Merrell Chameleon Ventilator Mid
My feelings on these boots in specific and Merrell…
Use: Backpacking through Japan
Break-in Period: 1 week
Price Paid: $150
My feelings on these boots in specific and Merrell in general are very mixed.
It was love at first sight with the Merrell Chameleon Ventilator Mid's (gore-tex type). The way they fit and the support they gave me while carrying my 25kg pack was amazing. Within the first week they were broken in (before my trip started) and with confidence I put them on as I headed out onto my trip (6+months around Southeast Asia).
Unfortunately the honeymoon period was soon over with these boots once I put them to the test. Within a couple days of my trip starting they had begun to squeak like I was walking on ducks. After a lengthy email exchange with their customer service department that yielded no results I gave up and eventually the problem went away (after about another month of use).
The next issue I experienced with these boots was the deal breaker and ended my relationship completely. Within three months of everyday use the tread was worn down to nothing and I had holes in the soles of my boots. Not even the shoelaces lasted to the whole time I used these boots.
Disappointed with the quality of product and lackluster customer service I decided to post a review on their website. To this date my customer review has not been posted and every email inquiry has been ignored.
Overall I would rate these boots as mediocre. If you are looking for a solid hiking boot I would look somewhere else, especially for the price. These are fashionable boots that look and feel good but don't perform well.
This is some of the best footwear I've ever owned.
Use: Just about everything
Break-in Period: None
Weight: 215 lbs.
Price Paid: $100
This is some of the best footwear I've ever owned. Break-in time was nil; they fit great right out of the box. Lot of room in the toebox, even for my extra-wide (2E to 4E, depending on the shoe) foot. I've worn them in every condition imaginable, from 90-degree desert hikes to wet alpine slogs, rough scree to sandy beaches, and they've held up beautifully. I've read of complaints regarding durability, but mine seem bulletproof.
These shoes vent very well. This turned out to be a plus during rainy periods in the Rockies (I didn't have waterproof boots to bring) since it helped them dry quickly. I normally wear wool hiking socks with them, even in hot weather, and my feet stay comfy. They even work well as backpacking boots. I've carried over 30 pounds for several days and was impressed with their support. Best of all, I've never EVER had a blister while wearing them--hot spots, yes, but that's it. Traction is excellent. The sole looks weird but gets the job done. The lugs on mine have worn down quite a bit from use, but still seem to have plenty of grip.
My Chameleons are the older style (not the ones with the circle-shaped vents, so I don't know if these comments apply to the newer ones, but unless they made radical changes I don't see why not. I bought a second pair on clearance and squirrelled them away for the day my first pair finally wears out. It may be a while.