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Hiking or running up and down mountain trails can be invigorating and a great way to get a workout. If you’re not wearing the right footwear, this activity can also do a number on your feet, knees, hips, and even your back. You need boots that are lightweight, waterproof, and supportive enough to protect your feet during long hikes. This Merrell Moab 2 Review will show you what you should look for in a hiking boot, and why the Merrell Moab 2 should be your first choice.
The Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is an improvement on the first Merrell Moab hiking boot, providing greater flexibility, stability, and performance for a reasonable price.
It features a Vibram sole, known for their durability on mountaineering boots. The soles are also very lightweight, making hiking and running on trails a breeze. The breathable lining allows airflow into your shoes, but the waterproof leather and fabric mesh upper seals out any water or wetness your feet come in contact with on the trail.
Also featured for added stability and comfort is the Merrell air cushioned heel, padded collar, and bellows foam tongue. Together with the lace up closure this boot provides ultimate comfort while also keeping any dirt and debris out of your shoe.
You can buy this boot in a number of colors: earth, granite, beluga, brindle, dusty olive, walnut, bracken, and olive blue.
Merrell Moab 2 Value
While most lightweight waterproof hiking boots of this caliber are going to run you in the range of $200 or more, the Merrell Moab 2 are going to cost you somewhere close to $100-$130, depending on color, size, and width.
That may still seem pricey to some people, but this boot can easily last you about six months or more, depending on how often you hike and how rough the terrain is.
Our Analysis and Test Results
We decided to really put these boots to the test and see just what they were made of. We first went hiking along the Appalachian Trail, which are known for being soggy and damp. We also went through some mountains in Utah, Washington, and even Colorado.
The Moab 2 held up well through it all, proving to be the mother-of-all-boots, just as advertised.
Comfort and Weight
Comfort and weight should be high on your list as you’re looking at hiking boots. After all, even boots with the best traction and support aren’t going to do you much good if they hurt your feet just by wearing.
Therefore, when Merrell designed the Moab 2 line of hiking boots, they made sure to make them as comfortable as possible, which is something we noticed right out of the box. As soon as we slipped our feet into these bad boys, we wanted to take on the world. And we did.
Human feet are mostly bone, ligaments, and skin, with not a whole lot of fat or muscle to provide padding. And you take running on mountain trails into the equation, you not only need extra cushioning for comfort, but something to absorb the shock of your feet and ankles hitting the ground.
Through the very same trails and mountains we also tested the KEEN Marshal Mid WP Hiking Boots, which not only also held up well, but actually performed better than the Moab 2, which surprised us.
Both boots kept our feet very dry, but the KEEN weighs less, so we felt like we could go just a little further and a little faster in them. The KEEN also gave us better traction sandstone slaps and loose rocks. Again, the Moan 2 worked just fine in these areas without issue. The KEENs just felt better.
The Moab 2 boots are made with a cushioned collar and tongue, providing support to the top of the feet, while the supportive footbed using Merrell’s M Select FIT .ECO+ blended EVA contoured material provides excellent arch and heal support.
There’s also extra padding in the heal for shock absorption, perfect for those uneven and rocky surfaces.
These boots, when compared to others of similar construction, are considered moderately lightweight, weighing in at roughly 2 pounds, which is a little lower than what is listed on the manufacturer’s website.
The KEEN Marshal’s we mentioned before weigh even less than that at 1.5 pounds, and are just as comfortable.
Support and Traction
Once you find something that is lightweight and comfortable, you also want to make sure that they’re going to provide great support and traction. Sometimes mountain trails can get steep, the ground will be uneven, rocky, and wet. You will need shoes that can not only keep your feet from getting injured and fatigued, but keep you stable on the trail.
The Moab 2 hiking boots are made specially to provide excellent support and traction, which is something we noticed in our trail tests. Compared to normal running shoes, the Moab 2 isn’t as prone to ankle rolls, which can be a common cause for ankle injuries when running on rocky terrain.
However, we did notice that there tends to be a bit more flex around the ankle and collar. Though this can provide a bit more comfort to your walk, it can be tricky on especially long, steep climbs, or if carrying very heavy loads. For such tasks you might want something either stiffer collar or a higher top.
Previously we mentioned that the Moab 2 is an upgrade from the original Moab hiking boot. Some of the changes aren’t that noticeable, aside from greater stability and comfort.
However, we did notice these two silicon bands that are built into the upper material, running lengthwise around the foot, both inside and outside. These were added to the Moab 2 to provide more structure against rolling. Even with the side-to-side flexibility, the shoe felt very secure as we traversed the trails and rocks.
As for traction, Merrell didn’t mess around by using the Vibram rubber for the Moab 2. In fact, they kept the same tread pattern from the original version of the Moab. After all, if it’s not broken why fix it?
This tread pattern looks like a funny mix of lines, circles, open channels, and lugs, but all of these things work together to give you all around traction on dirty, rocks, or even wet ground.
In comparison, the Merrell Women’s Salida Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot also uses Vibram soles, but with a slightly different pattern. However, the Salida also uses various sized circles in the sole pattern, something we’ve come to believe is what helps keep them so stable on various different services.
