Expert Review: Moab Merrell 2 Women's Waterproof ShoePublished on 08/26/2022 · 8 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the hiking shoes, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2019.
All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the hiking shoes, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2019.
The Merrell Women’s Moab 2 waterproof hiking shoe is a burly and sturdy hiking shoe that keeps my feet dry and warm. Though they are by no means ultralight, they are ideal for backpacking and longer hikes over uneven terrain.
About the shoes I own
- Model: Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Shoe
- Size: 6.5
- Width: Regular
- Fit: True to size
- When I bought these: August 2019
- Days tested: 50
- Terrain: Rocky trails, dirt trails, wet, muddy trails
- Used for: Backpacking, long day hikes exceeding 10 miles
- Where I’ve used it: Glacier National Park, MT; Moab, UT; Various mountains in Colorado and Utah
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Spring, fall, winter
- Height: 5’3”
- Weight: 115 lbs
- Usual shoe size: Women’s 6.5
- Foot Width: Regular
- Foot Arch: High arch
- Experience: 20+ years of backpacking
How they perform
What I was looking for
At the time of buying these, I was looking for a serious hiking shoe that would hold up well on longer trails and give me a bit more support than the older tennis shoes I had been using. It was also a priority to have something that was waterproof and a bit thicker and warmer—I knew that the majority of the time I would want to use them would be in the fall. That is usually the time of year I go backpacking the most, and I tend to get cold feet in all but the hottest months.
Why I chose this gear
I decided to buy these because they were incredibly comfortable. I had gone to a local gear store and tried on a few different hiking shoes; they all felt like there was something about them that would start to bother me on longer hikes. For example, some felt like they were squeezing my toes, or some of them had too much shoe around the ankle section, or too much room in the heel. Instead, these felt like they fit my foot really well. I had considered the Danner Trail shoes, though their fit was not as ideal as the Moabs’. The Moabs ultimately felt like they were a bit burlier and would last longer. I had also tried on the Salomon Outpulse, but I felt there was too much cushion in the heel and that the traction would be better on the Moabs.
What I love about them
- Durability: I cannot say enough good things about the durability of the Merrell Moab 2 shoes. I have put probably 300 miles on these, and they still look brand new. There are no areas that even seem like they might give out soon. There is still awesome traction on them and they aren’t worn down anywhere.
- Break-in period: I don’t remember there being any break-in period for these shoes. I will say they are more comfortable now than when I bought them, but only because they have a moldable liner in the footbed that formed to the shape of my foot.
- Comfort: I haven’t used them in very warm weather, so I can’t speak to how well they handle on hot days, but on very cold days or average-temperature days they keep my feet at a great temperature, dry around any mud, and comfortable overall.
- Fit: I am a true 6.5, and that’s the size I went with for the Merrell Moabs. I also have a regular-width foot. So while there is a wide version of these available, I went with the regular version. I usually wear Smartwool PhD light socks with these, or if it is really cold the Smartwool Hiking heavy sock. I find my foot doesn’t slide around at all or accumulate any rubbing spots that later turn into blisters.
- Material: The sole is Vibram rubber—durable with great traction. The upper is a pig-suede leather with some breathable mesh that keeps my foot both warm yet not terribly hot, even if I have been walking for a long time. There is also a GORE-TEX liner on the upper in the mesh that keeps my foot dry and protected from any mud, rain, or water that I might encounter. Lastly, there is an Eva foam midsole that forms to my foot shape.
- Waterproofing: I am usually skeptical of shoes that call themselves waterproof—because I have owned so many that did not protect my feet from getting wet despite being labeled so. But these are not the same. I have been in some heavy rain and mud with these, and though they do absorb some water in the leather (which makes them a bit heavier), that water never reaches my foot. I cannot remember a time in these where my foot has been wet aside from a few instances when I got snow in the top and it melted.
- Insulation: Though they are not marketed as having any insulation, the leather and mesh are thick enough that they keep my feet warm in cold temperatures. I have worn these on very cold winter camping trips with a thick sock and my feet have been perfectly warm.
- Arch support: The foam liner makes it so that I get some arch support now that the shoes are more broken in. For hikers with higher arches, it is advisable to take these shoes on shorter hikes at first so that the liner can be broken in to increase arch support. Struggling with arch pain in the past, I have never had issues in these shoes.
- Toe protection: The vibram sole and leather are thick and protect my toes really well.
- Backpacking: The majority of time that I have used these shoes has been for backpacking. The traction and support of the thick sole make cruising over variable terrain with a 30lb pack a breeze.
- Day hiking: I have used these only on longer hikes because I like to use trail runners or my Chaco sandals on shorter hikes. I find it's usually longer trails that I end up hurting myself because I get lazy with my foot placements and accidentally roll an ankle. Though these feel like they have a great shape and design to keep me stepping safely, even if I get tired.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: The main complaint I have about these shoes is that they are heavy. I am used to hiking in trail-running shoes or Chaco sandals, so most hiking shoes do seem heavy to me. I understand why they are heavy, given how burly and sturdy they are, but I only take them on longer hikes.
- Ankle support: They don’t have any material around the ankle, like many hiking shoes do. So if ankle support is a primary concern, the Moab 2 boot is a better option. It is the same shoe only with ankle support.
- Versatility: Given the weight, I don’t use these for very many outings aside from backpacking. If they were slightly lighter, I might use them for more day-hiking trails. But as is I only use them for long trails where there is no scrambling involved.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with these shoes was hiking Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park in August. It is still a bit chilly on some days in August, just given how far north this park is. The hike was a real trudge because it was such a long trek uphill, and I just knew there would be blisters on my feet when I got done. Finally, getting to the glacial lake at the top was well worth the trudge. I took my shoes off because I wanted to dip my toes in the water, and I was surprised to find no blisters. When we got back to the car after the hike out: same story. I was really stoked because we were only there for a short period of time and I did not want to miss any days of hiking due to my feet needing a break—and thankfully I didn’t have to!
Value for the money vs. other options
I picked these up for around $135. The Danner Trail Shoes that I was considering are lighter and more expensive, but just given their materials, I doubt they would still be in pristine condition after so many miles like my Moab 2s are. The Salomon OutPulse shoes I mentioned earlier are around $140. All in all, $135 is pretty normal for hiking shoes such as these; and I think the Moab 2s are well worth the money.
The Moab Merrell 2s are a great option for those looking for a reliable, sturdy shoe that will last a while. I truly can’t believe how durable they are, how they still look brand new, and are super comfortable after years of wear. If I am going on a longer hiking trail or a backpacking trip, these are my go-tos!