Truly Reliable Shoe: Merrell Moab 2 Smooth

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Truly Reliable Shoe: Merrell Moab 2 Smooth Review Facts
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According to Merrell, ‘Moab’ is actually an acronym for ‘mother of all boots’. While this might be a slight overstatement, the Merrell Moab 2 Smooth truly is a reliable shoe that is great for tackling various terrain and will do so with ease.

If you’re not big on mid-cut, waterproof hiking boots, this breathable, sturdy, comfortable and flexible shoe will probably tick all the right boxes.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight for a trail shoe
  • Versatile
  • Good design
  • Flexible forefoot
  • Vibram TC5+ rubber outsole offers great traction
  • Very comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Protective
Cons
  • Not suitable for narrow feet
  • Not water-resistant
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Merrell Moab 2 Smooth trail shoe features the Vibram TC5+ rubber, a compound that is formulated for the brand exclusively. This rubber is slip-resistant and delivers great traction across various kinds of terrain and while doing different activities.

On top of having the outsole made out of premium rubber compounds, it also features an elaborate and effective tread pattern. The deep, curvy flex grooves allow for the foot to bend without restriction, especially in the forefoot area where the grooves are the most prominent. There are also deep flex grooves in the heel area which serve the purpose of dispersing the impact forces upon stepping on the heel.

Additionally, the outsole features 5mm multidirectional lugs that provide the slip-resistant property to the outsole. These lugs are not only multidirectional but multi-shaped as well, in order to provide versatile traction and exquisite performance.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole of this hiking and trail shoe consists of a full-length EVA foam which adds comfort, cushioning and stability to the stride. On top of this, you’ll find the Merrell Air Cushion technology in the heel, aimed at dampening the shock impact and increase the overall stability of the shoe.

In the midfoot area, a molded nylon arch shank is located, which offers medium support and gives some sturdiness to the stride. This shank also decreases the flexibility of the sole in the midfoot area, making a noticeable flexibility difference between the midfoot and forefoot area of the shoe.

A Kinetic Fit ADVANCED removable insole is positioned on top of the Eva foam and Merrell Air Cushion layers. This insole is contoured in the shape of your foot and provides mild, but significant support, when combined with the influence of the nylon shank.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the Merrell Moab 2 Smooth is made out of a combination of leather and mesh materials which provide a great balance of breathability and support. The upper is constructed so as to have an intricate web of leather overlays which serve the purpose of providing a tight fit to the foot while also being very customizable. The overlays are either stitched or double stitched, depending on how durable and hard-wearing they need to be in each particular part of the upper.

The lacing system features a combination of hooks and eyelets that also provide a tight and customizable fit. The eyelets are positioned near the collar, while the hooks continue down to the bottom of the laces. There is a tongue loop in the center that prevents the tongue from slipping inside the shoebox while walking and running.

Speaking of the tongue, it is designed so as to keep the debris and pebbles out of the shoebox, making the entire ride more comfortable and enjoyable. On the top of the tongue, you’ll see an M letter, which signifies the M Select technology we’ll discuss in a bit. The collar is well-padded and offers just the right amount of support and comfort, without being too squishy.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The pair of Merrell Moab 2 Smooth trail shoes weighs 1lb 15oz or 884g. While this might be a substantial weight for a road running shoe, it’s considered to be on the lighter side in the trail shoe universe. The vast majority of users have commended the Moab 2 Smooth for being light and supportive, without being overbearing and clunky.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

As mentioned above, the leather and mesh materials are intertwined in the upper construction of the Moab 2 Smooth. The mesh is located in spots that are usually in need of increased ventilation, such as the collar, tongue, sides of the shoe, as well as on the top part of the vamp, above the protective leather toe cap.

The M Select FRESH technology is used in the construction of this shoe in order to reduce the odors by preventing moisture and sweat from affecting the inside of the shoe. This is possible thanks to the antimicrobial agents that inhibit the reproduction of odor-producing microbes inside the shoe.

