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Merrell Moab 3 Review

This super comfortable hiking shoe is a great option for those going on hot weather hikes
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Merrell Moab 3 Review
Credit: Ryan Huetter
Price:  $120 List
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Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 9, 2024
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Support - 20% 7.0
  • Traction - 15% 7.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 4.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.4
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Merrell Moab 3 is the latest version of the beloved Moab line and proves to be a recommendable shoe due to its comfort, support, and quality. This particular model does not have any waterproofing, which makes it a great choice for those looking to hike in warm and dry conditions. The ample mesh panels really let feet breathe rather. This model sees improvements made to the shoe's eco-footprint, using more recycled materials than before, and more support has been added around the heel and ankle. We think these shoes are excellent for warm weather hiking, though it is not the only good option. Take a look at our best hiking shoes review to learn more about these light and breathable shoes.
REASONS TO BUY
Very comfortable
Good value
Quality construction
REASONS TO AVOID
Not very lightweight
Average traction

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Bottom Line We love this shoe for hitting the trail in warm weather and in dry conditionsThis is the definition of a solid hiking shoe, and is a perfect choice for those not wanting to compromise on off-trail performanceThis is the definition of a solid hiking shoe, and is a perfect choice for those not wanting to compromise on off-trail performanceMore like a running shoe than a hiking shoe, this comfortable and lightweight model offers a lot for an affordable priceThis inexpensive but good quality hiking shoe is a perfect choice for just starting out on the trails
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 3 Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Columbia Facet 75 O... Columbia Crestwood
Comfort (25%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Support (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Water Resistance (15%)
4.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
3.0
Weight (15%)
5.4
6.9
6.9
6.4
6.5
Durability (10%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Merrell Moab 3 Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Columbia Facet 75 O... Columbia Crestwood
Measured Weight (per pair, size 11) 2.06 lbs 1.76 lbs 1.76 lbs 1.86 lbs 1.82 lbs
Upper Pigskin leather, recycled mesh Synthetic, textile Synthetic, textile Mesh Suede leather, mesh, webbing
Lining None Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex membrane OutDry None
Flood Height 1.0 in 3.25 in 3.25 in 3.0 in 1.5 in
Last Board/Shank Molded nylon arch shank ADV-C chassis ADV-C chassis Not specified Not specified
Midsole Air Cushion EnergyCell EnergyCell Techlite PLUSH Techlite
Outsole Vibram TC5+ Contagrip MA rubber Contagrip MA rubber Adapt Trax OmniGrip
Width Options Regular, wide Regular Regular Regular Regular, Wide

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Merrell Moab 3 is a non-waterproof hiking shoe that uses a lot of mesh paneling to allow the foot to perspire in hot weather. Using pigskin leather in areas of higher wear, it is soft and comfortable while remaining durable. Offering solid overall performance across our review metrics, its lack of waterproofing make it a great choice for those who want to go on dry trail conditions and in warm climates.

Performance Comparison


merrell moab 3 - the snow has melted and the trails are dry! time for some...
The snow has melted and the trails are dry! Time for some breathable, non-waterproof trails to hit the trails with.
Credit: Ryan Huetter


Comfort


Comfort is king when it comes to Merrell shoes and boots, and we were not disappointed when it came to reviewing the Moab 3 model. Sliding into the shoes, it is quick to note how much cushioning there is both below and around the foot. The included footbed, a Kinetic Fit contoured insole, is of high quality and conforms to the foot. Plenty of padding on the inside of the upper gives this shoe a pillowy feel. The midsole gives enough structure to keep foot fatigue at bay, though it is softer and flexible and so feels uneasy on really broken surfaces.


Available in both regular and wide fit, those with wider feet can rejoice that they can find a well-fitted shoe. We tested the regular width and found it to fit comfortably snug but not tight, and did not have any complaints about any excess of room in the toe box or the heel cup. We had no issues with hot spots or blisters, and hiked predominantly on warm or hot days in the high desert where these issues can be common.

