Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Improved traction, great for a wide foot, inexpensive, well-padded ankle
Cons: Lacing system lacks durability, not enough ankle support for heavier loads, Achilles isn't well padded, heavy
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Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP - Women's
|Price||$72.50 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Improved traction, great for a wide foot, inexpensive, well-padded ankle||Lightweight, comfortable, breathable, great traction, reasonable price||Wide toe box, lightweight, padded ankle support, durable lacing system provides stability, excellent traction||Lightweight, stylish, supportive, comfortable||Waterproof, breathable, durable, relatively lightweight|
|Cons||Lacing system lacks durability, not enough ankle support for heavier loads, Achilles isn't well padded, heavy||Not as supportive as a traditional leather hiking boot||Pricier, 0mm drop heel takes some adjustment time||Lacks ankle support for extended backcountry travel||Doesn't fit all foot shapes, bulky laces|
|Bottom Line||These boots offer improved traction and comfort right out of the box, though they underperform in terms of durability and support for extended backpacking trips||A lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and supportive hiking boot that excelled in multiple testing metrics and offers maximum control when moving through technical terrain||These hiking boots have a similar design and feel to your favorite running shoe while also offering a durable outsole, grippy lugs, and a spacious toe box||A sleek, stylish, and lightweight hiking boot that doesn't sacrifice backcountry performance, though is better for shorter trips||A boot that held its own in all metrics, this model offers good performance for a wide range of hiking utility at a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Altra Lone Peak ALL...||Teva Grandview GTX Mid||Salomon X Ultra 4 M...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Altra Lone Peak ALL...||Teva Grandview GTX Mid||Salomon X Ultra 4 M...|
|Weight (per pair)||2.06 lbs (size 8)||1.68 lbs (size EU 40)||1.60 lbs (size 8.5)||1.86 lbs (size 8.5)||1.63 lbs (size 8.5)|
|Upper||Leather, mesh||AirMesh, microfiber, TPU||eVent fabric||Leather, synthetic, textile||Synthetic, textile, rubber toecap|
|Width Options||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular||Regular|
|Water Resistant Membrane||Waterproof membrane||Gore-Tex||eVent||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex|
|Midsole||Super Rebound Compound||MEMlex||Altra EGO||EVA||Molded OrthoLite sockliner|
|Sole||Vibram TC5+||FriXion XF 2.0 Rubber||DuraTread Rubber||Vibram Megagrip rubber||Contagrip rubber, chevron lugs|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The new and improved Moab 3 Mid WP scored admirably throughout many of our hiking boot tests thanks to their simple, supportive, and comfortable design. The extra room in the toe box makes these boots a great choice for those with wider feet, and Merrell offers a wide version for those that want even more room. We were impressed by the new and improved Vibram TC5+ soles, which provide better traction than previously tested models. Our only complaints about these boots are regarding the mesh lacing system and water resistance, discussed in more depth below.
While the Moab 3 Mid offers substantial comfort right out of the box, thanks to extra padding around the tongue and ankle, our testers found the design to be rather stiff and require some extra trail time to break in and release tension. Additionally, we quickly realized that the design lacks extra padding around the Achilles, a sensitive spot prone to rubbing over the course of a long hike.
The updated Moab 3 Mid features more cushion in the footbed and heel as well as what they refer to as Merrell Air Cushion, a feature that absorbs shock when encountering debris on the trail. The notable comfort and extra cushion in the new design exceed the expectations of the modest price tag and those with a wider foot will appreciate the extra room in the toe box, which increased both comfort and breathability.
The Moab 3 Mid has a relatively low ankle shaft height, measuring 4.9 inches, which could limit the boot's ability to offer enough support when shouldering heavy loads over an extended backpacking trip. Boots with ankle shafts measuring around 6 inches received higher scores in this metric. Still, features like the Air Cushion heel and removable contoured insoles help to reinforce the heel and provided our testers with medium support.
Molded nylon arch shanks and a relatively high heel create a supportive base for the heel and arch of the foot, but we found the uneven platform of the boot took some getting used to and limited our natural stride. These boots are a great choice for increased lateral movement over uneven terrain, but this same motion can also limit support when carrying heavy loads on your back. Our testers found the Moab 3 Mid to offer enough support for shorter trips and day hikes, but we prefer a little more rigidity for extended trips through technical terrain.
With a new and improved Vibram TC5+ outsole, the Moab 3 Mid provides ample traction to give you confidence when moving over various terrain. The aggressive 5mm lug pattern grips effectively on gravel and loose dirt; we even noticed an improvement from previous Moab designs when moving over polished granite and slick boulders.
Boulder hopping in the Eastern Sierra talus was more fun this season, thanks to this Vibram sole. However, our testers are still not comfortable recommending these simple hiking boots for any burly or technical terrain. If your next trip takes you significantly off-trail, we would suggest looking toward a hiking boot that provides a more consistent grip on all types of terrain.
Because of the mostly mesh upper, we worried that the Moab 3 would fall short regarding waterproof technology or even just water resistance. Surprisingly though, they performed quite well in this metric, despite their lower ankle height. Our testers were grateful for the closed-cell foam of the gusseted tongue that enhanced the waterproof capabilities.
Though the M Select Dry waterproof membrane on the Moab 3 was initially effective at sealing out water and releasing excessive moisture buildup within the boot, we started to have concerns as we extended our miles. The mesh and pig skin upper are noticeably less durable than other boots we tested, and it seems likely that the mesh will eventually lose its waterproof protection. That said, we had zero issues with it during our testing period. This is just initial speculation based on noticing less and less water beading from the exterior waterproof finish.
Weighing in at 2.06 pounds for a pair of size 8 US, the Moab 3 Mid falls on the heavier side of most boots in this review. While we're typically willing to accept more weight in exchange for a more comfortable and supportive design, this boot offers only average support and cushioning.
For the above reasons, the Moab 3 Mid scored a bit lower in this metric as it's difficult to rationalize the extra weight and bulk when the features don't contribute much to the overall design. That said, it is worth mentioning that after many miles on the trails, our testers didn't notice the extra weight underfoot.
Just as we have some concerns over the longevity of water resistance due to the upper mesh construction, overall durability is another aspect of this boot's design that is potentially concerning. The sides of the Moab 3, where the toe box is the widest, are mesh, which can be prone to blowing out or snagging when moving through especially rocky terrain. The traditional lacing system is also quite simple, with fabric and mesh components rather than steel and leather.
We did not experience any durability issues during our extensive testing period, but we couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at a lacing system contained only by mesh. We prefer reinforced eyelets made from more durable materials such as metal or synthetic rubber to strengthen the design. Time will tell on this particular design decision, and we will report back if anything becomes problematic.
Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof?
Overall, the Moab 3 Mid is a great hiking boot option with only a few disadvantages. There is no denying the extra cushion and comfort, especially for those with wider feet. They have substantial support in the heel and underfoot, thanks to an air-cushioned and blended EVA sole. However, we wish that the heavier design provided more durability and waterproof capabilities as we've come to expect from boots of a similar weight. And, although we noticed an improvement in overall traction, other boots in our review inspire a lot more confidence on the trails. That said, the Moab 3 does have a lightweight feel and is affordable for those that want to stick to a tight budget.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
Though the Moab 3 performs well, especially for the lower price tag, we think it's worth spending a few more bucks to attain the excellent all-around performance of a boot like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX. The Keen Targhee III Mid is another option with a reasonable price and solid marks across the board.
— Trish Matheny
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