Sleeping At The Airport

Merrell Moab Shoes Review

First Impressions

The Merrell Moab Ventilators look positively like a hiking shoe, but fashionable ones at that, and contain enough thought in design as to be perfectly wearable in everyday situations, without looking out of place.

Merrel Moab Shoes

In fact, these might be the only shoes you’ll want to wear.

The Moabs give off an impression of quality. The materials and stitching inspire confidence from the outset – even for a sub-£80 shoe. These are good.

First Fit

A very cosseting shoe. The Moabs slotted on the foot after a firm bit of encouragement, which is mainly due to the generous ankle support inside the shoe blocking the heel from sliding in on the first try. Once on, though, the sensation of the shoe on your foot is one of complete surprise; you feel like you could tackle a mountain on the very next step. Move aside Edmund Hilary, this man is booted up – on a budget too. Plenty of length for your toes as well.

Merrel Moab Shoes

For getting your feet into the shoes without having to undo the laces, there is a loop at the back of the shoe, as there is on most trainers. But, on the Merrell Moab Ventilators, the loop is actually large enough and well positioned to get your finger into to help prize them on.

Note: If you go between sizes, order towards the larger end of the scale.

If you are not used to a shoe with such a supporting fit, you may feel a slight pressure just beneath the ankles on each side of the foot after about 30 minutes of putting the shoes on. I’m happy to report, though, that this subsides within a short period of use.

Performance – In the Urban Environment

Merrel Moab Shoes

On smooth ground the shoes inspire yet more confidence with plenty of grip. And when the heavens open and the ground beneath your feet becomes more like a stream than a path, the shoes never really falter, leaving your feet planted and steady, not to mention dry. During a 30-minute walk in heavy rain, no water got into the shoe, despite the rest of our tester’s clothes being mostly soaked everywhere else. Unfortunately, the Merrells were not part of an ensemble. It is only the combination of rain and smooth tiles that caused the shoe to slip even a little bit.

One of the first things you may notice when walking over hard ground is that when the heel touches down, there is a noticeable cushioning effect with plenty of ‘bounce’ in the heel which will take much of the jarring motion of walking or running away from the rest of your body, notably the knees and lower back – again, in combination with the ankle support, this performance makes you want to go trail running, or just to hop about in celebration of such a great design. Merrell have clearly thought about this.

As they say themselves: “Merrell® air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability.”

If your feet tend to get hot in some shoes, the Merrells perform fairly well here too with an outer breathable mesh lining treated with Aegis® Antimicrobial solution in place from front to back, allowing at least some sweat to evaporate in use; good news for walking around in sticky climates.

Performance – On Loose Ground

Merrel Moab Shoes

After walking around the house, down the road, into the car, along pathways, the Moab Ventilators leave you with no doubt that they will be able to handle a trail or two. The Vibram® Multi-Sport Sole copes very well, and is a good sign in the industry of top quality grip levels.

Once on gravel, there is only a slight loss of grip, which is to be expected of any shoe, but you will find that you can really push off well each time you motion forwards in-stride. So, quick changes of direction, stopping and accelerating, as if on a brisk jog, should pose no problems for the Moabs at all.

Worth noting again is the shaped ankle support, as when the incline steepens, and/or rocks find their way beneath your nice new shoes, the Moabs don’t give even a hint that they will slip off your heel. This also has the added benefit of preventing blisters or sores on the back of your heel due to constant rubbing.

You really have to wonder if you’ll need walking boots at all. Even if you plan on doing some mountain trekking on your travels – the Moabs should be just the ticket for most of what any traveller will encounter en route.

Living With Them

Merrel Moab Shoes

In daily use the Moab Ventilators have not skipped a beat. An hour or two of walking per day has not caused them to smell (even after a smelly foot has been placed inside – a welcome feature for fellow hostel guests thanks to the Aegis® Antimicrobial solution), nor have the stitches come apart, anything ripped, or begun to look too much older since the day they were first worn.


It is often the case that a backpacker will buy their first pair of walking boots specifically for travelling, and then never actually use them – wasting a lot of space and adding unnecessary weight to your gear. Depending on where you plan on going and what you plan on doing, the Merrell Moab Ventilators should be all the shoe you need. And as a fan of a light pack, this is very good news indeed.

There is not much point buying a shoe or boot to protect your feet from outside elements if they are killing your feet from the inside. These shoes have never even approached becoming uncomfortable.

Merrel Moab Shoes

For that, and for everything else, the Merrell Moab Ventilators get a very confidence-inspiring and comfortable thumbs up.