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Merrell Moab 3 WP - Women's Review

Supportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experience
merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review
Credit: Myrha Colt
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $135 List | $133.33 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-priced
Cons:  Bulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyelet
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 7, 2022
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Support - 20% 9.0
  • Traction - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 7.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The newest iteration in a beloved hiker series, the Merrell Moab 3 WP remains a true workhorse of a shoe, just as reliably comfortable, supportive, and waterproof as those that have come before. Its celebrated roomy toe box is now matched with an upgraded midfoot support system to ensure the entire foot — heel to toe — is locked, loaded, and well-cushioned for the long haul. And an even stickier version of the Vibram TC5+ sole now provides enhanced stabilization and grip across all manner of terrain. While the Moab 3 isn't the flashiest choice among top-ranked women's hiking shoes, it is a superb option for all kinds of trail days, offering a best-in-class feature set with an easily dialed fit, all at a remarkably reasonable price point.

Don't need waterproofing? The Moab 3 also comes in a less expensive version without the water-resistant liner.

Editor's Note: We added this shoe to our review on November 7, 2022.

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Price $133.33 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-pricedExcellent cushioning, roomy toe box, great traction, stable, supportiveSpacious toe box, great traction, waterproof, durable, stableWaterproof, lightweight, very supportiveFast, nimble, excellent traction, waterproof, supportive midfoot
Cons Bulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyeletHard footbed, a little heavyHeavy, hard footbed, not the most breathableNot super breathable, durability concerns with the soft rubber solesLimited adjustability, average durability, runs narrow and long
Bottom Line Supportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experienceThe perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive baseA burly, reliable trail partner with a wide base and sticky traction for when trips run long, and durability, stability, and waterproofing are importantLooking like a trail runner and performing like a hiking beast, this shoe is waterproof, lightweight, and supportive enough for multi-day adventuresThis high-performing modern hiker is impressively stable, supportive, and responsive, well-suited to narrow feet on hard-charging missions across versatile terrain
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Keen Targhee III Low Adidas Terrex Swift... Salomon X Ultra 4 G...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Support (20%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (15%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Keen Targhee III Low Adidas Terrex Swift... Salomon X Ultra 4 G...
Weight (per pair) 1.8 lbs (size 10) 2.0 lbs (size 10) 2.1 lbs (size 10) 1.5 lbs (size 7) 1.7 lbs (size 10)
Width Options Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular
Upper Leather, mesh Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh Oiled nubuck leather, mesh High-abrasion resistant synthetic mesh Synthetic textile
Midsole EVA Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA Dual density EVA EVA EVA
Lining Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane Gore-Tex Gore-Tex
Outsole Vibram TC5+ rubber True Tread rubber KEEN All-Terrain Rubber Continental Rubber Contagrip

Our Analysis and Test Results

A tried and true low-rise hiker that delivers excellent results across all metrics, Merrell's Moab 3 WP is everything one needs in a hiking shoe. It's reasonably lightweight, has exceptional traction, offers reliable waterproofing, and is built with a tough, durable structure and a supremely comfortable fit. It's easy to see why this shoe has garnered consistently high praise among hiking circles for years.

Performance Comparison


merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - the moab is rare among hiking shoes: it's well-suited to fit all...
The Moab is rare among hiking shoes: it's well-suited to fit all types of feet, affordably priced, and ready to tackle any type of trail adventure you can dream up.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Comfort


While no shoe is perfect for all feet, there's a reason the Moab has landed on our shortlist for years. It's among the most comfortable and versatile shoes we've tested and can be easily fitted to the widest variety of foot shapes.


Several core features of the Moab 3 give it a leg up on the competition. First, it comes with a roomy toe box offering plenty of space for toes to splay out naturally, removing the potential for pinching or pressure — an excellent reason to celebrate among those tired of suffering scrunched toes. The good news for narrower-footed folks (and everyone else in between) is that the standard shoe is not so wide your foot will be swimming in it. And a combination of easily adjustable laces plus a plethora of padding from base to tongue and heel ensure both foot and ankle are well locked into place. Meanwhile, the footbed narrows into a well-structured, air-cushioned heel cup at the backend to support a relaxed, comfortable gait. For those with especially wide feet, the Moab also comes in a wide version.

merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - a roomy toe box is just the start. the moab 3 has cushion and...
A roomy toe box is just the start. The Moab 3 has cushion and padding from top to bottom, excellent arch and midsole support, and superb traction.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The watertight, highly breathable leather uppers on the Moab 3 didn't change with the newest update. It remains both durable and soft, ensuring solid support and protection straight out of the box. Some testers did find the shoe a bit tight and inflexible during its trial run. But the leather and lacing systems quickly softened upon use, improving the shoe's comfort as it molded to each foot with continued use. Other testers had no such problem whatsoever. In any event, we suggest dialing in your fit on a few shorter hikes before launching into epic adventures.

merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - although some testers felt they needed a few starter hikes to break...
Although some testers felt they needed a few starter hikes to break in the leather upper, others found the Moab 3 to be comfortable straight away, and easily adjustable using the laces.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Recent updates to the Moab are focused primarily on the foundation of the shoe, including a new, more supportive factory insole, a softer, more well-cushioned EVA midsole with a nylon arch shank, and an even stickier version of its best-in-class Vibram TC5+ outsole. The result: a far cushier, even more supportive, grippy, and shock-absorbent base made out of even more recycled materials than ever (and resulting in improved scores throughout testing).

merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - the moab 3 has improved cushioning, stabilizing features, and tread...
The Moab 3 has improved cushioning, stabilizing features, and tread. It's got everything you need to feel confident tackling any type of trail obstacle.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Support


A supportive shoe integrates several features into its design: arch support, lateral support, structural supports for the ankle and heel, and a lacing system that allows you to tailor the fit to your individual foot. Once again, the Moab 3 WP shines in this metric, demonstrating a sturdy structure from base to ankle collar, including a molded nylon shank that substantially supports the arch and keeps the shoe from feeling too squishy under each step.


