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Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Review

Hiking Boots

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Price:   Varies from $88 - $110 online  —  Compare at 6 sellers
Pros:  Cool, light, breathable, great value, good traction on rock and dry trails
Cons:  Uppers wear quickly, thin sole, not waterproof.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Merrell


One of the lightest hiking boots we tested, the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid is superbly breathable and thus occupies its own niche. On hot and dry trails, it will keep your feet comfy, dry, and cool. When wading through water while canyoneering or portaging a canoe, it will drain and dry much more quickly than its competitors. Its traction on dry rock and gravel is excellent, and the wide forefoot provides a stable platform. One of the thru-hikers we polled reported getting 800 miles out of a pair of Merrell Moab Ventilators and said it was the "best out-of-box shoe I've ever worn."

Unfortunately, however, there are some definite drawbacks to this hiking boot. The Moab Ventilator Mid is one of the least durable boots we tested, and its thin sole and midsole provide little protection from pointy rocks underfoot. The mesh uppers can snag sticks and other trail debris, and the collar provides little ankle support. If you hike in muddy terrain, you will be cleaning mud from the inside of this boot.

The Keen Targhee II Mid, our Best Buy winner, is more durable and stable for those seeking a very light, affordable boot. It provides better traction in wet conditions, and it is water resistant. Consider the Editors' Choice winning Vasque St. Elias GTX if weight is less of a concern.

RELATED: Our complete review of hiking boots - men's

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Brandon Lampley
Review Editor

Last Updated:
May 22, 2015
Comfortable and uberlight, the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid excels in the hot weather, but doesn't provide much foot support or ankle stability. This super light hiking boot is a great choice though if you'll be out in the heat and don't need any sort of waterproofing for your feet.

Performance Comparison

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The Moab Ventilator is the perfect hot weather boot for those seeking lightweight comfort.


Available in both regular and wide sizes, this lightweight hiker was comfortable from the first step. The upper cradles the foot in softness; however, the minimalist design is only comfortable over many miles for hikers with strong, trail-hardened feet. It features four lower, one middle, and one upper lacing eyelets for a nice, snug fit. The Moab Ventilator is very sensitive on the trail, but the thin sole is not comfortable if you are traversing lots of point rocks.

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Kicking back and enjoying the view. This was one of the more comfortable products we tested. La Poudre Pass, on the Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National park


The ankle collar, which is short compared to other boots, provides little ankle support, but the wide forefoot serves as a stable platform on smooth terrain. This boot feels very stable on smooth trails devoid of roots and rocks. Folks with trail hardening feet love this product because it is so light, not because it delivers support or stability. Consider one of the midweight boots like the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX if you need more ankle support.

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Another day in paradise while out testing boots.


On dry rock and loose gravel, the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid offers great traction. Our traction testing found that wet granite and mud are not its forte; in these tests, we were slipping and sliding. Amongst the lightweight hikers, the Keen Targhee and La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 offer better all round traction.

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This boot offers great bang for the buck, but is only ideal in dry climates. Even in our traction tests, it performed well over dry terrain, but fell short over wet surfaces.


The second lightest hiking boot we tested after The North Face Ultra Fastpack Mid GTX, this product is feather light on the foot. For hikers and ultralight backpacker whose primary focus is light weight, this is a great choice.

Water Resistance

Hot and dry days hiking, this is what the Ventilator is designed for. It will not keep your foot dry even when moving through dew-covered grass; however, it will dry out very quickly when you do get wet. If you like everything about this product, but need waterproofing, Merrell produces a version of this boot with a GORE-TEX liner, and it receives rave reviews.

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If you are getting your feet soaked for sure, the Moab Ventilator dries quickly.


This was the only product we tested that had seams coming unstitched after two months. There is no free lunch, and a lack of durability goes hand in hand with the Moab's light weight and low price. Applying Seam Grip to these high-wear areas will increase the life expectancy of this uberlight boot's upper.

Best Applications

Hot and dry trail hiking; hot and wet canoeing or canyoneering. Many Appalachian Trail thruhikers love this boot for the light weight and cushy comfort.


The Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid delivers hot weather performance at a very affordable price.

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Brandon Lampley, about to switch to some waterproof boots for the mushy meadow.


This was hands down the best lightweight boot we tested for hot weather hiking. If you don't need a lot of foot and ankle support, this is a great choice for day hiking and ultralight backpacking.

Other Versions

Merrell Moab Ventilator
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  • Cost - $100 ($10 less than Moab Ventilator Mid)
  • Weight - 2.1 lbs (.3 lb less than Moab Ventilator Mid)
  • Low cut version of the Moab Ventilator Mid

Moab Waterproof
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  • Cost - $120 ($10 more than Moab Ventilator Mid)
  • Weight - 1.5 lbs (.9 less than Moab Ventilator Mid)
  • Waterproof low cut version of the Moab Ventilator Mid

Moab Mid GTX
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  • Cost - $150 ($50 more than the Moab Ventilator Mid)
  • Weight - 1.9 lbs (.5 lbs less than the Moab Ventilator Mid)
  • GORE-TEX version of the Moab Ventilator Mid
Brandon Lampley

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: June 4, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:   
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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jun 4, 2016 - 05:47am
sahall · Backpacker
Fantastically comfortable straight out of the box. I have been wearing the same pair for almost 5 years, mainly for road walking when on vacation and around town (about 1200 miles I guess) and they are still as good as new.

The GTX version has been a disaster though:
First pair (bought at same time as the above) leaked after 50 miles.
Warranty replacement pair leaked after 100 miles and the upper started tearing away from the sole unit.

If you really wanted to the warranties would let you carry on replacing them almost for ever.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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