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Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Review

This super comfortable hiking shoe is one of our favorite budget-friendly models
merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review
Credit: Merrell
Price:  $145 List
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 25, 2022
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Support - 25% 7.0
  • Traction - 15% 6.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 10% 7.0
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof is a very comfortable boot that we really enjoyed wearing. It is soft and supple, made of quality suede, and is easy to wear right out of the box. For the quality of the boot, it is a bargain, which is why it receives our coveted value award. It is a tad heavy when compared to other models, though we think the additional weight in the form of a supportive midsole and heavier materials is worth the slight trade-off. The Moab 3 would be a great choice for someone just getting into backpacking, as the price is right and the performance is solid.
REASONS TO BUY
Very comfortable
Supportive
REASONS TO AVOID
Average waterproofing
Fair traction
Editor's Note: This boot was added to our review on October 25, 2022.

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Pros Very comfortable, supportiveLightweight, comfortable, excellent tractionIncredibly lightweight, comfortableInexpensive, great waterproofing, quality materialExcellent traction, lightweight performance
Cons Average waterproofing, fair tractionNarrow fit, slightly small sizingLess durable than heavier models, thin soleHeavy, clunky, uncomfortableDiminished comfort
Bottom Line This super comfortable hiking shoe is one of our favorite budget-friendly modelsThis high-performing hiking boot tears up technical terrain with maximum precision and is at home far from the trailThis mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectivesThis is a classic hiking boot that uses traditional materials and is an inexpensive option for someone who wants a beefy bootThis 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
Comfort (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
5.0
Support (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Water Resistance (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
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.

Performance Comparison


merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - the solidly built moab 3 waterproof boots give you a lot of boot for...
The solidly built Moab 3 Waterproof boots give you a lot of boot for not a lot of money.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


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.

merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - hiking along uneven and sometimes challenging hiking trails, we...
Hiking along uneven and sometimes challenging hiking trails, we enjoyed the comfort of the Moab 3 Waterproof boots.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Support


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.

merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - stable as a table! these boots do well to provide the user with a...
Stable as a table! These boots do well to provide the user with a secure and supportive fit.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Traction


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.

merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - the shallow lug pattern was one of our least favorite things about...
The shallow lug pattern was one of our least favorite things about these boots: they do great in smooth terrain but tend to get clogged in the muck.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Water Resistance


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.

merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - even though there is a lot of mesh in the upper, the waterproof...
Even though there is a lot of mesh in the upper, the waterproof lining of the Merrell Moab 3 kept our feet dry while walking through this swampy meadow.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


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.


Durability


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.

merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - lots of seams, lots of mesh, and fabric lace eyelets are probably...
Lots of seams, lots of mesh, and fabric lace eyelets are probably the biggest areas of concern for long term wear.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

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

merrell moab 3 mid waterproof hiking boots review - this is a great overall hiking shoe. it is inexpensive and very...
This is a great overall hiking shoe. It is inexpensive and very comfortable. We might just have to hold onto this pair!
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter
 
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