I purchased my Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoes back in 2020. Since then, I’ve used them on overnight, multi-day, and even short thru-hikes for over 3 years now. In total, I’ve hiked at least 1000 miles with them, and I’m still using them regularly today.
In this review, I’ll go over my experiences from using the Merrel Moab 2’s for such a long time. I’ll tell you what aspects of them I like, what not, and how they’ve held up over the years.
What we like:
- Still comfortable after 1000+ hiked miles
- Offer a good amount of protection for feet
- Excellent durability
- Very breathable
What we don’t:
- Slippery on rocks and wet surfaces
- Heavier compared to most other hiking shoes
- Old-fashioned looks
- Laces untie very easily
- Weight (Pair, Size 10)1.94 Lbs / 0.88 kg
- MaterialsSuede leather / mesh
- OutsoleVibram TC5+ 5 mm Lug depth
Detailed In-Depth Review
Since I got my hands on the Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoes, Merrell has released a new model called the Moab 3. I haven’t gotten around to testing it just yet because my Moab 2’s are still fine, but from what I’ve read online, they’re pretty much the same shoes, with marginal differences.
Merrell themselves say that the Moab 3 has an improved inner sole and outer sole and that it’s now partly made from recycled materials. From all the reviews that I’ve read on the Moab 3, most people say that the shoe feels a bit more narrow and it has a higher heel, so it isn’t as good for people with wide feet. But on the plus side, most people do confirm that the sole actually is more grippy now, which actually is one of the things that I don’t enjoy about the Moab 2 – they’re slippery in rain, especially on rocks.
As of right now, you can still purchase the Moab 2 in most stores, but it will probably be discontinued soon. The good news is that this review is still applicable to the Moab 3’s because they’re pretty much the same shoe, just less grippy, with a bit wider toebox, and not made from recycled materials.
Durability & Materials: How They’ve Held Up Over 3 Years Of Hiking
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. But overall, it’s just minor issues, unlike with most of my other hiking shoes that develop holes on the side or on the toebox over time.
After hiking 1000+ miles with my Merrell Moab 2 hiking shoes, they’ve developed only minor visual issues.
The most notable issue is that the padding on the inner part of the shoe near my ankles has worn down considerably, exposing the inner fabric. However, I do have to note that most people won’t experience this. It happens to me because I have a tendency to put my feet too close together when hiking, which causes them to brush against each other occasionally. I have this problem almost with all of my shoes. On the Moab 2’s, it’s only visual and it doesn’t affect the comfort or performance in any way.
Other than that, there are only minor issues, like a few chips in the outer sole due to walking on sharp rocks, as well as a minor torn hole in the toebox, which hasn’t been spreading over time.
Overall, I’m really amazed at how durable these shoes have been. Most of my trail runners and other shoes usually have to be thrown out after 500 miles. But the Moab 2’s are still going strong after 1000 miles, and I’m still using them regularly on shorter hikes. They still have grip, they’re comfortable, the sole isn’t coming apart, and they don’t have any major holes.
They’re The Heaviest Hiking Shoes That I Own
My Merrel Moab 2 Vent size 10 hiking shoes weigh 880 g / 1.94 lbs (for a pair), which is a lot. They’re not the heaviest hiking shoes out there, but they definitely aren’t lightweight. That’s why I rarely use them on my thru-hikes. When walking long distances, it’s important to wear lighter shoes to preserve the energy of your legs and be able to walk more. But on short hikes, the Merrell Moab 2’s are perfectly fine, so I usually use them on 1-5 day hikes and as my everyday shoe for walking my dog in the nearby hills.
The Moab 2’s Offer A Lot Of Protection And Stability
The Moab 2’s definitely feel like very clunky and massive shoes. That’s because they come with a really thick and rigid sole, the toebox and the heel are protected with thicker materials, and the top of the shoe is built from suede leather.
One major benefit of this is that my feet are very well protected from accidentally hitting rocks and stepping on sharp rocks. I can literally kick a rock with a fairly reasonable force and I won’t feel anything. Outside of hiking, this makes them an ideal choice for work shoes, because your feet will be more protected from accidents. In fact, I used them while I was building my weekend cabin during the summer back in Latvia, and I couldn’t be happier with them.
