Our verdict

The Merrell Moab Speed 2 is a lighter and speedier sibling of the brand's flagship Moab hiker. Going on a fast-paced hike in this Speed2 2 felt like a blessing! We couldn't believe Merell packed so much cushioning, stability, and support into the shoe while maintaining a below-average weight! We believe that it is a stunning option if you haven't decided between a proper hiking shoe and a nimble trail running shoe.

Pros

  • One of the lightest hiking shoes
  • Plush and abundant cushioning
  • Great support and stability
  • Perfect grip for moderate terrain
  • Excellent durability
  • Breathable for summer
  • Cosy step-in feel
  • Two loops for easy on-off

Cons

  • Frail inner lining
  • Small debris gets inside

Audience verdict

85
Great!

Who should buy

Having fully tested the capacities of the Merrell Moab Speed 2, we think that it's a must to consider if you are after the following:

  • a lightweight hiking shoe that feels quick and responsive
  • a hiking shoe with enough stability and grip for moderate terrain
  • a comfortable hiking pair with plush cushioning

Merrell Moab Speed 2 review

Who should NOT buy

The Moab Speed 2 won't make the best companion for a multi-day hike with a heavier load. That is the job for the brand's one-and-only Merrell Moab 3

Salomon's X Ultra 4 is also one of our top picks for serious backpacking on technical terrain. It is pricier but stability is unmatched.

If you love the concept of a light and nimble hiking shoe but prefer a more grounded profile (lower stack and drop), the Salomon Outpulse is right up your alley.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 lab test

Breathability

In this review, we are looking at the summer-ready version of the Merrell Moab Speed 2.

If you need the waterproof GTX option, the brand offers the Moab Speed 2 GTX (£180) shoe and the Moab Speed 2 Mid GTX (£190) boot.

We thoroughly enjoyed rocking the Moab Speed 2 in warm and dry weather conditions. The shoe's mesh fabric allowed the fresh air to come, keeping our feet nice and refreshed.

The shoe's breathability becomes especially apparent when it is put next to a warm waterproof option. As we pump smoke into both shoes, you can see that the Merrell Speed 2 allows the vapour to pass through the entire length of the upper - from the toebox to the collar.

As our transparency test above shows, the shoe's mesh is much thinner and more perforated than we initially thought.

The ventilation holes kept the airflow going so well that we didn't hesitate to rate the shoe's breathability with a high score of 4 out of 5.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 4
Average 2.8
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

To protect the shoe's delicate mesh from getting ripped by sharp bushes and branches, Merrell added synthetic overlays on the high-wear areas such as the toebox and the heel.

To test the ability of the toecap overlay to cope with hazards, we drilled it with sandpaper at the speed of 5K RPM.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Toebox durability comparison

Aside from a couple of ripped stitches, the rubbery materials remained barely scathed. On a durability scale from 1 to 5, we gave it the maximum possible score - 5 out of 5!

Test results
Moab Speed 2 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 14 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The heel lining, on the other hand, could use a much more hard-wearing type of fabric.

It took the Dremel as little as 4 seconds to leave a glaring hole in the shoe's inner textile!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Heel padding durability

It is one of the least durable heel linings we've seen on hiking shoes. Thus, we had no choice but to rate it with the lowest score of 1 out of 5.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 1
Average 3.1
Compared to 13 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Merrell chose Vibram rubber to guard the bottom of the Moab Speed 2. The compound in question is called Vibram TC5+ which we've already experienced in other Merrell shoes like the Nova 3 and the Antora.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 vibram

Pressing our Shore C durometer against it returned a comparatively high reading of 84.0 HC. This is an average hardness for a hiking shoe outsole and is a good indication of the outsole's potential longevity.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Outsole hardness

Test results
Moab Speed 2 84.0 HC
Average 84.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
65.0 HC
Outsole hardness
94.1 HC

Outsole durability

Why make assumptions when we can test the Vibram TC5+'s abrasion resistance with the most demanding tool in our lab?

Having drilled the rubber for 22 seconds at a high speed of 10K RPM, we are delighted with the results! The Vibram confirmed its excellent reputation once again.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Outsole durability test

With the dent as shallow as 0.8 mm, the shoe's outsole promises a long and happy life.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 0.8 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 13 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Measuring the outsole thickness of the Moab Speed 2, we got a calliper measurement of 1.6 mm. This is about a millimetre thinner than the average but is not so detrimental because the shoe is meant for moderately technical trails anyway.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Outsole thickness

It will also help the shoe's outsole to last longer if you limit its use to trails and other off-road surfaces. Toothy lugs tend to erase faster when they are regularly exposed to concrete and asphalt.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 traction

Test results
Moab Speed 2 1.6 mm
Average 2.6 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1.6 mm
Outsole thickness
4.0 mm

Weight

Minimalist shoes aside, the Merrell Moab Speed 2 is currently THE lightest hiking shoe in our lab!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Weight

Tipping the scale at only 11.6 oz (329g), it is 1.5 ounces lighter than the average hiking shoe and is nearly as light as the average trail running shoe (10.3 oz/293g).

