The Merrell Chameleon 5 GTX is a good general-purpose shoe for outdoor activity built around an aggressive sole unit and stylish upper. The upper is made from pig suede with mesh panels and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining, and it benefits from extra stiffness in the heel cup and a rubber rand at the toe. But the toe box is very soft and not as protective as others. The outsole, from Vibram, has deep, well-spaced lugs and a hint of a heel breast – and this provides reasonable traction, but it does tend to clog a little more easily than more studded lug patterns. As is so typical of Merrell, the feel of the shoe is one of close comfort, and for me the Chameleon 5 GTX felt great straight from the box, while having enough street appeal to allow me to happily wear them off the hill. On rocky ground the sole has enough stiffness to reduce discomfort, on mud the sole is reasonable, and they’re good for general walking; but others are better for pure scrambling, climbing or running. I’d prefer the toe box to be a bit stiffer for rockier ground and on my narrow feet the forefoot was a little ‘baggy’, so the Merrell Chameleon 5 GTX is probably better for those with fuller feet than me. The women’s version is the Arc Voyager GTX.
Upper material pig suede leather, synthetic tongue
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Chameleon 5
Men’s sizes 6.5-14
Women’s sizes 3.5-8.5
Weight 1172g (pair, size 11)
The Merrell Chameleon 5 GTX is a good general-purpose shoe for walking on paths, tracks and trails; but others are better for rockier ground or running.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2013