Merrell Chameleon

7.8 score
[Editors rating (7.8)] = (TheGearHunt) score (7.8)/10

Editor rating: 7.8 / 10
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Merrell Chameleon Review Facts

Walking through the mountains is a lovely experience. It is amazing to see how beautiful and interesting nature is. There are several hikes and trails created for those looking for everything from easy to intense difficulties. They are also available all over the world, specifically in the United States these trails range from Las Vegas to California. Not only is hiking an interesting experience but it is also cheap and offers a means of physical activity for those looking for a more active experience.

Thought hiking and trail runs are inexpensive, they do require equipment. It is very important that the hiker uses what they need in order to protect themselves from the hazards that can be present when traveling. This can be done by carrying first-aid kits as well as wearing proper footwear in order to protect the foot. Hiking boots and shoes offer special features that help hikers on their travels like rock plates and special grip to help avoid slips and trips on the trails.

Our website provides helpful reviews on a range of gear available on different websites. This article is a comprehensive review of the Merrel Chameleon hiking shoe. We hope that this article serves you in your next hiking shoe purchase.

Editor's Pros & Cons

True-to-size fit

Lightweight design

Nice design

Decent grip


Lacks breathability and proper ventilation

Take some time to break in and even then shoe remains quite stiff


The sole of the Merrell Chameleon is made of a Kinetic Fit Base which is removable. The removable insole is a nice feature especially when a hiker requires custom orthotics, this is an easy fix without having to buy entirely new shoes. The sole is contoured to the foot in order to offer flexible support to the wearer. The contoured nature of this shoe works with the flexible upper and allows for a better support system when tied up correctly.

Those who bought these shoes appreciated the level of support offered due to the nice contouring they offer. Though this is the case a handful of reviewers notices that the sole of these shoes is a little stiff. This caused a little discomfort to some reviewers. It also resulted in the reviewer having to break them in. Though this is the case, the sole is quite flexible and allows for better responsiveness as a result which is great.


These hiking boots are meant to be used on the trails. This is because of the support system and the protective features added to the shoe. The protective features (discussed in more detail below) include areas like a rock plate to protect the bottom of the foot from sharp rocks along the trails. It also includes a strong toe bumper or toe cap in order to protect the toes from bumps along the trail. The other area that is specified for trail activities is the outsole. The outsole offers a special material that is a little more "sticky" in order to better grip slippery surfaces encountered along the trails.

Those who bought these shoes found that the grip is reliable for what they were doing, even on more intensive hikes which is positive. They felt safe and secure in these boots. They also appreciated the protective features added to these shoes noting that they didn't incur any unnecessary injuries even when in stickier situations.


The outsole offers a Vibram TC5+ outsole. Vibram TC5+ is a slip-resistant material that is meant to stay strong and stick to surfaces no matter the element (even when wet). The pattern offered is a lug pattern which a special pattern used to offer better grip on a variety of shapes as well. The TC5+ is offered in a 5 MM depth in order to offer both resistance and grip on a variety of terrains and helps keep the hiker safe. TC5+ is considered an industry leader and is also considered quite durable which is important when looking at hiking shoes and boots.

Those who purchased this shoe appreciated its grip noting that they felt secure when walking on all types of surfaces including steeper ones. The terrain that these shoes are built for was easy to maneuver across and the lug design of the outsole of these shoes is reliable and durable which is really positive.


The upper is a mix of Nubuck, suede, and mesh. Nubuck is a strong leather usually used for clothing and footwear that take a little more wear and tear than more casual pieces. Nubuck is strong and weather resistant. If water treated it can also offer some really nice water protection. Suede is similar in that its another type of strong leather that can protect the foot from the elements like rain, sleet, and snow. Mesh isn't strong but is meant to be there for ventilation purposes and can offer some breathability as leather can be very hot and doesn't really breathe.

We'll discuss the breathability later on in this article as there are some issues associated with it, however, those who wore these were happy that they were made of Nubuck leather. Especially when considering the price tag (which is quite reasonable), leather is a nice and quality material, it's strong and weather-resistant as well. The upper is built tough and offers some protection to the foot and the shoe itself which is nice.


The Chameleon weighs in at about 1 pound and 15 ounces which equates to about 888 grams. When considering alternative shoes on the market, this is actually a little heavy. This is more than likely due to the Vibram outsole and the leather upper, two materials that aren't terribly light in weight. Though this is the case, the shoe itself offers some durability which is positive.

Oddly, reviewers actually found it to be quite lightweight in design. They didn't feel that the shoe weighed them down in any way which is really positive. The fit was also highly praised by reviewers, most of whom noted that this shoe fits quite well and is true-to-size. Reviewers did find that breaking in takes some time. This is discussed further below. Outside of that, though, despite being quite heavy compared to others on the market reviewers liked both the weight and the sizing of this shoe which is really positive.


As mentioned earlier, these offer some breathability via the classic method which is mesh stitched in throughout the leather layovers and upper. The mesh in this type of product typically allows airflow through in order to push hot air out of the shoe. Though the shoe was designed to help encourage positive ventilation, this was not experienced by reviewers. Many reviewers felt that their feet got quite hot when wearing these. They didn't like that their feet would accumulate sweat quite easily when out on the trials which in turn became quite uncomfortable. This, of course, is a real problem.

