Hands-on Gear Review

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid Review

This budget offering from Merrell is a good choice for day hikers and casual backpackers who will be traveling through warm and dry climates.
By: Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 16, 2017
Price:  $110 List  |  $109.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Cushioned and comfortable, good fit for wide fit, very breathable
Cons:  Not waterproof, not enough support for long or heavy backpacking trips
Manufacturer:   Merrell
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Stability - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 3
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid hiking boot is the least expensive hiker in our review and provides a comfortable, cushioned walking experience for the day hiker or casual backpacker. They are best suited to a dry, desert-like climate as they do not feature a waterproof liner of any type (this boot is available with a waterproof lining in a model called the Moab 2 Ventilator Mid WP). Since lots of people go backpacking in warm and dry environments, we put this to the test and were impressed with how well they breathe. This is also the only boot we tested that comes in a wide version, so those with larger feet might be happy to give these a try.

For hikers wishing for a waterproof liner despite the lessened breathability, we heartily recommend the Best Buy winning Keen Targhee II, which costs only $25 more and is much more of a boot. To help you decide what kind of hiking footwear is right for you, we have written a Buying Advice Article to give you more insight.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Share:

The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid received mixed scores across our review. While low-performing in metrics such as water resistance and durability, which we placed less weight on, it did quite well and competed against more popular boots when it came to comfort and weight, metrics that received higher weight percentages. Overall, this competitor was the lowest scoring boot in our review, mostly due to its lack of waterproof lining. Does that make it a model that you should overlook and avoid? Absolutely not. This is an exceptional hiking boot for the casual day hiker and light backpacker who spends most of their time in warm climates where breathability is required, and waterproofness is not necessary.

Performance Comparison


The Ventilator 2 staying out of the water - a good idea if you want your feet to stay dry.
The Ventilator 2 staying out of the water - a good idea if you want your feet to stay dry.

Comfort


We gave the Merrell Moab 2 Mid a score of 8 in this metric, thanks to its flexible sole that allowed out of the box comfort and its wide, roomy fit. This mid-top hiking boot has a well-padded ankle collar that hugs the ankle and provides good support for hauling medium sized packs. It also ties our Best Bang for Buck winning Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX. The sole is light and flexible and allows the foot to bend freely, and the outer material, made of suede and mesh, is supple enough to be comfortable without any break in period.

The included footbed is of reasonable quality, though we would recommend replacing with a more durable Superfeet or Ortholite insole like we found in the Salomon and Adidas models we reviewed. There is only one pair of lacing hooks in addition to the eyelets, making it harder to lace these boots with a customized, comfortable fit than it is with the Editors' Choice-winning Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boot.

Merrell's boot is great for day hikes on trail  less so for rocky terrain.
Merrell's boot is great for day hikes on trail, less so for rocky terrain.

Stability


The Moab 2 Mid earned a score of 6 in stability, due to its lightweight, flexible materials that performed more like a trail running shoe than a hiking boot. With a forefoot width of 4.66 inches, the Moab 2 is as wide as many of the other boots we reviewed and gives a wider base to prevent ankle rolling and slippage. However, it does not have the robust structure gained through the use of a heavier weight outer/collar material like found in the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX or Asolo Power Matic 200.

This flexibility was welcome when we had light packs on day hikes and did not need the increased stability found in more rigid materials. Unfortunately, we felt more vulnerable when carrying heavy weight, opting for more of a boot like the Keen Targhee II.

We liked this boot best for dry hikes with no water crossings- our feet stayed nice and dry.
We liked this boot best for dry hikes with no water crossings- our feet stayed nice and dry.

Traction


The Moab 2 Ventilator Mid boots earned a score of 6 in this metric. Using a Vibram rubber sole called TC5+, a multi-sport compound, the Moab 2 has the lowest profile sole in our review; eschewing heavy lugs common to boots like the Asolo Power Matic or La Sportiva Trango TRK, this model has a smoother lug pattern akin to the Adidas Terrex Scope High. This makes the boot more capable on the sand and slick rock trails common to hikes in the desert Southwest, and less effective at hiking in variable terrain including mud, snow, and scree.

Adequate traction on trail  but take this to the rock slabs and prepare to slip around.
Adequate traction on trail, but take this to the rock slabs and prepare to slip around.

Water Resistance


We gave the Moab 2 Ventilator Mid a score of 3 out of 10 in water resistance. It earned this low score due to its lack of a waterproof membrane. Waterproof/breathable membranes like Gore-Tex are typically used in hiking boots. However, to gain waterproofness, breathability is often sacrificed. The Moab 2 is the most breathable boot in this review and is the most adept at traveling comfortably through hot and dry environments, more so than the often sweaty feeling Salomon X Ultra Mid 2. When faced with water crossings, prepare to have wet feet.

Weight


With a weight of 2.4 pounds per pair in size 11 US, the Moab 2 Mid is the fourth-lightest boot in our review, mostly due to its use of mesh, lower density sole, and molded nylon shank. It is indeed lighter than beefier boots like the Quest 4D or Power Matic 200, but does not provide a notable improvement in performance over the Hoka ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP which is two ounces lighter (and earned our Top Pick for Lightweight Hiking Award).

The Moab keeps rocks and dirt out  and keeps the weight down with lots of mesh in the upper boot.
The Moab keeps rocks and dirt out, and keeps the weight down with lots of mesh in the upper boot.

Durability


The Moab 2 earned a score of 5 for overall durability, tying the La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX for the low score in this review. In contrast, the Asolo Power Matic 200 was the most durable boot in our fleet. The lessened durability comes from the lower quality suede and mesh outer, which began to show wear after only days of use on rocky trails, nylon lacing eyelets that wear out quicker than metal ones, and a softer rubber compound that is less durable than the harder compounds used in other boots. That being said, the Trango costs $100 more, while the Asolo costs 200 additional bones. Is the added durability worth it for your adventure? If not, at least the lack of durability is reflected in the Moab's wallet-friendly price.

Best Applications


This boot is going to provide the best performance for day hikers who are only carrying light packs or backpackers going for a casual overnight trip without much weight. This shoe is especially beneficial for those that want the most out of a mid-cut hiking boot but want to retain the light weight and breathability of a trail running style shoe. Durability and water resistance might be lacking, but the boot is worth the price you will pay.

Value


At $110, the Moab 2 Ventilator Mid is the least expensive option in our review, with only the Keen Targhee II coming close at $135. Since you get a lot more durability and versatility for only $25 more, we gave the Targhee II the Best Bang for Buck Award.

Conclusion


A lightweight day hiker that can carry a moderate amount of weight, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid is a good option for those on a budget searching for their first pair of hiking boots, and for those spending the majority of their hiking time in dry desert climates - where a waterproof lining is not required.

Ryan Huetter

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 7, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 50%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Backpacker

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Sep 7, 2018 - 11:06am
CO_west · Backpacker · Colorado

Why in the world is "not waterproof" a con for a boot that is marketed as not being waterproof? For anyone who hikes in warm climates, waterproof/breathable boots simply aren't breathable enough. They will inevitably get wet (think water crossings), and they take forever to dry. This boot does well for what it is - a breathable lightweight boot for people who would like ankle protection.

I say ankle protection instead of ankle support, because this is not a heavy backpacking boot. It's a hiking boot and it works well at its job. It provides as much protection as the Keen Targhee II, which is not breathable and certainly not "much more of a boot."

These are comfortable boots with an excellent vibram sole that gives great traction. They are also durable for long-term use and abuse. Highly recommended if they fit you.



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


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...