08 November 2008

New Hiking Shoes - Merrell Chameleon Arc Stretch Hiking Shoes -- Early Review

Earlier this week, I bought my first pair of Merrell hiking shoes. These are the chameleon arc stretch in canteen (color). Have only worn them walking around school. Not out into the great outdoors and certainly not scrambling over rocks, through streams, or sliding down slippery slopes. However, they do have one feature that totally rocks my socks off. When you walk on them, the rubber traction nubs on the bottom of the shoes seem to grip the floor. In the store, it sounded like I was popping bubble wrap when I walked. I figured anything that gripped the floor with such ferocity couldn't be a bad thing when trying to maintain footing under outdoor conditions. I'll have to wait a few days to find out if this is true.

The other thing I like about these is that they don't have to be tied to be worn. One of my biggest complaints about serious hiking shoes and boots is that they are designed for foot and ankle stabilization, which is great for hiking, but tends to be very uncomfortable just to relax in. On this pair, there is an piece of stretch nylon beneath the shoestrings that keeps them securely on the foot without tying (and without flopping around like a fish out of water). It's much like the Chacos, which is one of those sandals endearing traits. Like the Chacos, you can tighten them for serious hiking and loosen them when you are not. The strings themselves are an elastic cord that tightens by way of a plastic sliding thing. I have no idea what you call those things. The same sort of contraption you see on stuff sacks. Anyhoo, the only drawback I see so far is that, like other hiking shoes, things tend to get stuck in the tire-tread bottoms. Unfortunately, I walked by a ginko tree yesterday. When I got in the car to go home, I learned that I had unwittingly stepped on one of those stinky seeds. The shoes are relegated to the garage until I clean them.

Anyone else have any experience with Merrells? This is my first-ever pair. I can't wait to break them in on a really nice hike--especially since the weather has turned a little brisk. Anyone for Giant City?

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