Merrell Moab 2 WP - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Moab 2 WP is a wildly popular hiking shoe that proved its value by performing well almost across the board. We were especially impressed by the traction, durability, and support.
An uncomfortable shoe will not motivate you to go very far on the trail, which is why comfort is one of the primary considerations for hiking footwear. That said, comfort is also one of the most subjective aspects of our review. The Moab 2 WP was not comfortable right out of the box — we felt they were tight, inflexible, and difficult to adjust — but they loosened up after a few short hikes.
Prior to being fully broken in, these shoes had too much unnecessary padding around the ankle. Even after breaking them in, the tongue would bunch or roll. We found the lacing system to be rather stiff, as the fabric lace holsters are too snug for the thickness of the laces. If you want to tighten down the shoes, it takes a lot of effort to pull the laces snug enough. While the Moab 2 WP is not as plush as other shoes we tested, they are not uncomfortable once broken in. Remember to take a few short hikes in them before you take them out for a big adventure.
The Moab 2 uses an EVA midsole with a nylon shank, which is supportive without being super soft. It is worth noting that Merrell is the only brand that we found to run a bit short — we had to size up for length with the waterproof version of these shoes. 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 version, so it is also worth a look if you have wide feet or prefer more spacious shoes.
When we talk about support in a hiking shoe, there are several things to consider: arch support, the lacing system, lateral support, and how well it supports your ankle and heel. The Moab 2 WP did well in this metric thanks to a higher ankle opening than many other shoes. In addition, the molded nylon shank is burly and keeps the shoe from feeling too squishy with each step.
One way we evaluate support is by flexing the toebox and laterally twisting the shoe. The Moab 2 WP is among the most laterally rigid shoes we tested. However, it has a very flexible front end. Given the torsional rigidity, this is somewhat surprising and may translate into more fatigued feet on long hikes. We tried to test these shoes with an aftermarket insole and found that while the spacious heel fit better, the insoles positioned our feet too high to be stable. Something to keep in mind if you require extra arch support. For hikes requiring a heavier pack or multi-day trips, you might want to look at a shoe that offers more support and cushion. For day hiking or carrying a moderately heavy pack (about 20 pounds), the Moab 2 is an absolute ace.
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 a metric where the Moab 2 WP excelled, earning a relatively high score in this metric. We were impressed with how well these shoes moved on hard-packed trails, low-angle granite slabs, and easy scrambles. They would not be our top choice for technical mountain climbing, but for your average day hike, the sticky rubber gets it done.
The Moab 2 has a Vibram sole with a unique tread pattern of circles, swooshes, and hatched patterns. The smaller space between some of the tread patterns was not quite as successful on loose scree — shoes with a more open pattern seem to grab better. However, the softer rubber is quite sticky, especially on bare rock.
The Moab 2 WP hiking shoes weigh 1.71 pounds (27.36 ounces) per pair in size 10 US and just barely less at 1.69 pounds (27.04 ounces) for a size 7 US, situating these shoes in the middle of the pack. On trail, we barely noticed this extra weight, and the additional support and comfort are worth it. For straight-forward hiking, especially when carrying weight, we appreciate the support of this shoe.
As with the other categories, the Moab 2 WP wasn't the best or the worst. To evaluate our tested shoes for water resistance, we subjected them to a 10-minute long bucket test, where we submerged the shoes in 3" of water. The Moab performed fairly well in this challenge, though we noticed our socks were slightly damp around the toe box.
In our submersion test, in addition to measuring how dry the shoes keep our feet, we also calculate how much water they absorb. The Moab 2 WP absorbed only 4.32 ounces (or 0.27 pounds) of water in the test, only 2 ounces more than our top performer. Not bad! If you don't need a waterproof shoe, this model comes in a nearly identical version that is extra breathable, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator. 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, the Moab 2 WP will likely not last as long as other models in our tests. The micro-fleece liner also catches on vegetation and may pill over time. This may not be an issue if your home trails are softer and kinder.
Another possible worry is the cutout leather on the uppers. This helps ventilate the shoe but creates another failure point. The seams also do not have the reinforced stitching of more burly models. However, the rubber toe cap is double-stitched and certainly adds some extra protection and durability.
Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof?
TheMoab 2 WP is one of the least expensive waterproof hiking shoes available, and it performed decently well in all of our tests. It retails for less than most hiking shoes out there and is absolutely a solid choice.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
If finding the best performing shoes in the review is your priority, the La Sportiva Spire GTX is the one to consider adding to your shortlist. This shoe offers excellent comfort, support, and traction in a fairly lightweight and water-resistant package. Hard to ask for more in a versatile hiking shoe. If you are on a budget but you would like to check out a lighter-weight shoe, we recommend the Merrell Siren Edge 3. It may prove less durable, and it isn't waterproof, but it will save you some money and some weight on your feet.
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