What do you want from your hiking boots? I wonder how many consumers consider that question before purchasing boots.
I doubt that I did before I’d been hiking and backpacking for some years and had worn footwear from many different brands. But I suspect many hikers, especially newcomers buying their first pair, simply look for boots that are a good value, feel comfortable the first time they put them on, and appear capable of handling the trails they envision themselves hiking. For logical reasons, many of those people may be drawn to Merrell’s Moab Mid Waterproof boot.
I wore the Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot on several hikes during a week-long July rafting trip down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The hikes included a 27-mile day hike with about 3,200 feet of uphill and downhill on the Middle Fork Salmon River Trail between Boundary Creek and Indian Creek; a 10-mile trek with one significant hill climb; a late-afternoon 1,400-vertical-foot hike up and down the steep trail to Johnson Point, high above the Middle Fork; and some shorter side hikes off the river. All of those hikes occurred in sunny, warm, dry conditions, except that on the long day hike, I walked through about an hour of heavy rain during an afternoon thunderstorm, and earlier that day, the boots’ exterior had already gotten wet from brushing against trail-side vegetation that was waterlogged from rain the previous night. I also splashed through boggy areas on that big day.
Thanks to abundant foam mesh padding in the partial-leather uppers, tongue, and lining, these ankle-height boots feel good the moment you put them on. With a molded nylon arch shank in the compression-molded EVA midsole, and an air-cushioned heel, they have adequate support for day hiking with 15 to 20 pounds on your back, although my feet felt more fatigued and sore at the end of my 27-mile day than they have after similarly long hikes in some other models. The Vibram outsole’s 5mm lugs gave me good traction on trail surfaces ranging from packed dirt to mud, scree, and dry and wet rocks. A synthetic leather toe bumper and heel wrap protected my feet and the boots when bashing against rocks.
The proprietary waterproof-breathable membrane is moderately breathable—my feet only started feeling hot when the temperature pushed up toward 80° F—and repelled water when I splashed quickly through shallow creeks. I also immersed the boots in water for 20 minutes to test the waterproofing, and the interiors stayed dry.
The Moab Mid Waterproof is a good choice for hikers seeking an all-around day hiking boot at a good value.
Shop the Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots on REI.com.