Meet Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator: The Classic Hiking Shoe

Our Product Highlights typically showcase something new in the outdoor world. Today, we’re stoked to present a tried-and-true classic: the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoe. As Merrell proudly says on its site, the Moab line of footwear has been worn by nearly 20 million people.

That’s a lot of shoes. While the Moab line has undergone a few iterations over the years, and is still currently offered in mid and low versions, in waterproof and untreated versions, it remains the same at its core. Durable, comfortable, and easy to wear day after day.

The Moab 2 Ventilator is the ideal shoe for the hiker who occasionally backpacks. It has enough durability and traction to take you on quick overnights and sub-10 mile backpacking trips, yet is light enough to throw on for a day hike. In fact, they are ideal campground shoes, and will work in the backyard, too. And if you’re one of those people who wears hiking shoes to the jobsite, they’ll function excellently there, too.

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The women’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes.

The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilators are so named because they are the second major edition of the Moab, and they vent. They are Merrell’s non-waterproof Moab, which we actually prefer in most cases for hiking. While waterproofing has its place (and is excellent for locations with unruly inclement weather), we find a lot of people are fairweather hikers and don’t often use the waterproofing in their shoes.

Because there’s no waterproof layer, the Moab 2 Ventilator hiking shoes breathe extremely well. This is combined with a rugged Vibram outsole, an air cushion support in the heel, an EVA midsole that’s comfortable and stable, and a number of features that support your arch.

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Suede leather and mesh upper, Vibram outsole, and plenty of traction for trails.

All in all it’s hard to find a more universally-fitting, out-of-the-box comfortable hiking shoe than the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilators.

See the Men’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

See the Women’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

Unique Features of the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

The Moab 2 Ventilators have that hearty cocktail of an ideal hiking shoe. No feature is revolutionary, but all of the features together make it ideal for the widest swath of hikers. That starts with the mix of materials in the upper: suede leather and mesh.

The suede is rugged, which keeps the form of the shoe after miles of trekking, and provides a solid barrier between you and the dirt of the trail. Meanwhile the mesh, which covers a large amount of the upper, allows for serious breathability. The tongue is mostly mesh, allowing for excellent ventilation and flex as you hike.

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Left: The Vibram TC5+ outsole has a unique lug pattern for excellent traction and durability. Right: The mix of leather and mesh on the upper provides rugged breathability.

As above, so below: the Moab 2 Ventilator outsole is serious. This shoe’s outsole is built for backpacking, and will support a fully loaded pack (as long as your ankles are strong, if not, go for the Moab 2 Mids). The outsole is made of Vibram’s TC5+ rubber, and uses a variety of lug patterns to provide decent traction. It’s a beefy outsole that will keep your feet well supported, whether you’re trekking through shale or dirt, and will last for years of use.

The Moab 2 Ventilators have a decent toe bumper, well-made laces, and comfortable soft collar that accepts your feet with ease.

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The Vibram outsole.

No Break In Time Required

It’s typically marketing speak when someone claims there is no break in time required for a pair of shoes. It’s something we all dream about — they arrive, you strap ‘em on, and hit the trail.

And yet, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilators live up to the hype. We opened the box, slipped them on, and hiked. They felt like shoes we had worn for years. To be honest we’re not sure how Merrell did this, or if it’s unique to our staff.

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Out of the box, onto the trail.

Part of the immediate fit seems to be angle and orientation of the tongue and the shoe’s opening. Most hiking shoes are tight-fitting, and require some effort to slip inside. Not so with the Moab 2 Ventilators — the tongue opens wide and the foot goes in easy.

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A mysterious combination of the soft collar and easily opened tongue of the Moab 2 Ventilators allows for a quick and simple slip-on feel, unlike other hiking shoes.

Lacing up is a cinch, and the laces had no problem going softer for a looser fit or tighter for a closer fit. Once on the trail you will note that each shoe does have a solid weight to it, but there is just no break in period to the way the upper flexes. The outsoles feel rugged and grippy right away. If you’re more used to trail runners they will feel a bit heavy, but if you’re coming from a boot they will feel light and springy.

In the end, we just don’t think you’ll need to break these in. Hit the trail hard, and enjoy.

See the Men’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

See the Women’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

Who is Merrell?

Merrell is one of the most popular shoe brands in the outdoor world, and has long made footwear that works out of the box in a range of categories, including backpacking, hiking, water sports, and running. Their shoes typically have moderate cushion, a standard heel to toe drop, and fit average-width feet (with specific exceptions).

See the Men’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator and Women’s Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator, and learn more about Merrell.


This article is sponsored by Merrell.

Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

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