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Merrell Chameleon II Gore-Tex XCR

rated 4 of 5 stars

The Chameleon II Gore-Tex XCR has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best trail shoes for 2024.

photo: Merrell Chameleon II Gore-Tex XCR trail shoe

I went to these from the Stormfront due to a warranty issue involving the rapid loss of waterproofing ability.

I have only used these for a brief period of time.

I find these shoes to be very high quality. The quality increase is apparent when moving from the Stormfronts. Little details such as the rubber in the outsole as well as the contouring of the insole, the coverage of the tongue near the top of the laces and arch support make the difference.

I find that the shoe does not breathe as well because of the wide use of pigskin. This is a minus in hot climates (here in Taiwan), but a plus in cooler climates (back in my native Canada). I will probably not notice the difference in a month.

After a two minute submersion test, I found that this shoe is indeed fully waterproof up to a depth of around 3.5 inches. I believe this is a little higher than the Stormfront.

The sole is not as thick as some other shoes, which is good for weight, but it is also quite a bit harder, so I feel that impact cushioning has taken a back-seat here to durability and strength. This means that the shoe is less suitable for running, but probably very good on rocky trails.

The stiff sole also makes this a nice choice for non-SPD biking and I have appreciated this already.

One small niggle is that on the left foot, I find that the ankle support is stiff enough to cause some discomfort to where the shoe meets the ankle-bone, but I'm sure this will work itself out as I tune the lace tightness.

The upside of that is that the shoe hugs the foot in a way that I have not previously experienced in any other shoe. It feels firm and snug around the top and gives me confidence for the upcoming rainy/typhoon season.

If given a choice, I'd give the product slightly less than 5 stars due to the lack of impact protection in the heel, but it's still very, very good.

Materials: Pigskin/Gore-tex
Use: Daily walk-around, occasional light hikes, moderate bicycle commuting, WET weather
Break-in Period: Still breaking it in... I would guess 2 weeks based on the other Merrells.
Price Paid: 3900 NT$ (Taiwan)

I have had these shoes for a few weeks and love everything about them. I went on a camping trip not too long ago where the weather was very wet, and these shoes kept my feet very dry. Despite the waterproofing, these shoes are very comfortable. You can wear them wherever you go. Also they are very breathable which can change depending on the kind of socks you are wearing. I found that an ultra thin sock is the best. But so far these shoes are the best and are worth the money. Buy them, you won't be disappointed!

Price Paid: $110

These are by far and away the worst wearing boots that I have ever owned. While the overall contruction of the boot is actually quite good, the foot beds are terrible. You are better off hiking on cardboard than the flat, unsupportive insoles that are provided.

Given the fact that the only way to recover this huge flaw is to either replace the existing footbeds with an decent aftermarket set, or buy a better pair of boots. With the extra price of a set of Spenco or Superfeet footbeds around $30 dollars, I would go for a better boot.

Price Paid: $110

Bought these shoes for my first trip to Colorado to hike some 14ers. They were very comfortable right from the start, very little break in time. Waterproofing is good, traction is good, stability also very good. I would buy another pair and may buy a pair for my wife.

Materials: leather outers, gore-tex bootie
Use: day hikes
Break-in Period: short break in period
Price Paid: $100

These are really comfortable shoes in many ways, but really very slippery. You walk as if you are on ice when the ground is wet.

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