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Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Review

This shoe offers what most hikers need at a competitive price, and is a good choice for cold weather hikes
Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof
Photo: Merrell
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Price:  $125 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Comfortable on most trails, great traction, durable
Cons:  Model we tested leaked, heavy, not built for backpacking
Manufacturer:   Merrell
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Weight - 25% 5
  • Support - 15% 6
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 6
  • Water Resistance - 5% 4
  • Durability - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof is a great choice for hikers who prefer easy to moderate day hikes, where this shoe provides ample comfort and support. The Vibram soles gained purchase on most surfaces tested, and the shoe offers sufficient durability. Rocky terrain and carrying sizeable loads, is not this model's strong suit, though, and it didn't perform well in our water resistance metric. It's also the second-heaviest shoe reviewed. If you prefer day hikes, but need traction for all kinds of trail conditions, this is your shoe. It's also one of the warmest models, suited for cool to cold weather hikes.

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Pros Comfortable on most trails, great traction, durableExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportExtremely comfortable, lightweight, supportiveGreat value, waterproof, versatileLightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensive
Cons Model we tested leaked, heavy, not built for backpackingCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNot as cushioned as previous Hoka models, some traction issuesAverage support, lacks long-term durabilityDurability concerns, not good for wet weather
Bottom Line This shoe offers what most hikers need at a competitive price, and is a good choice for cold weather hikesThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsA blend of top-notch comfort with support in a lightweight package that makes them an excellent choice for long-distance hikers looking to shave weight and increase mobilityThis shoe is a great value for the all-around performance as well as waterproofness that it providesA budget-friendly hiking shoe that is a perfect choice for those hiking in dry climates
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 2 Wate... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... HOKA ONE ONE Toa Go... The North Face Ultr... Vasque Juxt
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (25%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Support (15%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Versatility (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Water Resistance (5%)
4.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
1.0
Durability (5%)
7.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Merrell Moab 2 Wate... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... HOKA ONE ONE Toa Go... The North Face Ultr... Vasque Juxt
Weight of Size 11 Pair 2.34 lbs 1.76 lbs 2.03 lbs 2.04 lbs 1.90 lbs
Upper Leather Synthetic, textile Synthetic Performance mesh Suede leather
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular, wide
Waterproof Lining M Select Dry Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex membrane DryVent membrane None, just gusted tongue
Flood Level (inches) 4.375 in 3.25 in 5 in 3.25 in 2.5 in
Last Board/Shank Nylon ADV-C chassis EVA ESS Torsion stability TSS
Midsole EVA EnergyCell Rubberized EVA EVA
Outsole Vibram TC5+ Contagrip MA rubber Vibram MegaGrip UtrATAC Vasque OTG

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Merrell Moab 2 is a comfortable shoe for hikers who like to day hike moderate and easy trails. The upper consists of suede leather and synthetic mesh lined with a proprietary M-Select DRY waterproof membrane. The sole features a blended EVA midsole, a molded nylon arch shank, and a Vibram TC5+ outsole.

Performance Comparison


The Moab 2 is a new take on a popular design that will provide a...
The Moab 2 is a new take on a popular design that will provide a great hiking experience on most hiking trails.
Photo: Ross Robinson

Comfort


On easy to moderate trails, the Moab 2 is a comfortable hiking shoe. Even carrying some weight, we enjoyed walking in these shoes. This model requires no break-in period and is soft. The roomy toe box is great for descents, too. This shoe could use more foot protection on rougher terrain; we could feel uneven and pointed rocks underfoot.

The Moab 2 is a great choice for cool weather hikes.
The Moab 2 is a great choice for cool weather hikes.
Photo: Katie Robinson

The lacing system consists of thick laces that feed through four eyelets of webbing with a fifth set of plastic eyelets at the top of the shoe. We loved the soft padding of the tongue, which allowed us to secure the laces tight without cutting into the bridge of our feet. Our heels felt nice and snug in the heel box as well.

Reviewer Ross Robinson ties a knot in the traditional lacing system...
Reviewer Ross Robinson ties a knot in the traditional lacing system of the Moab 2.
Photo: Katie Robinson

These shoes didn't do much to absorb impact when dropping down onto rocks from above, and they also didn't breathe well. They are also warmer than most hiking shoes. Other models also failed to breathe well but provided better foot protection and overall comfort.

