The Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof is a popular hiking shoe that performed well in our tests across the board, including being a top performer in the traction metric.
Hard at work, testing the Merrell Moab WP.
An uncomfortable shoe is not going to motivate you to go very far on the trail, which is why comfort is one of the primary considerations when it comes to hiking shoes. The Moab 2 Waterproof
was not comfortable right out of the box — we felt they were tight and inflexible — but they loosened up after a few short hikes. While still not nearly as plush of a ride as either of the Hoka One One
brand shoes that we tested, they are not uncomfortable once they break in.
The Moab 2 uses an EVA midsole with a nylon shank, so they are supportive without being super soft. If you prefer a more cushioned ride, you might want to check out the Sky Arkali, our Top Pick for comfort.
It is worth noting that Merrell is the only brand that we found to run a bit short. With a thin sock we were okay with our normal size shoe most of the time, but wearing a thick sock made our toes feel quite cramped. We also noticed the shortness of these shoes on hikes with extended downhills, when our toes hit the front of the toe box. Checking online, this seems to be consistent with other user reviews, so if your feet are between sizes you may want to size up a half size. Merrell does offer this shoe in a Wide model, so it also worth a look if you have wide feet. The Keen Targhee III Low, which is similar in style to the Moab 2, but has a wider cut, may be a good option for those with a wider foot or who like more room in a shoe.
The slightly long Salomon 3 Ultra X vs the slightly short Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof.
When we talk about support in a hiking shoe there are several things to consider: arch support, the lacing system and how well it provides ankle and heel support, and lateral support. The Moab 2 Waterproof did well in this metric as well. This was due to a higher ankle opening than many other shoes. In addition, the molded nylon shank is burly and keeps the shoe from feeling squishy with each step.
The fit could be a bit sloppy, allowing for less lateral stability. Our Editors' Choice winner, the Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry is much more stable, as it comes up a bit higher on the front of the foot as well as the sides, has a stiffer sole, and has a fantastic shape in the heel which allows for zero heel slippage and excellent overall stability. That being said, the Moab 2 Waterproof is still a great shoe!
When we evaluate traction on a shoe, we look at performance going up and down steep and loose trails, and how well they stick on rock slabs. This is another area where the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof
excelled, earning a high score in this metric.
Testing the Moab 2 Waterproof on mossy rock slabs, in the rain!
The Moab 2 has a Vibram sole with a unique tread pattern made up of circles, swooshes, and hatched patterns. The smaller space between some of the tread pattern was not quite as successful on loose scree, as shoes with a more open pattern seem to grab better. However, the softer rubber is quite sticky, especially on bare rock.
You can see that some dirt got caught in the smaller spaces of the tread in the Moab 2 (on the right) compared with the wider spaced lugs on the Hoka One One Sky Arkali on the left.
The Moab 2 Waterproof hiking shoes weigh in at 1 pound 11 ounces per pair in a size 7, which is eight ounces heavier than the lightest shoe in this review, the Merrell Siren Edge Q2 WP. While we noticed this extra weight, the additional support and comfort are worth it. And it is lighter than our Editor's Choice winner, the Oboz Sawtooth II, by over two ounces, so being lightweight isn't everything.
However, if weight is a primary concern there are several lighter shoes in our test, including the adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX and The North Face Safien GTX, that performed well and might be good choices for your light and fast adventures.
The Moab 2 Waterproof performed well in our waterproofness challenges, including the bucket test, when they were submerged in three inches of water for ten minutes. As with the other categories, the Moab 2 wasn't the best or the worst but did perform well overall. The shoes did not leak, but they did absorb about two ounces of water. Additionally, the ankle opening is a tad short which will allow for water to flow in over the top in shallower water.
If you never require a waterproof shoe, the Moab 2 Ventilator is a nearly identical hiking shoe that is extra breathable. It will repel light rain but is recommended if you only hike on dry days or in a very hot climate when breathability is key.
We tested these shoes on harsh lava rock and noticed significant wear after 30 miles. If you are hard on your shoes, these will likely not last as long as other models in our tests. The micro-fleece liner also catches on vegetation (again, Central Oregon has some prickly bushes) and may pill over time. If your home trails are softer and kinder, this may not be an issue.
There is no question that lava rubble wears down shoes quickly, and these Merrell's held up well.
Another possible worry is the cutout leather on the uppers which help ventilate the shoe but does create another failure point. The seams do not have the reinforced stitching of more burly models. The rubber toe cap is double-stitched, however, and that offers additional protection and durability.
A mix of single and double stitching on the upper of the Moab 2 Waterproof.
We recommend the Moab 2 Waterproof for just about any kind of day hiking that you want to do. It handles technical terrain, steep trails, rock slabs, and shallow creeks with no issues. For hikes requiring a heavier pack and multi-day trips you might want to look at the Oboz Sawtooth II which offers more support and cushion, overall, but the Moab 2 is a star with a light or moderate pack (about 20 pounds). Just remember to give them a handful of short hikes to loosen them up before you tackle a longer adventure.
The Moab 2 is a great performing hiking shoe at a nice price!
The Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof retails for $120, which is a nice break compared to the $150-plus shoes out there. We even tested a $200 pair, the Hoka One One Sky Arkali, which wasn't that far ahead in the overall score. Though the Arkali is the most comfortable hiking shoe we have ever tested, it is not waterproof. Considering that the Moab 2 does everything well for nearly half the price, they are worthy of our Best Buy Award.
TheMoab 2 Waterproof is one of the least expensive hiking shoes available that also performed well in all of our tests. A solid choice!