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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.
Moab 2 Waterproof
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Price:  $120 List | $95.92 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
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  ⋅  May 9, 2017
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 15
  • 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 Moab 2 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.

The Columbia Redmond features a similar upper design with a lower weight and price, but our feet preferred the Moab 2 on moderate trails after the first mile. If you want to backpack with your hiking shoes, the Keen Targhee II provides more support when wearing a pack, yet falls behind the traction and durability of this shoe.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $95.92 at Amazon
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$120.00 at REI$149.95 at Backcountry
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$160 List$190.00 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable on most trails, great traction, durableGreat value, comfortable, lightweightAggressive traction, great water resistance, versatileExtremely lightweight, good water resistanceExcellent comfort and traction, waterproof
Cons Model we tested leaked, heavy, not built for backpackingMaterial shows wear after heavy useQuicklace system not for everyone, average ankle protectionUncomfortable for some, low flood heightExpensive, not the most durable
Bottom Line This shoe offers what most hikers need at a competitive price, and is a good choice for cold weather hikes.A cross between a hiking shoe and a trail runner, this model blends comfort with performance at an unbeatable price.This shoe is nimble and aggressive for hikers who like to pick up the pace in any terrain.This lightweight hiking shoe from Salomon is a great shoe for trail hiking where good traction and support is necessary.The La Sportiva Spire GTX is a hiking shoe built with the comfort of a running shoe.
Rating Categories Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof The North Face Ultra 110 GTX Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Salomon OUTpath GTX La Sportiva Spire GTX
Comfort (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
Weight (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
Support (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Traction (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Versatility (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance (5%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Durability (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
5
Specs Merrell Moab 2... The North Face... Salomon X Ultra 3... Salomon OUTpath GTX La Sportiva Spire...
Weight of Size 11 Pair 2.34 lbs 2.07 lbs 1.95 lbs 1.7 lbs 2.06 lbs
Upper Suede leather and mesh Mesh Textile/synthetic leather Water Resistant textile, Waterproof Synthetic Seamless Sensifit Abrasion-resistant mesh
Width Options Regular, wide Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining M Select DRY Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane Gore-Tex Surround
Flood Level (inches) 4.375 4.25 4.5 3.5 4.75
Last Board/Shank Molded nylon arch shank EVA Advanced chassis and molded shank Molded shank Molded EVA
Midsole Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA EVA Injected EVA Injected EVA 5mm Ortholite Insole, Compression Molded EVA, TPU inserts
Outsole Vibram TC5+ UltraTAC rubber Non-marking ContaGrip Premium Wet Traction Contagrip Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System
Warranty None Limited 1 year 2 years 2 years 1 year

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Merrell Moab 2 is a comfortable shoe for hikers who like to day hike moderate and easy trails, and its list price is $120. 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 great hiking experience on most hiking trails.
The Moab 2 is a new take on a popular design that will provide a great hiking experience on most hiking trails.

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, less stiff and aggressive than the Vasque Juxt. 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.

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

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. The Targhee II also failed to breathe well, but provided better foot protection and overall comfort. The membrane-less Juxt was the best breather of the bunch.

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, the Keen Targhee II offers more stability and support for just an ounce more.

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

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 Tahoe.
Airing out the Merrell's after a morning of snowshoeing above Lake Tahoe.

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 the burly Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX or the versatile The North Face Ultra 110 GTX.

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

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, but the HOKA ONE ONE Sky Toa is more comfortable and supportive. It endures moderate backpacking trips, but at the same price point and performing better is the Targhee II. These shoes look like hiking shoes, and for around town, we preferred the more subtle Vasque Juxt. 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.

Snowshoeing in the Moab 2's. 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.
Snowshoeing in the Moab 2's. 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.

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. The X Ultra 3 GTX proved the most water resistant in this review.

The waterproof test with the Moab 2 from Merrell. Depending on the climate you live and hike in  a waterproof liner may or may not be what you need.
Post waterproof test results: The Moab 2 leaked.

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. Although the general design of this model resembles the Columbia Redmond, 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.
Washing off the Moab 2s after a particularly muddy trail.

Best Application


The Moab 2 is an excellent choice for moderate hikers who don't need the most aggressive traction or burly support. 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.

Value


At $120, Merrell offers a formidable hiking shoe at a competitive price. In a world where specialized hiking shoes cost up to $200, this is a fair price for a solid, waterproof shoe.

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.
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.

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