro Mocs on instagram, alongside Dave Clardy and others in the scene, sporting it with a plethora of looks, enabled by the Hydro Moc’s many colourways. Maybe it’s down to the inhibiting nature of the Moc, its versatility allows you to free yourself up to the possibilities life brings, and you’re able to be taken there with Mocs on your feet. “The Hydro Moc ticks a lot of boxes.” Says Paul Ruffles, brand strategist at Merrell 1TRL. “Aggressive design, fully functional, which is often underestimated, and a good price. It all adds up to the Moc having its time.” It’s a shoe that defines 1TRL, exploring what trail footwear was and can be, combining advanced technology with a distinct spirit of experimentation evident in every product.
In a world of over-hyped footwear drops and seemingly endless collaborations, not to mention the degradation of our planet, partly due to fast fashion, people are looking for long-lasting alternatives. The Hydro Moc is a timeless piece that is so radical it doesn’t seem to fit any place in time. It’s not for everyone but it might just be for you.
Launching 13th August.