Merrell has merged the classic credentials of its flagship Moab boot with the lightweight innovation of its Speed range for a nimble new release.

Merrell’s Moab hiking boot is a global classic, with its various iterations clocking up over 25 million sales. With the Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX, the US brand is amalgamating the durability and dependability of its Moab boot with the technical qualities of its Speed range to deliver a nimble and versatile fusion. Is that enough to put it among the best hiking boots for men?

Men’s Fitness verdict

A fast, grippy and nimble low-top hiking shoe for everyday outdoor adventures, with the bonus of GORE-TEX protection.
  • Immediate comfort
  • Sandpaper-like grip
  • Low-cut design may invite water ingress
  • Mesh fabric may suffer abrasion

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A low-cut option that's ideal for technical hikes
A 10mm heel-toe drop gives the Moab Speed 2 an athletic feel

Combining a gold-standard GORE-TEX waterproof liner and a grippy Vibram TC5+ sole with a lightweight build for multi-mile comfort, the Moab Speed 2 feeds into the modern culture of fast, athletic hiking pursuits, but offers more stability and elemental protection than trail running shoes.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX design and build

Although I’m a fan of high-top boots, there are days when I just want a light, low-cut shoe for venturing over trails without feeling like I am going into battle with Mother Nature. Think spontaneous summer hikes or light autumn forest treks. The Merrell Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX (buy now) – which is marketed for use on ‘moderate’ trails, with some obstacles and debris – feels like exactly this kind of build.

On unboxing the shoes, I could clearly see they are serious hiking shoes, rather than springy trail runners, with a chunky stack height (34mm at the heel and 24mm at the forefoot) and some strategic scuff protection. At 349g per shoe they’re light, but definitely not flimsy.

My pair are a Clay (orange) colour but they are also available in Coyote (light brown), Rye (dark brown), Asphalt (grey), Black and Steel Blue. I’d recommend sizing up: with the reinforced toe box, I could feel my toe nudging the end, so I switched to a larger size for extra space for my toes splaying.

Mixed forward and reverse 4mm lugs give 360-degree traction

Merrell Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX performance

On four-hour treks over the trails of Lincolnshire, I was impressed with the shoes’ immediate comfort. They have a high-quality padded collar and tongue, and a flexible synthetic upper. However, by sizing up I did get some movement around the forefoot on steep descents.

The sandpaper-like grip of the outsole was impressive, with the mixed-up positions of the 4mm lugs working well across grass, rock and mud. I find that hiking shoes with lugs positioned in neat straight lines tend to invite side slippage on wet rocks, but this mixed-up grip design gave excellent 360-degree traction. It didn’t even slide on smooth metal cattle grids.  

The outsoles cushioned my feet nicely against sharp stones underfoot. I worry about the mesh sides, which aid ventilation but may suffer from abrasion. But the nylon ripstop upper is tougher than most, and the toe and heel areas do have some reinforced protection.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX features

With their GORE-TEX liner, these shoes offered excellent waterproofing, although with any low-top design you’ll get some ingress from splashes. Helpfully, there is no gap between the upper and the tongue, which helps to minimise the chance of water, dirt or stones entering the shoe.

The shoe’s FlexPlate technology – essentially a light but rigid full-foot stability plate – encourages a confident, precise and fluent stride. And the layer of FloatPro foam pumps up the comfort levels further.

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