Merrell Chameleon 8 Walking Boot | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Merrell Chameleon 8 Walking Boot | Review

The Merrell Chameleon is back with a new look and a few definite improvements

Why We Chose The Merrell Chameleon 8 Walking Boot: Improved outsole with good traction, great feel underfoot

The last Chameleon, the 7, which was released by Merrell back in 2017, was a great walking boot. In fact, we liked it enough to include it in our Outdoor 100 product guide that year. Now for 2020, we have the eighth generation and, once again, it’s earned itself a spot in our annual buyer’s guide.

The previous version was light, just 968g for a pair, and this new one’s just fractionally heavier at 1040g – still light then. As for the performance level, we’d say things have definitely improved.

Who Is The Merrell Chameleon 8 For?

The Chameleon 8 has all the right features for three-season UK hiking. It’s nothing overly technical so it’s not one for rocky alpine scrambles but its waterproof liner, comfort underfoot and nice and light but still sturdy and supportive fit and feel make it right at home in somewhere like the Lake District.

Lug depth has increased from 3mm to 5mm, over that of the previous model. Photo: Mike Brindley

Materials And Features

The last Chameleon was constructed using strips of leather and lots of stitching. Too much stitching, if you ask us. In the long term, we found things started to come apart a little. With this model, we’re pleased to see they’ve opted for big panels of leather, therefore meaning less stitching and in all likelihood better long term durability. The leather, we should point out, is nubuck – so good quality then. 

The Chameleon 8 has all the right features for three-season UK hiking”

As the name indicates, there’s a Gore-Tex lining which does what you need it to do. This also lines the tongue and side bellows to result in good, all-round protection. 

The lacing system is smooth and it’s strong and reliable as well thanks to its metal eyelets. The last model used mainly just simple webbing straps instead of eyelets which didn’t fill us with much confidence as regards to the overall longevity of the boot, so there’s a definite improvement here.

You'll can also get this version as a lower cut shoe. Photo: Mike Brindley
The lacing system and bellowed tongue work excellently together. Photo: Mike Brindley
The Chameleon 8 features a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. Photo: Mike Brindley

The ankle is a standard height for a mid cut (it was a low mid cut on the last model) and there’s plenty of padding around it. Underfoot, there’s a lot of shock absorption thanks to an EVA foam midsole and removable insole, and there’s a nice bit of rigidity and protection from sharp roots and rocks thanks to a lightweight plastic shank.

One aspect that they’ve really improved in comparison to the last model in the Chameleon family is in the traction. Now, the lug depth is 5mm instead of 3mm. The rubber is also a good quality compound developed by Vibram. 

An EVA foam midsole provides plenty shock absorption. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

Want something even lighter and a bit more suited to hot weather than this? Good news – there’s also a shoe version of the Chameleon 8. That’s £140 while the boot version is £150. 

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“The last Chameleon, the Cham 7, was nice and light but still had a good, sturdy feel to it, serving me well on hikes in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia

“I’d say this new model, which I’ve been using in the Lake District, actually offers all the same stuff that the last one offered and then some more. The modest sturdiness is still there and so is the light weight, but the grip’s now a lot better and the overall build is just a bit more reassuring in regards to longevity. The big leather panels on this new version also make it a lot easier to clean up and wax in comparison to the last one.

A lightweight plastic shank provides a little rigidity. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

“Gore-tex boots will always get a little clammy on hot summer days and these are no exception. Still, I can imagine I’ll find myself appreciating the warmth once the colder days of autumn come round,

“In terms of fit, I found my pair of 10s ran true to size and were comfortable to walk in straight out of the box. 

“They’re not overly cushioned – there’s shock absorption under the heel but then they’re quite firm at the front. This might not be great for those who want bucket loads of padded protection, but it does mean you get some decent proprioception, letting you get a feel for the trail underfoot.”

Merrell Chameleon 8

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