Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex hiking boot review: a lightweight version of a trail legend

We lace up the Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex hiking boots and pit them against the local trails, hills and mountains to see if they live up to their illustrious name

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex: shoes on a log
(Image: © Alex Foxfield)

Advnture Verdict

A solid all-rounder that takes the comfort and functionality of the Moab and brings the weight right down, allowing you to hit the trails with a little more speed. It’s not for rugged mountain terrain, but for long multi-day missions where comfort and ankle support are key, the Moab Speed 2 Mid is a really good shout.


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    Lightweight for a mid-cut hiking boot

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    Comfortable straight out the box

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    Nicely cushioned

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    Gore-Tex waterproofing

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    Grippy Vibram sole

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    Decent price for a mid-range boot

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    Lots of recycled materials

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    Not as protective as more technical boots

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    Trainer aesthetic won’t suit everyone

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    Not for technical mountain terrain

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Say “Moab” to many outdoorsy types and it's likely they'll think of the Merrell boot, not the Utah city on the edge of Arches National Park, which is what the boot's named after. This is because American footwear giant Merrell’s Moab is, according to the brand, the world’s best-selling hiking boot, with over 28 million sold since it was debuted over 15 years ago. These stats have led some to believe Moab actually stands for Mother of All Boots. Its blend of comfort, all-round performance and its attractive price point means that the name is still going strong today. 

Flagship doesn’t cut it. These days, it’s not just one boot. Merrell have constructed an entire trail-conquering armada with the Moab name. The latest incarnation is the Moab Speed 2 hiking shoe, championed by the brand as ‘the future of hiking’. It’s got more of an urban aesthetic than the classic Moab, underlined by the fact that some of the images on the brand’s website show urbanites “hiking” down city streets. Are Merrell suggesting that the future of hiking is in a world where sprawling metropolises have engulfed the backcountry? Let’s hope not. Although, as mentioned, these shoes are named after a city, not a mountain.

Anyway, I digress. The Moab Speed 2s are available in men’s and women’s versions, in a dazzling array of colors and with low and mid cut options.

Meet the reviewer

Kit I couldn't live without: Alex Foxfield
Alex Foxfield

Qualified Mountain Leader Alex is loves exploring the high places, whether it’s in Britain, the Alps or further afield. He’s an avid backpacker, an expert on hiking boots and thoroughly tests ever pair in the environments they were designed for.

First Impressions

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: close up

Weighing in at 400g (14.1oz) per boot, the Moab Speed 2s are impressively light (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

RRP: $180 (US) / £155 (UK)
Gender: Men’s and women’s versions available
Weight (per boot): 400g / 14.1 oz
Materials: Nylon ripstop and TPU upper, Gore-Tex membrane, Vibram TC5+ rubber outsole, 100% recycled mesh and laces, 50% recycled EVA foam footbed
Colors: Men’s: Asphalt, Black, Clay, Rye (US and UK), Coyote, Steel Blue (US only); Women’s: Peach, Charcoal (US and UK), Khaki, Black (US only)
Compatibility: Most forms of hiking throughout the year

The Moab Speed 2 Mids look like boots but they feel like shoes. Herein lies their appeal. Weighing 400g (14.1 oz) per boot, they’re 193g (6.8 oz) lighter than the Moab 3 Mid GTX. As mentioned, they’ve got more of a trainer style aesthetic than the classic Moab, though their hiking credentials still jump out at you. Gore-Tex membrane? Tick. Grippy looking Vibram sole. Tick. Upper lace hooks? Tick.

First wear reveals the out of the box comfort that Merrell are known for and I felt wonderfully fleet of foot as I took my first steps in them. The fit is fairly neutral and nicely cushioned, without the sort of ample toe room you get from rival US brand Keen.


Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: close up on logo

The Moab Speed 2 contains a whole raft of recycled synthetic materials (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

There’s no leather in the Moab Speed 2 hiking shoe. This lack of cow makes them Vegan-friendly, though the friendly part of that phrase suggests that Merrell can't guarantee that no animals were involved at some point in the supply chain. Meanwhile they’re also planet-friendly too. The laces, webbing, mesh lining and mesh footbed cover are all made entirely from recycled materials, while the EVA foam footbed is 50% recycled too. Nylon ripstop and TPU make up the upper, while a Gore-Tex bootie ensures waterproof protection. It adds up to a lot of non-biodegradable, synthetic material but the quality should mean these boots will last a long time; plus the fact they’re made from so much recycled material in the first place should be commended.