Weight


The Moab 2 is a relative heavyweight, weighing 2 lb. 5.4 oz. This model has a similar build to popular hiking boots and weighs as much as some of them. Great performance for a lower weight than these shoes is very possible, as several pairs we tested fall below the weight of this model. If weight isn't an issue, better boots offer more stability and support for as little an ounce more.

The robust build of the Moab 2 leads to a heavier weight that most...
The robust build of the Moab 2 leads to a heavier weight that most other models reviewed.
Photo: Ross Robinson

Support


The Moab 2 didn't win us over with great support. Hikers who haven't built up a lot of foot and ankle strength probably prefer a shoe with better torsional rigidity when tackling rough terrain or leaping from boulder to boulder. Despite featuring a molded nylon arch shank, this shoe twisted easier than most others tested. The height of the ankle collar is one of the lowest at 3.375 inches.

Airing out the Merrell's after a morning of snowshoeing above Lake...
Airing out the Merrell's after a morning of snowshoeing above Lake Tahoe.
Photo: Ross Robinson

This shoe does have some positive attributes in the support and stability department. The forefoot is 4.75 inches at its widest point, providing a stable base for pushing off with power. We also liked the insole, which has an added layer of denser foam on its back half. For experienced hikers, this shoe has enough support for day hiking and overnight backpacking adventures. For extended backpacking trips, though, you'll be better off with something that has a more substantial midsole.

Traction


The Moab 2 scored at the top of the competition regarding traction. The Vibram TC5+ outsole features a unique combination of ovals, curved v-shapes, and swooping grooves, as well as varying degrees of rubber density. This high-friction sole stuck to dry rock better than all the rest, allowing us to have fun in confidence on steep rock scrambles. It gripped above-average traction on wet rock, mud, and snow as well. Its drawback in this metric was going uphill in loose, dry sediment, where its lugs didn't dig into the earth well.

The Vibram soles proved their worth in the mud, providing...
The Vibram soles proved their worth in the mud, providing above-average purchase.
Photo: Ross Robinson

Versatility


The Moab 2 offered moderate versatility throughout our testing period. It can do most things you want from a hiking shoe, but in every use or category, there was a shoe that did it better. It handles rough terrain for short periods, we found other boots to be more comfortable and supportive. These shoes look like hiking shoes, and for around town, we preferred a more subtle style. You could pick up the pace and jog in these shoes, but several other models are much more supportive and comfortable for running. Still, we liked that this shoe was capable in the backyard and on our favorite hiking trails, despite rarely being our first choice.

You can even snowshoe in a waterproof pair of hiking shoes. We hope...
You can even snowshoe in a waterproof pair of hiking shoes. We hope this review helps you find the perfect hiker for your feet so you can get out there and enjoy the peace and astounding beauty found in the outdoors.
Photo: Katie Robinson

Water Resistance


The M-Select Dry membrane of the Moab 2 kept out water for two minutes in our waterproof challenge. After that time, water began leaking into the left and right shoes. There were three separate points of water entry; the outside of the left toe box, the inside of the left heel, and the inside of the right toe box. The water appeared to seep in where the midsole attached to the upper, as the bottoms of our tester's feet were getting wet. The mesh in the upper also absorbs water, while at least the leather repels liquid to some extent. Water-resistance is not where this model proved its worth.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Durability


At the end of the testing period, the signs of wear and tear on the Moab 2 were a few tiny nicks in the midsole and trace scuffing on the outsole. Among the less expensive boots we tested the craftsmanship in the Merrell shoe is superior, with higher quality mesh which is less exposed. The toe protection is also more robust, yet we prefer toe caps that extend over the top of the toe box to prevent delamination. We also give more confidence to double-stitched seams in high flex areas, which this model lacks. We expect the Vibram outsole to have a lot of life in it.

Washing off the Moab 2s after a particularly muddy trail (before we...
Washing off the Moab 2s after a particularly muddy trail (before we knew they were leaky).
Photo: Ross Robinson

Value


Merrell offers a formidable hiking shoe at a competitive price. This is a fair price for a solid shoe.

We love it when a great shoe has a modest cost. The new take on the...
We love it when a great shoe has a modest cost. The new take on the popular Moab is affordable and capable of most hiking tasks.
Photo: Ross Robinson

Conclusion


The Moab 2 didn't score well overall compared to the other high-performance shoes in this review, yet it remains a shoe well-liked by our reviewers. The popularity of this product line from Merrell indicates that many hikers aren't looking for the most aggressive, do-it-all shoe. It's a great shoe for many seasons of day hikes on trails that don't demand the highest level of support, foot protection, or water resistance (read: most trails).

Ross Robinson