Not everyone wants or needs a chunky, heavy hiking boot when they hit the trails, especially if they’re walking in decent weather without carrying too much weight, and hiking shoes are becoming increasing popular.
Over the last decade, some 20 million walkers have hit the trails in a pair of Merrell’s Moab boots, and now the American footwear specialists have released a low-cut hiking shoe – the Moab Speed – based on their best-selling boot. As the name suggests, the Moab Speed is aimed at fastpackers, day walkers and other fleet-footed trekkers who want some of the protection and robust features of a boot, minus the weight and clunk.
We have been busy trail-testing the new shoes prior to their launch this week, and this is what we have found.
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These shoes have a Gore-Tex membrane and they have proven to be both waterproof (to tongue level, of course) and breathable on test thus far. They also have a Vibram sole, made with pretty aggressive ‘Ecodura’ rubber lugs that have given us every bit as much grip and confidence as we could have expected from a boot when tackling challenging terrain, including gloopy mud and slippery rocks. Pleasingly, the outsole hasn’t accumulated too much mud either.
The Speed felt comfortable from the very first wear, although there is a significant heel-to-toe drop in these shoes, which takes a little bit of getting used to if you are more accustomed to trail shoes with a more neutral set up. The internal support and cushioning is good too, thanks to the FloatPro Foam midsole and EVA insoles.
A rock plate runs along the length of the Speed, which – combined with the cushioned midsole – reduces feedback from the trail (this will please some people more than others, although the shoe is a whole lot more tactile and responsive than the boot).
A protective rand extends right around the shoe, stretching higher on the heel and around the toecap, with lighter TPU and mesh material (backed by the Gore-Tex membrane) supplying the rest of the forefoot coverage, which keeps the weight down to 320g per shoe.
And perhaps best of all, the Moab Speed is made with eco-friendly materials. The upper is partly constructed from recycled materials and the outsole is 30% recycled rubber. The laces are 100% recycled too.
We will continue to put these shoes through their paces and report on how they perform on the trails, so watch this space.
The Merrell Moab Speed hiking shoe is available now in a range of colours for men and women.
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Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.