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72 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2013
First, a few things about me. I'm an avid day-hiker. This means I carry lightweight loads (three liters of water, lunch, a few extra layers, etc.). I live and hike in Colorado. I've been doing this for many years. I'm not an extreme hiker - I don't like bouldering, and I'm not crossing streams/rivers with my shoes on or anything like that. And as I age, I don't like rapid descents (bad knees). I like intermediate level hikes.

I read a great review of these shoes in Backpacker magazine. I read online reviews at REI and Amazon. I found a pair on sale at a local retailer in Estes Park, CO for about $85, so I took the plunge and picked them up.

Here's what is good about them:

1) They're light. Honestly, when I hold the shoe in my hand, I'm surprised at their weight (or lack of it).

2) They slip on and off quickly. I'm impressed with the unorthodox cord-lock instead of the traditional laces. Never once have I needed to tighten the cord lock while hiking.

3). The style is cool, if that's what matters to a buyer. I have the gray/blue ones and like the way they look.

The not-so-great:

1). The heat generated inside these shoes is head-spinning. The ventilation is terrible. I noticed the heat building up inside the shoe as I was crossing the parking lot during my first hike with them, and also in repeated uses since then. It is even worse when wearing cotton socks. I only hike with SmartWool PhD Lite socks (more on that below).

2). I don't have a long or exaggerated stride at all, nor do I drag my heels, and after three hikes averaging about 15 miles, the heel section of the outer sole is drastically worn. I don't see these lasting into next year's hiking season at this rate. However, I think the type of outer sole on this shoe is probably what is giving the shoe its incredible lightness (per my first comment above).

3). Related to the outer sole durability problem, the entire sole (not just the rear) is incredibly soft, and the shoe is very pliable. This is fine for people who walk on flat pavement, dirt, or well-worn paths, but if there are some occasional stones or roots with diameters greater than 1 - 2" on your path, you'll start to wish you wore something with a beefier sole real quick. I mention this because I'm not asking this shoe to do something it isn't advertised to do. I consider mild stones or obstructions of this size along any hiking trail to be a normal occurrence. Yet each time I have to cross some small stones or whatever, I cringe. Imagine it like the stiff suspension in a little sports car. You feel every bump in these, because the sole and the shoe are so overly soft and malleable.

4). Lastly, no matter how I tighten down the cord-lock, my heel rises off the inner sole ever so slightly with each step. It would be folly to presume I bought a size too big, because I buy all my hiking shoes to fit snugly, more than any other footwear I own, and I'm very picky about this. These fit me snugly, yet the way the cord-lock works with the heel support, there is constant movement. As I said above, if it weren't for SmartWool socks, which mitigate (to an alarming degree), the hot spots and rubbing, I probably would have some serious blisters by now. To give you an idea: even my SmartWool socks, after only 3 hikes in these shoes, are pilling around the heel! This is NOT normal for SmartWool, which I wear everyday for work and for recreation.

I noticed that a lot of other reviewers really love these shoes, and some careful reading shows that often people are not using them as exclusive hiking shoes. (There are some hikers who love them though, and that's great for them). Some of the reviews state that people are using them for travel (what, sitting there on a plane for a few hours? driving a car all day?), or for work (driving a forklift? walking about a warehouse? sitting at a desk?) without a lot of detail behind what their work or activity entails. I've tried to be explicit about how I use these shoes, and again, I don't think I'm asking of the shoes anything that could be construed as unreasonable or outside what Merrell might consider "proper usage." Granted, if I was just sitting at a desk all day with these, then yes, I would concur they are great shoes. But for the weekend day-hiker, I don't recommend them.
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58 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
I have owned about 4 pairs of Chameleons over the past 8 years, and every pair has been amazing. These shoes have been the most comfortable, durable and versatile shoes I have ever owned. I was really looking forward to my next pair, the Chameleon 4 Stretch, but was extremely disappointed after taking them home and walking around in them for a few days.

Now don't get me wrong, these shoes are very comfortable. They don't need any breaking in and you feel like you are walking on a cloud, but Merrell has slipped in two crucial areas; the heel and the materials.

I wore these shoes while finishing up my Christmas shopping at the mall and was concerned that my heel kept slipping. This has never happened with my previous Chameleon Stretches. I got the same size as last time (11) and decided maybe a half size smaller might fix the problem. Well, that was not the issue. The smaller pair just didn't fit. My other pair of Chameleon Stretches have a deeper heel with a hard plastic material which helps hold your foot in. The new version got rid of that plastic heel, lowered the height and uses a more elastic material which leads to the slippage.

