Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boot – Review [2023]

The original Moab by Merrell achieved legendary status, and this tradition continues with the current “Moab 2.” In short, after putting the Merrell Moab 2 Vent to the test the shoe left a remarkable impression on almost all fronts. While it may not be the most athletic in design, the Moab offers a pleasantly broad and stable base.

The Moab 2’s comfort level is impressive, it provides excellent breathability, and at a price of $110, it stands out as one of the more attractive options in the market. In the following sections, we delve into our firsthand experiences with the Moab 2. We absolutely love this boot, and strongly recommend it as one of the best hiking boots for flat feet.

If you need to find out just how to choose a hiking boot, make sure to check out that blog before buying. We also have a backpacking for beginners blog for more information before you hit the trail.

Quick Facts about the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots:

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots
  • Price: $110
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz / 879 g (Size 9 full pair)
  • Collar height: about 3 in / 7.62 cm
  • Color: Walnut (Light Brown, Black, and Orange Highlights), Black Night (Black and Dark Gray), Castle / Wing (Blueish and Gray)
  • Amazon Rating: (4.7/5) 729 reviews
  • REI Rating: (4.5/5) 2,317 reviews

What we like:

  • Retains the qualities that contributed to the original Moab’s greatness: a moderate weight, unparalleled comfort, and an affordable price
  • The Moab 2 Ventilator proves to be an excellent choice for hot weather conditions
  • Abundance of choices: available as a low-top shoe or mid-height boot, with options for both waterproof and non-waterproof models
  • Crafted with quality, indicating a promising lifespan

What we don’t like:

  • The Moab is not designed for swift and lightweight performance, as it places a premium on comfort rather than agility
  • Offers only moderate traction on rocky and muddy terrains
  • Its flexibility might be excessive for carrying heavy loads or navigating demanding trails

Performance of the Merrell Moab 2 Vent:

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boot Performance

In this section we will look at the key performance indicators of the Moab 2 Vent including comfort, weight, traction, stability and support, waterproofing and build quality and durability.

1. Comfort of the Merrell Moab 2 Vent:

Slipping your feet into the Merrell Moab 2 serves as a testament to the popularity of these shoes. Right out of the box, the boot provides an exceptional level of comfort, courtesy of their cushioned collar and tongue, supportive footbed, and the right amount of flexibility for immediate trail use.

A notable enhancement in the latest Moab iteration is the improved insole. It now offers great arch support, while the molded heel cup effectively secures your foot in place. Furthermore, the added padding in the heel region delivers a surprisingly effective degree of trail isolation and underfoot protection. Although this extra cushioning might initially seem a bit prominent, it gradually molds to your foot while hiking, contributing to the remarkable comfort experienced during extended hikes.

2. Moab 2 Vent’s Weight:

Merrell’s Moab footwear line has consistently been regarded as moderately lightweight hiking shoes, and the present model upholds this reputation. On our weighing scale, the non-waterproof Ventilator version tips the scales at exactly 2 pounds for a men’s size 9, just slightly more than the specified weight of 1 pound 15 ounces.

The waterproof low-top variant adds a mere 2 ounces to the pair, placing it in a competitive stance within the hiking shoe market. For comparison, Keen’s Targhee Vent is lighter at 1 pound 13.6 ounces (the waterproof Targhee III comes in at 1 pound 14.8 ounces). Opting for a trail running-inspired model like Salomon’s X Ultra 3 (1 pound 9.8 ounces) can yield further weight savings, although this choice involves a slight trade-off in cushioning and underfoot protection.

For the majority of hikers and backpackers, the Moab 2 strikes an appealing balance between weight and comfort.

3. Boot Traction of the Merrell Moab 2 Vent:

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots

Merrell chose to maintain the tread pattern and Vibram rubber compound from the original Moab for the second version. This was a wise decision, given the proven longevity of the dependable outsole, which provides respectable all-around traction on both rocky and dirt surfaces. The tread design appears intricate, featuring a mix of circles, open channels, narrow, and thick lugs, yet it effectively accomplishes its purpose.

On the whole, I would give the Moab a favorable rating in terms of traction and have confidence that they will suit the needs of most day hikers and those tackling moderately challenging peaks. While we’ve worn shoes with better grip on rocks – the Merrells are somewhat slippery while maneuvering around obstacles – the tread found solid traction in soft mud and dirt. However, the closely spaced lugs did tend to accumulate mud during the early season.

Additionally, while the shoe performs reasonably well on descents, it falls short of a more serious hiker’s performance, such as our Salomon X Ultra 3 with its angled tread that firmly grips the ground at the heel.

