The first ever Chameleon shoe was released way back in 2001, and Merrell are now onto the seventh iteration in what has become their most popular franchise. This version of the Merrell Chameleon 7 on test is the Gore-Tex boot version but there are a number of other styles, giving you the option to choose between either a boot or shoe, and with or without waterproofing. There are also a number of different colours for men and women.
The first thing that struck me about it when I took it out of its box is the cut. It’s supposed to be a boot but the ankle is so modest that you could say it’s somewhere between a trail shoe and a boot. When I picked it up, its weight didn’t feel much heavier than an average trail shoe either.
Merrell are clearly going for fast and light with the Chameleon 7, aiming it at those looking to tackle tough, technical trails and big mileage at a decent enough pace to be able to bag a few peaks and still get back in time to enjoy a good evening in the pub.
Merrell Chameleon 7: Design
I personally think they should’ve called it the Armadillo. That’s what the upper’s design, with its slightly overlapping strips of suede nubuck leather, reminds me of anyway. It’s layered like protective armour around the shoe, combining nicely with a breathable mesh fabric. Other features on the upper worth noting are the strong, metal eyelets, the padded mesh tongue and the medium size – and strength – toe bumper.