Posts tagged 'Chameleon Wrap Slam'

Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams & Salomon Exit Aeros – final reviews

Posted by on May 31st 2011 in My reviews

These items for review were supplied by Adam Smith while he was a representative of Fitness Footwear Ltd.

The Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams have done a fair few miles now, I've been wearing them either with very thin socks or with no socks at all because of the sizing problem. With socks they still squeak quite loudly so I tend to wear them only when I'm on solo walks, obviously when I'm going sockless they're a tad more partner-friendly but the range of terrain is restricted accordingly. Aside from the noise they've been fine on all sorts of non-icy terrain, they're not waterproof but are quick to dry. Grip has improved with use. They've been through the washing machine on the "sports shoes" cycle with no detectable detriment. If I had the correct size I'd wear them a lot more and in more testing places. Oddly, I find that they are a really good choice for driving - I think it's something to do with the way the heel grips the foot-well carpet.

The Salomon Exit Aeros haven't done as much mileage but have proved to be fine for casual, mainly indoor wear. I still don't trust them in the wet - the grip seems to have worsened with wear. Again, they're not waterproof but they do dry amazingly quickly. I've decided that they have too much flex for me to wear them on long dry walks so they've been relegated to the role of slippers - they see a lot of use during YHA stays. Shape-wise they do fit me well and if I did acquire any more Salomons I'm confident that they'll suit my feet, but there's no way that I'd get a model like this until they've sorted out the sole/grip problem.

I've come to the conclusion that footwear such as these items doesn't suit the outdoors stuff that I do, although the Wrap Slams have been OK for general outdoor wear. Maybe I've not tried them enough, maybe I've been expecting too much of them, but I really can't get on with them. My feet still feel better in more substantial footwear, and I feel more confident when my feet stay where I put them. That's why I keep going back to the AKU Croda GTXs.

The Buttermere trip – a quick gear roundup

Posted by on November 4th 2010 in Bargains, Great Escapes, Shiny new kit

Just thought I'd do a short post about some of the kit that my family used during our recent trip to Buttermere. There's not much here to excite the lightweighters out there but when kitting out a family sometimes value-for-money is a more important consideration than grammes-per-litre, and often cheap doesn't mean bad.

Footwear

I wore my AKU Crodas, Ella wore hers. Neither of us had any issues, they were nice and comfy. Chris was breaking-in her Scarpa Mantas - it was her first full-day outing in these stiff boots and they were obviously overkill for the route and the conditions, but they did need to do some mileage before being used in anger. Aside from an issue with the fit around her ankles, they were fine. Anna wore an old pair of hand-me-down Hi-Tec mids, no idea which model, they were fine too. We've promised her some new boots next year. Despite the bog-trotting and beck-crossings, we all enjoyed dry feet all day.

Regarding the performance of the Fitness Footwear test-and-review samples, I wore the Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams for the walk to and from The Fish on Thursday night and they were fine (apart from the squeakiness), even in the wet. If Friday hadn't been forecast to be wet all day, I'd have worn them on the hill too, but the AKUs got the vote at the last minute. The Salomon Exit Aeros were a dead loss - comfy for driving but dangerously slippery even when getting out of the car and stepping onto a damp motorway-services car-park.

Other Clothing

I was trying out some different socks - for many years I've used only Thorlo KXs, KXLs or STs, but I'd seen some Wed'ze RNS 700 ski/snowboarding socks in Decathlon and I'd decided to try a pair. Actually, they're not bad - nice and long, padded in the right places, thin in the right places, and they stay up!

Packs

I carried the LA Alpine Attack 40 - my standard any-season day-pack for a few years now. It's a tough, solid performer with few techie bits, the easy-access external crampon-pocket this time being used for the bothy-shelter instead of the JetBoil PCS. Ella used her Berghaus Womens Freeflow III 35+8, the shape and the back-size are both perfect for her. Chris was using a new Quechua pack - the Forclaz 25 Air - she said it was a good carry. It's got some nice features for a sub-£25 pack, such as decent-sized and well-placed belt-pockets, a lurid green stowaway rain-cover, and a comfy air-cooling system mesh back. With the rain-cover deployed, there was no way that we would have lost her! Anna had a new Quechua pack too - the Arpenaz 20 - and it was just right for her slight frame.

Shelter/Safety

I figured that having some sort of shelter for the kids during snack-breaks would be a good idea, so I took the Terra Nova Bothy 4. It turned out to be a good call - the kids enjoyed sitting/eating/playing in it. I might invest in a bigger version for whenever we walk with another family.

Obviously we carried, used or wore many other items, but other than the above there was nothing to write home about.

Review – Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams – now with sound-effects!

Posted by on September 22nd 2010 in My reviews, Shiny new kit

Another update on the Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams from Fitness Footwear Ltd....

Well, they're still comfy and grippy, but there's a problem - they've started squeaking!