Like its predecessor, the Moab 3 is also among the most torsionally rigid shoes in our test collection (i.e., limited flexing when twisted like a sponge). This translates to excellent lateral stability to protect your feet and ankles when moving over uneven terrain. Meanwhile, the front end still has a reasonable degree of flexibility under the toes. This combination of high midfoot rigidity and basic frontend flexion is the best possible combination one could hope for: enough stiffness to protect from rolling and reduce foot fatigue over long days while still enabling agility and comfort on steep uphill terrain. This versatility is also what makes the Moab an ideal shoe for day hikes or multi-day trips.

It's very hard to twist the Moab 3, demonstrating significant...
It's very hard to twist the Moab 3, demonstrating significant torsional rigidity and a strong foundation for tackling many miles.
Although the sole is quite stiff, the Moab 3 still manages to retain...
Although the sole is quite stiff, the Moab 3 still manages to retain decent flex under the toe to allow for responsive movement.

Traction


The thick, deeply patterned Vibram TC5+ outsole on the Moab 3 is top-tier for providing highly responsive grip and impressive shock absorption. We evaluate each shoe based on its performance heading up (and down) steep loose trails and how well it sticks when tackling slick, sometimes wet, rocky terrain. The Moab has always excelled in this category, but with the 3 its scores for traction advanced even higher.


A unique tread pattern combining circles, swooshes, and hatched patterns crisscrossed with thinner lines proves a surprisingly powerful match for loose scree and dry steep dirt trails. And the soft, now stickier rubber base held strong on bare rock and wet logs. We were overall quite impressed with how well the Moab 3 carried us, no matter where the road turned or how many granite slabs lay ahead.

Deep lugs in an unusual pattern - circles, swooshes, and hatched...
Deep lugs in an unusual pattern - circles, swooshes, and hatched patterns crisscrossed with thinner lines - combined with sticky TC5+ Vibram rubber will turn anyone into a confident hiker, no matter what path lies ahead.
The Moab 3 had no problem gripping granite rock faces during testing.
The Moab 3 had no problem gripping granite rock faces during testing.

Weight


The Moab 3 WP weighs 1.8 pounds per pair in size 10 US, placing these shoes in the upper middle of the pack. But on the trail, the extra few ounces were practically unnoticeable, particularly given all the many extra support systems built into the shoe.


Unless fast and light is your jam, and you are specifically trying to shave weight, or steep technical terrain requiring extreme flexibility underfoot is on your calendar, we think the nominal increase in weight is a non-issue.

merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - although not the lightest in the bunch, the moab 3 is certainly far...
Although not the lightest in the bunch, the Moab 3 is certainly far from the heaviest. It lands slightly upward of the middle and offers a laundry list of top-performing features for a great price.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Water Resistance


In addition to any stream or puddle crossings we encountered on the trail, each shoe was subjected to a 5-minute bucket test (submerged in 3 inches of water) to evaluate for water resistance and assess any weak points. The Moab 3 passed with flying colors. Just like other waterproof shoes in the test suite, it appears the only weak point on the Moab is at the ankle opening, where water could come in over the top. If your plans involve a great deal of winter hiking or water crossings, a taller boot may be your best bet. Otherwise, this is an excellent option.


You can also pick up this same model without that waterproof membrane if you live in a hot climate. Or if you want to upgrade your waterproofing to slightly less breathable but longer-lasting Gore-tex, this option exists as well.

Stream crossings tell us a lot about how well a shoe grips under...
Stream crossings tell us a lot about how well a shoe grips under slick conditions and how well it will hold up against water in all sorts of potential scenarios.
Our bucket test is a great way to confirm what we have seen in...
Our bucket test is a great way to confirm what we have seen in stream crossings and read in marketing materials.

Durability


Thick double-stitched leather and reinforced breathable mesh combined with hefty outsoles and rubber and abrasion-resistant heel and toe caps made us feel somewhat invincible in the Moab 3.


Good performance aside, we have a couple of things to point out. The thick micro-fleece ankle liner has the propensity to catch on passing vegetation, pilling over time (less of a concern if you're not moving through sharp brush). Additionally, although we appreciate the breathability of the Moab 3, we do wonder if the waterproof membrane will have the same longevity as a Gore-Tex liner. We saw no failings in practice, but this is something we'd watch out for over time (and will keep an eye on and report back if we find anything of concern.) Of course, a Gore-Tex model is also available at a slightly higher cost.

merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - strength, reliability, and protective support, you'll get all three...
Strength, reliability, and protective support, you'll get all three in the Moab.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Should You Buy the Merrell Moab 3 WP?


Although it is a bit bulkier than many athletically inspired models, the Moab 3 WP is one of the most comfortable, supportive, durable, and waterproof hiking shoes we tested, and it is among the most affordable, too. As far as we're concerned, it should be a top choice for consideration, no matter what type of trail adventures you're planning.

merrell moab 3 wp for women hiking shoes review - if you are looking for comfort, support, and protection over a long...
If you are looking for comfort, support, and protection over a long life span, you can't do better than Merrell's Moab 3.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


Although no other shoe is quite as wide-ranging and versatile as the Moab 3, there are several excellent shoes in our review for slightly more specialized preferences and needs. The La Sportiva Spire GTX is a great option if you want to move fast on more aggressive terrain. If you want to maximize both comfort and structural support, the Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof should land on your list for consideration. And the Keen Targhee III Low will meet the needs of any long-haul trail adventurers.

Myrha Colt
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