What we like:
- Comfortable from day one.
- Protective toebox and ankle support.
- Very breathable.
What we don’t:
- Good traction but not good enough for smooth or wet rocks.
- Not meant for wet trails but dries quickly.
- Old-fashioned looks.
- Laces untie very easily.
- Weight (Single Shoe, Size 10)15.5 oz / 440 g
- MaterialsSuede leather / mesh
- OutsoleVibram TC5+ 5 mm Lug depth
Detailed In-Depth Review
We’ve been testing the Merrell Moab Ventilator 2 hiking shoes for 10 months now, or a total of 500-700 km / 310-430 miles. We’ve used them on various terrains – flat woodlands, rocky mountains, sandy deserts, and muddy grasslands.
Durability & Materials
The outside of the Merrel Moab 2 Vent hiking shoe is made out of leather suede mixed with a breathable mesh fabric. The leather suede has held up really well, and only the fabric mesh parts are starting to show some signs of wear. Even after all the hiking that we’ve done with them, we still don’t have any holes or any seams coming apart.
That said, there are a few insignificant issues that have popped up. Most notably, the padding around the ankle on the inner side of both shoes is starting to wear down. Even though it’s only a cosmetic issue, it doesn’t look pretty. Probably this is due to our feet occasionally brushing against each other when walking. Other than that, there seems to be a tiny rip in the mesh fabric on the left shoe, and there are a few parts of rubber that have been chipped off on sharp rocks. Again, all of these issues are only cosmetic, and if we’d guess, we could still easily stretch another 500-700 km / 310-430 miles out of them in the next season.
Support & Stability
The Moab 2 feels very rigid and offers a lot of support, which is good for trekking on technically difficult terrains. Most of the support stems from the very rigid and thick outsole, which bends only slightly. It’s very useful when you’re walking on sharp rocks because nothing punctures through and it’s very easy to maintain balance on uneven surfaces.
For additional support, the outsole is raised around the heel and around the toebox, and on both sides, each shoe has an integrated, stiff nylon seam, which makes the shoe much more rigid. The raised toebox is especially handy if you’re walking on rocky terrains, and you accidentally slip and hit a rock with your toes. Because it’s very stiff, you won’t feel a thing. We’ve actually had this happen to us quite a few times.
Weighing at 890 g / 1.96 lbs for a size 10, the Merrell Moab 2 Vent is a somewhat lightweight hiking shoe. When compared to other popular “hiking shoes” it definitely stands on the lighter end of the scale, but it’s still much heavier compared to trail runners, which usually weigh around 600 g / 1.30 lbs. Even though trail runners are lighter, they usually don’t last as long, and they don’t provide enough support compared to normal hiking shoes. The Merrell Moab 2 is a good choice if you’re looking for a lightweight “traditional” hiking shoe.
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent is one of the more comfortable hiking shoes we’ve worn. From the inside, it’s evenly padded all around with nice foam cushioning that still feels comfortable even after all the hiking that we’ve done with them. Compared to trail runners, the Moab 2 is much more comfortable, which might make them a better choice for people who value comfort the most. In fact, the Moab 2 has been comfortable right from day one, and didn’t require us to “wear it in.” After the first few days of hiking, we didn’t get a single blister.
From the inside, the Moab 2 is fitted with a removable insole, which is good if you need to dry them quickly after a “damp” day of hiking. The insoles do feel like they’re on their last legs, but we could probably still use them for a few more hikes. So far they aren’t causing any issues, but if we’d use these shoes for the next season as well, a smarter choice would probably be to replace the insoles with new Merrell KineticFit footbed insoles.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that the tongue of the shoe (the part under the laces) is closed off, which is actually really good for comfort because we get fewer tiny rocks finding their way into the shoe, which could be really annoying.
In traction, the Moab 2 does a pretty good job but not perfect. The outsole is made by Vibram, which is considered a high-quality outsole manufacturer. It’s very stiff and rigid – it doesn’t bend sideways and allows only for flexibility around the toes. The Vibram sole comes with a deep tread groove depth, and it still hasn’t worn down up to this point. This outsole could easily do another 500-700 km / 310-430 miles in the next season.
But as we already mentioned, the outsole isn’t perfect. It’s very versatile and performs really nicely on various surfaces – gravel, mud, paved surfaces, light rocks, and sand. But it isn’t perfect for smooth rocks, especially if they’re slightly wet. We’ve experienced this firsthand in Southern Spain, where a lot of hiking trails suddenly turn into climbing on large rocks and boulders. But don’t get us wrong, you can still use them for rocky terrains – you just have to be careful not to slip.
We really like how breathable the Moab 2 is. All around, the shoe is covered with a breathable mesh-like fabric which provides a lot of ventilation. In fact, we’ve noticed that at least when used in combination with merino wool socks, the Moab 2 just doesn’t stink – even after long, sweaty summer hikes. We’ve only washed them once when they were used on a very muddy trail, and honestly, that’s fine because they still smell very freshly. It’s worth noting that we own the “Ventilator” (the name speaks for itself) model, not the waterproof one, which has a serious downgrade in breathability.
If you’re looking for water-resistance, you basically won’t find any in the “ventilator” model. The only parts that are slightly water-resistant are the leather suede elements, but because they’re surrounded by the breathable mesh elements, which soak up water immediately, they don’t provide any water-resistance.
But on the plus side, the Moab 2 hiking shoes dry very quickly. If you walk through a puddle and keep walking, the shoes will be basically dry at the end of the day. Personally, for the warmer months, we prefer breathable shoes over water-resistant ones unless the trail is very muddy. But of course, everyone has a different opinion.
The Merrel Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes are one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) hiking shoes and they’re there for a reason. At a somewhat cheap price, you get a comfortable, breathable, versatile shoe, that isn’t too heavy, provides good traction on most surfaces, and at the same time is made to withstand a lot of miles. Unless you’re doing some technically-demanding trails or you like to do some trail-running in your hikes, you really can’t go wrong by getting the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes.