Photo: Sandra Burm/Shutterstock

These Merrell Hiking Boots Are Perfect for Casual Hikers

Technology + Gear Hiking
by Brett F. Braley Mar 5, 2024

It’s hard to emphasize how important good footwear is when it comes to working out. Just imagine wearing a pair of Converse the next time you want to hit the treadmill or some high heels to play football. Well-crafted shoes can make all the difference on how enjoyable – or how painful – your workout can be. This is especially true for hiking, where uneven terrain, substantial physical effort, and the elements can all add to the pressures of finding the perfect shoe.

From avoiding blisters to having a cushioned interior to avoid muscle fatigue, I’ve found the Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX, on sale at REI for $180 in both men’s and women’s varieties, to be the ultimate choice for leveling up my shoe game when I’m exploring the great outdoors here in Pennsylvania. With a trusted brand history and a shoe that toes the line perfectly between sneaker and boot, I was sold (or should I say “soled”) the first time I slipped them on.

Looking for a pair of hiking boots? Check out Matador’s detailed hiking boot reviews:

We hope you love the Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX hiking boots! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Buy Now – Men’s

Buy Now – Women’s

A brief history of Merrell

merrell boots on table

Photo: v74/Shutterstock

In 1981, Clark Matis and John Schweizer, both executives at the Rossignol ski company, set out to revolutionize the hiking boot industry. Their vision? To create footwear that seamlessly combined rugged performance with unmatched comfort, setting the stage for what became one of the top-selling outdoor gear companies on the market today.

Fast forward to 1997, when Merrell found a steadfast partner in Wolverine World Wide, a veritable titan in the shoe industry. Since this partnership, Merrell has only grown in its global reach and reputation, taking the best of Wolverine’s initiatives and applying them directly to the Merrell brand.

Today, Merrell is one of the top-selling brands for outdoor kicks, thanks in part to the steadfast approach to its underlying principles, which hasn’t changed in more than 40 years. While there may be more tactical shoes, or more heavy-duty boots, on the market, Merrell’s approach to blending performance and style into one shoe remains unmatched for the casual hiker (of which I certainly consider myself).

Why the Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX hiking boots

Photo: REI
Photo: REI
Photo: REI

It’s hard to overstate the variety of ways in which Merrell has improved on its Moab shoes over the past near-decade to make them one of the best on the market for comfort, performance, and style. Each decision to enhance the relatively limited real estate of the GTX is both considered and important to the overall functionality of the shoe itself. Some of these improvements include:

  • GORE-TEX waterproof Mmbranes: I felt able to embrace the elements with confidence as GORE-TEX waterproof membranes ensure exceptional breathability and waterproof performance, keeping your feet dry and comfortable in any weather condition.
  • Durable construction: Engineered with nylon ripstop and TPU uppers, along with padded collars and protective abrasion-resistant toe and heel caps, these boots are built to withstand the toughest terrain, offering unmatched durability and protection.
  • Debris defense: Say goodbye to bothersome debris on the trail, thanks to bellows tongues that effectively keep out unwanted dirt and rocks, allowing me to focus solely on the adventure at hand.
  • Convenience redefined: Dual heel and tongue loops not only facilitate easy entry but also offer carabiner compatibility, ensuring my feet are always ready for the next outdoor excursion.
  • Sustainable design: Merrell’s commitment to sustainability shines through with 100 percent recycled laces, webbing, and breathable mesh linings, as well as removable 5 percent recycled polyurethane footbeds and 100 percent recycled mesh footbed covers, reducing environmental impact without compromising on performance.
  • Trail-ready confidence: Secure-fit heel counters and full-length rock plates instill unwavering confidence on the trail, ensuring stability and protection in any terrain or weather condition.
  • Optimized stability: Lightweight FlexPlate technology offers torsional rigidity coupled with forefoot stability, enhancing agility and control on varied terrain, while FloatPro Foam midsoles provide lasting lightweight comfort.
  • Exceptional traction: Conquer any outdoor adventure with Vibram TC5+ outsoles, exclusively formulated for Merrell, delivering exceptional traction and grip on diverse surfaces. The 4 mm Vibram traction lugs are strategically designed to increase traction and shed debris with each step. I’ve remained sure-footed on each of the several hikes I’ve taken these boots on.

Return policy

REI’s return policy is in play here, which works to your benefit especially If you’re an REI Co-Op member. If so, you’re able to get up to an entire year to return your shoes if they’re not right for you (this is limited to a still-generous 90 days if you’re not a member).

Returns can be made by mail or in-store. Make sure to have your proof of purchase if returning in-store. If doing so online, you can use their form and a printable label will be supplied (note that you’ll be charged a $5.99 fee to cover the return shipping cost).

Final thoughts

merrell moab Speed 2 Mid GTX hiking boots

Photo: REI

Being a relative novice when it comes to hiking, I’m happy to have gone with the Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX boots as my first upgrade for hiking gear versus, say, my regular ole’ Nike tennis shoes. I could immediately tell the difference in wearing a pair of shoes that are specifically designed for long-term wear with comfort and safety in mind. Having pretty weak angles, the extra support on the shoe was appreciated as the terrain in Pennslyvania can go from steep to very steep to rocky relatively quickly; but I never felt like I was going to slip and fall in the GTX’s versus other shoes I’ve worn in the past.

Overall, I don’t think I’ll be using REI’s one-year return policy and these Merrells are here to stay for me. If anything, I’ll probably be grabbing a second pair soon – I’m quite fond of the green “Coyote” colorway, having first gone with the more toned-down Asphalt grey to start with.

Buy Now – Men’s

Buy Now – Women’s

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