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Merrell Sandals – Rugged Sandals for the Path Less Trodden

Updated on October 11, 2011

If you are looking to take the path less trodden, you are going to need shoes which are up to the rigours of serious off-road action. However for walking and light hiking in the summer, it doesn’t matter how breathable the GORE-TEX is, or how lightweight your boots are, you are going to get hot and sweaty.

Merrell Chameleon II Kahuna Sandals
Merrell Chameleon II Kahuna Sandals

However when the sun is beating down, the skies are blue, and you want to take a more leisurely route then you could do a lot worse than a pair of walking sandals. Walking and hiking sandals are a super lightweight alternative shoe for summer, which combine the ruggedness of a boot with the coolness of a summer sandal and are an excellent way to make sure you stay comfortable and blister free when the temperatures start to soar.

There are many performance footwear brands to choose from, but one of the best on the market when it comes to outdoor sandals is Merrell.

Merrell are a well known brand in America, however in Europe they have only just arrived on the market, and are not nearly so well known. Their sandals have been getting rave reviews for some time, so I decided to put them to the test and ordered a pair of Merrell Chameleons (Merrell Chameleon II Kahuna sandals to be precise). I got them online at Fitness Footwear as I couldn't find them locally. I wish I had just done that first!

Merrell Chameleon II Kahuna sandals

It took about 30 seconds from the moment they arrived to getting them on my feet, and I have had them off for about the same length of time ever since.

I love them I love them I love them!

It is probably due to the lack of arch support from my previous cheapy cheapo pair which all but fell apart within a few weeks, and since I live in a hot country I figured it was worth the cost to invest in a high quality pair that would see me through the summer, and hopefully a couple more after that. As soon as May hits, the socks get packed away until November, and as for shoes – well, they are only worn when it cannot be avoided. I’ve never been a huge fan of flip-flops, as the flip-flopping noise annoys me and when you walk through a puddle and you get dirty water flipped up your back.

My Merrell Chameleons

I wouldnt wear them with jeans like I am in the photo, but I had just got them out of the box and was too excited to change!
I wouldnt wear them with jeans like I am in the photo, but I had just got them out of the box and was too excited to change!

I saw these as a great investment, and boy was I right. Construction wise they are top notch, and I reckon if I was not to take them off until November, they would still look just as good. Fortunately they have an anti bacterial treatment on the footbed, so if they do remain on my feet until then they will not get smelly.

The uppers are made from smooth pig-skin, and the insides are lined with a Neoprene-Lycra wetsuit material which is really comfortable, but the real comfort is underfoot. They are just sooooo comfortable and it’s down to the arch support. They mould to my feet and give excellent support, and are more comfortable that going barefoot!

The grip is superb courtesy of the Vibram rubber soles with the Octogrip design, and it performs admirably off-road, and feels really secure underfoot. On any off road surface the sandals perform well, however it should be noted that on polished surfaces, such as tiles or marble they are fine, but when wet it might as well be ice. Apart from that, they cope well with other wet surfaces without a problem.

The model is unisex, however I reckon that for the girls the chunky design will see them kept as hiking sandals rather than for making a fashion statement, but for the guys they look great with shorts. For the girls who are after comfort rather than pure off road action, I would recommend Merrell Siena, with the Siren probably a better choice for light off road walking, and for general wear over the summer, but for light hiking it has to be the Merrell Chameleon II Kahuna.

Merrell Sandals for Women

The Merrell Siena - rugged, with sex appeal
The Merrell Siena - rugged, with sex appeal


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