I tested the Merrell Moab Speed against other shoes across several metrics, and they won this year’s best-hiking shoe competition. The Merrell Moab Speed provides out-of-the-box performance and comfort in a light but a durable shoe that incorporates high-quality components and features a significant portion of recycled materials.
Every year I purchase and test five hiking shoes and then share that information with folks interested in an honest, unbiased review. This year the Merrell Moab Speed won that competition. It is a phenomenal shoe gaining attention in the increasingly competitive hiking footwear market.
If you are convinced, check out the current pricing for the shoe and support my efforts to find the perfect hiking shoe. Let’s break down the various components of the shoe and how they compare to the competition.
Is the Merrell Moab Speed Good for Hiking?
I hiked about 5.5 miles moments after taking these shoes out of the box. They are very comfortable shoes with sufficient padding and quality lining textiles made from 100% recycled materials. We will look more closely at comfort below, but the real question is whether they perform on the trail.
The Merrell Moab Speed is a perfect hiking shoe that provides a comfortable ride in a lightweight shoe without compromising protection, grip, and support. They performed better than other shoes in comfort and fit while holding their own in testing for traction, time-to-dry, and protection underfoot. The Merrell Moab Speed is suitable for light backpacking, hiking, and even trail running.
Here you can see the overall test results and the competition that the Merrell Moab Speed eventually beat. Go to my YouTube channel to check out all of the tests I did.
If you are interested in knowing more about these other shoes, I have written reviews on them.
How Does the Merrell Moab Speed Fit?
When I go hiking, I want to forget about the shoes on my feet. When you wear the Merrell Moab Speed, you will most likely have zero issues with rubbing, hot spots, pressure on your feet, etc. You will forget you have them on.
The Merrell Moab Speed fits true to size. I am a size 12 US with an average width and found the shoes to fit perfectly. I had enough room in the toe box at the end of the shoe. The fit was snug enough for a secure ride over uneven terrain while not impinging on my feet.
The padding around the collar in the tongue and the uppers is excellent. The shape and contours around the ankle and heel are designed so that you will not have parts of the shoe digging into your feet while walking or scampering over obstacles.
The FloatPro foam midsole system from Merrell is my new favorite midsole among light hiking shoes after testing four other shoes. It provides excellent comfort and loft while also maintaining lateral stability by keeping your feet over the center of the shoe when traversing uneven ground and steep obstacles.
Do the Merrell Moab Speed Provide Good Traction?
Instead of telling you that the shoes have good traction, I run tests in my Advanced Footwear Research Laboratory (AKA my garage). I tested the Merrell Moab Speed against four other shoes for grip, and they beat all other shoes except one. By the way, the winner had the MegaGrip compound from Vibram, an industry leader.
The Merrell Moab Speed has above-average traction and grips thanks to the EcoStep rubber compound from Vibram and traction lugs designed to slough off debris. The EcoStep compound is made from 30% recycled rubber and still outperformed the compounds on the other shoes tested. On wet surfaces, I found the soles to provide secure contact.
The testing was done on polished concrete using a suspension strap trainer and a measuring tape. I hold on to the suspension strap trainer and lean away from the anchor point. As I move my feet closer toward the anchor point, more lateral pressure is placed on the shoe’s sole, and eventually, they slip. I mark that location, run the test twice, and take the average.
Do the Merrell Moab Speed Provide Adequate Foot Protection?
After comfort, the second most important consideration for me when choosing hiking shoes is protection. When you graduate from sneakers or running shoes to hiking shoes, you gain many added benefits for hiking, and chief among these is protection. Your feet are everything while you are hiking, and if they are injured, you are stranded.
The Merrell Moab Speed is lightweight yet provides adequate protection from possible impacts to the upper and lower part of your feet. The uppers are a breathable mesh and TPU overlay that will provide sufficient protection against some minor rock strikes or stiffer ground vegetation. The shoes also have a toe cap.
I tested the Merrell Moab Speed for foot protection, and they tied for second place with the Salomon X Ultra Pioneer Aero. So essentially, I step on a rock and feel how much or how little I feel the rock. So you can check out the testing I did in this clip from my YouTube channel.
Are the Merrell Moab Speed Waterproof?
Another vital test I did again this year was time-to-dry. For this test, I take the dry weight for each shoe, dunk it in water for five seconds, shake off any excess, and then reweigh the shoe to see the percent increase in weight. I then place the shoes in the sun and weigh them every 60 seconds until they return to their dry weight.
You can check out this testing by watching the video on my YouTube channel.
The Merrell Moab Speed has a version with Gore-tex called the Merrell Moab Speed GTX. They are slightly more expensive but could be perfect for anyone looking to do some early spring or late autumn hiking, where keeping your feet dry is critical in cooler temperatures. The non-Gore-tex version I tested takes on significant water weight, so getting the Gore-tex version is advised for anyone hiking in wet conditions.
If you think you might need the Gore-tex version, you can find the latest pricing here and support my website, so I can continue providing reviews.
I am so pleased to see that Merrell is embracing sustainability. One of the biggest complaints about modern hiking shoes is that they are primarily throw-away items. You can only get a few hundred miles out of them before they start to break down or wear out and require replacing. So I eventually walked most of 2021 and early 2022 in the Merrell MQM Flex 2 and had to throw them away.
Check out my complete review of the Merrell MQM Flex 2, now available at extremely low prices. It is the shoe that won last year’s shoe review competition. You can find that video on my YouTube channel.
Most hikers love nature, so it is great to see that Merrell is investing in a more sustainable and eco-friendly business model. Thank you, Merrell!
The Merrell Moab Speed has a significant portion of the shoe made from recycled materials. The shoe laces and the interior mesh lining are made from 100% recycled materials. The footbed cover is also made from 100% recycled material. Finally, the EcoStep compound from Vibram is made from 30% recycled rubber.
I found zero drawbacks to using these recycled materials; if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t even notice. Instead, the EcoStep compound from Vibram came in second in the grip test I performed, losing only to the MegaGrip compound (also from Vibram) on the Vasque Satoru Trail LT.