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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.
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Price:  $110 List | $87.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 4 resellers
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
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 16, 2017
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#15 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Stability - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 3
  • Durability - 10% 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.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

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.


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. 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.


The Moab 2 Mid didn't overly impress in this performance metric 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.


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. 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 3. When faced with water crossings, prepare to have wet feet.


The Moab 2 Mid weighs 2.4 pounds per pair in size 11 US, 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 Sky Kaha 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.


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.


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.


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