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Merrell Moab Speed Thermo Mid WP Hiking Boots Review

Merrell Moab Speed Thermo Mid Review

Merrell’s Moab Speed Thermo Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are 200g insulated waterproof winter boots with aggressively lugged Vibram soles that are perfect for cold weather and winter hiking. They have wide toe boxes so your toes can splay out naturally and rock plates to protect your feet from below. But the best thing about these winter boots is that they require no break-in time and are wearable right out of the box. These boots are a home run. I just wish Merrell would make it in a 400g version for colder weather.

Specs at a Glance

  • Type: Mids
  • Gender: men’s (women’s also available)
  • Insulation: 200g Primaloft Gold Eco synthetic insulation
  • Outsole: Vibram IceTrek soles
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Rock Plate: Yes
  • Wide Sizes: No – Sorry
  • Stack Height (heel/toe): 31-21mm
  • Drop: 10.0mm
  • Lug Depth: 6.0mm

Winter Boot Insulation

The Moab Speed Thermo Mid WP is a 200g insulated waterproof winter boot. What’s that mean? Most winter boots are insulated with 200g or 400g synthetic insulation. That’s not a measure of the weight, but of the thickness of the insulation in the boots. A 200g boot will keep your feet warm down to 0-10 degrees F, assuming you’re hiking vigorously and not standing around.

The boots have a leather and textile exterior with a large, well protected toe box
The boots have a leather and textile exterior with a large, well-protected toe box

These boots are also waterproof with a membrane to prevent water from seeping through the leather and textile exterior. Merrell does not claim that this membrane is breathable, which I have to give them credit for since most so-called waterproof/breathable boots aren’t breathable at all. Foot sweat will soak your socks when you go on long hikes in winter; I’ve never owned a pair of waterproof/breathable winter hiking boots where that wasn’t the case.

Construction

The Moab Speed Thermo Mid has a textile and leather upper with excellent front-toe protection. The toe box is beefy enough to stand up to the elastomer harness of microspikes without squeezing down on the toes and wide enough inside, that your toes can splay out naturally. You want a lot of room in a winter boot to facilitate blood flow because it will keep your toes warmer.

A foam midsole (black) provides excellent cushioning and extra insulation
A foam midsole (black) provides excellent cushioning and extra insulation.

The tongue is heavily padded and covered in fleece for added comfort and warmth. There is a gaiter ring at the base of the tongue to hook your gaiters too and the tongue is gusseted along the sides to prevent moisture from leaking inside. The top cuff is also fleece lined with a rigid leather heel counter for stability and protection.

The midsole is a soft springy foam that cushions the boot so it feels like you’re wearing a pair of well-padded trail runners. These boots also have a rock plate, which is a feature usually found on trail runners. A rock plate is usually a stiff piece of protective material, kind of like a shield, positioned under the front of the foot, that can blunt impacts from sharp pointed objects like rocks or the spikes of your microspikes.

Vibram IceTrek Outsoles

The Moab Speed Thermo Mid has Vibram IceTrek outsoles with really beefy 6mm lugs.  These outsoles are surprisingly soft and grippy. They’re made with a rubber compound designed for low to medium temperatures with multidirectional lugs that are designed to provide traction when hiking across rock or snow-covered terrain.

The soles have multi-directional lugs for added traction
The soles have multi-directional lugs for added traction.

Vibram IceTrek soles are engineered to provide extra grip and traction on icy surfaces, or that’s what Vibram’s marketing claims. I haven’t found that to be the case because I slide around like nobody’s business when I hit icy patches in these boots, or any other boots for that matter  It’s a moot point anyway because hikers wear microspikes or crampons when they need extra traction on icy terrain and the soles never touch the ground.

But the soft and grippy soles on these boots are great for scrambling up and down rocky surfaces and provide traction that’s remarkably similar to what you get with a trail runner.

Recommendation

Merrell’s Moab Speed Thermo Waterproof Mids are 200g insulated winter boots that feel a lot like trail runners, with soft grippy soles that provide excellent traction on rock or gravel. They have a large toebox with a beefy toe kick that provides excellent comfort and toe protection. But best of all, you can wear them out of the box without any break-in period. If you hike most of the year wearing trail runners but need a pair of winter hiking boots, I think you’ll like these boots. They’re much more agile and have better trail feel than most other winter hiking boots. Highly Recommended!

Disclosure: The author owns these shoes.

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9 comments

  1. Nice review. I really wanted to love these boots. They look great, they have all the features I was looking for, and they have a lot of positive reviews. Unfortunately, I had a very different experience with fit. For me, the toe box felt very narrow and the 10mm drop felt like walking in high heels. Yes, I use Altra trail runners, so I just couldn’t get used to these. I ended up going with Oboz Bridger boots instead. I’m very happy with the Bridger’s so far.

  2. I bought a pair of the insulated 8″ bridgers this year because I just love the 400g 10″model which I use for “high” winter and figured they’d be a “shoe-in”. But I just couldn’t get used to the rigidity of the ankle which caused me excessive calf pain, so I decided to try these Moab Speeds and they are so much better for me. Just goes to show why you need to buy winter boots at a place like REI with an excellent return policy (they accept used boots and shoes that don’t work out).

  3. the Moab 3 thermo trail is a 400 grams Primaloftand i did not find mush of a difference from the Moab 2

  4. And again, wear any of these winter boots with a 3 mm closed cell neoprene divers’ sock over a thin poly liner sock. This is the best VBL I’ve found plus it adds warmth and takes the place of heavy wool socks. Sweat stays inside the divers’ socks and not in the boot insulation where it ruins the warmth.

  5. Just wondering how these compare with the Thermo Chill model on the best winter boots list? Anything preference between them?

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