• Weight out of the Box 902 g per pair out of the box for size 14 US
  •  
  • Cost $120.00

Merrell Moab FST Men’s Shoe

Merrell Moab FST Men's Shoes - First Impressions

After 12 months of searching I have finally managed to get a hold of a pair of Merrell Moab FST Men’s Shoes to try them out. Supposedly the average men’s shoe size is 10.5 US which is why as someone who wears size 14 US it has taken me so long to track down a pair. I try to support local stores but when all else fails, Amazon becomes my friend.

As someone with large feet my choice of shoes for hiking is very limited, an issue that I contend with in every sporting or recreational activity in which I have participated. What this means is that I don’t have the luxury of choice and have to work with a very limited range. This is why whenever a manufacturer comes out with a pair of shoes in my size I will purchase a pair to see how they perform, whatever the perceived shortcomings.

I have previously tried a pair of Merrell Moab Ventilators, a well known model and one of the most used shoes by American thru-hikers. My issue with the Ventilators is while they are durable and perform well on wet muddy trails but don’t have good traction on the dry powdery trails which makes up much of my hiking.

Based on my experience with the Ventilators I had preconceived ideas regarding the Moab FSTs. These shoes fall into the trail runner/hiking shoe category and won’t provide the durability and support of a full leather boot. They will however provide a lightweight alternative for those of us that prefer not to wear boots.

I’ve been using the Moab FSTs for just over two weeks now so thought I would provide a brief overview on how they have performed so far in this limited timeframe.

Good points

  • They’re lightish at 952 grams for a pair of size 14 US they make my  Salomon XA 3D Pro look heavy
  • They have very good traction on dry unstable slopes. I had doubts on this front going into this test and even after this short period they are doing much better than the Merrell Moab Ventilators ever did
  • They are made for an average width foot. In fact they are slightly narrower than the Ventilators which is something that suits me well. I often find that shoes fitting my foot length often tend to be wide and for me this means a shoe that ‘floats’ on my foot and creates hot spots
  • They have a good solid sole that apart from providing good traction in dry conditions, also provides ample protection for your feet
  • The heal and toe guards also provide good foot protection

Possible issues

  • There is a limited colour choice at size 14 and while this doesn’t really worry me I just find that black shoes always look dirty. Those with smaller feet will have a wider colour range from which to choose
  • The factory insert that comes with these shoes doesn’t provide enough cushioning and tends to be a bit jarring on the knees for me. I have swapped these inserts for Blue Superfeet and this combination is working well
  • One possible issue that I will test over the next few months, is durability. Trail shoes and hiking shoes sometimes don’t have the durability of leather hiking boots but they also don’t have the weight either. If I get ten months out of this style of footwear I’m happy and for me that means around 1500 km of usage

I hope these first impressions have been helpful. Over the next few months I will give these shoes a flogging and see how they stand up to long multi-day hikes in a variety of conditions.

Two months later.......

It’s now been two months since I published my first impressions of these shoes and I have worn them almost exclusively apart from the odd times I have done comparisons with other footwear. In that time they have notched up over 600km in a variety of conditions. So how did they perform?

Rating

9.0 / 10

Value for Money           1.7

Durability                     1.8

Comfort                      1.7

Weight                        1.8

Support/Stability         2.0

Merrell Moab FST Men's Shoe Review

I wear a size 14US hiking shoe and struggle to find a good range of footwear to choose from. This small range is even smaller in Australia with importers electing to stop their range just below my size and as such I find myself buying from Amazon in the USA . For the past two years I have been testing whatever I can find in my size to find that ‘perfect shoe’ and for me nothing has managed to come close to the Salomon XA 3D Pro. The Solomons have ticked just about all the boxes but still didn’t quite reach that lofty goal of perfect.

In testing the Merrell Moab FST shoes I had preconceptions about how they would perform based on my experience with the well known Merrell Moab Ventilators which are one of the best known hiking shoes currently on the market; this preconception was a negative one. However having worn the FST’s for just over three months in a variety of conditions this offering from Merrell was a big surprise, a very big surprise.

As I mentioned in my first impression review at the time I managed to purchase my Merrell Moab FST’s I couldn’t find a pair fo sale in size 14 on the Australian market so had to purchase mine from Amazon in the USA.

