Gone are the days of breaking in a new pair of hiking boots. Innovative materials and flexible leather all help make the latest boots some of the most comfortable around. I was glad of this, as Merrell’s new, updated Moabs came in for review the day before I was going on a trip to the Isle of Man, so I was able to wear these right out of the box.
Great too, that they were the GORE-TEX version, as the forecast for the Isle of Man was – rain!
Features of the Moab FST 2 GTX Mid Boot
- GORE-TEX waterproof membrane
- Nubuck leather and mesh upper
- Metal hook and lacing eyelet for secure lacing
- M Select™ FRESH antimicrobial agents reduces smells
- Breathable mesh lining
- Kinetic Fit BASE insole is contoured like your foot and provides flexible support
- Merrell Air Cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability
- Vibram MegaGrip soles
- 5mm lug depth
- Weight: 772g
I am a UK size nine, and these size nine boots were a good fit. Being a mid style, they don’t come up high over your ankle, but are still high enough to give some support. They are well cushioned around the ankle area and the bellows tongue is cushioned too, which helps to keep stones and debris out of the boot.
I was flying to the Isle of Man, and took these as my only pair of boots. I couldn’t believe how light they were, and it was easy to slacken the laces while flying, and even easier to fasten them up again as there is only one top eyelet to find when tying the laces. This was a real dealbreaker for me, as I have other boots where I need to locate two or sometimes three eyelets to tighten the boots, so these Merrells were so much easier to operate. They are really easy to get on and off, which could be a real benefit when camping. It can be a pain pulling boots on in your tent during the night.
The outer is made from a mixture of nubuck leather (suede finish), and mesh material held together with the familiar plastic exoskeleton you see on trail shoes and hiking boots these days. This allows the boot to be lighter and more flexible when walking.
When I arrived on the Isle of Man, I was able to put the waterproofing to the test right away, as the rain was torrential. I went for a brief walk at the south end of the island, with all my rain gear on. Worryingly, I noticed the boots seemed to be letting in water, but on closer inspection, the rain was running down my trousers into the boots! A quick adjustment sorted this, but it does show that the mid height ankle style has its drawbacks.
The chunky Vibram sole has a pretty crazy pattern, and the lugs are some of the deepest around at 5mm. The pattern helps to sluice away mud from around the treads, allowing you to get on with your walk. There was plenty of mud, and although I did slip a bit, I felt safe generally. The sole wraps up over the heel and toe, helping to combat any sharp stones you may encounter, while the footbed is contoured to mirror the shape of your foot and helps to absorb any shocks from the walk, while still allowing you to ‘feel’ the ground beneath.
These boots got a proper testing over the weekend – I climbed hills in the driving wind and rain, negotiated muddy tracks and stony beaches. They were amazing, and being so light, I became almost unaware of them. They just did their job. They don’t even look out of place in the pub after a day’s hiking.
Merrell Moab FST 2 GTX Mid Boots, RRP: £135 from Amazon or Blacks
Available in ladies’ and men’s styles in mid and low profile shoe options.