Disclaimer: The following product (Moab Mid) was bought and paid for independently by the writer of this article, without compensation by Merrell or Gear For Life. The opinions contained therefore reflect the writer’s own honest view after using the product firsthand. Gear For Life may, however, receive a commission if you purchase the product using the links below.
This month marked the 3-year anniversary of owning a pair of Merrell Moab Mid Ventilators. I originally picked these lightweight, breathable hiking, mid-height hiking boots up on sale for about $60, if my memory serves me right.
Either way, I got a pretty sweet deal…and my investment has worked out to about $20 a year and probably $1 or $2 per use; I don’t usually keep track of how many hikes I go on, but my pair of Moab Mid Vents is in a permanent rotation with my Salomon GTX 4D’s. I usually reach for those heavy-duty bad boys when it’s wet or muddy out, or I’m hiking long distances. But for lighter day trips when the ground is dry (even bone dry, as it often is in my former stomping grounds of California), I usually break out my trusty Merrells.
Here’s 3 reasons I still love them.
They’re Light But Protective
If you’re a gram counter or ultralight enthusiast, you might find the Moab Mid’s a bit too heavy at about 2 pounds, 2 ounces per pair. I, personally, lean towards heavier boots, as I prefer the extra protection and that secure feeling that a good pair of boots provides. I can’t stand the feeling of hiking in low tops or squishy running shoes.
For that reason, the Moab Mid’s are perfect; I barely notice they are there when hauling uphill or scrambling rock in some of New England’s rockiest locales, but still feel more than secure. The mid height is perfect for that – high enough to provide stability and protection from pebbles and loose dirt, but not too high. And, though the upper is soft and squishy, it’s also thick and padded enough to protect your toes from all the usual hiking dangers.
Super Comfortable and Breathable
In fact, padding is the name of the game with the Moab Mid’s. Merrell says they use a “ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed with added zonal arch and heel support,” paired with a “air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability.” All I can is that I find them ridiculously comfortable; the padded tongue feels quite plush, and the sole and midsole are thick enough to absorb pretty much every step – even on hard and pointed rock.
Lots of padding doesn’t mean these shoes aren’t breathable, however. They are the called the Ventilators, after all. There is plenty of ventilation cut into the foam, and I can say that I’ve never found these hiking boots to be anything but cool when hiking in weather ranging from 40 or 50 degrees in the mountains to 90+ in the desert. I usually pair them with a lightweight pair of wool hiking socks.
My only complaint is how long they take to dry out. Obviously, they are not waterproof – and they do soak quickly relatively quickly. But I think they could definitely dry out faster; I’ve left them out overnight (both in the garage and outside the tent) and found them still wet in the morning.
They’re Still As Good As New
So maybe they aren’t as good as brand new. Fine. But if you look at the shot below, you’ll see just how good of a shape these boots are still in after 3 years of semi-regular wear. I can’t count the miles, but there’s been plenty of them – and my Moab’s show no sign of stopping. The Vibram soles look barely worn – and offer just as much as grip and tack as they did when I first took them out of the box. (I love rock-hopping in these; the thick, sturdy soles feel great on bare granite, even when wet). I can’t precisely measure how much of the 5mm lug depth is left…but they still pass the Abe Lincoln test 😊.
Final Thoughts on The Moab Mid Ventilator’s
Personal experience says the Moab Mid Ventilators are the perfect lightweight, mid-height hiking boot for those who like some heft and protection, but don’t want to be weighed down – or suffer through the hot sweatiness that Gore-Tex boots often create. I wouldn’t pay full price for them, but if you can find them on sale or have yourself a good coupon – go for them. I have the classic Merrell Walnut, but Castle / Wing and Black Night look fresh too.