My first impression of these shoes was positive and even after 1000+km of wear and tear this impression hasn’t changed. There are some negatives here so lets look at these first up:

  • The stock insole that comes with these shoes is not particularly good and needs to be replaced straight out of the box. There just isn’t enough cushioning which is why I swapped these out for blue Superfeet. This combination works well for my foot and arch type.
  • Colour! Now I know I’m being picky but in my size I pretty much have one colour option and that’s black. I just find that black shoes show the dirt to easily.
  • They aren’t waterproof. Take this how you will but I wouldn’t wear these in snow or conditions that are permanently wet or boggy. They do produce a waterproof version and if this is the type of conditions that you usually hike in then look at those.

Now for the positives:

  • The fit on this shoe is the best that I have ever had on a hiking shoe. This fit is mainly due to a combination of length, width and depth and also included the insole choice. Fit is going to be specific to each hiker but these shoes are in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone for me.
  • The sole on these shoe is robust and bulletproof. It takes just about any surface type you can throw at it providing ample foot protection and kept on going. Even though the FST’s come from the same manufacturer that produces the Moab ventilators the tread pattern is different enough that it has good grip on dry powered conditions which is a failing with the Ventilators. they also handle the wet as well.
  • Th FST’s are a lighter weight hiking shoe from Merrell for those that travel fast and light. I wear these on concrete and bitumen as well as on the trail and they work well.
  • They breathe which means that you don’t build up heat in the hotter months and when thy get wet on water crossings they dry quickly.

In Comparison

In choosing footwear there are a number of considerations with the obvious one being size. When you go into most specialist hiking stores they will usually have small ramps to try out different shoes to make sure that you aren’t pushing into the toe box. While length is just one aspect of size and while reasonably critical, width and ‘depth’ are also just as important. I have also worn the Keen Targhee II’s and if you have a broad solid foot then this is a good starting point. If you have a slightly wide and solid foot then go the Salomon XA 3D Pro’s. If however you have a long average width and average hight foot then this is where the the Merrell FST’s come into there own.

Now I need to say here that everyones foot is different so what works for one person won’t necessarily work for others. I have been very happy with these shoes and have now won these shoes out managing over 100km in  variety of conditions. While the testing still goes on the Merrell FST’s are a strong contender for my planned thru-hike in 2018.

We Like

  • They’re lightish at 952 grams for a pair of size 14 US they make my  Salomon XA 3D Pro look heavy
  • They have very good traction on dry unstable slopes. I had doubts on this front going into this test and after three months of solid wear they are doing much better than the Merrell Moab Ventilators ever did
  • They are made for an average width foot. In fact they are slightly narrower than the Merrill Moab Ventilators which is something that suits me well. I often find that shoes fitting my foot length often tend to be wide and deep so for me this means a shoe that ‘floats’ on my foot and creates hot spots. The Merrell FST’s fit like a glove
  • They have a good solid sole that provides good traction in dry conditions, as well as good grip in the wet.
  • The heal, toe guards, and sole, provides good foot protection
  • They breathe well so your fit won’t sweat in the heat and thy also dry out reasonably quickly after water crossings

We Don't Like

  • There is a limited colour choice at size 14 and while this doesn’t really worry me I just find that black shoes always look dirty. Those with smaller feet will have a wider colour range from which to choose
  • The factory insert that comes with these shoes doesn’t provide enough cushioning and tends to be a bit jarring on the knees for me. I have swapped these inserts for Blue Superfeet and this combination is working well for me
  • While they cope with the wet they are not for wintertime or permanently boggy conditions. if this is what you travel in go for the waterproof option of the same shoe

Best Uses

  • All types of hiking so long as you are not carrying exceptionally heavy loads that require boots
  • Particularly good for long distance thru hiking
  • Ideal for people with narrow to medium width feet. These shoe will accomodate a reasonably broad forefoot

Buy One

You can purchase Merrell Moab FST Men’s Shoes online from Wild Earth or Merrell Australia

If you liv win the USA you can also try or Amazon USA

Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our gear reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!

If you have worn the Merrell Moab FSTs or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below

Other Versions

  • Women’s version
  • Waterproof versions
  • Wide versions
  • Mid boot
  • FST Leather normal width and wide

Please note that the full range of models/colours of these shoes doesn’t appear to be available in Australia but is available in the USA.

Disclaimer

This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer

Merrell Moab FST

Merrell Moab FST – view of the sole

Merrell Moab FST heel guard

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