All in all, this is a fairly breathable trail running shoe, due to the fact that the mesh material is actually used throughout the entire upper, allowing for constant airflow and ventilation inside the shoe box. However, you can still expect some hot spots to form after a few hours in the shoe, which is both normal and expected.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Almost all users that have bought and worn the Merrell Moab 2 Smooth have agreed that the shoe is comfortable from the get-go, and unlike some other Merrell shoes, this one requires no break-in time. The upper comfort doesn’t lag that far behind, with the leather and mesh combination working in unison to provide a comfy, yet supportive experience to the hiker.

Some hikers have advised against going for your true size and opting to go a half size up instead in order to really achieve the perfect fit. This is sound advice, especially because it’s advisable to go for a slightly roomier shoe box when picking a trail shoe, in order to avoid your toes from hitting the front of the shoe while hiking. The best thing to do, if you can, is to go to the store and try the shoe on before making a purchase, just to be on the safe side.

The Moab 2 Smooth looks like it’s narrower than other trail shoes, but this is more due to its design than the actual state of things. In reality, this shoe has a roomy toe box that allows your toes to flex and splay freely inside. In fact, the toe box is so roomy, that some hikers with narrow feet claimed that the lack of tightness affected the comfort levels in a negative way. However, if you have normal or wide feet, this shoe will be right up your alley in terms of comfort.
Style
Style

Style

Not only is the Moab 2 Smooth comfortable, but it’s also surprisingly stylish for a hiking shoe. The toned-down and monotone colorways are a great way of disguising the technology-oriented look of the upper and sole, leaving you with a sporty-looking black training shoe that won’t be easy to identify as a trail shoe from the first glance.

The premium materials used in its construction also add some sophistication to the look of the shoe, however strange that might sound. Several users have commented that they initially got the shoe in order to wear it on long hikes, vacation and light trails, but ended up wearing them to work and around the town instead – which should give you an idea on how adaptable they are. They can go well with almost any sporty or casual outfit thanks to the lack of vibrant, flashy colors used in their design.
Durability
Durability

Durability

As with the original Merrel Moab 2, the Smooth version also offers durability that is on par with the quality of the materials used in the shoe’s construction. The sturdy and thick leather overlays, combined with the tightly woven mesh, and secured by double-stitching, make the shoe long-wearing and resistant to a lot of external influences. Granted, it’s not as hard-wearing as an all-leather boot, but it really doesn’t have to be in order to last you for a few years.

The first place to show some wear is the heel area, which isn’t surprising given that the heel is the first place to absorb a good amount of shock. Additionally, one user was against the lacing design due to the fact that the lace hooks can tear or become too loose over time, but that’s something not a lot of people had issues with. All in all, this is a reliable shoe that should last for at least a year and a half of consistent use.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The main protective property in every shoe is the level of underfoot cushioning it offers. Thanks to the Merrell Air Cushion technology in the heel, as well as the EVA foam midsole, and the Kinetic Fit ADVANCE insole, the Moab 2 Smooth features a good amount of cushioning, without losing the much-needed ground feel.

The tongue of this shoe is also gusseted to the rest of the upper, so as to keep the debris out of the shoe box. This seems like a minor detail, but it’s actually what’s going to decide whether you’ll stop at every mile to empty your shoes when on the trail, or keep running without worrying about bits and pieces gathering inside your shoe.

On the vamp, you’ll find the protective, double-stitched toe cap that will protect your feet from impact and any stray hard objects on the trail, along with providing structure and ensuring consistent width to the toe box.

