gear review Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex XCR Men's Hiking Boots

Although we don’t usually review footwear in Living Bird, when you think about it, what could be more important than having comfortable feet on a birding trip? Sure, you need good binoculars, a hat for shade, and clothing that’s appropriate for whatever conditions you might find in the part of the world you’re visiting, but if you’re slipping and sliding on the trail or your feet get blistered or sopping wet, you won’t have much fun.

With those thoughts in mind, I took a pair of Merrell Moab hiking boots on a recent week-long journey through the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. These lightweight, ankle-high boots were comfortable right from the start and really did not need to be broken in at all. The Vibram soles provided excellent traction on the muddy island trails. The boots also have Gore-Tex linings and—just like parkas made of this fabric—they are breathable, allowing perspiration to escape but preventing water from getting through to your socks. This turned out to be a great feature, keeping my feet dry and warm during a couple of downpours. And at the end of the trip, I was able to rinse the mud off them with a hose while I was wearing them. When their exteriors dried, they were clean enough to wear on the plane flying home.

If I had been doing more rugged hiking, I would have preferred boots with more ankle support, but these were absolutely excellent for this trip.

Suggested retail price: $115.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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