All-terrain Travel Shoe
An unsponsored review of Merrell’s Chameleon 4 Stretch Shoe and why I have chosen them as my current travel shoe. Plus, a few tips on how to choose your pair of travel shoes.
I have been a big fan of Merrell’s shoe products for a while now. I have not used any of their other products yet, but if their shoes are a good indication I would be willing to give them a go. To date, I have owned three separate pairs of Merrell shoes, 2 of them being Chameleon 4 stretch model. One has been retired and the other I am currently using because I think they make a good travel shoe.
When you look for a good travel shoe, you should focus on getting a shoe that fits your needs and what you desire to do while traveling. If you plan to attend many 5-star dinners with a fancy suit, you may need a specific pair of shoes. However, if you are going to be backpacking for 5 months around the world, then the type of shoe you choose may be slightly different and need some thought.
I believe that there are 5 main focal points to choosing a travel shoe:
Below I will give you an open and honest review of the 2 pairs of Chameleon 4 stretch shoes I have used:
A.) Durability: When choosing a shoe for long-term traveling you can go one of two routes in my opinion. You can choose a shoe that will last you a long time or you can get cheap shoes and replace them regularly. I usually choose to get a good shoe that I can use for an extended period of time. That’s where Chameleon 4 Stretch comes in. I’ve traveled with a variety of shoes in the past ranging from standard tennis shoes to sandals. Now, I like shoes with good lasting durability for long-term travel. A shoe that can be versatile.
Overall, I can say that the shoes are durable, which is why I choose them. I can workout in them, climb a mountain, and walk 10 miles in them. My last pair took me across 4 continents, roughly 15 countries, walked over 1000 miles, were used daily for 6 months, and are still usable to this day. I put them through hell. If shoes could talk…
B.) Quality: Merrell is known as a quality manufacture. I cannot yet speak for other products that they make, but in the 3 pairs of Merrell shoes that I have owned, I’d say that their quality is better than the average shoe.
Problems: I retired my last pair because the heals on my feet were worn and the interior fabrics were showing. This is partly due to the fact that I have a tendency to hit my heals when I walk, but also because of extensive use.
Another fault was that the front of the shoe where the rubber lip connects to the toe of the shoe has risen on both the left and the right shoe. So, it was disconnected and could collect dirt.
Lastly, the string on my right shoe had popped and it could no longer be fastened properly.
Therefore, I’d say that if you wear them enough, they will eventually become damaged just like any regular pair.
C.) Comfort: The comfort of the shoe is one of the areas that it is lacking. In my opinion, the shoes are great for all-terrain use, but are not exactly the shoes you would like to sit down and take a nap in. The reason that you sacrifice a little comfort is because they are more rigid and durable, which makes them last longer. I never have, but perhaps adding some gel insoles would make them more desirable.
I find that when I do rigorous hiking, my ankles tend to hurt a little. For this, I classify the Chameleons more as hike-walking shoes rather than standard hiking boots. I don’t want to travel with hiking boots (too bulky and heavy) so for me the Chameleons are more ideal.
That being said, the shoes are not wholly uncomfortable. I’d say they are a 3 out of 5 stars.
D.) Looks/Appeal: One of the reasons that I choose the Chameleon 4 Stretch as a travel shoe is because of its appeal. It is a good-looking shoe. Because I as a backpacker think in terms of weight and practicality when traveling, I do not want to carry multiple pairs of shoes. I love the fact that with the Chameleon 4 Stretch I can go running up a mountain, walk around a city, then slip on a pair of jeans and look half way decent to hit the club with some friends. The shoes go well with a variety of clothes and you can use them multi-purposefully. That’s the main reason that I choose them as my travel shoe. I want one pair that does everything.
E.) Cost: Probably the larger stopping point for many people would be the cost of the Chameleon 4 Stretch. I paid roughly $130 (USD) each for my last two pairs. They are the only pair of shoes that I spend this kind of money on because I believe that it is good to have a solid travel shoe that you can depend on. You may prefer to save and get some cheap shoes and just replace while you go. I would prefer to spend the money and get a quality shoe that will last me some time. I don’t always believe that “you get what you pay for” but in this circumstance I believe it to be true.
All in all, there is no one best travel shoe. Every individual person will have their own thoughts and perspectives on what makes their best shoe or what would be the best travel shoe for them. Some prefer to bring multiple pairs of shoes. Personally, I do not like to carry a bunch of things so it is ideal for me to choose things that I can use in multiple situations. Shoes are no exception.
- If you have time, then try to test out your shoe before leaving. Get a feel for them to see if they are up for the challenge.
- Insider tip: Once you have your shoe, treat it with water repellent to make it last longer.
I am not sure if these will always be my “go to” pair, but until I find something that is equally as durable, versatile, and appealing, I think that I will stick to my Chameleon 4 Stretch as my travel shoe.
What is your favorite travel shoe? Or do you change a lot?