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The Legendary Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Shoe: A Comprehensive Review

CEO Tinh Phung
Image: Merrell Moab 2 (Canyon hike) Merrell's Moab hiking shoe line has attained legendary status, and the Moab 2 continues this tradition. With its wide base, superior comfort, breathability, and excellent value for money, the...

Merrell Moab 2 (Canyon hike) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (Canyon hike)

Merrell's Moab hiking shoe line has attained legendary status, and the Moab 2 continues this tradition. With its wide base, superior comfort, breathability, and excellent value for money, the Moab 2 Ventilator has proven itself to be an impressive hiking shoe. Whether you're exploring Utah's Canyon Country or tackling the Cascade Mountains in Washington, the Moab 2 will exceed your expectations. In this article, we will dissect our experiences with the Moab 2, covering everything from comfort to traction. So, let's dive in and find out why the Merrell Moab 2 is a favorite among hikers.


Slipping your feet into the Merrell Moab 2 is an instant reminder of why these shoes have become so popular. Right out of the box, they provide exceptional comfort with their cushioned collar, supportive footbed, and flexibility. One noticeable improvement in the latest model is the refined insole, which offers decent arch support and a molded heel cup. The shoe's extra padding in the heel provides surprising trail isolation and underfoot protection, further enhancing its comfort over long trail days.


Merrell's Moab shoes have always been considered moderately lightweight, and the Moab 2 continues this trend. The non-waterproof Ventilator model weighs in at 2 pounds for a pair of men's size 9. While there are lighter options available, such as Salomon's X Ultra 3, the Moab 2 strikes a great balance between weight and comfort. For most hikers and backpackers, the Moab 2 offers an ideal combination of both.

Merrell Moab 2 (close-up) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (close-up)

Stability and Support

The Moab 2 caters to day hikers and offers modest stability and support. While it may not be ideal for carrying heavy loads or traversing technical terrain, it does provide a comfortable and flexible feel. The addition of two silicon bands built into the upper material helps provide structure and reduce the risk of rolling an ankle. Whether these bands make a significant difference is hard to quantify, but the shoe feels secure and stable in various conditions.

Merrell Moab 2 (Dead Horse Point) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (Dead Horse Point)


Merrell decided to stick with the trusted tread pattern and Vibram rubber compound from the original Moab for the Moab 2. This tread design provides decent all-around traction on both rock and dirt. While it may not be the grippiest shoe on rock surfaces, it performs well on soft mud and dirt. The tread design may appear busy, but it gets the job done.

Overall, the Moab 2 maintains a passing grade in terms of traction and is suitable for most day hikers and moderate-difficulty peak baggers. However, for more challenging descents, it falls short compared to specialized hiking shoes like Salomon's X Ultra 3, which features an angled tread that bites into the ground.

Merrell Moab 2 (traction) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (traction)


If you're opting for the non-waterproof Ventilator model, breathability is excellent. The Moab 2 features ample mesh along the sides and top, keeping your feet cool and comfortable even in warm temperatures. For hikers who don't mind occasional stream crossings or prefer hiking in hot weather, the Ventilator model is the way to go.

Merrell Moab 2 (breathability) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (breathability)


The non-waterproof Moab 2 shoe is not suitable for wet conditions as the liberal use of mesh in its upper material allows moisture to seep in. However, Merrell offers two waterproof options: the M-Select design and Gore-Tex. The M-Select version (Merrell Moab 2 WP) is a fine choice for day hikers seeking a waterproof shoe. The Gore-Tex version offers slightly better breathability at a weight cost but provides excellent waterproofing. Both options ensure your feet stay dry and protected on the trail.

Merrell Moab 2 (water) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (water)

Build Quality and Durability

With a few months of use, the Moab 2 has proven to be highly durable. Despite a few scrapes along the toe cap, the shoes still look as good as new. The mesh along the upper material, though potentially weak, has shown no signs of tearing so far. Overall, the Moab 2 maintains the reliable build quality of its predecessor, making it a dependable hiking shoe option.

Merrell Moab 2 (toe) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (toe)

Fit and Sizing

When it comes to fit and sizing, the Merrell Moab 2 excels. Choosing my usual men's size 9 proved to be a perfect match. The shoe offers the right length and provides plenty of space in the toe box without feeling loose. The sculpted insole with increased arch support holds the foot in place securely. The snug heel cup fits well, especially for those with somewhat narrow feet. Merrell has maintained the friendly fit that made the Moab shoe so popular.