The Moab is very breathable and ready to tackle warm, dry climates.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Support


The Moab 3 has been a familiar favorite for years thanks to its comfort and cushioning. It uses a molded nylon shank to impart a level of structure to the shoe and an Air Cushion layer to give additional impact absorption when bounding along firm and rocky trails. The wide platform gives a good level of ankle-rolling resistance. The padded ankle cuff gives a level of support around the lower ankle, and laces securely lock the foot into place with little slippage.


It is a hiking shoe, though, and does not offer extended ankle support, and the soft materials used in the upper gain structure when compressed around the foot but do not have much structure alone. These are great day hiking shoes, and even perform well when carrying moderately heavy backpacks, such as on a weekend overnight trip, but are not robust enough to be recommended for severe off-trail travel in rough terrain, as the emphasis placed on comfort has a direct impact on their nimbleness and ability to edge on uneven surfaces.

merrell moab 3 - stable and supportive thanks to a molded nylon arch support, we like...
Stable and supportive thanks to a molded nylon arch support, we like these shoes for on-trail hiking.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Traction


The Moab 3 uses a tried and true Vibram rubber compound that is soft enough to provide traction on smooth surfaces yet durable enough to bite into loose terrain. While it is not as sticky as other Vibram compounds that are found on higher-performance hiking shoes, it gives solid above-average performance, especially when compared to many of the proprietary rubber blends used in other inexpensive shoes.


While some minor improvements have been made to the outsole lug design, they are still fairly shallow and wide, making them work well on packed trails on on smooth surfaces like rock slabs, they clog easily while hiking over wet and mucky. Given that we are discussing the non-waterproof version of this shoe, which will be most suited to dry conditions, this seems like a fair compromise.

merrell moab 3 - the vibram sole is just aggressive enough to grip the surface...
The Vibram sole is just aggressive enough to grip the surface conditions most people will find on their hikes.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Water Resistance


We tested the non-waterproof version of the Moab 3, so it is no surprise that poor marks were given to the shoes in this test metric. We appreciate that there are options available for the consumer to choose whether or not they want a waterproof barrier, and that desire may be dictated by the region or climate they hike in. We found that the Moab 3 breathed well in warm temperatures, though the heavier padding did have some impact on breathability when compared to an all-mesh design found in shoes that more closely resemble a running shoe.


If these shoes do get wet, they also do not dry out as fast as you might expect. Even though there is a lot of mesh, the padding takes a while to fully dry back out if you do find yourself fording a creek or hiking in a rain shower.

merrell moab 3 - with mesh panels that extend to pretty close to the outsole, you can...
With mesh panels that extend to pretty close to the outsole, you can walk through shallow puddles but these shoes are not really meant to keep water out.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


The Moab 3 shoes come in at a relatively heavy 2.06 lbs, making them some of the heavier shoes in this review. That weight is noticeable on the foot when compared to a really svelte shoe that uses much more mesh.


What this shoe does deliver along with the added weight is solid support underfoot - the midsole is a lot more robust than in many of those light shoes. It would not be our top choice for a really long-distance hike, but for most day hiking and light backpacking use, the extra few ounces will not be a deal breaker.

merrell moab 3 - the moab shoes are moderately heavy, but that comes with pretty...
The Moab shoes are moderately heavy, but that comes with pretty decent support, and durable leather and mesh uppers.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Durability


We have worn Merrell shoes and boots for many seasons with reliable durability. The Moab 3 has no indications that it will be any different. It uses pigskin leather and mesh on the upper, and while there are a number of seams present it has a quality build and should hold up to reasonable use.


Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 3?


Consider what you want out of your hiking shoes: does supreme comfort and breathability in hot weather hiking areas seem appealing? Do you really need a pair of shoes that will let you bound over boulderfields and through deep streams, or do you just plan on hiking on trails with moderately sized packs? The Moab 3 is a great shoe, is a great value, and does really well when the mercury climbs and your feet start sweating.

merrell moab 3 - the uppers feature a combination of leather and mesh, and while...
The uppers feature a combination of leather and mesh, and while there are a good number of seams we found them to hold up well to prolonged use.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?


We really love the comfort and the additional waterproofing of the Hoka Anacapa 2 shoes, which are one of the best shoes we tested. For a lighter shoe that will do really well in warm environments but also has a Gore-Tex lining, the La Sportiva Spire is a super choice.

Ryan Huetter