Merrell Moab Speed 2 shoe weight

As the name suggests, the Moab Speed 2 is indeed a crossover between a hiker and a trail shoe. It offers the best of both worlds - stability and ruggedness as well as lightness and nimbleness.

To us, it felt effortless to pick up the pace here and there as we were wearing this Merrell shoe.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 11.61 oz (329g)
Average 13.30 oz (377g)
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
6.49 oz (184g)
Weight
17.14 oz (486g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Having cut the Moab Speed 2 in half, we were utterly surprised at how much cushioning the brand managed to pack into the shoe while keeping it so light.

Merrell claims that the heel stack is 34 mm but our own calliper measurements showed that it is a whopping 38.8 mm thick!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Heel stack

For context, this is the same height as in the Hoka Skyline-Float X (39.0 mm)! The two have the highest heel stack measurement in our lab so far.

The Merrell Moab Speed 2 magically combines generous cushioning with lightness and speed. Impressive!

Test results
Moab Speed 2 38.8 mm
Average 31.1 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
9.9 mm
Heel stack
39.0 mm

Forefoot stack

When we checked the shoe's forefoot stack, our calliper returned a more moderate reading of 23.8 mm.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Forefoot stack

This is true to the brand's officially stated 24 mm but also taller than the average by approximately 4 mm.

The balls of our feet and our toes felt nice and padded as the shoe kept them safely isolated from the rocks and other trail debris underfoot.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 23.8 mm
Average 20.6 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
10.7 mm
Forefoot stack
31.0 mm

Drop

According to Merrell, the heel-to-toe drop of the Moab Speed 2 comes in at 10 mm. But based on our own stack measurements, it is even higher than that (15 mm)!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Drop

For consistency, we measure stack and drop following the guidelines set by World Athletics.

What does it mean to have a higher drop in a hiking shoe? When the heel is elevated above the toes, it receives more cushioning upon the landing. In addition, your Achilles tendons are going to feel more supported as they are not activated as much as in a low-drop shoe.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 15.0 mm
Average 10.6 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
15.9 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The Moab Speed 2 uses a soft full-length FloatPro Foam for the midsole.

We've seen the same cushioning used in the brand's Agility Peak 5 trail running shoe. Perhaps that is the reason why the Moab Speed 2 feels so much like a running shoe.

Pressing our Shore A durometer against the foam, we recorded a low reading of 19.0 HA. That's an impressive 46% softer than the average hiking shoe foam! It is even plusher than the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX (23.3 HA).

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Midsole softness

We must note, however, that the Moab Speed 2 doesn't feel mushy by any means. The plush foam is embraced by the firm Vibram rubber at the bottom and is controlled by a FlexPlate in the midfoot. So the overall ride feels balanced but well-cushioned.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 19.0 HA
Average 27.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
13.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Unfortunately, most plush foams are not immune to low temperatures and can lose some of their soft goodness to cold weather.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Difference in midsole softness in cold

After keeping the Merrell Moab Speed 2 in the freezer for 20 minutes and retaking the durometer measurement, we found that the foam had hardened by 22.4%.

But the good news is that this is within the normal range for hiking shoes. The shoe just needs a little warming up before softens back to its original state.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 22.4%
Average 17.6%
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

The shoe's extra cushy insole helps to raise the stack height of the Moab Speed 2 above the average. Our calliper shows that it is as thick as 6.7 mm in the heel!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Insole thickness
Test results
Moab Speed 2 6.7 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 19 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
2.6 mm
Insole thickness
8.6 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The more we tested the Merrell Moab Speed 2, the more we kept falling in love with the shoe!

It is light, airy, soft, generously cushioned, and... very stable! Looks like Merrell is on to discovering the perfect hiking shoe formula!

But let us manage expectations by noting that it is not the same stability as in the Salomon X Ultra 4. That shoe is much stiffer and features more stabilising components to create a death grip for the foot.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 arch support

We found that the Moab Speed 2 has an ideal amount of stability for the scenario it is meant to tackle, which is moderate terrain. The shoe gave us a solid footing on boulders and bumpy trails.

We can also recommend this Merrell shoe to hikers with flat feet and light-to-moderate overpronation (inward rolling of the foot).

Torsional rigidity

Twisting the Merrell Moab Speed 2 is certainly not an easy task. Our manual test showed that it has an impressive amount of torsional rigidity for such a light and cushy shoe.

We believe that it deserved the highest stiffness score of 5 out of 5.

The leading stability component of the Moab Speed 2 that is responsible for the shoe's stiffness is the FlexPlate.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Flexplate

Aside from embracing the midfoot, it also extends back to the heel and covers some of the forefoot, creating a steady and controlled underfoot experience.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 FlexPlate design

Test results
Moab Speed 2 5
Average 3.4
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

However, the heel counter of the Moab Speed 2 has a little bit more give than the average hiking shoe.

