Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
This boot is a generalist in the hiking world. Its well-cushioned, watertight construction is great for those who need a reliable boot a handful of times in a hiking season. The EVA midsole and nylon arch shank provide support and stability across rough terrain, and it served us well right out of the box, keeping our feet comfortable from trailhead to summit.
The Moab 2 Mid is ready for a hike straight from the box. The EVA midsole provides lightweight but compression-resistant cushioning for all-day climbs. We appreciate the thick padding on the tongue and around the collar as well, making for a comfortable ride from arch to ankle. The lacing system is very straightforward. With just one set of hooks at the top, they are the fastest to put on and take off of any model in the category. This gives them a degree of versatility as well. We found that they were a good option for everyday winter wear — easy to slip on and off to go and grab the mail and warm enough to stand up to cold days.
The heel is heavily angled, which might not be for everyone, but we found that it really helped with bracing on descents. Our primary issue with these boots is that we didn't find them to be especially breathable. Twenty minutes of wear on a warm spring day made our feet start to sweat. However, we were spared any blisters, so at the end of the day, it wasn't a huge deal.
The lower height notwithstanding, the Moab 2 Mid has the stability we expect from a hiking boot. The nylon arch shank provides solid support and is rigid enough to protect against steps across sharp rocks or roots. We also appreciate the security of the heel guard and the overall conformity of the laces and topside around the midfoot. That is, there is no loose sloshing between foot and boot — it moved with us, not against us.
The toebox also protects from accidental direct kicks or knocks against rocks. One area to keep an eye on is that the Moab are not as wide across the ball of the foot. Subsequently, we noticed a little bit of lateral rocking, especially when moving quickly. However, it didn't ultimately lead to more ankle rolling.
These boots are steady in slick conditions. The Vibram TC5+ sole grips damp rock and slick roots alike. Though they have relatively shallow lugs, we found that the unique 'streaked' tread pattern facilitated wicking of water and mud so that the underside didn't get caked and become ineffective.
The heel is also designed at a steep angle. It can feel a little funny on flat ground, but the reason for this cut becomes apparent on downhills, where the feature helps to keep the foot more perpendicular to the trail, thereby providing more effective balance and stopping power if you slip.
We were pleasantly surprised with the waterproof protection of the Moab 2 Mid. Despite the fact that "waterproof" is in the name, the suede and mesh upper doesn't scream protection. However, when it came time to cross creeks, we walked right through them and came out with dry feet on the other side. The bellows tongue offers additional protection from the top. Even if water works its way through, it doesn't make it through to socks.
Of course, one consideration is that the Moab has a lower flood level than other boots in the category, so you lose a few inches of depth with this pair. Still, the M Select Dry liner held up its end of the bargain. If you love this boot but also want the waterproof protection of a full-length, they pair well with both high and mid-height gaiters for added protection. If you are on the other end of the spectrum in a dryer climate and do not need it, there are very similar models that are not waterproof.
The Moab 2 Mid is a great purchase, but this pair falls to the middle of the pack for weight. At just under 2.5 pounds for the pair, they aren't exceptionally lightweight. This is even more exaggerated when you consider that these are mid-height boots as opposed to many of the other models in the category which offer more coverage. With this in mind, we think this boot would do well for hikers who need a reliable pair of boots but don't need the lightest footwear out there.
These boots held up well during testing. All of the seams between the sole and upper remained tight. Lacing system stitching is solid as well. Other wearers report a few concerns, generally within a year of moderate use. The toebox cover may wear thin if this pair is used heavily on rocky terrain where the front end might get pinched often between rocks.
The suede is also susceptible to nicks and tears through rock fields, and the waterproof coating has degraded for some users. However, its versatility still makes this a high-utility model.
Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof?
This boot provides the most for the least. We found it to be among the most comfortable in the category, and we think it's a great option for those looking for a general-purpose pair of boots that will stand up to rocks, roots, mud, and cool weather. Despite its appearance, this model served us well through stream crossings and precipitation. Merrell also delivers again on durability with the Moab 2 Mid. Even though the mid-height doesn't provide the same support as high-ankle boots, it comes in at a price-performance point that we find very compelling.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
For those primarily focusing on comfort, you also can't go wrong with the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex. If it's a lightweight load you are after, then the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 Gore-Tex is also worth a strong look. The Moab 2 Mid also has strong waterproof protection. If that's what you are after, you also can't go wrong with the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX.
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