Many of the men and women who serve in the US armed forces chose to join for the opportunity to earn a living while being outside of a traditional office environment. With opportunities to travel and work outside in the elements, it comes as no surprise that joining the military is an enticing prospect for some. With so many adventurous individuals in the military, it stands to reason that the desire to explore would carry into their personal life as well. For many, this sense of adventure brings them to the trail for a long hike or a weekend camping in the wilderness. For adventures like this, you need a hiking boot that will carry you through everything and keep you moving forward smoothly.
Merrell is a brand that is respected worldwide for their ability to construct quality footwear that lasts throughout extended wear and provides unmatched comfort along the way. To see how this reputation for excellence stood up when put through the ringer of a true equipment test, I took the Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof Boots out for a spin. I’ll analyze the boots based on three criteria – Features, Fit and Function – to show how these boots truly perform.
- Waterproof leather with mesh upper
- Bellows tongue
- Synthetic leather toe cap and heel counter
- M Select FIT.ECO blended EVA contoured footbed with organic odor control
- Molded nylon arch shank
- Air Cushion in the heel
- Compression molded EVA footframe
- 5mm lug depth
- Weight: 1lb 15oz
This was my first experience wearing Merrell boots, so I entered this field test with an open mind and no preconceived notions of what I would be wearing. As soon as I put them on, I knew that these would be one of the most comfortable shoes I had ever worn. They are not just the most comfortable boot, but they beat a number of my athletic shoes when it comes to comfort. The padding was superb all around. Beneath my foot was expertly cushioned throughout wear. I attribute this to the compression molded EVA footframe. This technology provides padding and works in conjunction with the built in air cushion – placed in the heel – to absorb shock from impact.
I took these boots out on the trail and found that the aforementioned technology – the compression molded EVA footframe and air cushion in the heel – were my favorite aspects by far. Throughout an extended hike, I never felt as though I was uncomfortable in any way. Furthermore, the molded nylon arch shank gave me the support I needed as the day wore on and I began to tire. After I arrived back home and took the boots off, I did not notice any significant odor. By the next day, no odor was present internally. It looks like what Merrell calls the M Select FIT.ECO footbed with odor control actually works. Time will tell if it holds up throughout more long-term use.
So far, so good for these exceptional boots – but I owe it to the consumer to provide honest feedback and straightforward criticism if there is something I truly do not like. In this regard, I feel that it is necessary to note that I did not find these boots to be fully waterproof. The boots are advertised as being constructed from “waterproof leather and mesh.” Naturally, when you see the word waterproof it is safe to assume that you can trek through a reasonable amount of water without your foot becoming wet. This was not the case with these boots and I have a theory on why. When you read “waterproof leather and mesh,” you assume that both the leather and the mesh are waterproof; however, I believe that the leather is waterproof and the mesh allows water to pass through to the interior. Keep this in mind when you head out in wet conditions.
When analyzing the overall durability, I found that several elements work together to provide a rugged touch to the boots. First and foremost, the boots have synthetic leather toe caps and heel counters. I liken these portions of the boots to bumpers on a car. They protect the front and back when collisions occur to prevent further damage overall. Just like the bumper on a car absorbs impact, so do the toe caps and heel counters. They take the brunt of the force so you do not damage the rest of the boot, which may be made from materials that aren’t quite as durable. These did their job as I traversed through various forms of rugged terrain. Finally, the bellows tongue held up and did what it was supposed to. This item is designed to keep debris from entering the internal portion of the boot by connecting the tongue to the side of the boot with a piece of fabric. These held up for me without issue.
The “soul” of any boot lies within the sole in my opinion. Despite a nice play on words, I really believe that the sole of a boot is what makes or breaks it when it comes to really performing. A great boot can easily be ruined by a poor sole. This is the portion of the boot that comes into contact with the ground most frequently and is therefore the part of the boot that needs to perform best in my estimation. When it comes to these boots, aggressive tread allowed me to grip any surface I came into contact with, but that was not my favorite part. The fact that the sole has a 5mm lug depth, exceptionally deep for a boot, meant that I was able to enjoy stability in slick terrain (loose gravel). The sole performed above expectations and I have no complaints in that regard.
When it comes to long days out on the trail, I don’t want to be inconvenienced by heavy boots. They slow me down and I tire more easily, so lightweight functionality is essential for me. These boots were light while maintaining durability. In my experience the lighter a boot is, the less durable it is. These boots achieve a balance between lightweight comfort and rugged durability that you do not see in every pair of boots. In that respect, I found that these boots were light enough to keep me on the move without issue while still being heavy enough to sustain a beating without breaking down.
As I touched on earlier within the review, my favorite part about these boots is the way they fit comfortably around my foot. From cushioning in the right places to how they feel after a day outside, these boots check all of the boxes for me. They fit true to size and have plenty of room for flexibility without being too loose. When a boot is too loose, it can lead to painful blisters forming. That was not the case with these boots. They fit snugly around my foot, yet allowed me to move laterally if I needed to. Overall, the fit was just right.
The functionality of these boots is limitless. They are comfortable enough to wear casually – and they look good too – but they are also rugged enough to perform out in the field. They are equally at home on a hiking trail in the mountains as they are in your backyard doing yard work. They are padded enough to be comfortable in a colder climate, yet they breathe enough that they could easily be used in a hot climate as well. These are excellent all around boots and I plan to be wearing them for the foreseeable future when I need a good multipurpose boot for a day spent outside.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.