My old lightweight Hi-tec boots, bought years ago, finally started to wear out. I dug them out of storage earlier this year when I started my Florida Trail trek across Seminole County along the paved bike paths.
It was time to give my feet and legs a break from my heavier leather Keens. Slackpacking on a paved rail trail sounded like a great place to try something new. The Hi-tecs worked out great, and quickly became my daily shoes. More times than I care to remember, they were under water. It was this pair of boots that almost broke my pure disgust of getting my feet wet. I said almost, because at least these boots didn’t hold water like my old waterproof ones. And they dried very quickly.
Recalling the difficulties of finding boots when a pair failed on the AT, I decided to look at boots in a different way: what would work for me AND would be easy to find almost anywhere in the US. A brand common enough that I could locate a pair of them at any outfitter, not just those specializing in gear for hikers and backpackers.
Looking at several outfitters and big box stores, like Gander Mountain, I noticed that many carried the Merrell brand. So I decided to try the Merrell MOAB Ventilator. A mid-ankle lightweight boot.
The MOAB has become my everyday shoe. I’ve spent hours on my feet, on sidewalks, road walks and trails. So far both my feet and I are very happy with them.
I put them to the test on the 22nd annual Big O hike. My new Merrells performed well. Since we were the host I didn’t get to hike every day of the nine-day event. However, I was able to complete the last three days and earn my Big O completion certificate.
Most of the walk along the dike is now paved. The few limestone miles gave me the opportunity to test the new boots on both walking surfaces. After a couple days of hiking, I decided to stop double-socking, something that I’ve been doing for many years. I’m happy to report that after close to forty miles of hiking on pavement and crushed rock in the Merrells, I had no blisters.
Before returning home from the Big O Hike, Sandy and I were able to squeeze in a few more hikes in Southwest Florida. We’ll be sharing those with you in the near future.
Being in South Florida, it had to happen. I had the opportunity to “water test” my new boots. I jokingly remarked that I needed a photo of my Merrells. But with the water between my knees and ankles, they weren’t visible!
As they are out on the porch drying, I am pleased with their performance. I miss the more solid foundation of my heavier Keens, but I’m sure my legs are enjoying the lighter work out.
Once the boots are dry, I’m going to add a pair of Superfeet inserts and see how the combination works.
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