We live two blocks from a huge state park with endless hiking trails, so we hike a lot. Usually, we just have the kids slap on a pair of sneakers for the hike. After all, their feet keep growing and a dedicated pair of hiking boots hardly seemed worth it. But as my oldest kid (son) starts to tackle more technical trails with me, the need for hiking boots over sneakers really became apparent. Sneakers just don’t provide the grip he needs for going up a steep slope or rock scramble. And when crossing streams, they’re not waterproof. If you’re a parent, you know the drama that can ensue when your kid has wet feet (hint: always pack an extra pair of socks for hikes).
It was time for us to pony up and get him a pair of hiking boots (that can hopefully be handed down!). Being Merrell users ourselves for over 15 years, my wife and I naturally sought out a pair of Merrell hiking boots and we landed on the Merrell Chameleon 7 kids mid waterproof hiking boots.
There’s really not a lot to say about these boots, but they just work. Naturally, upon arriving in the mail, my son felt the need to test them out (such a gearhead… wonder where he gets that…). Testing included: wading through streams, running full speed up steep slopes, and riding his mountain bike through mud. We’ve taken these boots for several hikes already and they have held up so far. So what advantage do these boots provide over the sneakers he used to wear on hikes?
First, these boots are waterproof. This is essential for us because my kids love to play in and wade through streams. If we’re not really hanging out in the water (e.g. quick hike or too cold outside), it is nice to still know that my son can walk in shallow streams and keep his feet dry. This happens to be my son’s favorite feature and he has tested them in many water scenarios in the woods and around the yard, including a baby pool in our driveway.
The soles on these boots are built for hard use. These boots have some serious grip, as can be expected from any Merrell boots. The soles also have enough rigidity and thickness for kids not to feel sharp rocks poking through on a hike – trust me, my son tried to step on the most uncomfortable of rocks to test this out.
Being mid height, these boots provide ankle support that sneakers cannot. The last thing a parent wants on a hike is a serious injury deep in the woods. Getting the right footwear for the activity greatly reduces the risk of ankle injury.
If your kids likes to mountain bike, I can assure you these boots will work great for that purpose as well. We took his bike and boots over to our local skills course and he was able to shred just fine. The boots gave him good grip onto the pedal, and also good grip for when he needed to walk his bike up some slopes. Also, the boots’ height helps keep him from scraping his ankles on his pedals / chains as he’s shredding the trail.
The only complaint that my son has about these boots is their weight. As one would expect, they’re heavier than sneakers. My son is a runner at heart, and so it was an adjustment for him to wear something clunkier – but he understands these boots have a role that differs from his running shoes.
- Rigid and durable soles
- Ankle support and protection
- Works with mountain bikes
- Heavier and clunkier than sneakers (duh)
Rating: 5 / 5
For about the same price as (or cheaper than!) a good pair of sneakers, the Merrell Chameleon 7 kids mid waterproof hiking boots do the job they were built for. They’ll keep your kid’s feet dry and protected and will allow your kid to tackle more technical hikes than they’re used to doing with just sneakers. We’ve only had these boots for about a month but they’ve held up for several technical hikes, two camping trips, and a mountain biking adventure. For now, I feel these boots are worth every penny and I am giving them a five star rating. If they fall apart in the near future, I may come back and adjust my rating, but they seem solid so far. So as your kid approaches the stage in life where they are reading to kick their hikes up a notch, look no further than the Merrell Chameleon 7 kids mid waterproof hiking boots.
Have you tried these boots for your kids, or do you have another boot you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments below! This is my first kids hiking boot so the more opinions the merrier!