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Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Review

Day hikes and quick and light overnighters in dry weather are where this shoe performs best
Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator
Photo: Merrell
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Price:  $100 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Great traction, out-of-box comfort, breathable
Cons:  Not waterproof, heavy, average support
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Support - 15% 6
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 5
  • Water Resistance - 5% 1
  • Durability - 5% 5

Our Verdict

The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator is a popular shoe from a well-established footwear manufacturer. You've probably seen this shoe, or one of its versions, out on the trail or at the mountain town watering hole. Pulled from the box, it's comfortable enough to head straight out the door. Without a waterproof membrane, it breathes well but wets out quickly in soggy conditions. It's also on the heavier side of hiking shoes and doesn't encourage you to pick up the pace. The traction is solid though, and overall, this shoe is an affordable option for light to moderate hiking needs.

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Pros Great traction, out-of-box comfort, breathableGreat value, waterproof, versatileExcellent support, extra toe protection, nice lacing system, wide toe boxLightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensiveComfortable on most trails, great traction, durable
Cons Not waterproof, heavy, average supportAverage support, lacks long-term durabilityHeavy, leaked in our waterproof test, a bit wide for narrow feetDurability concerns, not good for wet weatherModel we tested leaked, heavy, not built for backpacking
Bottom Line Day hikes and quick and light overnighters in dry weather are where this shoe performs bestThis shoe is a great value for the all-around performance as well as waterproofness that it providesThis shoe is a fan favorite among backpackers for its support and comfort over varied terrainA budget-friendly hiking shoe that is a perfect choice for those hiking in dry climatesThis shoe offers what most hikers need at a competitive price, and is a good choice for cold weather hikes
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 2 Vent... The North Face Ultr... Keen Targhee II Vasque Juxt Merrell Moab 2 Wate...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (25%)
7.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
Support (15%)
6.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Versatility (10%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Water Resistance (5%)
1.0
6.0
4.0
1.0
4.0
Durability (5%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Merrell Moab 2 Vent... The North Face Ultr... Keen Targhee II Vasque Juxt Merrell Moab 2 Wate...
Weight of Size 11 Pair 2.20 lbs 2.04 lbs 2.40 lbs 1.90 lbs 2.34 lbs
Upper Suede leather and mesh Performance mesh Waterproof nubuck leather and mesh Suede leather Leather
Width Options Regular, wide Regular Regular, wide Regular, wide Regular
Waterproof Lining None DryVent membrane KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane None, just gusted tongue M Select Dry
Flood Level (inches) 4.375 in 3.25 in 4.5 in 2.5 in 4.375 in
Last Board/Shank Molded nylon arch shank ESS Torsion stability ESS Torsion stability TSS Nylon
Midsole EVA EVA Dual density compression molded EVA EVA EVA
Outsole Vibram TC5+ UtrATAC Non-marking rubber Vasque OTG Vibram TC5+

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Moab 2 Ventilator shoe is a fine hiking shoe for short, moderate ventures. It doesn't have a waterproof membrane, and therefore is not for encounters with water. The thick upper is made up of suede leather and mesh, with an EVA midsole, a nylon shank, and a Vibram TC5+ outsole.

Performance Comparison


The Ventilator dominates the competition in terms of purchase on dry...
The Ventilator dominates the competition in terms of purchase on dry rocks.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


There isn't much of a break-in period with these shoes. Our testers took them straight from the box to the trail. The spacious foot box didn't produce any pressure points or hot spots on the feet of our reviewers, but our feet did slip around a bit inside. The fit is looser than typical hiking shoes.

Taking a break from hiking in Smith Rock State Park in the Moab 2...
Taking a break from hiking in Smith Rock State Park in the Moab 2 Ventilators.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The laces are thick and rounded like a cord. Our testers found that the laces came untied faster than other models. Of course, you can always swap out the laces for better ones. For the lacing system, we prefer other designs that allow for more precise adjustments (tight or loose) throughout the upper. This shoe is quite breathable through its mesh, waterproof membrane-free upper, making it more pleasant in warm weather.

