Designed for women, the Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Rival is a stylish mid-cut boot with a dash of pink in the model featured here, although a black and brown version is available as well for the more conservative user. The upper is made from a full-grain leather with a waterproof membrane tucked away inside. This leather is nice and soft, which should ensure a comfortable fit straight from the box, although on our size 5 female tester the boot felt a little restrictive around the toes, which appeared to be down to this area being quite shallow and pointed in profile. She also commented that the ankle cuff was quite stiff around the top edge and tended to dig in a little more than other boots. But this boot may fit those with more slender feet than our tester. The toe box area is not as well-stiffened as other boots so this is not the best option for tackling rocker ground, but the heel cup is more supportive. The outsole is reasonably stiff for this price of boot and it does resist the pressure of stones underfoot reasonably well, so when used on rocky paths it is reasonably comfortable. However the pattern of the lugs on the sole is such that mud easily clogs them up and also they are quite shallow, which makes these far from ideal for mud and soft grassy slopes. There is no heel breast either, so again the grip when descending slopes is not ideal.
Upper materials full-grain and nubuck leather
Waterproof lining waterproof membrane
Sole unit Vibram
Men’s sizes none
Women’s sizes 4-8.5
Weight 970g (pair, size 5)
Use the Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Rival on level valley paths and it offers a stylish alternative to more mountain-orientated designs, but if you head off-path or tackle rough, loose, muddy hills or moors then other boots have advantages in terms of grip.
Review by Graham Thompson
Just missed out on being in Trail magazine November 2013