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Merrell Chameleon II XCR Low Cut Hiking Shoe / Runner

By Editor | July 14, 2008

Merrell Chameleon II 2 XCR low cut hiking runner shoesBalance dayhiking comfort and backpacking support with the Merrell Chameleon II XCR. This agile low-top earned a permanent spot in many hikers / testers footwear closet after it was put through elevation gain and loss, and a torturous trifecta of rocky ground, polished roots, and innumerable steep scrambles. One hiking tester said, “These shoes nailed every step” he says. “My feet felt so good after 13 hours that I half-jogged the last 2 miles to the car.”

The Chameleon succeeds by combining good forefoot flex (for fast, comfortable striding) with midfoot and torsional rigidity (for arch support). While the shoe isn’t as stiff as the Garmont and Vasque models, it has better support, cushioning, and underfoot protection than the Lafuma and Montrail. It’s equally adept at dayhikes with 20 pounds or backpacking with 40. The shoes stayed dry through rainstorms, and breathed surprisingly well for a mostly leather upper. The dot-pattern outsoles stuck to rock whether dry or wet, but slipped on gravelly trails and mud. Expect at least a few seasons of hard use.

The negatives: Only three of six testers gave fit a thumbs up-testers with lowvolume feet and two of three women had problems-and the shoe is relatively heavy. Best for medium- to high-volume feet.

Price: $110 USD Weight: 2 Ibs. 6 OZ. Sizes: Men’s 6-12, 13, 14, 15, Women’s 5-11

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Topics: Footwear, Outdoor Gear Reviews, Runners, Spring and Summer | 271 Comments »

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