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Merrell Moab 2 WP - Women's Review

Good at most things and great at some. It's an all-around solid hiker at a good price.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $120 List | $120.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, waterproof, excellent traction
Cons:  Needs breaking in, runs short
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 14, 2019
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Support - 20% 8
  • Traction - 15% 10
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof stands out for being a solid, workhorse of a hiking shoe. It is good at most things without being flashy. It's a little bulky and might not be the most cushioned shoe, but it has excellent traction and will save you a few dollars compared to the competition.

The Oboz Sawtooth II is our shoe of choice for most hiking adventures and the Hoka One One Sky Arkali is the most comfortable shoe that we tested. Yet, the Moab 2 Waterproof performed really well and retails at a more approachable price — a great deal for a waterproof hiking shoe.

Don't need the waterproofing? Opt for the Moab 2 Ventilator, a more breathable version of this shoe that lacks the water-resistant liner. It's also less expensive!


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $120.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$110.00 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$90.99 at Amazon$159.95 at Backcountry$199.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Comfortable, waterproof, excellent tractionComfortable, stable, great traction, durableGreat traction and stability, durable construction except for the lacesVery comfortable, lightweight, waterproofComfortable, adjustable heel/ankle, great traction
Cons Needs breaking in, runs shortUpper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavyDifficult to tighten the toe box due to the speed lace system, release button got jammed, a little stiffNot the best traction, questionable durabilityNot waterproof, runs wide, wild style may not be for everyone
Bottom Line Good at most things and great at some. It's an all-around solid hiker at a good price.The Sawtooth II excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrain, making it an easy pick for our Editors' Choice Award.An excellent all-around hiking shoe that is waterproof and supportive.An exceptionally cushioned shoe that is also lightweight and waterproof.Hoka One One owns the comfort metric! The Sky Arkali is both cushioned and reponsive, and offers a dialed in fit, making it our Top Pick for Comfort.
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 2 WP - Women's Sawtooth II Low BDry Terrex Swift R2 GTX HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit WP Sky Arkali
Comfort (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
Support (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
Traction (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
3
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Merrell Moab 2 WP... Sawtooth II Low BDry Terrex Swift R2 GTX HOKA ONE ONE Tor... Sky Arkali
Weight per pair (size 7) 1.69 lbs 1.83 lbs 1.36 lbs 1.55 lbs 1.69 lbs
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular
Upper Suede leather, mesh Leather & textile Synthetic mesh Nubuck and suede leather MATRYX
Midsole EVA Dual density EVA EVA EVA and RMAT oversized midsole PROFLY
Lining Mesh B-Dry Gore-Tex eVent None
Sole Vibram TC5+ Sawtooth Continental Traxion rubber Vibram Megagrip Hi-traction with 5mm lugs Vibram Megagrip Hi-traction with 5mm lugs

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison


Hard at work  testing the Merrell Moab WP.
Hard at work, testing the Merrell Moab WP.

Comfort


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.
The slightly long Salomon 3 Ultra X vs the slightly short Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof.

Support


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!

Traction


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!
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.
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.

Weight


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.

Water Resistance


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.

Durability


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.
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.
A mix of single and double stitching on the upper of the Moab 2 Waterproof.

Best Applications


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 Moab 2 is a great performing hiking shoe at a nice price!

Value


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.

Conclusion


TheMoab 2 Waterproof is one of the least expensive hiking shoes available that also performed well in all of our tests. A solid choice!


Laurel Hunter