Saturday, July 06, 2024

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex Review: Tour du Queyras Trek Tested!

Article by Dominique Winebaum

 Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex ($180)

Doing research for a friend who was looking for a pair of light hiking boots, I came across the Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX, and opted to test them on our 8 day trek on the Tour du Queyras, the GR 58 in France. 

It is an 80 mile course with significant elevation gain (25,345 ft) and loss (/25,180 ft), in the Queyras Natural Park located in the Hautes-Alpes department near the Italian border, and south of Briançon.  

Last year, I tested my first pair of Merrell, the Antora 3 from a line-up of 9 different trail shoes that was offered to RoadTrailRun  contributors. My experience with the brand was positive and given the popularity of the Moab hiking boot line, I felt confident trying its lighter version..   

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX is offered in 4 different monochromatic colors: Peach, Charcoal, Khaki, and Black.  No bold and bright colors for this Merrell model, yet I have been fairly pleased with the Charcoal color.  In fact, I opted out of a very tasteful color option from another brand, the Deckers X Lab Enduro Max Low in Peach-Red, with excellent performance, however, they felt too snug in the toebox and were warm for a summer hiker. 

Trail ready right off the box – I wore them prior to our trek on day hikes though no break-in was necessary, but just to make sure they were a good fit for me.  

The fit is true to size and extremely comfortable.  There are sturdier options in the Merrell Collection, and from many other brands, such as TOPO and AKU that are better adapted for more rugged conditions, but I was decidedly drawn to the idea of hiking in a light boot.  

At 12.34 oz (350 g), they are considerably lighter than my prior pair of AKU Selvatica (15 oz /428 g).  Both boots are described as lightweight for moving quickly in total comfort.  Not having to carry a heavy load on my back allowed me to lighten the load on my feet as well!

The upper is GORE-TEX® and is described in the specs with “exceptional breathability and waterproof performance.”  I was a bit skeptical that a GTX boot would have “exceptional breathability” yet I can testify that I never experienced discomfort during our 8 day trek, namely my feet never got hot.  They did get wet during three of the stages given the snowy and wet conditions on the trails and heavy rain, but I took note that they dried faster than sturdier/leather boots that other hikers were wearing on the trails.

The toebox is very roomy, which is so important for the comfort of my feet.  

Both the heel and toe cap are made with abrasion resistant synthetic material providing good protection against shocks and rocks.  The collar is well padded creating a comfortable and secure zone around the ankles. 

To be noted, the metal hooks at the top of the collar resulted in zero pressure points, something I have experienced in several other mid height boots..  

The tongue is designed to keep debris out and wraps nicely inside the collar. I wore Kathoola gaiters, the RENAgaiter LOW, on rainy days and when crossing snowy passes, for added protection against the elements.  

The Moab has not an overly snug foothold like the Deckers X Lab Enduro Max Low, but is plenty secure and extremely comfortable, both on the uphills and downhills.  

Notably, the overlays are plentiful to optimize protection and create a secure foothold while my feet were blisters free throughout the trek with zero discomfort.  I alternated wearing Darn Tough merino socks and Drymax socks with a clean fresh pair just about every day.  On the topic of freshness, the upper is treated with Cleansport NXT™ for “natural odor control.” 100 miles later, I still get a whiff of “natural odor” when smelling the inside of my boots! 

The Midsole

I would characterize the midsole foam, which is FloatPro,™ as providing lasting comfort without being over plush and/or with lots of rebound.  We have 30% more foam cushion than the prior Speed had.

A lightweight gray plastic FlexPlate™ adds lateral stability and torsional rigidity at midfoot with the outsole wrapping up to stabilize the heel while the forefoot is very flexible.  

With its 34-24 mm stack height, the midsole provides plenty of light cushioning that is very protective.  Honestly, my legs did not feel fatigued at the end of each day nor at the end of the trek and I developed no flaring pain in my feet as I tend to get in some boots and shoes.  I will mention the 10 mm drop is a fairly high drop in comparison to TOPO’s 5 mm drop and HOKA’s 5 mm drop.  I tend to adapt well to different drops though I stay away from zero drop shoes. 

The Outsole

Made with Vibram®’s TC5+ , a Vibram rubber compound formulated exclusively for Merrell, the outsole features 4 mm lugs with side of lug mini Traction lugs provides great traction.  

After 100 miles of hiking, the outsole shows no sign of wear. Even the small cuts on the top of many lugs are still visible with the mini Traction Lug which increase traction still intact

The Moab Speed 2 GTX outsole is designed for moderate  terrain with a strong emphasis on comfort.  It is not as firm, sturdy nor as “sticky” on wet surfaces as the Vibram outsole on my AKU Silvetica or TOPO Trailventure 2.  

During our trek, I felt confident on the trails but was cautious when the surface became slippery.  

I wore Kahtoola MICROspikes to ensure greater traction when hiking uphill or downhill over the large snow nevés, as did Sam and René

The Vibramr® TC5+ outsole was adequate for our Tour du Queyras trek in terms of handling the rugged terrain, which was only occasional, and nothing like the White Mountains.  I would say the outsole contributed to the overall comfort of the boot and the smooth sailing along the tour on dry land.  

Photo credit: Marie Agnes Tavernier 


I would recommend the Merrell Moab Speed 2 GTX to hikers looking for a lightweight boot with an all-around comfortable platform.  

Designed for moderate terrain as opposed to rugged terrain, I felt they were sturdy enough for the White Mountains (on one hike).  Merrell tends to offer shoes that are more affordable, however, at $180, the Moab Speed 2 GTX is comparable in price to the Topo Trailventure WP 2 – a heavier and sturdier boot.   For sure, unless my feet were wet from all the rain & water crossing, I was not eager to remove my boots once I had reached our destination – see picture of our table at the Refuge de Furfande below. 

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Tester Profile
Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles and once a week down in the mid 9 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. An avid hiker and trekker, she has been around Mont Blanc 3 times, hiked Chamonix to Zermatt, and completed the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and also enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, tennis, and gardening.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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