Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Review
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Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof
|Price||$93.95 at Amazon|
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|$199.00 at Backcountry|
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$89.95 at REI
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|Pros||Very comfortable, supportive||Lightweight, comfortable, excellent traction||Incredibly lightweight, comfortable||Inexpensive, great waterproofing, quality material||Excellent traction, lightweight performance|
|Cons||Average waterproofing, fair traction||Narrow fit, slightly small sizing||Less durable than heavier models, thin sole||Heavy, clunky, uncomfortable||Diminished comfort|
|Bottom Line||This super comfortable hiking shoe is one of our favorite budget-friendly models||This high-performing hiking boot tears up technical terrain with maximum precision and is at home far from the trail||This mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectives||This is a classic hiking boot that uses traditional materials and is an inexpensive option for someone who wants a beefy boot||This is a cross between an approach shoe and a hiking boot, well-suiter for the hiker with alpine adventure objectives|
|Rating Categories||Merrell Moab 3 Mid...||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Timberland Mt. Madd...||La Sportiva TXS GTX|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Merrell Moab 3 Mid...||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Timberland Mt. Madd...||La Sportiva TXS GTX|
|Weight (per pair)||2.36 lbs (size 11)||2.08 lbs (size 45 EU)||1.85 lbs (size 11)||2.31 lbs (size 11)||2.47 lbs (size 11)|
|Boot Type||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Lightweight hiker/day hiker||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot|
|Width Options||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular|
|Waterproof Lining||Waterproof membrane||GORE-TEX extended comfort||Gore-Tex||TimberDry||Gore Tex Extended Comfort|
|Upper||Pigskin leather, mesh||AirMesh, microfiber, TPU||PU coated leather||Full-grain leather||High-abrasion resistant mesh|
|Last Board/Shank||Molded nylon||Nylon molded flex TPU||Molded shank||TPU shank||Traverse|
|Midsole||Super Rebound Compound||Injection-molded MEMlex||SensiFit||EVA||Injection molded EVA/STB control inserts/2.5mm polypro stiffener|
|Sole||Vibram TC5+||FriXion XF 2.0||Contagrip||Rubber||Vibram Megagrip w/ Impact Brake System|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Merrell Moab line has long been a favorite choice in this review, and they seem to get better with every new edition. The Moab 3 Mid Waterproof is a great boot for just about everyone. It is a perfect introductory boot for someone new to hiking but also can offer something for the seasoned adventurer with a great performance overall. While it doesn't have as good of traction in certain environments as other models in this review, we found it to be such an appealing boot that we still heartily recommend it with that small caveat.
The Moab 3 Mid Waterproof scores very well in the comfort metric. We love how easy it is to slip it on, the soft feel of the suede leather and mesh upper, and the simple-to-adjust lacing system for fine-tuning the fit. The Merrell Air Cushion adds comfort underfoot, while the nylon arch support protects the foot from feeling too much of the trail while walking over uneven ground. The molded rubber toe bumper wraps around the toe, giving extra protection and comfort from tripping over rocks and roots while walking on the trail.
We tested these boots in a medium width, which fit just perfectly, although Merrell makes them in a wide version as well so that you can get the best fit possible. The mesh panels that are part of the upper allow for enhanced breathability (although this waterproof model is not nearly as breathable as its non-waterproof counterpart). If you hike exclusively in dry climates, you might ditch the waterproof lining and opt for the unlined version.
The Moab 3 Mid is a mid-top boot, as the name would suggest, and the ankle collar comes up to just below the ankle. This allows for some additional protection, though it still gives the ankle plenty of room for articulation. Lacing these boots up snugly feels tight and secure, and the soft inner fabric of the collar is comfortable against the ankle. We liked the included Kinetic Fit footbed, which puts a firmer and more supportive arch under your foot for all-day comfort. This adds a lot of versatility to the boot, as it can be used as a day hiking boot for local walks just as easily as it can be taken overnight for a multi-day backpacking trip.
Merrell uses a combination of a molded nylon arch support and their unique Super Rebound Compound to create a stable and secure mid-foot structure that effectively bridges weight, protects the foot, and creates a solid hiking platform. We could spend all day wearing these boots, and even when standing on firm surfaces like granite or concrete for the whole day, we did not experience the same foot fatigue that we did while wearing less supportive boots.
The Moab 3 uses a Vibram rubber compound called TC5+ to create the outsole. We found it to be durable and sticky when used primarily on even surfaces like smooth trails and rock slabs. It offers good traction in both wet and dry trail conditions, although the lug pattern is not as flexible to changing conditions as with other models.
The lug pattern on these boots is shallow and spread out, giving them a leg up on the competition when it comes to smooth surfaces, but they clog easily with mud and then do not provide good grip, nor are the lugs deep enough to effectively grab onto loose surfaces. For general-purpose hiking use, they will provide average traction, and we still recommend them, although if your travels are going to take you off the beaten path, we might suggest a boot with a more capable lugged pattern.
The Moab 3 Mid uses a waterproof membrane to seal out water, which is necessary as the upper material used in these boots is a mixture of suede and mesh. We trekked through muddy meadows and streams and found the waterproofing to hold up well, although during prolonged submersion, the suede material started to sop up the water, and we began feeling wet inside the boot.
This boot is also offered (at a slightly higher price) with a Gore-Tex lining, which we have not tested. However, it might deliver slightly better breathability performance than the proprietary waterproof membrane supplied by Merrell.
We weighed the Moab 3 Mid Waterproof on our own scale, and they came in at 2.36 pounds per pair in size 11 US. This is an average weight for this category — they are not the lightest but are far from being the heaviest either. We feel the comfort and support offered by these boots is well worth a slight weight penalty.
We tested the Moab 3 over a couple of months, hiking around in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains and even using them as work boots around the house. During our testing period, we did not experience any major issues we feel need to be reported. That said, many seams attach the suede and mesh fabrics on the upper of the boot, and these will be the most likely point of wear as you continue to use and abuse these hiking boots.
Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof?
The Moab 3 is a fantastic value. You get a lot of boot for a fair price. This boot is waterproof, very supportive, and above all, comfortable. The Moab is great for the veteran hiker or the novice backpacker alike, and we recommend it as a great budget buy.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
For more abilities in technical terrain, where excellent traction is required, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is one of our favorite boots. Those who seek an even taller ankle collar and want the most supportive boot while maintaining the best comfort possible should take a look at the Editors' Choice Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex
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