Merrell Moab 2 (lacing) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (lacing)

Other Versions of the Merrell Moab

Apart from the Moab 2 Ventilator Low, Merrell offers various other versions of the Moab to suit different needs. These include waterproof models, mid-height boots, and premium Gore-Tex options. The Moab 2 line also includes women's-specific versions, as well as all-leather and specialized variations for work and tactical activities. Regardless of the version you choose, all Moab shoes share the same high level of comfort, good build quality, and attractive price points.

Merrell Moab 2 (action) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (action)

What We Like

  • Stays true to what made the original Moab great: lightweight, comfortable, and excellent value for money.
  • The Ventilator model is perfect for warm-weather hikes.
  • Wide range of options available, including low-top shoes, mid-height boots, and various waterproof and non-waterproof versions.
  • Well-made with expected durability.

What We Don't Like

  • Not the fastest and lightest shoe; prioritizes comfort over agility.
  • Average traction on rock and mud surfaces.
  • Not suitable for heavy loads or technical trails.

Merrell Moab 2 (lookout) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (lookout)

Comparison Table

Shoe Price Type Weight Waterproof Upper
Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator $110 Hiking shoe 1 lb. 15 oz. No (WP available) Leather / mesh
Keen Targhee Vent $155 Hiking shoe 1 lb. 13.6 oz. No (WP available) Leather
Oboz Sawtooth II Low $115 Hiking shoe 1 lb. 15.2 oz. No (WP available) Leather / mesh
Salomon X Ultra 3 $120 Hiking shoe 1 lb. 9.8 oz. No (WP available) Synthetic
Salomon X Raise Low $110 Hiking/trail running 1 lb. 5.5 oz. No (WP available) Synthetic
Merrell MQM Flex 2 $110 Hiking/trail running 1 lb. 9 oz. No (WP available) Mesh / TPU

The Competition

The lightweight and budget-friendly hiking shoe market offers a plethora of options, but the Merrell Moab 2 remains a top contender. One of its main competitors is the Keen Targhee, which offers similar popularity and performance. The Targhee Vent shares many attributes with the Moab 2, such as solid performance, a roomy toe box, and an overall comfortable feel. However, the Moab 2 outshines the Targhee in terms of price, making it a more attractive option. While no shoe is perfect, the Moab 2's value propels it to the top of our hiking shoe roundup.

Another competitor worth considering is the Oboz Sawtooth II Low, which offers a sturdier structure and better trail isolation compared to the Moab 2. However, the Sawtooth II Low is clunkier and heavier, and the Moab 2's lighter weight and comfort make it a better choice for lighter trail usage.

Opting for a performance-oriented lightweight shoe like the Salomon X Ultra 3 provides a more nimble feel, enhanced ventilation, and superior traction. The X Ultra 3's athletic design and light weight make it ideal for fast-paced adventures. However, if stability and comfort are your priorities, the Moab 2 is the way to go. Its solid base and superior trail isolation make it perfect for day hikes and weekend backpacking trips.

Salomon's X Raise is another noteworthy option. Priced the same as the Moab 2, it offers impressive comfort, abundant cushioning, and a trail runner-like feel. However, the X Raise can feel unstable on wet rock, whereas the Moab 2 excels in terms of comfort and stability. While the Moab 2 continues to be the best budget hiking shoe, the X Raise is a close contender and shines in certain areas.

Lastly, Merrell's MQM Flex 2 presents a lightweight alternative with a trail runner-like build. However, the thin construction can lead to foot soreness when carrying heavy loads or traversing rocky terrain, and questions remain about long-term durability. Overall, within Merrell's lineup, the Moab 2 stands out as the most well-rounded and well-designed product.

Merrell Moab 2 (detail) Image: Merrell Moab 2 (detail)

In conclusion, the Merrell Moab 2 hiking shoe remains a beast among its competitors. With its comfort, durability, and attractive price point, it's no wonder the Moab line has reached legendary status. Whether you're a day hiker or a seasoned backpacker, the Moab 2 will provide the performance and reliability you need on the trail. So lace up your Moab 2s and set off on your next adventure with confidence.

*Note: The images used in this article are sourced from the original article on shopmrkatin.vn.