At first I thought it was a sole issue, but after further investigation it turns out to be due to some of the innards. In each shoe there are two fillets of support material (closed-cell padding, I suspect) beneath the lining in the areas marked in yellow in the next two pics. These fillets all now squeak whenever they are compressed, i.e. every time a step is taken. The noises started out as quiet mouse-like squeaks last week but now it's akin to walking on whoopee-cushions. It's a shame that such a good bit of kit is now ruined by this annoyance.

 

 

 

I was putting the insoles back in after taking the above pics when I noticed the sizing on the underside. I'm still trying to figure out why size 8.5 insoles have been put into size 8 shoes (that's nominal size 8, of course, as in reality they're probably 7.5s or maybe even 7s).

 

 

I'm now of the opinion that if I'd paid for these I'd be sending them back to the retailer for replacement or refund, as they're no longer fit for purpose after less than three months of generally casual use, and as Merrell have put in the wrong insoles. Sadly this would be harsh on the retailer as it is a matter beyond his/her control, being the fault of the manufacturer.

Review – Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams – The First Few Weeks

Posted by on August 16th 2010 in My reviews, Shiny new kit

Just a quick update on the Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams from Fitness Footwear Ltd....

I've worn them almost every day and so far they've given me no discomfort despite the size-issue that I mentioned in my initial review. My toes are still close to the end of the toe-box, but I've suffered no "toe-bash" yet. That said, I've not done any serious up-and-down walking in them yet, as the opportunity for that sort of activity has yet to arise.

The uppers are showing few signs of wear and they're easy to clean - after getting them caked in mud I just hosed them down and let them dry in the sunlight. I can live with that sort of maintenance regime.

The soles have retained their impressive grip (they provided excellent traction on damp grass when I wore them for a power-kiting session) and they are wearing evenly, which suggests that they are well-suited to the way that I walk. I find the scaly, reptilian sole-pattern quite appealing - they leave curious foot-prints which the kids find amusing.

One very minor gripe - the combination of the thick ankle-padding and the fabric that covers it is a magnet for the spiky stuff that gorse and heather throw at your feet as you walk by. Thorns and similar pointy bits tend to get embedded quite easily and it's worth digging them out now and again before get in too deep. Once they get fully beyond the fabric they can poke back through and spike you at will, and they're a sod to get out.

I noticed quite early on that I couldn't get on with the way that the tongues kept pulling up on my toes during the course of a walk, so I re-laced them to bypass the tongue lace-tabs. This is a much better set-up for me.

So far I'm very impressed with their performance, I just need to give them a proper work-out on some rugged terrain. We're scheduled to spend a weekend in the Lake District sometime soon, I'll wear them then (if the conditions are suitable) and report back accordingly.

 

Review – Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams – First Thoughts

Posted by on July 14th 2010 in My reviews, New tricks for an old dog, Shiny new kit

So, down to the preliminary review of the contents of Package 2 - a pair of Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams from Fitness Footwear Ltd..

I'd opted for the Army Green and Black version, on the basis that it would be a fairly neutral colour-scheme, nothing too flash. I mean, this is the first pair of trainer-type shoes that I'd acquired during the last 30 years (aside from some "trendy" toe-tectors), so I didn't want to overdo it (I must admit to being tempted by the Charcoal and Red version, though). The first image below shows the things in general, but the colour is better-represented in the second pic:

 

 

With some trepidation I pulled them on over a pair of thin trainer-socks and was pleasantly surprised by the fit, as I'm usually hard to please when it comes to this sort of thing. The arch-support is just right, and that's important to me as I have "flexible flatfoot" - a condition that's never a problem unless I'm barefoot or in flat-soled footwear. The best thing about the fit, though, is the security - with significant padding around the heels and below the ankles these things grip onto my feet perfectly, there's no slipping and sliding around inside, it's almost as if they're glued on. The soles flex in just the right place and don't have excessive torsion, and at the moment they have impressive grip on all sorts of surfaces. My only minor gripe is the sizing - I've been a size 8  for a few decades now, but these feel more like a 7.5  - there wasn't as much space beyond the toes compared to the other 8s that I own. That said, I reckon that 9s would have been too big and I guess that I'm just between sizes for this brand/model.

Within the hour they were being used on another trip up and around Croft Hill in scorching weather (more on that later). OK, it's not a major expedition, but there's some variation of terrain and plenty of steep grass to contend with. After a few hours and a few miles, all still felt good - no sweatiness, nice and cool, and very comfy. I kept them on for the rest of that day, and wore them non-stop all the next day, and there's been no soreness or rubbing.

 

 

So, what would I use them for? I reckon I'd use them on long low walks in good-to-reasonable conditions, but I'd need to build up more confidence in them before committing to wearing them up on the higher and/or rougher Lakeland Fells. It's just that I'm used to proper boots rather than what some other folk would call "Jessiehikers". Maybe I need to make that leap of faith and just do it. Regarding how they fit into my collection of outdoors footwear, they neatly fill the gap between my Keen Newports and my AKU Croda GTXs (all of which reminds me that I need to update my gear page).

I do like them, in just a few days they've become the footwear of choice for the school-walk, trips to the shops and just general dossing. I'll give them a decent work-out over the summer and report back in due course.

If you're interested in laying your hands on some Merrells, have a look at the sale items here.

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