The main downside of their rigidness is that they don’t feel as responsive when hiking on tough terrain, especially when scrambling on rocks. If you can’t really feel where you’ve placed your feet, it’s sometimes easy to misjudge whether you’re gripping something or not, which can cause you to slip.
Generally, they only bend around the toebox, as shown in the picture above. The rest of the sole is very rigid, and it doesn’t bend. When walking around, it isn’t really a problem for most people, but if you’d like your feet to engage more, then it’s probably better to go with a pair of more flexible trail runners.
My Moab 2’s Still Feel Comfortable After 1000+ Hiked Miles
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent is one of the most comfortable hiking shoes I’ve worn. From the inside, it’s evenly padded all around with foam cushioning that still feels comfortable even after all the hiking that I’ve done with them. And from what I remember, they were comfortable from day one – I remember when I first put them on, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they felt.
The inner padding also seems to be really abrasion resistant, because it hasn’t worn down around the heel or any other place (except around the ankle, as described earlier, because of the way I walk).
From the inside, the Moab 2 is fitted with a removable insole, which is good if you need to dry them quickly after a wet day of hiking. The insoles do feel like they’re on their last legs, but honestly, the shoes still feel comfortable even with thin, worn-down insoles. This isn’t a problem for me right now, but in the future, I might have to order new Merrell KineticFit footbed insoles.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the tongue of the shoe (the part under the laces) is closed off. This is actually really good when walking on gravel and sand because fewer particles get into the shoe from the top.
The Traction Is Good, But Not Perfect
In traction, the Moab 2 does a pretty good job. 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 flexibility only around the toes. The Vibram sole comes with a deep (5 mm) lug depth and it seems to be made from a somewhat stiff rubber material that is very resistant to wear because even after 1000 miles hiked, the lug depth is still over 3 mm.
however, as I mentioned before, the outsole isn’t perfect. It 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. I’ve experienced this firsthand in Southern Spain, where a lot of hiking trails suddenly turn into climbing on large rocks and boulders. You can still use them for rocky terrains – you just have to be careful not to slip because the rubber is pretty stiff and doesn’t grip well on very smooth surfaces.
The Moab 2’s Offer A Good Amount Of Breathability For Summer Hiking
It’s interesting how Merrell has managed to make this shoe thick, durable, and breathable at the same time. It’s done by fitting the shoe with multiple breathable mesh panels in between the suede leather structure. When worn with a pair of good merino wool socks, my feet usually do a pretty good job at moisture wicking and thermoregulation, which allows my feet to stay cool and dry. I’ve worn more breathable trail runners, but overall, the Merrell Moab 2’s do a really good job at breathability.
When Walking In Damp Conditions, They’ll Get Wet Quickly
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent model is specifically made to be breathable, rather than water-resistant. So if you’ll be walking on wet trails with damp grass, mud, and light rain, then they’ll get wet fairly quickly.
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 summer hiking I prefer breathable shoes over water-resistant ones unless the trail is very muddy. That’s why I went with the Vent model, instead of the Moab 2 GTX water-resistant one.
Final Verdict: Are The Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Shoes Worth It?
I personally love my Merrell Moab 2’s, and once they’ll break, I’ll probably get the Moab 3’s. And I’m not the only one – they’re some of the most popular outdoor shoes out there, and most people continue buying them after the last ones wear out. They’re super affordable, very comfortable, offer a good amount of protection, have good traction on most surfaces, they’re very durable, and they’re breathable. I’ve done over 1000 miles in them, and I’m still using them almost daily.
However, there are a few things about them that aren’t perfect. They’re very heavy, they aren’t flexible, so you can’t really get a good feel of the terrain, and they’re slippery when the ground is wet. I personally don’t use them for thru-hiking due to these reasons. For thru-hikes, I usually go with something lighter, more flexible, and that offers a similar level of comfort. However, the downside is that my other shoes usually have to be changed much more frequently.
I’m personally using my Merrel Moab 2’s as my daily shoes – whenever I’m walking with my dog, hiking in the nearby hills, or working outdoors. I also use them on shorter overnight hikes and occasionally on multi-day hikes. That’s because all of my other trail runners wear out much more quickly, so I’m reserving them for when I’ll really need them. The Moab 2 is essentially my cheap workhorse (if that makes any sense).