Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof Review
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Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof
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|Pros||Inexpensive, good support||Super comfortable, durable, stable||Excellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, support||Supportive, great traction, lightweight||Wide and roomy fit, great traction, lightweight|
|Cons||Heavy, some durability issues||Not great for off-trail, average traction||Cuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favorite||Stiff, lacing is hard to tighten||Some comfort issues, less durable|
|Bottom Line||This comfortable and supportive hiking shoe is one of our favorite budget-friendly models||These super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfaces||This is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking trips||This is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrain||This cushioned shoe is light and nimble, and offers great traction at a bargain price|
|Rating Categories||Merrell Moab 3 Wate...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Salewa Mountain Tra...||Columbia Facet 75 O...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Merrell Moab 3 Wate...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Salewa Mountain Tra...||Columbia Facet 75 O...|
|Weight (per pair)||2.25 lbs (size 11)||1.79 lbs (size 11)||1.76 lbs (size 11)||2.16 lbs (size 11)||1.86 lbs (size 11)|
|Upper||Pigskin leather, mesh upper||Nubuck leather, GTX Textile||Synthetic, textile||Synthetic||Mesh|
|Lining||Waterproof membrane||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex membrane||Gore-Tex Extended Comfort||OutDry|
|Flood Level||3.0 in||3.0 in||3.25 in||3.5 in||3.0 in|
|Last Board/Shank||Molded nylon arch shank||Not specified||ADV-C chassis||Nylon||Not specified|
|Midsole||Super Rebound Compound||Compressed EVA||EnergyCell||EVA||Techlite PLUSH|
|Outsole||Vibram TC5+||Vibram MegaGrip||Contagrip MA rubber||Pomoca MTN trainer Lite||Adapt Trax|
|Width Options||Regular, wide||Regular||Regular||Regular||Regular|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Moab 3 Waterproof is the latest in a long and successful line of hiking shoes and is the most supportive in the line thus far. This is a well-made shoe comprised of quality leather and mesh fabric, and it offers good overall performance for the seasoned hiker or beginning backpacker alike. It is among our review's heaviest shoes, but that comes with a solid and supportive platform underfoot.
The Moab 3 scores well enough for comfort, thanks to its soft and supple leather and mesh upper that is easy to break in and does not produce any impingement when walking. This shoe has a medium fit, though folks with wider feet will be happy to hear that this shoe is also available in a wide model. The lacing system is easy to use and allows for a secure fit.
This newer edition of the Moab features a more supportive insole and more midsole cushioning. We found this effective at improving comfort, though we felt taller while wearing these shoes, and the added weight of these features makes wearing the shoe a bit clunky.
The Merrell Moab 3 is a very supportive hiking shoe, without a doubt. This is an improvement over previous iterations of the Moab line. From the firm Kinetic Fit insole, one of the best quality footbeds included in any of our reviewed shoes, let alone at this price point, to the molded nylon arch that gives serious stability in uneven terrain, there is a lot going on under your feet in these shoes. The Super Rebound Compound Merrell uses in these shoes adds cushioning and makes the wearer feel comfortable carrying lots of weight.
All this support comes at a small cost; we felt a bit high in the saddle while wearing these shoes, and since they are a low cut, this gave us a slightly uneasy feeling at times. This substantial stack height was not as noticeable when we tested the mid-cut version of the Moab 3, given that it has added ankle support.
The outsole on the Moab 3 is a Vibram rubber compound called TC5+, which sticks nicely on even surfaces like smooth rock slabs and even trails. This shoe provides good traction whether on wet or dry trails, though we noticed that the lugs aren't as adaptable to changing conditions as some other options. The lug pattern is shallow and spread out, which makes them perfect for smooth surfaces. However, they tend to clog up with mud easily which results in poor grip, and the lugs are not deep enough to provide an effective grab on loose surfaces. That said, for general hiking use, they offer average traction and are still recommended. However, if you plan on venturing off the main path, it might be better to opt for shoes with a more capable lug pattern.
Merrell uses its own in-house waterproof membrane to seal out water, and we found it to work pretty well when testing the Moab 3. It held strong and kept water out of the shoe in our 5-minute submersion test, and allowed us to walk confidently through shallow water crossings. This shoe has a flood height of 3 inches, which is pretty standard for a shoe in this category.
As with most other shoes made of pigskin suede leather, we recommend treating the Moab 3 with an aftermarket product as this material tends to get wet and takes a long time to dry out once fully inundated.
With a weight of 2.25 pounds for a pair of US size 11, the Moab 3 is one of the heavier shoes in our review. This weight may be worth it for someone looking for a beefy shoe that gives substantial support, though we found it to feel heavy on foot on long walks and tended to opt for any number of much lighter options on longer outings.
During our testing period, we did not experience any major issues with the Moab 3 that we feel need to be reported. It's worth noting that the seams where the suede and mesh fabrics meet on the upper may experience the most wear and tear with prolonged use of these hiking shoes.
Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof?
The Moab line has long won GearLab accolades as a budget-friendly option, and we feel it is still a high-quality hiking shoe that gives a lot of bang for your buck. It's not the most technical contender, but not everyone needs that.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
For those seeking another inexpensive option that performed quite well and is even more comfortable, the Columbia Facet 75 Outdry is about the same price. For those who want great support and don't mind spending a little extra, the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX was a top performer and one we recommend if you like to scramble around on rocks.
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