The Chameleon is one of the most unique animals to ever exist.
It has the power, and this is a power on par with superheroes, to change the colour of its skin to whatever environment it finds itself in. The Chameleon performs this miracle of nature through layers in its skin. The top layer is a lattice of crystals which alter the light waves bouncing off the lizard’s skin. It’s adaptability at its finest, an attribute that drives Merrell’s own Chameleon franchise, and the latest 1TRL iteration, the Cham 8 Storm.
Just as the Chameleon has evolved a distinctive and very particular trait, we explore the evolution of one of Merrell’s most distinctive models.
It all started with a conversation in Düsseldorf between the Merrell team and long-time partners, Vibram. The idea was to create a fast-pack hiking shoe with a multitude of athletic properties. A plate of calamari sat on the table between the two product teams as they discussed how they could bring organic shapes into hiking shoes. You can see the influence the tentacles played on the outsole of the Cham 1 and in the latest Cham 8, but also on another iconic piece of Merrell’s history: Jungle Moc.
The Cham 8 Storm’s features borrow heavily from two models in the franchise’s history, the Cham 2 and the later Cham 7. Predominantly based on the esteemed Cham 2, a shoe that solidified the franchise as a radical rethink in trail footwear, the Cham 8 bridges years of trail innovations. The original concept of the Chameleon 1 and 2 was to create a sleek, stripped-back model that is surprisingly protective for the wearer. Creating a functional and cultural starting point that has driven the design forward, utilising technology at the forefront of trail technology. With the same direction driving forward in the Cham 8.
Thought-led design principles that fuse lifestyle and performance into a distinctive and practical piece of outdoor footwear have landed the Cham 2 a defined place in Japan. The easy-on, easy-off shoe became an outdoor leisure icon in a country that prescribes forest bathing as part of its healthcare approach. This connection came into full realisation with a special line of Chameleons designed for the Fujirock Festival, a festival held at the foot of Mount Fuji, making its debut in ’97 and still going to this day. The models experimented with ballistic nylon and neon colourways. Quickly, a small but influential cult movement formed around the Chameleon, as people began to swap shoes and mix up different pairs to create even more unique looks. Each time the Chameleon shed its skin; a new story has evolved out of the franchise. Uniquely reflecting a trial and error process that has gone into creating one of Merrell’s most revered shoes.
Structurally, the Cham 8 mirrors its predecessor, the Cham 7. The external Flexplate and overall composition showing a clear stage in the franchise’s evolution. Alongside this, the Cham 8 is Engineered with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. Backed up with a protective rubber rand and toe cap. A Kinetic Fit BASE provides a removable and contoured insole for flexible support. Merrell’s Air Cushion system sits in the heel, absorbing shock and adding to the overall stability of the shoe. EVA foam makes up the midsole with a Vibram XS Trek Evo outsole. Laced using durable eyelets and metal hooks provide a secure fit and protection against debris and environmental conditions, further reinforced by a bellows tongue and moulded rubber toe cap.
The Cham 8 Storm comes in versatile colourways, including acai, black and orange flame. Available in UK 6.5-14 and EU 40-50, full and half sizes. Discover the Cham 8 Storm and other Merrell 1TRL models online now.