Having reviewed and rated the Moab FST shoes a few years back we were keen to test out the latest version of this lightweight hiker. And at 736g per pair these mid boots are lithe, comparing favourably to other walking boots on the market.
This means that they're really easy to wear, anyone that's worn a pair of stiff, heavy walking boots will know how cumbersome that can feel. The Moab FST II's have a definite look about them which screams trainer rather than burly walking boot and that's reflected in use. The mesh and nubuck leather upper is very flexible as is the sole so there's no breaking in period, just wear and go. Tested across a variety of terrain it's clear that these boots are aimed more towards the casual end of the walking market, think walking your dog or Sunday strolls rather than serious assaults on the mountains. Having said that in gentle terrain there is absolutely nothing wrong with the performance, Merrell have taken a proven formula and stuck with it.
Being so flexible the upper easily moulds to your foot and there's a hefty amount of cushioning in the tongue, ankles and all around the back of the heel. This makes the Moab FST's comfortable but not particularly precise in steep, technical terrain where you might well be looking for a stiffer upper and a more technical lacing system. There's plenty of space up front to splay your toes, again leaning more towards comfort than precision.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole impresses across a variety of terrain striking a great balance between grip on sloppy surfaces like mud, and wet, smooth surfaces like rocks and tree roots. The sole has good cushioning and is fairly stable on flat ground but again, when you push it into unforgiving terrain the lack of stiffness shows. One thing that all Merrell shoes have is a pronounced instep - a love it or hate it feature. This doesn't work for my feet but for those that look for good arch support it's a winner.
If you're looking for an easy going, lightweight slip on and forget pair of boots for casual strolls or longer hikes on easy terrain then it's worth checking out the Moab FST 2 mid boots, if you're hiking is of a more demanding nature then perhaps look for something more technical.