4. Moab 2 Vent’s Stability and Support:

The primary audience for the Moab 2 are day hikers, resulting in a shoe that offers moderate stability and support. Compared to a running shoe, the Moab 2 exhibits a reduced susceptibility to ankle rolls when navigating rocky terrain. However, whether in the mid-height boot or low-top shoe variant, there remains a noticeable degree of flexibility both underfoot and around the collar. This quality isn’t necessarily detrimental—greater shoe flexibility often translates to enhanced comfort. Nevertheless, the Moab is less suited for tasks like carrying heavy loads, tackling extended steep ascents, or traversing intricate landscapes.

Among the more evident alterations in the Merrell Moab 2 is the incorporation of two silicone bands integrated into the upper material. These bands run lengthwise on the inside and outside of the foot, aiming to bolster structure and minimize the risk of ankle injuries. The shoe certainly demonstrated solid stability while negotiating slick rock formations and navigating rocky, muddy trails. However, the shoe’s inherent lateral flexibility, a characteristic of the original Moab, persists.

5. Merrell Moab 2 Vent’s Waterproofing:

Wearing the non-waterproof shoe transformed our usual creek crossings and wet-weather trials into experiences that left our socks wet. The generous incorporation of mesh into the upper part of the shoe allows moisture to penetrate once it surpasses the sides of the outsole. On the bright side, the mesh material dried rapidly, mirroring the swift.

Similar to the previous model, Merrell provides two waterproof alternatives: an in-house M-Select design and Gore-Tex. We believe that the M-Select option (referred to as the Merrell Moab 2 WP) is an excellent selection for most day hikers seeking a waterproof shoe. The Gore-Tex version will probably offer slightly enhanced breathability with a minor reduction in weight. Both options, however, excel in waterproofing capabilities. It’s worth noting that the Gore-Tex version typically costs about $20 more.

6. Breathability of the Moab 2 Vent:

The non-waterproof Ventilator model, breathability performed well, keeping our feet considerably dry and not hot during longer treks. The Moab 2 features substantial mesh panels on the sides and upper, which, when combined with lightweight socks, ensured my comfort while hiking in temperatures pushing the mid-80s.

Opting for the available waterproof models might affect breathability to a noticeable extent. Therefore, if you’re planning to hike in hot conditions or don’t mind your feet occasionally getting wet when crossing streams, the Ventilator model presents an excellent choice for staying cool.

7. Build Quality and Durability:

When it comes to durability, after several months of usage, the Moab is proving to be highly resilient. While trekking in Nepal left a few lasting scuffs on the toe cap, the shoes maintain an appearance akin to new.

A potential vulnerability lies in the mesh incorporated in the upper material, although no indications of tearing have emerged thus far. The previous model demonstrated commendable reliability as a hiking shoe, especially given its lightweight nature, and the construction quality seems equally impressive in the newer Moab 2 version.

Fit and Sizing of the Merrell Moab 2 Vent:

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boot

I stuck with my usual size 10, and it turned out to be a perfect fit. Just as in my previous experiences with Moabs, the fit of the Merrell Moab 2 was exceptional. The length was spot-on, and the toe box offered ample room for extended trail days without feeling overly loose.

The contoured insole, featuring enhanced arch support, effectively secured my foot in place even more effectively. I especially appreciated the snug heel cup, which suited my flat foot well. A significant part of the Moab’s charm lies in its accommodating fit, and Merrell wisely retained this successful aspect.

The Competition:

When it comes to lightweight and budget-friendly hiking boots, the Merrell Moab 2 maintains its status as a favored option. One of its long-standing competitors is the Keen Targhee II, which remains a popular choice alongside the Moab 2. The Keen Targhee shares many of the qualities we appreciate in the Moab 2: a robust feel, roomy toe box, and strong all-around trail performance. While both are solid choices, the Moab comes in at a significantly lower price point, undercutting the Targhee by $45 for the non-waterproof version. While no shoe is without its flaws, the Moab’s excellent value propels it to the forefront of our hiking shoe roundup.

Opting for a performance-focused lightweight shoe such as the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX provides a more agile sensation, similar ventilation capabilities, and enhanced traction. When covering long distances quickly or tackling intricate terrain, the Salomon’s 6-ounce lighter weight becomes an advantage. However, if you prefer a more traditional shoe that emphasizes stability and comfort, the Moab might be the superior choice. Merrell’s solid base and improved isolation from the trail make for an excellent combination during day hikes and weekend backpacking trips.

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots
  • Price: $110
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz / 879 g (Size 9 full pair)
  • Collar height: about 3 in / 7.62 cm
  • Color: Walnut (Light Brown, Black, and Orange Highlights), Black Night (Black and Dark Gray), Castle / Wing (Blueish and Gray)
  • Amazon Rating: (4.7/5) 729 reviews
  • REI Rating: (4.5/5) 2,317 reviews

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