It all started back in February with a brand posting a simple question on twitter… What are you doing this weekend?
Merrell asked their followers if they were getting outdoors this weekend. Well I wasn’t, not because I didn’t want to (this being my year of getting outdoors after all), but because I was travelling down to London to play my trombone all day. A comment was made about playing my trombone on the top of a hill. Oh dear.
By the end of our conversation Merrell had offered to send me a pair of walking boots to review on Splodz Blogz with one caveat… I had to promise to take a photo of me, wearing my new boots, on a hill, with my trombone. They had appealed to my slightly crazy nature. I laughed a lot but agreed – of course I agreed!
The boots arrived in mid-March by which time I had managed to drop my trombone and get a rather lovely dent in both the inner and outer slide. Ouch. So it went off to the repair shop and I started wearing the boots to break them in.
Splodz Blogz Review
The brown leather Chameleon Arc 2 Rival Waterproof hiking boots are really nicely designed. They have a nice rounded shape, come up just above my ankles, and I reckon look really good on my feet. But walking boots aren’t supposed to be a fashion statement so the proof is in the wearing.
These are very well padded on the inside keeping your feet secure and comfortable, and with the vibram sole they have excellent grip. I find this particular shape comfortable for my feet – they are wide enough and size up well (I ordered my usual size). The air cushioning in the heel is nice to walk on – not bouncy or anything but a bit spongy like you’re walking on a padded foam footbed. It hasn’t taken me long to break in the leather, they are quite soft and supple straight from the box, and after a month or so of short 4-5 mile walks I am more than happy to wear them on a day out, and will enjoy doing so.
When returning from a muddy walk I would normally hose off my boots (will have to be done under a tap now with the hosepipe ban!) and leave them to dry, but with these being nubuck leather I was unsure if that was such a good idea. I needn’t have worried – a rinse to get the worst off and the inside was still dry and the upper isn’t stained at all. Wearing them again the next day was fine (all dry). Definitely waterproof, which is an absolute must for hiking boots, without being horrible and sweaty on the inside.
I found the tongue of one of the boots was creased from the box and as such didn’t sit well on my foot for the first few wears, but now the boot has softened it seems to have found its rightful place. The laces are round and a little slippery. You haven’t got lockable lacing or d-rings here, it’s just normal holes so you have to rely on your knotting skills. Again, after a few wears I found I was able to get the laces more secure – as the boots shape to your feet it seems to become easier to fasten them properly.
As far as my review goes, these are great looking, comfortable, strong, stable boots that hit the spot for me. I very much enjoy getting outdoors in them.
Keeping a Promise
I have kept my promise, why wouldn’t I?! I went over to Leeds to pick up my trombone from my parents who had kindly got it from the repair shop for me. In the afternoon Dad suggested we went out for a bit – the Yorkshire hills were only a short drive away and I seized the opportunity to explain the promise I had made to Merrell (and point out I had put the boots in the car just in case!). So we put the trombone in the car and I put the boots on my feet and off we went out into the rain.
Our first stop was Castle Hill, overlooking Huddersfield, which is where they built a tower to commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee. It was raining a bit but hey, who cares, so here’s me and my trombone.
From there we went up on the A640 over Marsden Moor, to Buckstones Edge, where the ground drops away and you can see for miles over the Pennines. Well you could see for miles if it wasn’t raining heavily, including some hail, and quite misty. I stood not quite on the edge of some of the rocks jutting out from the ground for a spot of “extreme tromboning”.
Thanks Dad and my family for humouring my crazy nature, and thanks Merrell for sending me theses boots to review – I hope you like the photos!
The Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Rival Waterproof hiking boots are priced at £125.