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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 hiking shoes review
Credit: Merrell
Price:  $110 List
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 1, 2022
53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Support - 20% 6.0
  • Traction - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 4.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 1.0
  • Durability - 10% 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 comparable top 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.
REASONS TO BUY
Great traction
Out-of-box comfort
Breathable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not waterproof
Heavy
Average support
Editor's Note: This review received an update on November 1, 2022, to reassess our rating metrics for accuracy when bringing some new offerings to the lineup.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great traction, out-of-box comfort, breathableSupportive, versatile, well-cushionedComfortable on most trails, great traction, durableLightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensiveSuper lightweight, good traction, durable
Cons Not waterproof, heavy, average supportAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightlyModel we tested leaked, heavy, not built for backpackingDurability concerns, not good for wet weatherSloppy fit, not good for narrow feet, unstable feel
Bottom Line Day hikes and quick and light overnighters in dry weather are where this shoe performs bestA comfortable and versatile pair of budget-friendly hiking shoes with a casual look that's great for both the trail and the townThis shoe offers what most hikers need at a competitive price, and is a good choice for cold weather hikesA budget-friendly hiking shoe that is a perfect choice for those hiking in dry climatesThese lightweight hiking shoes are a good option when ounces are a top priority
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 2 Vent... Columbia Facet 60 O... Merrell Moab 2 Wate... Vasque Juxt Merrell Moab Speed Low
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Support (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
10.0
Water Resistance (15%)
1
5.0
4.0
1
1
Durability (10%)
5.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Merrell Moab 2 Vent... Columbia Facet 60 O... Merrell Moab 2 Wate... Vasque Juxt Merrell Moab Speed Low
Weight (per pair) 2.20 lbs (size 11) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5) 2.34 lbs (size 11) 1.90 lbs (size 11) 1.56 lbs (size 10.5)
Upper Suede leather and mesh Seamless mesh Leather Suede leather Mesh, TPU
Width Options Regular, wide Regular Regular Regular, wide Regular
Waterproof Lining None OutDry M Select Dry None, just a gusseted tongue Gore-Tex
Flood Level 4.375 in 4.25 in 4.375 in 2.5 in 4.25 in
Last Board/Shank Molded nylon arch shank Not specified Nylon Torsion stability TSS Not specified
Midsole EVA Techlite+ EVA EVA FloatPro foam
Outsole Vibram TC5+ Omni-Grip rubber Vibram TC5+ Vasque OTG Vibram EcoDura rubber

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 review - 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 other options in this review.

merrell moab 2 ventilator hiking shoes review - 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 review - 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

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 review - 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

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 review - 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

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 review - 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 review - 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 Merrell Moab 2 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 lower half 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 review - 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 Columbia Facet 60 Outdry is our budget pick, and it scores higher overall than the Ventilator with better test results for comfort and support. You also get some water resistance which the Ventilator doesn't have. If you can afford a little more for your hiking shoes, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is our top choice. It offers more in every metric we tested, including comfort and traction.

Ross Robinson
 
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