Join Date: Oct 2009
Review - Chameleon3 Stretch: Merrel Hiking Shoe
Merrell Chameleon3 Stretch Hiking Shoe
Hey guys. I've had a pair of these for over three years now and thought I'd write up what I think about 'em.
The Chameleon3 Stretch hiking shoe is sturdily made, fits snugly to your foot, having the feel of a thick sock, and the slip-on drawstring features are very nice on the go. They slip on quickly and easily.
I purchased a pair three summers ago for about $40-60 at an outlet store in Colorado. My intentions at the time were for hiking trails around the mountains near Golden, CO where I lived at the time. They worked great for hiking in the dry climate. They were easy on the feet to be sure. I could hike an entire day without building up blisters or pain in my feet - nice ankle support as well. And they held up nicely too; the soles stayed secure and even though I hiked a lot the wear to the outer material was minimal.
A year later I was living back in Minnesota and my mountain climbing days were fading. I shifted their use to canoe camping in the BWCA. They still held up admirably. They handled the wetter terrain well with good traction. But they began to show issues on portages with a lot of water and I really had to be extra careful around the lakes and even tromping through damp wooded areas. The rubber soles don't come up around the edges of the foot very high so whenever they come in contact with water or damp ground they start to absorb moisture. This really becomes a bother over an extended trip because they are also extremely difficult to dry out; unable to pull the laces slack and the tongue out, like on most shoes, they trap the moisture inside and take many days to air dry. You can always set them up by the fire, but that always seems to ruin a pair of shoes too fast to be worth it, in my opinion.
The only other issue I've run into come when using them in colder temperatures. Whereas they are very breath-able while in use during the summer, when wearing a pair of light cotton socks, they become suffocating with two pairs of socks or even a pair of wool socks. For whatever reason they don't breath as well as a normal laced pair of shoes in colder weather and trap in moisture very ruthlessly.
- Rugged good looks!
- Well-made, long lasting. Resistant to wearing out.
- Great for hiking. Easy on the feet and ankles.
- Drawstring is nice for easy foot entry and extraction.
- Easily absorb water around the low profiled rubber soles.
- Hard to dry out.
- They don't breath well in colder weather(while wearing heavier socks).
I would highly recommend these hiking shoes for hiking in mild weathered dry climates. Their craftsmanship is of high quality and their performance is great! I would shy away from these if you mainly camp or hike where you will routinely come in contact with your fair share of water.