As far as the waterproofing goes, the manufacturer's website does not list any waterproofing features added to these shoes. That said, Nubuck and suede have natural waterproofing abilities. There were also next to no complaints about the waterproofing features of this shoe which is positive.


The Merrell Chameleon offers a bellowed tongue in order to keep debris out of the shoe. It also helps offer some cushioning to the ankle. It also offers a contoured insole in order to cradle the bottom of the foot better which in turn also offers some nice support to the arch of the foot as well as the heel and ball. The shoe also offers Merrell Air Cushion which is something unique to Merrell. It is supposed to offer some shock absorption and stability to the foot in order to both help with the comfort of the shoe but also help with the protection of the foot and ankle.

Those who bought these were happy with their comfort. The majority of reviewers (outside of some hot feet issues later on in the hike) found the shoes comfortable and properly cushioned. There were some reviewers, however, that did find that the insole of these shoes are quite stiff and require some serious time to break-in. A huge positive here, though, is that the insoles are removable. So for those who find them to be hard to wear due to the insole can replace the insole with something more comfortable. Of course, this should be taken into consideration when looking at the price point of the shoe.


The Merrell Chameleon look like standard hiking footwear. They are a little more narrow which helps with the bulkiness typically associated with hiking shoes. That said, the shoe does weigh a little more than others on the market which could make the shoes look a little bulkier. The shoe does offer some decent durability which definitely helps keep the shoe looking better, longer.

Those who bought these were really happy with their appearance. They found them to be high quality, they appreciated the materials used to create and construct this product, and they also found that the shoes were just designed nicely. This, along with the quality of the shoe, definitely helps the price point of these shoes which as mentioned earlier, is quite reasonable especially when looking at alternatives on today's market.


These shoes are made with quality materials. Nubuck leather is a strong and reliable material. It offers some weather and water resistance naturally. When combined with a chemical waterproofing layer it's especially impressive. Suede is also a really nice material which not only is reliable but also attractive looking. Vibram is strong, durable and generally lightweight (though depending on how thick the outsole is, this can change). Overall, this shoe offers some really nice, quality materials and according to reviewers offer a nice shelf life and some great durability. This is quite positive and should be considered when looking at this product.


The Merrell Chameleon offers a couple of different safety features including a molded TPU heel counter for additional stability. The contoured heel allows for the hiker to move around freely without losing the support around the ankle and also helps the hiker with their balance. It also offers a Kinetic Fit base for an insole which offers shock absorption and also helps with stability. The insole is contoured and fits the bottom of the foot better in order to offer support and balance too. It offers a lightweight FlexPlate which offers some torsional rigidity to the bottom of the foot. This also helps protect the bottom of the foot from rocks that are typically encountered when hiking. Finally, it offers a protective rubber toe cap to protect the toes from bumps along the trail.

Those who bought these shoes were happy with their safety features and especially appreciated the FlexPlate of the shoe. Though this may be why the shoe feels a little stiff when first worn, it provides protection which reviewers appreciated and notice when hiking.


These offer a thinner outsole which certainly helps with the weight of the shoe but also offers some flexibility as well. The Kinetic Fit Base offers some flexibility in order to allow for better responsiveness as well as a lightweight fit. Though this is the case, there were very few comments from reviewers about the flexibility.


There are several features that help with both the support and balance. Most were mentioned already but to recap, the molded TPU heel counter helps with the stability of the foot and ankle. The Kinetic Fit base which is contoured in order to offer some support and stability to the heel, arch, and ball of the foot. The EVA midsole, which is also contoured, also helps offer additional stability. When paired up with the safety features of this shoe, this shoe really helps keep the hiker safe and secure during their hike.

Reviewers appreciated how comfortable and stable these shoes were. They appreciated the support they received even if it came with a stiff fit throughout the bottom of the foot.


The lacing system is done with a traditional lace closure. The lace closure tightens the shoe to the foot better and allows for better stability and control when in movement. Reviewers had little to say about the lacing system which is positive.


These shoes are quite reasonably priced especially when considering the materials used to construct them, their durability and the shoes nice aesthetic. Reviewers appreciated their shelf life and durability. Because these shoes are attractive in design and can handle wear and tear, they definitely make sense from a cost/value perspective. They are great for anyone on a budget and for anyone looking for a long-lasting pair of hiking shoes.


- Made of high-quality materials like Nubuck leather and Vibram
- Bellows tongue to help with comfort, as well as to help keep debris out
- Rubber toe cap and FlexPlate to protect the foot from obsticles
- Molded TPU heel contour for better stability and support
- Kinetic Fit Base which is removable for support or for custom orthotics
- Merrell Air Cushion in order to help with shock absorption and comfort
- Lightweight design to avoid foot and leg fatigue
- Attractive design


The bottom line is that the Merrelll Chameleon is quite impressive. There were very few complaints about these, outside of a stiff insole and some ventilation issues. Reviewers appreciated the comfortable fit, their high level of support, their impressive grip and their attractive design which is really positive. On top of all this, they are quite reasonably priced and they are made with quality materials. Overall, a great buy and should definitely be considered when looking at your next hiking footwear purchase.