Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slam Review

Merrell built their early reputation on comfortable footwear straight out of the box.  I have had my eye on a pair of Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams for some time and the offer by Fitness Footwear for me to review a pair on Hard Light was very timely.

I have no connection with Fitness Footwear or it's employees, this is an independent and impartial review.

I have wide, bony feet as is typical of our national characteristic in the UK.  In comparison with other makes of outdoor shoe on the retailer's rack, Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams are very obviously wider than most others.  For me, the shape is very appealing.  If my feet are cramped in narrow footwear, they will ache and the Wraps are wide enough for me in the right areas.
  Fitness Footwear obviously take care with their packaging and mail order business.  The box arrived by courier within 24 hours of placing my order, in a heavyweight polythene bag. 

First impressions on opening the box is that the shoes are beautifully made with high quality materials.  The uppers are of a cordura-type fabric.  There is a rubber rand to protect against abrasion from rocks and a plastic stabiliser from the heel to the top lacing eyelets.

The aircushion insoles are better than the average insole in this type of shoe, this is designed for comfort and holds the foot in place very well.

The ankle cuff and tongue are well padded and the soles are Vibram compound with cleats.  There is no conventional heelbreast, just 2 large opposing cleats so care might need to be taken on steep grassy or slippery inclines.

The toe box is protected by a rubber rand and the substantial upturn of the sole at the toe forms a good barrier against rock bashing.  This is a well-known feature of Merrell footwear and works well.

The heel box is equally well thought out with a sort of nubuck fabric outside and a rubber rand for protection.  A webbing loop forms the handy pull-on strap above the heel.  The photograph above shows the substantial padding around the ankle and tongue.  There is no Goretex or similar waterproof lining.  With all of the padding, these shoes might retain water, so waterproof socks would be advisable in wet or boggy conditions.

My walk for the review was around 10 miles, with varied terrain from public rights of way through cultivated fields to tussock grass and rocky ground.

 The last is reasonbly stiff and very supportive, but the most notable feature of these shoes is the sheer comfort of wearing them!  Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slam shoes are without doubt the most comfortable outdoor footwear I have used to date.  A pair of SealSkins socks are a good idea for wet conditions, but you may need a half size larger than usual to accomodate the extra bulk.  I am normally size UK9 and although the shoes fitted perfectly with thin merino socks, SealSkin socks made the fit a little tight.

I joined the lightweight footwear fraternity some time ago and Innov-8 Terrocs with SealSkin socks are my usual footwear for UK hillwalking and backpacking.  The first major comparison I made between the Wraps and the Terrocs is that the fit is more stable with no heel slippage in the Merrells.  The Terrocs are lighter, but the Wraps are far better fitting and more comfortable.

The padding results in increased weight, the test pair of Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slam shoes weighed 450g each, which is still very reasonable and a small price to pay for the comfort level.

The Vibram soles are as grippy as you would expect, contributing to the overall feeling of stability on rocky ground.  Although this was a low level walk, I would have no hesitation in using the Chameleon Wrap Slams on higher, more committing terrain.  They would be ideal for use in the Scottish hills and English Lake District outside of winter conditions.

The impression I am left with after my walk is that these shoes would enable you to walk all day in total comfort.  They are beautifully made from high quality, durable materials

Tortoises like Chameleon Wrap Slams too!

Order your pair of Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams from Fitness Footwear now.  I can fully recommend these shoes and the retailer.


Andy Howell said…
How good are they at shedding water Steve?
Steve Walton said…
Andy, they hold more water than Terrocs and take longer to dry out because of all the absorbent padding around the ankle cuff, tongue and aircushion insole. Not a problem with waterproof socks, but my feeling is you may need a half size larger shoe if you intend to wear something like Seal Skins. The size 9's were a little too tight with Seal Skins but a good comfortable fit with thinner Smartwools.
Anonymous said…
I must have set a new low in ineptitude. bought 2 pr Seal Skin socks for a fly fishing outing which featured a ton of wading. My feet stayed dry for at least a minute or two then I might as well have been wearing regular cotton socks. $79.00 + S+H down the drain ( and yes I got the correct size)how can you put these on wrong ?
David said…
Hi Steve, great review and I wish I had read it before making my order. From my research elsewhere on the net, I was led to believe that you should purchase a size up e.g. size 9 foot should buy a size 10 shoe. Having read your comments I'm not convinced by this now. It looks like I will be returning mine as soon as they arrive!
Anonymous said…
i had a pair when they first cameout and they were the mutt's nuts. Very comfortable, BUT! i had to have a size 10 and i am normally a 9. Depends on people's feet i suppose.
Anonymous said…
These are excellent shoes, I also have a pair of the Chameleon 3 ventilator mid gtx which I use in winter. From experience with any shoe that you intend to run, jog or hike with a small to medium pack I would recommend getting half to a full size up to prevent the toes and nail beds from bruising. One should have a good thump width of room in the front of the shoe.
Anonymous said…
I must agree these shoes are amazing i have these i use them every day i have them for 1year and 6mounths and steel good i know i have chameleon ll strech and they similar. But the chameleon 4 that i buyed yesterday arent better than chameleon ll or wrap slam for me these are best shoes made by merrel from day one.
Lukas said…
Hi, I would like to use your photo of these shoes on my blog about travel and the outdoors?
Tim said…

I have a merrell chameleon slam midnight red about six years. I'm very satisfied with it and now is time to buy new one.
Best Footwear said…
Great site and a very detailed, hands on review. Most pairs of Merrell are nice looking and long lasting.