I have been waiting a long time to write this review on Merrell’s Moab FST Ice plus Thermo boots. This is mainly due to the off winter we’ve had. These are winter boots and have specific features that need to be tested on ice. Now that we’ve had at least two good snow storms, I’ve been able to put some decent time in these boots to write a solid review. My first thought is that the Moab boot is very stylish. I was excited to test these out but we had an abnormally warm winter. It was very late in the season before we got the snow needed in order to do a good test. Now that I’ve had a chance to test these I can definitely say that in addition to their stylish appearance, they are quite rugged.
The Moab features a reinforced toe that helps absorb impacts and prevents damaging the mesh upper. The outsole of the shoe extends up the front of the toe to provide grip at the tip and heel. It also does not feature standard eyelets but instead looped nylon. At first, I thought this was going to make lacing the shoe difficult, but the laces themselves slide easily through the loops without a problem. And the top lace hooks are designed to hold the laces in place. This makes it easy to simply tie the boot rather than having to pull on them while trying to tie them. That is a nice touch.
Comfort and Fit
I’ll start out talking about comfort and fit before I dive into the winter-specific features. The soles of these boots are somewhat stiff when compared to standard warm weather boots. This may take some newer winter hikers by surprise. While they are stiffer, I don’t find these to be uncomfortable at all. Quite the contrary, especially for a winter boot. I find them to be flexible and the soles do an excellent job of absorbing the uneven and jagged edges of rocks and other hard debris on the ground. The last of the boot also cradles my foot well, but I think that people with wider feet might find them a little snug. I ordered a ½ size larger than I typically wear to compensate for thicker winter socks, and the fit was perfect for me. The inner lining is super soft and the tongue is well-padded. It also has a generous finger loop for helping slide the boot over my heel when putting it on.
In addition to hiking with these boots, I also decided to use them fat biking in the snow. I find these boots do a good job absorbing pressure from my pedals when standing on them and they grip my pedals well. They also were able to keep my feel pretty comfortable while pedaling. Warm, but not sweaty.
Where these boots shine is winter use (that’s what they’re designed for). They have one hundred grams of insulation and kept my feet nice and warm in single-digit temperatures. Even when I spent hours outside, my feet didn’t feel cold nor did they feel like they are cooking. The Moab does a good job keeping a nice balance of temperature. The coolest feature (pun intended) of the Moab is the Vibram Arctic Grip outsoles (photo above). As part of the outsole, they have a color changing lug that will change from white to blue when temperatures are below freezing. The Vibram provides additional traction on wet and slippery ice and helps maintain a good grip on slippery surfaces. While this did not completely prevent me from slipping, it reduced it significantly. Even when I slipped, the boots quickly gained traction again. Clearly, the outsoles are not replacements for a pair of crampons in more extreme conditions, but they certainly provide extra traction when compared to standard outsoles.
If you are an all-season hiker or outdoorsman, and if you find your activities take you outside in the winter months, the Moab would be a great addition to your kit. They are comfortable, they keep feet dry and warm, and with the Vibram outsoles offer some great traction. Not bad for an MSRP of only $129.99. For more info on the Moab FST Ice+ Thermo: www.merrell.com
I’d like to thank Merrell for providing these for review and for their patience while the weather wasn’t cooperating.