Assessing it in our lab, we rated the shoe's heel counter stiffness with a middle-of-the-road score - 3 out of 5. It makes sense because this Merrell shoe walks a fine line between a sturdy hiker and a nimble runner.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 3
Average 3.6
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

From our experience, the Moab Speed 2 doesn't feel very platform underfoot. This is in part due to the shoe's average sole dimensions.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Midsole width in the forefoot

In the widest part of the forefoot, we measured its sole at 110.7 mm. This is just the same as the industry average.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 110.7 mm
Average 110.1 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
103.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
117.6 mm

Midsole width in the heel

This Merrell shoe also has a fairly standard heel width. We measured 88.8 mm in the widest part which is right about the average.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Moab Speed 2 88.8 mm
Average 86.7 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
64.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
101.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Contrary to its name, the FlexPlate in the Moab Speed 2 doesn't let the shoe flex that much. At least not more than the typical hiking shoe.

Bending the shoe to a 90-degree angle while pressing it with a force gauge, we found that it requires the same amount of force (28.2N) as it takes hiking shoes on average (28.6N).

But you didn't want your hiking footwear to bend too much, especially with a heavier pack behind your back. The stiffness contributes to stability and helps your foot save energy on the trail.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 28.2N
Average 29.4N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1.8N
Stiffness
54.0N

Difference in stiffness in cold

Having kept the Merrell Moab Speed 2 in the freezer for 20 minutes, we were impressed to find that it barely got any stiffer in low temperatures!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Difference in stiffness in cold

In its "frozen" state, the shoe only needed 4.5% more force to bend to a 90-degree angle. Meanwhile, other hiking shoes needed up to 30% more!

Test results
Moab Speed 2 4.5%
Average 29.9%
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
100%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

We have nothing but praise for the Moab Speed 2's gripping capacity on moderate terrain.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Lug depth

Studded with 3.7 mm lugs, this Merrell shoe kept us surefooted when navigating loose rocks, climbing up and over downed mossy trees, and even trudging through some bog-like patches.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 outsole

We should also note that the shoe's lugs were sufficiently spaced out to shed the mud and debris off while we were on the go.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 3.7 mm
Average 3.9 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
2.1 mm
Lug depth
5.0 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The Merrell Moab Speed 2 treated us to a pretty close-fitting upper in our regular men's US size 9.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 fit

Our calliper measurement confirmed that the shoe indeed has a narrower-than-average fit at the widest part of the forefoot (where the ball of the foot sits). At 94.6 mm, it is notably narrower than the average.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Toebox width at the widest part

Good thing that the Moab Speed 2 is available in a wide option as well.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 94.6 mm
Average 100.5 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
94.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Interestingly enough, the shoe's toe space turns out to be exactly the same as the average at 83.2 mm. So it's the lower part of the toebox that feels a little snug.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Toebox width at the big toe

Test results
Moab Speed 2 83.2 mm
Average 81.7 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
68.8 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
108.6 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Moab Speed 2 comes with a semi-gusseted tongue which is very helpful for foot containment and tongue fixation.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Tongue: gusset type

But because the gussets come only halfway up in this Merrell shoe, they don't entirely protect the interiors from catching debris. Small branches, pebbles, and dirt still managed to find their way into our shoes.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

Even though it is a lightweight shoe, the Moab Speed 2 doesn't skimp on padding. It offers a good 9.8 mm of foam in the tongue!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Tongue padding

Its collar has a sufficient amount of padding too.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 9.8 mm
Average 9.5 mm
Compared to 20 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
5.0 mm
Tongue padding
17.0 mm

Heel tab

Very thoughtful of Merrell to add two loops to the tongue and heel collar of the Moab Speed 2.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 tongue loop

Having two loops makes the entry so much easier and is also very nicely compatible with carabiners!

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Heel tab
Test results
Moab Speed 2 Finger loop

Removable insole

The Merrell Moab Speed 2 features an ergonomically contoured shape which sat very well with our feet.

But if you find it uncomfortable or need to use your own orthotics instead, the shoe's stock insole is super easy to replace.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Removable insole
Test results
Moab Speed 2 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

There is a nice and large reflective element on the heel of the Merrell Moab Speed 2. Great for keeping you visible in low-light conditions.

Test results
Moab Speed 2 Yes

Sustainable materials

We are seeing more and more shoes from Merrell employ ethical materials and the Moab Speed 2 is one example. There are several sustainable parts in the shoe including:

  • laces and webbing (100% recycled)
  • mesh lining (100% recycled)
  • mesh footbed cover (100% recycled)
  • removable EVA foam footbed (50% recycled )

In addition to that, this Merrell shoe is also marked as vegan-friendly.

Merrell Moab Speed 2 sustainable materials