Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Light, breathable, drains well.
Cons: Not durable, not waterproof.
Best Uses: Canyoneering, canoe tripping, hot-weather hiking.
The Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid perfectly fills a niche role. No other boot can handle hot weather and soggy conditions as well. It's perfect for activities like canoe tripping or canyoneering. If you've resigned yourself to the fact that your feet are going to get wet, the Moab Ventilator is the shoe you want.
That said, the Moab Ventilator has some distinct drawbacks. It doesn't offer much protection so errant rocks and sticks can be a problem. Because of all the mesh it is not very durable. As you might expect, it's not waterproof, either.
If you are looking for a more durable boot with a similar weight, try the Keen Targhee II, our Editors' Choice in the light book category. It has a similar minimalist style while offering more protection and water resistance. If weight is not a concern, consider our burly Editors' Choice in the heavy boot category, the Asolo Power Matic 200.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Moab Ventilator has a design totally different from the other boots tested. It does not intend to be waterproof, it does not intend to be durable, and it does not intend to compare itself to hikers like the Asolo Power Matic. It has its own, self-described function. It means to fill the niche of hot-weather boot, and at that task it performs beautifully. Because of its mesh design it also drains water quickly, making it useful for canyoneering and canoe tripping.
While we understand why the shoe is not waterproof and not durable, we still don't like it that the shoe is not waterproof and not durable. It's annoying to have to avoid shallow puddles. The Ventilator is popular among canoe trippers, and nearly every one we have seen blows out in the area around the ball of the foot. It becomes an annual purchase.
There is also some danger because of the lack of protection from the mesh. We were canoe tripping in northern Ontario with one of our friends when he was speared in the side of the foot (through his Moab Ventilators) by a stick. He managed to finish the trip, but that was the last time he wore the Moab Ventilator in heavy brush.
The Moab Ventilator is perfect for hot and soggy weather and so particularly useful for canyoneering and canoe tripping.
They may not be the all-around best value, but if you want a boot to handle hot, wet conditions, there is no better option.
There is the Merrell Moab Ventilator - Women's as well as a lower cut version called the Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe as well as a Gore-Tex-lined version called the Merrell Moab Mid GTX.
— Atherton Phleger
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 19, 2014
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