Fitness Footwear were kind enough to send me a pair of Chameleons to try out. I enjoyed sampling them and they’re a great (if not perfect) pair of walking boots. They struck me as being quality light hiking boots and good all-rounders.
I’d recommend these boots for walking in hot temperatures, especially if your environment includes a lot of wet terrain (streams, rivers, bogs etc.). Their great mix of breathability, traction and waterproofing makes them perfect for that kind of activity. If you’re looking for a pair of boots to use in disparate weather conditions (i.e. hot and cold), these are also well-worth considering.
They’re not suitable for heavy-duty trekking but they will manage over long(ish) distances on not-too-tough trails provided you’re carrying a light pack. My feeling is that they’re a good pair of multi-purpose boots to have provided you’re not going to be out for extended stretches (i.e. more than two days or so).
||Light to Medium Intensity Hiking
Best For: Low to medium intensity hiking, working well in both hot and cold weather. If you need a good all-round pair of boots for use throughout the year, strongly consider these.
Best Bits: Great ventilation, superb traction, stiff heel cup, light.
Worst Bits: Comparatively less durable, not a great deal of protection, poor toe cap.
Upper: Gore-Tex inner liner, mesh and what looks like “Dura-Leather” (recycled leather).
Insole: Branded Merrell insole.
Other Features: Aegis antibacterial “shield” bonded to inner liner.
These boots strike a great balance between breathability and waterproofing. They’re not quite as well ventilated as their cousins, the Moabs, but it’s my guess that they offer a lot more protection from the elements. The top-notch Vibram sole also means that traction is great too (again, good all-rounders).
If you wear orthotics or overpronate then the stiff heel cup on these boot makes them especially suitable if you’re looking for a light(er) pair of boots. The upper is durable, with a nice mix between leather and mesh.
The boots are obviously designed to work well in hot weather so the fact that I tried them in mid-February in Yorkshire was, I think, both a blessing and a curse. It gave me the opportunity to test the boots in some of the wettest, muddiest weather of the year and they held up very well.
Perhaps it’s because I’m so prone to banging my toes that I’m slightly over-zealous about tough toe-protection in boots. I don’t really see the point of having a fabric toe-cap on a hiking boot. The Chameleons were disappointing in this regard and the toe-cap isn’t very robust at all.
The boots have a fairly typical EVA foam midsole that could be thicker and stiffer in places. There’s enough underfoot protection but it could be better.
The insole is also a fairly standard (fairly rubbish) branded Merrell one.
The RRP is £140, which is steep for a pair of boots like these. They are available all over the web for much cheaper, however.