Merrell Moab 2 Versatility
One of our favorites things about the Moab 2 hiking boots is how amazingly versatile these were. Yes, we tried them on all kinds of rocky mountainy terrain. We tried them through various streams, ground wet with dew and rain, steep trails, and rough dry ground.
But we also went beyond the mountains with the boots. One of our team lives on a farm and spent a few days doing farm chores with these boots on. Another works in a factory and decide to give these shoes a shot there. I simply went for a walk and a run on regular trails, and then kept them on when I took my bike out for a drive.
They stayed dry wherever we went, and they held up no matter what condition we put them through. They remained comfortable throughout, and yet they didn’t feel like overkill on brisk walks up and down the street.
Again, a few things that the Moab 2 hiking books can be worn for are:
- Hiking/running in the woods
- Hiking/running in the mountains
- Walking or running (not on mountain trails)
- Farm work
- Factory wear
- Everyday wear
Although it may be tempting to opt for a hiking boot that isn’t waterproof, as they can come at a much lower price point, we don’t recommend going that route unless you want to spend a lot of time drying out both your shoes and your socks. Also, wet feet inside shoes give rise to blisters, which can easily get infected if not careful.
Thankfully the Moab 2 hiking boots delivered quite well when we gave them the water resistance test. And by that, I mean, we purposely traipsed through various streams in all of the locations we went to.
An important thing to note is that these are mid boots, not high tops. You don’t want to submerge your feet in anything that is going to go above the tops of the boot collar. Otherwise the waterproof design is going to be pointless. Stick to shallow streams and you’ll be able to keep your feet nice and dry.
We did, notice, however, that these weren’t quite as breathable as we would’ve liked. After many hours, though our feet were quite dry, they felt a little stuffy. The KEEN Marshals were somewhat more breathable, and our feet felt much cooler after a long time hiking in the heat and humidity.
Comfort and stability are amazing features, but mean nothing if your shoes don’t last. If a hiking boot were to begin falling apart after only a month or two, even with heavy usage, most would consider that a waste of money and claim them to be defective. Luckily, this wasn’t the case with the Moab 2.
When it comes to the durability of the Moab 2, not much was changed from the previous model, which were quite durable on their own. Once again, if something doesn’t need improving it makes sense to keep the same formula.
After several months of use during our testing period, they stayed looking like new, with very minor signs of wear and tear around the soles and toe caps. With the collar being so flexible, we were prepared to start seeing signs of tearing up there at some point, but nothing so far. The laces, too, have held out very well, considering what we’ve put the shoes through.
We are looking forward to our next round of tests, to really push the books to their limits in terms of how long they will last.
Merrell Moab 2 Performance
At the end of the day, we decided to give these boots an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 in regard to their performance.
Through our battery of tests on the mountains, trails, and in everyday use, they performed exceptionally well. Possibly even better than the previous versions. They are comfortable, lightweight, keep your feet dry, have excellent traction and support, and are incredibly durable.
Why 4.5, though, instead of 5? We docked the half a point based on the fact that though these boots are amazing and totally worth the cost, we do feel that they could’ve been much better.
For one, it would be nice if there was a version with a higher top. This would provide much more stability to the ankle region, allowing hikers to carry more weight if they need to, and to go on longer and steeper hikes.
Also, though 2lbs is a great weight, we would love for these to be a little bit lighter. We mentioned that the KEEN Marshals were about half an ounce lighter than the Moab 2, and that half an ounce made a whole lot of different when it came to long days of hiking.
Sizing and Fit
The Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boots are generally true to fit, so if you have a set size that you wear in everything, you will be perfectly fine with these. We found the fit of the heel cup nice and snug, supporting the heel very well. There was just enough room in the toe area without being too big. This allowed free toe movement, and helped a great deal on long days.
One of our guys is usually between sizes, so he decided to go with the larger size to allow for greater support and protection. He found this to be a great solution to the “I’m between sizes” dilemma. The only time they felt too loose was when we were hiking during cold weather, and he just wore thicker socks to compensate.
How does Merrell Moab 2 Compare to Similar Products?
Compared to other similar products, the Moab 2 boots hold up pretty well. Along with the KEEN Marshals and the Merrell Women’s Salida, we also tried various other versions of the Moab 2 (including the ones with Gore-Tex which provided much better breathability).
It doesn’t quite compare as well with some boots when it comes to water resistance, simply because of the low height of the mid boot, and the internal mesh that could possibly get wet should the outer layer ever fail. The KEEN Marshals, of course, kept our feet pretty dry, but the Columbia Men’s Mudhawk Waterproof Hiking Boot was probably the best we tried for waterproofness.
Why? The boot is made of all leather, much like a rain boot is, so you could even hose it off after walking through dirt and mud, and your feet would still be dry on the inside.
Other than that, the Merrell Moab 2 compare very well, so long as you don’t go jumping into any ponds or rivers.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a decent hiking boot that will keep your feet dry, safe, and are comfortable for any hiking experience, the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is going to be a great option. It doesn’t cost a ton of money, and it should easily last you through at least 6 months hiking along any mountain trail you wish.