This shoe is comfortable, but the lacing system doesn't allow for a...
This shoe is comfortable, but the lacing system doesn't allow for a precise fit of the upper.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Weight


The Ventilator is one of the heavier hiking shoes reviewed. Some of the hiking boots we reviewed weighed less than this pair of shoes. On the trail, though, you likely won't notice the extra weight until you pound out a lot of mileage.

Weighing more than most of the competition, these shoes are not a...
Weighing more than most of the competition, these shoes are not a great choice if you like trail hikes to turn into trail runs.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Support


The support offered by the Ventilator is sufficient for light hiking needs. It has a wide forefoot to increase balance when powering off your forefoot, coupled with a flexible forefoot. Like its waterproof sibling, the insole is one of the beefier ones among the competition. Despite its nylon shank between the mid and outsole, this shoe provides only moderate torsional rigidity, though. It has a rather low ankle collar, too, which doesn't help protect ankles.

Day hikes with a minimal pack of water, snacks, and camera are where this shoe shines. Hikers with seasoned, strong ankles can use this model for overnight adventures and medium packs with these shoes, but even seasoned veterans will want more support for hikes lasting several days or more.

Traction


This shoe grips most surfaces well, providing some of the best results at the end of our traction tests. It features the same outsole as other Merrell footwear, the TC5+ from Vibram. It hugs dry and wet rock as if it were a dear friend and performs about as well as any other shoe in mud and snow. It didn't eat loose sediment underfoot for breakfast but didn't leave us out to dry in scree fields either. Its overall traction is just a bit below the top performers tested.

Wet, mossy rocks and roots are of little concern in the...
Wet, mossy rocks and roots are of little concern in the traction-triumphant Ventilators.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Versatility


The Ventilator is a capable light to moderate hiker. It doesn't excel in any single application, but it holds its own on pretty much any day hike. Its weight and bulk don't encourage picking up the pace to a jog, but that's not an important factor to all hikers. It's also not our first choice for backpacking trips lasting more than a couple of days.

Water Resistance


The Ventilator does not have a waterproof membrane, which means that when submerged, water flows in quickly. It also wets out quickly when walking through wet fauna. Like the Best Buy-winner, this relegates this shoe to hikes when dry weather is assured. The waterproof version of this shoe didn't prove much better in wet conditions, as it leaked in our water resistance tests, despite its built-in waterproof liner. If you frequently hike in wet weather or on soggy trails, you are better off with better to go with a more battle-tested waterproof membrane. in your shoes.

These shoes don't mix with water well, but that's not what they're...
These shoes don't mix with water well, but that's not what they're intended to do.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Several of our testers have had Merrell shoes and boots that last a long time. The quality is there. The Ventilator can withstand a lot of trail abuse, and with a bit of care, should last you hundreds of miles. The leather overlays protect the breathable mesh in the upper from wearing through, and the outsole showed no signs of wear following our testing period. One complaint, though, is that the seams in the forefoot are not double-stitched, which is what we prefer in high flex areas.

If you live in a dry climate and frequently go on day hikes, these...
If you live in a dry climate and frequently go on day hikes, these shoes are a solid scoop.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Value


This shoe brings solid value to the table but is edged out by some of its competition.

When a shoe has awesome comfort and traction, it's hard to complain...
When a shoe has awesome comfort and traction, it's hard to complain too much.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


This is a good hiking shoe. We appreciate its bomber traction on and off the trail, and its level of comfort from Day One is awesome. If you need a pair of hikers that you can unbox and immediately hit the trail with, these are a great option. Nailing two of the most important criteria for this category, great traction and comfort, this shoe is impressive. It is a testament to the quality of hiking shoes included in this review that such a solid hiker like the Ventilator falls to the middle of the pack.

Ross Robinson