“ Men's Sport Shoes „
Being someone who seriously dislikes shopping for clothes and shoes, I have only ever owned a maximum of 3 pairs of shoes at any one time: some smart shoes to wear with my suit when working in an office, a pair of trainers and some mountain biking shoes that clip in to my pedals.
I spend most of my time wearing trainers and these have always been skate shoes such as Vans or Duffs because I find them very comfortable. However, after suffering a foot injury whilst snowboarding I was told by my physiotherapist that the most important thing for me to do was start wearing shoes with better support. I reluctantly agreed to go shopping after being recommended several good quality brands and after trying on about 20 different pairs of trainers, ended up buying the Merrell Chameleon Iso Gore-Tex shoes.
*** The brand ***
Merrell is an American brand that 'provides outdoor enthusiasts with performance footwear'. It is best known for its range of hiking shoes but also produces trail running shoes, sandals and multi-sport shoes such as these Chameleon Iso ones.
*** Features ***
-- Gore-Tex Fabric Lining and Gasket Construction --
This makes the outside of the shoes waterproof and works well when the shoes are use in the rain or walking through small puddles. The only time the inside of my shoes have let water in was when I was mountain biking through large puddles of water and my socks were completely soaking wet too. Drying the shoes out was very quick and easy though and no water will get into your shoes unless you walk through water that comes up to your ankles.
I have re-waterproofed these shoes twice in the last year using a Gore-Tex spray because I use the shoes a lot in wet and snowy conditions in the winter and they now still work perfectly at preventing water from getting inside.
Gore-Tex fabric is also very breathable so your feet remain cool even in very hot weather or when excercising hard (as long as you wear appropriate socks). This also works very well to prevent them from smelling bad even after a lot of use.
-- Reinforced toe and heel with protective rubber --
This extra protection is useful for preventing pains due to stubbing your toes against rocks and increases the durability of the shoes.
-- Orthorlite footbed and air cushioned midsole --
These features as well as an injection molded arch shank provide lots of support exactly where your feet need it. Unlike some shoes that rely on just the footbed to provide support in the correct areas, the whole design and construction of the various layers is shaped so that the shoes do not lose their form and keep providing the necessary support.
-- Vibram outsole --
The rubber used for the outsole is very durable and provides very good traction in both wet and dry conditions. I have always found myself sliding around on gravel paths in the past but no longer have to worry about this when wearing these shoes!
*** Appearance ***
It is clear from looking at the shoes that they are made from various different materials and comprise different layers. There are various different shades of grey for the different materials and the mesh outer is the most noticeable feature which makes them look as breathable as they actually are.
Although the sole provides a lot of support it looks reasonably slim and understated from the outside. Also, the reinforced toe and heel do not look chunky like some other shoes with this type of design but they still provide a good amount of protection and durability.
Overall, these shoes have a slim and smart appearance which is great because apart from using them for outdoor activities, you can also wear them when going out in the evening. I have been to several bars in Central London that have a 'smart casual' dress-code and have had no problems wearing these shoes.
*** Overall Opinion ***
These shoes are classed as multi-sport by Merrell and having used them for walking, hiking and mountain biking in all sorts of different climates and conditions I can definitely say that they are fit for their purpose. I work in ski resorts in the winter and these shoes are perfect for walking around on snow and ice covered paths because of the grip they provide and the waterproof outer.
Having used these shoes almost every day for the past 18 months, I can definitely say that they are the most durable pair of shoes I have ever owned. The outsoles have hardly worn away which is amazing considering how much walking and hiking I have done and all the stitching on the inside and outside still remains strong and in place. The only thing that is showing any signs of wearing out is the laces!
I love the fact that I can wear these shoes when going out to bars and restaurants as well as when participating in sports. The Gore-Tex waterproofing works very well to protect you from rain and snow and best of all, the shoes provide support where you need it and are very comfortable even after many hours of wearing them.
I would highly recommend these shoes to anyone who is an outdoor enthusiast and does a lot of walking, hiking or biking and only wants one pair of shoes to use for all of these activities. They are also great shoes to use when travelling or backpacking as they are very breathable, do not smell bad even after many hours of continuous use and look smart when cleaned up!
An excellent shoe for a variety of surfaces, the Iso shoe is set to become a must have for the enthusiast who needs a do it all pair of shoes.