Underfoot cushioning is provided by the FloatPro Foam midsole. Nicely contoured to the shape of the foot, it gives a certain amount of spring that’s not always evident in hiking boots. There’s ample padding around the ankle region and this cushioning is enhanced by the nicely squishy tongue, which is also gusseted to prevent trail debris getting in, which is a common feature in today’s hiking shoes.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: Gore-Tex

Gore-Tex provide the waterproof membrane (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

More protection is evident at the toe and the heel, where stiffer, abrasion-resistant materials are put to use. However, one of the reasons the Moab Speed 2 Mid weighs so little is that it’s relatively light on protective features. There’s no protective rand and the outsole is less rigid than on most premium hiking boots. This goes some way to explaining why Merrell rate it for Moderate trail use, rather than Rugged.

In fact, the outsole is so flexible that it’s easy to bend the entire boot to the point where the forefoot is perpendicular to the heel. This flex comes from the Lightweight FlexPlate technology, which Merrell say provides ‘torsional rigidity, lateral stability and forefoot flexibility’. It definitely provides the latter, while I found that the whole boot was nicely stable on rocky trails.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: sole

The 4mm lugs grip well, though they don't shed muck as well as some (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

The Vibram TC5+ outsole features 4mm, sausage-shaped lugs that provide a good degree of traction on various trail surfaces. They’re supposedly shaped to shed dirt as you go. I found they did a relatively good job at this, but I’ve worn other boots that do it better. The lugs aren’t overly aggressive either, so aren’t ideal for really muddy ground in the first place. Meanwhile, the TC5+ sole isn’t quite as durable as Vibram’s Megagrip compound, often used in approach shoes like the Zamberlan Salathe or the Scarpa Crux. This means, it’ll wear out quicker over time compared to some when subjected to repeated rocky scrambles and the like.

Merrell’s design team clearly got a little bit loopy when applying the finishing touches. To make putting them on and taking them off as easy as possible, there’s a heel loop and two loops on the tongue, one of which is elasticated. These loops can also be used to attach the boots to carabiner or similar, while the laces can be threaded through the elastic to hold the tongue in place.

On the trails

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: in the Pennines

A beautiful day in England's North Pennines (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

I’ve been wearing the Moab Speed 2s on hikes up in the Scottish Highlands, rambles in the English Pennines and on jaunts around the limestone gorges of England’s South West. The key standout is comfort. I could hike in these all day long quite happily. The combination of cushioning, fit and the lack of weight make these easily one of the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn. 

I found that the Moab Speed 2 hiking shoes were in their element on well-built trails and firmer surfaces underfoot. As mentioned, on saturated, muddy ground, there was a little bit of slippage, as their lugs aren’t the most aggressive. However, this is generally a boot with good traction.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: walking the fells

The comfort provided by the Moab Speed 2s is excellent (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

In terms of protection from the elements, my feet remained dry throughout. I could gleefully romp through muddy puddles like Peppa Pig – only without the gender stereotyping – and still remain dry, while the mid-cut means that water has a harder time getting in over the top than with lower cut hiking footwear. When it came to more technical, rocky ground, they were fine for easy scrambles. However, for more challenging lines, I’d want more protection around the foot and a more rigid sole.

I’m yet to try them out them in warmer conditions, with my test period falling in winter and early spring. So, it remains to be seen how sweaty they’d get, but then I wouldn’t choose a highly cushioned, mid-cut hiking boot for hot summer hikes anyway. For the conditions I experienced, they kept my feet nicely toasty and were breathable enough that they never felt stuffy. I’ve if it had have been a sweat fest, the Cleansport NXT natural odor control treatment would have taken care of the pong. Thus far, these remain a very fresh smelling pair of hikers.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex hiking boot: at a summit

I was able to splash through muddy puddles without getting my feet wet (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

I like the Moab Speed 2 Mid, it’s a very well-constructed and attractive boot that's fit for many trail types, as well as being impressively lightweight. It’s not protective or durable enough for more technical mountain use, while if I was sticking to easier trails for a day, I’d go lighter still and wear a pair of grippy trail running shoes. So, for me, this is a boot for multi-day use on moderate trails, where comfort and that little bit of extra ankle support are sought. With this in mind, I’d say the Moab Speed 2 Mid is a good option for activities like backpacking and hut-to-hut trekking on trails that aren’t too full-on.

Alex Foxfield

Alex is a freelance adventure writer and mountain leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He's the former President of the London Mountaineering Club, is training to become a winter mountain leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and is always keen to head to the 4,000-meter peaks of the Alps.