New from Merrell for this summer is the Chameleon 5 Mid Ventilator GTX walking boot / shoe. I say boot / shoe as it’s the mid version which is halfway between the two with there not being a huge amount of ankle support. As such, it’s a light boot great for general walking, backpacking or use in an urban environment.
Even with the backpacker / light overall feel of the boot they still feel sturdy and waterproof. The upper part is made from pig suede leather and mesh. There’s a total of 13 mesh round holes around the sides of the boot to aid the airflow. Below that layer, as expected, there’s a fabric layer of Gore-Tex which provides the waterproofness.
One point to note, that inner lining on the size 10 boots we had to review was a little lo0se inside. You can’t feel it when wearing the boots now, but I could foresee that material becoming looser and folding over which could cause a little discomfort.
As mentioned the shape of the boot is similar to a shoe so the ankle area doesn’t go too far up. However the material there does give a good support and has adequate cushioning. On the heel there’s a handy loop to help pull the boot up / hang the boot up. There’s only two hooks on each side to loop the laces, the standard for a walking boot is three, and for walking shoes often one.
The sole of the boot has been made by Vibram, and looking at the design of the tread it’s a little different to your average walking boot. It’s a tread similar to that seen on a walking shoe / running trainer. The design of the black and red, with the yellow Vibram logo looks good.
Around the back the of the shoe the heel comes up for protection. Round the front, the toe has a protective rubber cover, however it’s not as tough / thick as your average toe cap on a walking boot.
I was able to try the boots out this weekend for a walk around the park, so hardly hitting any challenging terrain. However we clocked up around 8 miles and I was really impressed with the comfort with only sport socks on. It was also unusually warm around 18 degrees and the mesh panels helped to avoid any sweat.
The Chameleon 5 Mid Ventilator GTX would make a really good pair of boots for anyone backpacking and partaking in some hiking. Alternatively for those who like to wear walking boots around town they are similar to a walking shoe and are not too bulky.