Advisory Board Crystals Rebirthed Merrell’s Killer Clog as Hiker Slip-On (EXCLUSIVE)

An Advisory Board Crystals x Merrell collaboration feels almost overdue. The two imprints have occupied overlapping territories long enough that it feels inevitable that they would eventually occupy the same campground.

That means a collaborative Merrell 1TRL Hydro Moc shoe steeped in the same Black Mountain College, Whole Earth Catalog design language as ABC.’s mainline collection, grounded by Merrell’s hardwearing POV.

“Merrell has been a brand we’ve worn since we were kids,” Advisory Board Crystals co-founder Remington Guest told Highsnobiety. “It wasn’t back to school without a pair of Merrells.”

As such, ABC. elected to tackle what might be today’s quintessential Merrell shoe.

Whereas the excellent Jungle Moc might be the singular Merrell of yesteryear, the Hydro Moc is the contemporary Merrell of choice, so vital and wearable that it’s been the subject of many deserved stylish refreshes as Merrell 1TRL, Merrell’s fashion-forward line, expands its underappreciated selection of signature shoes.

“We wanted our first project to be our rendition of the original [Hydro] Moc,” Guest continued.

“It’s the first foam shoe, before the hype around foam shoes. We like that it’s a functional shoe but can also be worn anywhere. Aesthetically, it feels futuristic while also vintage, which is the ideal intersection of what we always want feel like.”

In the vein of ABC.’s previous footwear collabs with Vans, its Merrell team-up retains the core design language of the original shoe. Instead of undergoing radical revision, ABC.’s Hydro Moc has simply been tastefully upgraded.

Why mess with success?

Appreciate the understated upgrades on June 13, when ABC.’s Hydro Moc hits GOAT’s website and Advisory Board Crystals’ web store on June 13 for $120.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

“This shoe utilizes the various elements from our garments, like the pull tabs, our holographic authenticity hologram patch and the magnetic adjustable strap,” Guest noted. “We knew these elements would fit not only within a project with Merrell but specifically this shoe.”

Simple as it may seem to lightly elevate a Hydro Moc with pull tabs and buckle, the streamlined design is the result of much trial and error.

The divine is in the details: note how ABC.’s Hydro Moc, made of BLOOM’s vegan algae foam, is identical in hue to its strap.

This demanded a specific colorway for the Hydro Moc that doesn’t merely fit within ABC.’s design framework but literally matches it.

“We wanted to ensure the shoe had a DIY feeling that adds a sense of being a part of the process or the journey but to also make sure that element felt useful,” Guest said, pointing out the ad hoc rear foam patch that was selected to feel like “something a climber might have on hand and would be able to modify themselves. Plus, it adds plush reassurance to the back heel.”

Plush and reassuring. Now that’s ABC. in a nutshell.