Those seeking all-terrain footwear that's still comfortable and stylish should check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
Merrell Terran Ari Lattice Review
Cons: Limited adjustability, not suitable for rugged applications
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our testers loved the comfort and simplicity of the Merrell Terran Ari Lattice. This is not a technical sandal, but for the urban adventurer who throws an occasional off-road walk into the mix, this is a solid choice. Read on to see if this is the right sandal for your needs, or if you should go for something with a little more technical capability.
This sandal is one of the most comfortable we tested. With a cushioned microfiber footbed and straps that feel good against the skin, the Terran Ari Lattice felt broken-in immediately, and we never felt any hot spots develop throughout our weeks of testing.
We took the Terran Ari Lattice on some stout hikes, with and without heavy packs. This is not an ideal hiking shoe given its thin sole and lack of adjustable straps, but if you find yourself on an impromptu trail jaunt during your travels, this sandal is cushioned enough to keep you comfortable.
One reason we chose the Terran Ari Lattice as our Top Pick for traveling and city use is that when it came time to hop on a plane, this is the model we reached for. The cushy footbed and roomy straps make for a comfortable cruise through the airport, even when carrying a heavy pack. Going through security, we appreciate only having to loosen one strap, and these sandals are easy to slip on and off. By contrast, while we love the Chaco Z/Cloud 2, slipping them on and off at the airport — especially if your feet have puffed up a little from flying — is a pain.
The Terran Ari Lattice is a standout for comfort, but if you're looking for comfortable options that can handle more rugged applications, there are better options. Check out our Editor's Choice, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure, our Top Pick for Distance Hikers, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2, or our Top Pick for Adventure Travel, the KEEN Clearwater.
For a stable sandal, we look for a sole that supports our feet and keeps them securely in place, even on uneven terrain. The Terran Ari Lattice is not that sandal. While its sole does have some cushioning, overall it's pretty thin, so it didn't stop us from wobbling over rocks and roots. The straps at the front of this sandal don't adjust (more on that below), so for the narrow-footed, there is a ton of room for feet to slide around up there. The Merrell is fine for strolls on city streets but isn't stable enough to perform well on rough trails.
The Chaco Z/Cloud 2 has a thicker sole than the Terran Ari Lattice and is more contoured, so those with high arches may find the Chacos more stable. If you have lower arches or are looking for a zero-drop sandal with a thick, stable sole, check out the Luna Mono Gordo 2.0.
Given that this is not a technical sandal, we were impressed with the Terran Ari Lattice's performance in this area.
Merrell claims that its M Select GRIP outsole delivers "highly slip-resistant stability on wet and dry ground." We agree. We took these sandals romping over dirt trails, wet granite, logs, and duff, as well as city sidewalks and urban grass. The soles provided solid traction in all of these situations. Also, the Merrell's sole is thin enough that it can contour around objects, so while this isn't always great for stability (see above), it made us feel very grippy when walking on uneven rock surfaces. In this way, the Terran Ari Lattice is similar to the Bedrock Cairn Adventure. The one downside of the Merrell's sole is its shallow tread, which makes it less than ideal in technical situations, like navigating steep scree-covered trails.
In contrast to its sole, the microfiber footbed of the Terran Ari Lattice provides minimal traction, so our feet tended to slide around. Especially for those with narrow feet, the unadjustable straps won't hold feet in place in the front of the sandal, so this poor footbed traction is a significant downside.
This shoe received one of the lowest scores in our test group in this category. The Terran Ari Lattice has only one adjustable strap, and this, more than any other factor, limits this sandal's ability to perform in technical situations. The strap that crosses from the inner arch to the outer ankle can be loosened or tightened with a simple buckle, while the heel strap and the other three straps that criss-cross the foot are fixed. Our lead tester has narrow feet and found these fixed straps to be too loose. Those with wide feet may well find them too tight.
To keep this sandal on our feet while hiking, we tried cranking down on the one adjustable strap to make it as tight as possible. Unfortunately, the buckle isn't up to the task, and it loosened significantly after just a few minutes of hiking.
On the upside, with just one strap to think about, adjusting this sandal is a cinch! There is no learning curve here: The Terran Ari Lattice can be adjusted in about a second and can easily be loosened or tightened one-handed. For less technical applications, like walking around the city, we didn't mind the lack of adjustability at all. In fact, we found the simple design refreshing.
In contrast to the Terran Ari Lattice, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2, has fully adjustable straps thanks to its flow-through strap system, but this system is more complicated, so adjusting the sandal takes time. If you're looking for a product that's highly adjustable but is almost as simple as the Terran Ari Lattice, check out our Editors' Choice, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
This sandal is great for around-town use and light activity, but it's not suited for burly pursuits. It scored in the middle of the pack in this category.
Around town, the Terran Ari Lattice could handle whatever we threw at it. It was best for walking on paved sidewalks, but it also kept us comfortable on casual bike rides and trips to the dog park. It works well as a casual urban shoe and doesn't feel too out of place when meeting friends at the bar. This is also one of the lightest models we tested, so it's easy to slip into a carry-on when traveling.
This shoe does not transition well to more aggressive outdoor pursuits, which is why we recommend it primarily for the urban traveler. It will get you through a hike in a pinch, but we wouldn't want to backpack in it, and it's not well-suited for use in the water. We like that the Terran Ari Lattice is burlier than your average city sandal, so you could use it for an impromptu nature walk on your urban vacation. But if you want a sandal that will serve as a legitimate hiker or water shoe and will also take you around town, look elsewhere. We loved the Luna Mono Gordo 2.0 in this category, and the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 and Bedrock Cairn Adventure are both highly adaptable as well.
Warning: Mixed opinions ahead! Style is individual, and this is evident with these sandals. We gave them high marks in this category, but your assessment may be different based on the photos in this review.
The Merrell Terran Ari Lattice looks less technical than most of the sandals in our test group. Its criss-cross straps, microfiber and leather materials, and single adjustment point give it a more elegant feel, such that it could even work in a business-casual office. This model scored well when we surveyed family and friends, with several stylish ladies picking it as their favorite in the test group.
Color is a significant factor here. We tested this sandal in Aquifer, and to be blunt, we didn't like it. The bright, ice-blue hue was tough to style — it felt very 2001 and could be paired easily with Lip Smackers. It also looked filthy after our first hike. The other color options were equally garish, and the inclusion of a white option makes us feel that Merrell is not going after the hard-core backpacking set with this sandal. The brown ("Bracken") and black options are the most versatile and would be much better at hiding dirt.
This sandal is best-suited for urban use. It performs well on city walks, casual bike rides, and flat walking paths, and would even be appropriate for summer wear in some business-casual offices. Short hikes work when wearing the Terran Ari Lattice, but it's not ideally suited to this purpose.
At $80, the Terran Ari Lattice is one of the less expensive models we tested. This isn't a super durable model, but we think it will outperform most nontechnical city sandals on the market and will last for at least a few years, so $80 seems reasonable.
This sandal can't compete with most of our test group on backcountry trails, but for urban pursuits, this is one of the more comfortable and stylish models we tested. It's simultaneously lightweight enough to tuck into luggage and supportive enough to keep you comfortable for miles on pavement, so for your next city vacation, consider the Merrell Terran Ari Lattice.
— Joanna Trieger