Although this shoe isn’t waterproof or water-resistant (there is the GTX version of it available, though), it’s the kind of shoe that won’t allow your feet to get wet immediately after stepping out in the rain. This isn’t a result of some advanced technology, as is the consequence of high-quality, dense and sturdy materials used in the upper construction.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Merrell Moab 2 Smooth is primarily a hiking and light trail running shoe, which isn’t made to develop speed. This is the reason why the brand didn’t make the shoe as responsive as, say, Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5, but it won’t slack off and pull you down either. The midsole shank offers some sturdiness to the sole and combined with the flexibility of the shoe, you’ll have some bounce to your stride.
Support
Support

Support

While this is a neutral shoe made for people with high, medium high and normal arches, the Kinetic Fit ADVANCED removable insole gives medium support to the arch, meaning that maybe some hikers with slight overpronation issues could find this shoe suitable for them. The cushioning in the collar will offer mild support to the Achilles tendon as well.

Additionally, the molded nylon arch shank provides support without being heavy or feeling intrusive inside the shoe box. Its main function is to improve the way your weight is being distributed when wearing the shoe, which adds to a more natural stride.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This shoe is ideal for hiking, walking long distances, as well as running on uneven, light trails. While it isn’t suitable to be worn on really technical trails, it covers a wide array of different terrains that most people will find to be quite enough for their hiking needs.

Additionally, people have also been using the shoe as an everyday walking shoe due to its great comfort and nice, unobtrusive design. That being said, keep in mind that because the sole of the Moab 2 Smooth is really, flexible, the shoe won’t be able to withstand heavy loads, making it a poor option if you’re wearing your heavy backpack in order to set a camp spot in nature.
Price
Price

Price

The original price of this trail shoe is reasonable, but if you happen to find it on discount the price becomes more than affordable, seeing the level of comfort and quality you’ll get with the shoe. This is an especially wise investment if you’re someone that works long shifts and spends the day on their feet.
Traction
Traction

Traction

As with all the shoes that boast the Vibram TC5+ outsole, the traction of the Moab 2 Smooth is far above-average. This shoe will tackle dirt, uneven roads, pavements, stones and mud with the same level of efficiency. The 5mm lugs are what makes the shoe slip-resistant because they will adhere to almost any surface and prevent the shoe from slipping off of it.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The forefoot area of the outsole provides an impressive amount of flex, and if you hold the shoe in your hands, you’ll even be able to flex it nearly to a 90-degree angle. This is a great feature to have on light trails, but it prevents the hiker from carrying heavy loads while wearing the shoe, because it won’t offer enough stability and support, but will bend under the weight of the load.
Stability
Stability

Stability

There aren’t any prominent stability features on the Merrell Moab 2 Smooth hiking shoe, but it’s worth mentioning some aspects that contribute to good stability this shoe has. First of all, the wide toe box allows for toe splaying, which in turn naturally increases stability, given that your toes can disperse the weight of your body more evenly that way, enabling you to gain more control over your stride.

Additionally, the Vibram rubber sole and lugs provide a dose of stability on varied terrain, while the leather overlays and the lacing system prevent the foot from slipping forward into the shoe. The lugs that are slightly protruding outside the shoe platform decrease the chances of your ankle getting twisted as well.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The heel-to-toe differential of the Merrell Moab 2 Smooth wasn’t stated clearly anywhere; however, it seems as though the heel cushioning, along with the toes being obviously placed lower than the heel, imply that this shoe features an averaged drop ranging from 8-10mm. This type of drop would go hand in hand with the heel cushioning because it will complement heel strikers the best, while midfoot strikers would still get by with running in an average-drop shoe.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

● Vibram TC5+ rubber outsole with 5mm lugs
● Full-length EVA foam midsole with Merrell Air Cushion technology in the heel
● Kinetic Fit ADVANCED removable insole
● Leather and mesh upper
● Breathable
● 1lb 15oz or 884g for a pair
● Extremely comfortable, especially if you have normal and wide feet
● Affordable
● Stylish for a hiking shoe
● Durable
● Extremely flexible forefoot
● Molded nylon arch shank gives medium support
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Merrell Moab 2 Smooth is just that – smooth. It doesn’t make waves with flashy technology, nor does it give you any performance issues. If you’re in need of a reliable hiking shoe for light trails, this shoe will provide you with smooth sailing.