Merrell’s Moab Polar Winter Hiking Boots have 400 grams of insulation and a wide front toe box that has plenty of room for your toes to splay out. They’re sized more like a regular three-season hiking boot and just come up over the ankles, unlike many insulated winter hiking boots that extend higher up your calves. This makes them easier to walk in and lighter weight, while helping to reduce excessive calf perspiration that can soak your socks when your calves are covered by an insulated boot and a high gaiter.
The base of the Moab Polar is has a waterproof TPU rand that will keep you high and dry even if you’re splashing through slush and shallow stream crossings. There’s a burly toe cap upfront and a reinforced heel cup for added protection. The tongue is gusseted to prevent water from getting inside the boots with a gaiter ring at the base of the laces. Metal speed hooks at the top of the laces provide solid purchase but there are no lace locks to prevent them from slipping while you tie your knot.
The Moab Polar uppers are made with a waterproof breathable suede which is soft out-of-the-box but becomes buttery soft after 20 miles of walking. The interior lining is a soft, super warm fleece that helps eliminate any painful pressure points over the ankles.
The width of the heel and midsole is a bit on the narrow side in a regular width but loosens up with use. Otherwise, they’re true to size.
The boots don’t provide much arch support, but the insoles are removable. I’ve replaced them with thicker Green Superfeet Insoles, which fit inside without any issues, in part because the front toe box is so high volume.
The Moab Polars have a lightweight EVA midsole that provides extra stiffness and shock absorption. Dual-density boot soles provide good traction on snow and in mixed conditions, but if you plan to walk on ice, I’d recommend wearing them with extra traction like a pair of Hillsounds or Microspikes. The rand is stiff enough to wear with spikes that have an elastomer harness without collapsing on top of your toes and potentially causing discomfort or blisters.
With 400 grams of insulation, Merrell’s Moab Polar Boots are best worn between 15 degrees (above zero) down to 20 degrees below zero. If you wear them in warmer temperatures, your socks are likely to become noticeably damp with sweat. If you plan to hike and snowshoe in warmer temperatures, closer to freezing, I’d recommend getting yourself a pair of boots with 200 grams of insulation instead for better comfort.
Disclosure: Merrell provided the author a pair of Moab Polar boots for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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