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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
Credit: Merrell
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Price:  $110 List | $65.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great traction, out-of-box comfort, breathable
Cons:  Not waterproof, heavy, average support
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Weight - 25% 4.0
  • Support - 15% 6.0
  • Traction - 15% 7.0
  • Versatility - 10% 5.0
  • Water Resistance - 5% 1.0
  • Durability - 5% 5.0

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 competing 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.

Editor's Note: This review received an update on March 6, 2022, with two new sections to help you in your hiking shoe decision.

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Star Rating
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Pros Great traction, out-of-box comfort, breathableExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportSecure fit, strong traction, stabilitySupportive, versatile, well-cushionedLightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensive
Cons Not waterproof, heavy, average supportCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNarrow, tongue absorbs waterAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightlyDurability concerns, not good for wet weather
Bottom Line Day hikes and quick and light overnighters in dry weather are where this shoe performs bestThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsThis comfortable and waterproof shoe has solid traction and a narrow fitA comfortable and versatile pair of hiking shoes with a casual look great for taking from trail to townA budget-friendly hiking shoe that is a perfect choice for those hiking in dry climates
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 2 Vent... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salomon OUTline Low... Columbia Facet 60 O... Vasque Juxt
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (25%)
4.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Support (15%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Versatility (10%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Water Resistance (5%)
1
8.0
7.0
5.0
1
Durability (5%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Merrell Moab 2 Vent... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Salomon OUTline Low... Columbia Facet 60 O... Vasque Juxt
Weight (per pair) 2.20 lbs (size 11) 1.76 lbs (size 11) 1.62 lbs (size 10.5) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5) 1.90 lbs (size 11)
Upper Suede leather and mesh Synthetic, textile Waterproof textile Seamless mesh Suede leather
Width Options Regular, wide Regular Regular Regular Regular, wide
Waterproof Lining None Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex OutDry None, just a gusseted tongue
Flood Level 4.375 in 3.25 in 4.25 in 4.25 in 2.5 in
Last Board/Shank Molded nylon arch shank ADV-C chassis TPU arch shank Not specified Torsion stability TSS
Midsole EVA EnergyCell Injected EVA Techlite+ EVA
Outsole Vibram TC5+ Contagrip MA rubber Nonmarking Contagrip rubber Omni-Grip rubber Vasque OTG

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 suede leather and mesh, with an EVA midsole, a nylon shank, and a Vibram TC5+ outsole.

Performance Comparison


Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes - the ventilator dominates the competition in terms of purchase on dry...
The Ventilator dominates the competition in terms of purchase on dry rocks.
Credit: 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 in this review.

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator 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.
Credit: 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. We prefer other designs that allow for more precise adjustments (tight or loose) throughout the upper for the lacing system. This shoe is quite breathable through its mesh, waterproof membrane-free upper, making it more pleasant in warm weather.

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes - 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.
Credit: 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.

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes - 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.
Credit: 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 also has a rather low ankle collar, 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.

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes - 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.
Credit: 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. 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.

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking 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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Several of our testers have had Merrell shoes and boots last a long time. The quality is there. The Ventilator can withstand a lot of trail abuse and should last you hundreds of miles with a bit of care. 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.

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes - 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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Should You Buy the Ventilator?


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

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes - 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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


While the attraction to a low-priced shoe from a quality brand is intriguing, we think this review has better options. The North Face Ultra 111 WP is our budget pick, and it scores higher overall than the Merrell. With better test results for traction and versatility, we think it is the better choice as comfort and weight are about the same. You also get some water resistance which the Merrell doesn't have. If you can afford a little more for your hiking shoes, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is the better shoe and one of our highest ranking options. It offers more in every metric we tested, including comfort and traction.

Ross Robinson
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