My other gripe with the material is the hoop on the back which you use to slip the shoes on. It just feels cheap and I'm sure it would rip off within a few months of regular usage. While this may seem like a small detail, it really helps having tough hoops to pull your shoes on, and it can be a pain when they come off like they did with my last pair (even with a more durable hoop).

All in all, I really can't recommend buying this shoe, and it actually hurts me to say it. I have given Merrell a lot of money over the years in exchange for a durable quality product, and I am sad to say that the new model just feels cheaper. I will be heading to a box store to hopefully find a different model of Merrells that actually fit, but I may just decide to give my business to a different shoe company.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
I practically have nothing but Merrell shoes in my closet & this is one of the best pairs I've owned. I worked AAA roadside service I & wear these 5 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. Excellent wear, very good in weather, very light but still secure, comfortable as can be, & def. worth the money. Going to buy a few m ore pairs as soon as I've worn through these. Great shoe...period...
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2013
I have owned Merrell Chameleon 2, 3 and a previous pair of the Chameleon 4. The most recent pair started to fall apart in less than 2 months of normal usage. The heel started to separate and the stitching has started to come undone. I am quite surprised at the poor quality of this Merrell shoe since I have worn them for many years and have loved them in the past.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
I love this pair of Merrell which is lightweight and best of all comfortable. You can walk in them all day long and your feet does not feel sore or tired at all. I would recommend this as a good pair of walking shoes!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
These are the daily commuters. I wear them six days a week and they are great so far. Up and down ladders, on concrete and rooftops all day long. I wear 11s in nike, adidas, and most other shoes/boots. These fit true to size. The sole is softer and grippier than the two Merrell Continuums that I had before. Can't wait to take them off road.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2012
I used to like Merrell a lot-high quality products, I've got a total of three pairs. You pay more up front but you get more at the long run. Until lately-it looks like Merrell is turning into one of the many companies that would rather make a few more dollars of profit than secure a loyal returning customer. How does that happen-easy and simple-they cut down on the fixed cost and instead of making a high quality long lasting shoe they start using cheaper(and less) materials and aim at short term profits by keeping the same high prices or even bumping them higher. I think people are gonna turn to other brands on the market that are just as compatitive with their prices and quality. I least I am. Some facts-I still have a pair of the Chameleon three-very well built inside and outside. I just bought the Chameleon 4 and to my surprise these are not really made to last-the inside lining is a JOKE, honestly, compared to the old ones and the outlining is a little thinner-"lighter is better hohoho" tells me the sales person, nope, if lighter is gonna be at the expense of how firm the shoe stays when I hike-nay, I'd choose the Cham 3 over the new cheaper(as materials, otherwise just as pricy) one, but guess what? They don't make the Cham 3 anymore. Discontinued. Why? This question only hurts. Because they have to write off big bucks supposedly going to their designers and the designers have to come up with new and newer models but the bottom line is that the new models are nowhere near as good; on the contrary-cheaper, built to last less so you can buy more pairs-ha! Go to Marshalls-I found a brand new pair of Teva Men's Raith eVent Waterproof Hiking Shoes for $25! A steal! This is gonna be my next pair of hiking shoes. Teva was just a fraction of the price, wait a $100 less you said, and felt to me much better built. And I am real picky when it comes to buying.

I mean let's face it-all those shoes are made in China and I'll bet you it don't cost more than $8-10 to make+import a pair in the US. So why pay 3-4 times more for a brand's name which doesn't care about quality anymore?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2013
I have been dealing with lower back problems for a while . after buying these shoes my problems go . plus they have great grip for walking quickly.

I will absolutely stick with this brand for a long time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2013
I have only had the shoes 4 months and the heal is falling apart so it rips up my skin when walking. I am very disappointed in these shoes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
In my opinion the Merrell Men's Chameleon 4 Stretch hiking shoe is good looking, well constructed, Lightweight, flexible and very comfortable as a casual shoe to wear.
The shoe seems to run true to size and although I've only worn it for two weeks, I've had no problems with the shoe.
My only issue that concerns me is the following:
The elastic lock lacing system is made of a stretchy (elastic like) material and I find it impossible to tightly lace, therefor if you are doing any running or serious hiking in this shoe it will be a loose fit (at least it was for me) and might not meet your expectations.
Other shoes I have owned that had the same type of lace system had laces that were solid with no stretch thus one could acquire a tighter fit.
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