Our take The latest iteration of Merrell’s do-everything shoe stays true to the Chameleon’s DNA: It’s adaptable. Nubuck-and-suede construction and a full-length rock plate make this boot at home under overnight loads and on uneven terrain, but the short ankle cuff and thicker-than-average EVA midsole give it the feel of a trail runner. It’s too clunky to pull regular running duty, but one tester says that the Chameleon performed fine on a 7-mile trail run off Hoosier Pass in Colorado after a packing error. (“I’m happy to report that there was no tripping—or toe bang,” she adds.)
The details Merrell’s proprietary air cushioning in the heel prevented soreness after a couple of long days in the notoriously rocky White Mountains, while the waterproof membrane did its job when the heavens opened. (Our tester did overtop the ankle cuff when plunging through the watery channel of the Crawford Path.)
Trail cred “The Chameleons provided enough traction for traversing scree on Mt. Washington while I was carrying 25 pounds of sundae supplies and gear,” one tester said after an impromptu ice cream party at the Lakes of the Clouds hut.