By Samir Koliq – Denali Wakefield
Wearing my new Merrell Chameleon 7 Mid Waterproof Boots, the first hike I went on was at Mt. Tom in Rhode Island’s Arcadia Management Area. It was February 18, the temperature was approximately 38 degrees, and there were about 3 inches of snowfall on the trail. At first, I was very nervous for this hike because I have never owned a pair of hiking boots in my life and have only worn running sneakers on past hikes. Terrible, I know. I also wore Smartwool Outdoor Pro socks, a Patagonia fleece, a Ventrix from The North Face, and some good old Levi jeans. I was ready to go.
On to the hike:
I hiked about 4.2 miles. Mt Tom is not a mountain, but it may feel like one due to the many changes in elevation. It is a very nice wooded trail with some great views. Walking the flat path was easy as pie in these sweet Chameleon boots. They were so comfortable it never even felt like I was wearing boots. One thing I really liked was whenever I stepped on a stump or something sticking out of the ground, there was never a seesawing feeling. Additionally, when hiking uphill I did not slip once! I thought that was so amazing. These shoes handled extremely well in the snow. When descending I only slipped once, and that was in an area that had a bunch of wet leaves.
One other thing that I found interesting was that in New Jersey I hiked Mt. Tammany, a 3.5 mile rocky, steep trail in some Nike Free Runs. At the end of that hike, my knees were dead! I literally did not want to drive home that day because I was so exhausted. Fast forward to a 4.2 mile hike on Mt. Tom in some Merrell Chameleon 7s and I did not feel a thing. My knees felt great and my feet were not even tired. I was actually very impressed because people were telling me that you need to break in new hiking shoes but I felt no discomfort at any time.
Overall, these boots were super lightweight, and they kept my feet dry and very comfortable on the trail. The only thing I wish is that the Chameleon 7s were highs and not mids. I have had many ankle injuries and get very nervous at times when running, working out or performing any other athletic activities. That is personal preference. However, the Merrells give great protection and are a great shoe.
Day to day:
I decided to wear these shoes during a rainy day at school (University of Rhode Island). I usually wear tall Hunter boots because I don’t like it when my jeans get wet, but why not try something new? The Merrell boots have great waterproofing. Even though I was wearing them with thin Nike mid-calf socks, my feet never felt a drop. Additionally, the grip was awesome when compared to the Hunter Boots. Sometimes, the rubber soles on the Hunters lose traction since they are a bit worn, and I feel like I’m going to slip. Furthermore, walking in the mud and gravel areas was no problem—no slipping or sliding at all. The 3mm lugs did a great job making sure I did not slip if I was walking uphill or down. Although my jeans did get wetter at the bottom than when I wear tall rain boots, I was extremely satisfied with the performance, waterproofing, and comfort.
Overall I really enjoy the Merrell Chameleon 7s. They are a great hiking shoe and are wonderful day-to-day. I can guarantee that you won’t ever feel like you are wearing a boot. I can honestly say that I will continue to be a Merrell supporter. I do plan on doing more hikes and pushing these boots to their limits.