The hiking shoe that gathers no moss, Ventilator delivers on aired-out agility and capability. Technical trail performance from its Grade 1 hiking sole, durable EVA Merrell In-Board foot frame cushioning and toothy tread support expert mountain maneuvering.
- Strobel construction offers flexibility and comfort to the upper
- Nubuck, pig suede leather and mesh upper
- Breathable mesh lining treated with Aegis antimicrobial solution resists odor
- Ortholite anatomical footbed
- Merrell In-Board Compression Molded EVA Foot frame
- Merrell QForm Comfort midsole provides women’s specific stride-sequenced cushioning
- Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability
- Grade 1 Women’s-specific nylon insole for trail hiking
- 4.5mm sole lug depth
- Vibram Chameleon Arc 2 Sole / TC5+ Rubber
- Measured size 8
- Weight – 361 g (12.7 oz)
- Forefoot width – 95.3 mm (3.8 in)
- Retail – $110
Earlier in the year I was planning a trip to New York City and knew we would be doing a fair bit of walking there. My old shoes were on their last legs so I decided to look for a new pair. Enter the Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Ventilator Shoes. They are a light hiking shoe but are comfortable enough for just about anything.
Design / Construction
The Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Ventilator Stretch shoes are categorized as light hiking shoes. They have many features that make them a good option for trail hiking while maintaining all the Merrell features that make for comfortable shoes. These shoes do not have standard laces, they are an adjustable bungee cord that stretches when you step. This makes these more like a slip-on that can be adjusted to the wearer’s preference. There are loops both on the top of the tongue and the heel to help you pull them on. The upper is made of leather and mesh to combine structure and breathability. The upper is attached with Strobel construction for flexibility and comfort. The tongue is gusseted and made of mesh and is connected to the eyelets by a loop on the top. The inside of the shoes have a mesh lining that has been treated with Aegis Antimicrobial solution. This solution helps prevent odor causing bacteria from growing. The interior is finished off with an Ortholite anatomical footbed which offers cushioning and support to the foot.
The midsole is made of In-board compression molded EVA cushioning, Grade-1 Women’s specific Nylon midsole, and an air cushioned heel. The EVA cushioning is long lasting foam that has been incorporated with Merrell’s QForm Comfort midsole to provide women’s specific stride-sequenced cushioning . The Nylon midsole add stiffness and protect the foot from rocks and debris. A stiffer midsole also helps prevent your foot from fatiguing while walking around. In the heel Merrell has their air cushioned heel insert for absorbing shock and adding stability.
The outsole has the Chameleon Arc 2 sole with 4.5 mm lugs for traction. The sole is made of TC5+ rubber. This rubber compound is long lasting and provides excellent grip over a wide range of surfaces. The sole also continues up over the front of the toe box to provide some protection for the toes. As with most other Merrell footwear, these shoes are well made and feel solid.
I am a big fan of the fit of these shoes. I bought these a couple days before heading to NYC and we walked all around the city. I was the only one who did not have sore feet on the trip. One plus with the bungee lacing system is that these are like a glorified slip-on. When traveling through airport security I could take them off and put them back on really easily. Unlike a slip-on I do have to occasionally adjust the laces. This is a good thing as I can adjust the fit when I wear thicker or thinner socks. I also like to have a different fit when hiking as compared to wearing around town.
I am normally a medium width size 8 and that is what I purchased. The fit seems true to size and the width is also right on. The toe box has a rounded shape to it so they do not squish your toes. In the heel the shoes are also a medium width. I have not had any heel slippage with these shoes even on the trails. Overall I have been very impressed with the fit of these shoes.
The Chameleon Arc 2 Ventilator Stretch Shoes have been exactly what I wanted. They have served me well walking in the city and on short hikes as well. The lugged sole provides good traction whether I am walking on loose trails or wet sidewalks. The mesh uppers breathe well and I cannot remember ever having clammy feet in these. They are not waterproof though so I would not recommend wearing them on really wet days where you may need to walk through water. In Central Oregon we generally do not have that problem which makes these great for year-round use. The bungee cord lacing is really easy to use and adjust. It also makes it easy to get the shoes on and off and unless I go with a different width sock, I do not have to change the lacing very often. The buckle has not slipped during use and is very secure.
These have been some great shoes. I have been very happy with the fit and performance of these shoes. I also am a big fan of the aesthetics as well. They are great casual shoes that can take you out on the trails as well. I have now had these shoes for 8 months at the time of this review and the shoes are still in excellent condition. They have been durable and well made and should last me a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend these shoes for both light hiking and around town. I am sure I will get another pair when these wear out. If you do need a waterproof shoe, Merrell does make other models in the Chameleon line with Gore-Tex lining. These shoes cost $110 dollars retail and I think they are a good value at this price. You get what you pay for with these. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Comfortable fit
- Flexible laces
- Fits true to size, no surprises
- Traction across multiple surfaces
- Some may not like the flexible fit of the bungee laces, I was searching here