Truly Reliable Shoe: Merrell Moab 2 Smooth
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.
- Lightweight for a trail shoe
- Good design
- Flexible forefoot
- Vibram TC5+ rubber outsole offers great traction
- Very comfortable
- Not suitable for narrow feet
- Not water-resistant
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
● Full-length EVA foam midsole with Merrell Air Cushion technology in the heel
● Kinetic Fit ADVANCED removable insole
● Leather and mesh upper
● 1lb 15oz or 884g for a pair
● Extremely comfortable, especially if you have normal and wide feet
● Stylish for a hiking shoe
● Extremely flexible forefoot
● Molded nylon arch shank gives medium support