I took the Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof on the 12.6-mile Cracker Lake trail in the Glacier National Park and got back tired but blister-free.
These shoes performed great when I hit wet areas and stayed comfortable up until the end, even when my feet started to get swollen from the effort.
Woefully, they are heavier than regular hiking shoes, but the thick sole that weighs them down makes them more comfortable for long hikes.
With that said, let’s dive a bit deeper into our Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof review and take a closer look at how this model held up during our tests.
This is the low-cut version. If you are looking for a mid-cut hiking boot, check Merrell Moab 3 Mid waterproof review.
- Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz. (men) & 1 lb. 11 oz. (women)
- Upper: Pigskin leather/mesh
- Outsole: Vibram TC5+ rubber
- Waterproofing: M Select DRY waterproof membrane
Things We Tested When We Reviewed Merrell Moab 3 Hiking Shoes
I’ve always appreciated Merrell boots for their sturdiness, and the Moab 3 stands up to the standards with a superior pig suede leather and mesh upper. With proper care, these boots can last for years, especially as they also have better rubber in their soles.
Usually, with hiking boots, the heel and toe box is the first to get worn out, and they can look pretty bad. But during our trials, this shoe bumped into rocks and twigs and still looked decent when we got back.
I remembered the old Moab 2 as having good traction for a mid-range priced hiking boot but not biting too well into mud or grass.
As we tested the new model, it became clear that Merrell did some tweaks to the outsole.
The improved Vibram has deeper 5-mm lugs and a new rubber compound that maintains better traction on slippery roads.
The shoes provided me with a solid grip on most of the trail, including some tricky creek crossings and muddy areas.
As long as you are not exploring a rocky or technical terrain where you may need more specialized equipment, these shoes will give you the right support and traction.
The third version of Moab boots comes in normal and wide widths, making it easier to find the right size on the first try. The suede material is flexible and conforms to the shape of the foot, while the Eva foam midsole attenuates the impact when you walk on bumpy roads.
If you are familiar with Merrell shoes, you will quickly recognize the soft feel of the cushioning inside. The Bellows tongue is also well-padded and very efficient in keeping twigs and leaves away.
Compared to the previous version, the Vibram sole provides better arch support, which made my hike easier although I was carrying a 25-lb. backpack.
Adding the wide toe box and the Merrell Air Cushion technology in the heel that absorbed shocks, I can only say that these shoes were the ideal choice for exploring the Cracker Lake trail.
This footwear combines suede with breathable mesh sections, so in theory, it offers great ventilation in any type of weather.
But since this is a waterproof model, it traps more heat inside than its non-waterproof version, so things can get sweaty on hot days.
From my experience, it’s best to choose this version for spring and autumn hikes and go with the classical non-waterproof hiking shoe in the summer.
Weighing 15.97oz per shoe, this product falls on the heavier side of the hiking footwear spectrum.
For some users, this can be a downside, especially as more lightweight men’s or women’s hiking footwear is making its way up on the market, but the Moab 3 has the advantage of comfort, which is much more important when you are heading on a difficult trail.
Since I prefer a more traditional approach to hiking boots, I was happy to trade some of the lightness for a more robust feel and reliable padding, although this shoe did feel a bit clunkier than a trail running shoe.
When it comes to waterproofing, you can go either for the Merrell in-house developed membrane or pay more for the Gore-Tex lining version.
Our tests revealed that both models perform well when dunked into water, with no leaks or other issues. However, the suede and mesh can get soaked if you don’t move fast and may take a while to dry.
If this feature is something you look into, please check our guide where we compared the best waterproof hiking boots on the market.
It is equipped with a removable contoured footbed and comes with reinforced heel cushioning, so overall it offers medium support, being a good choice both for everyday walks and more challenging hikes.
The nylon shank that is molded into the midsole offers extra support for users with high arches who can now walk more without experiencing foot fatigue.
What I appreciated the most about these shoes was the generous outsole width, which helped me stay balanced as I approached a series of extremely narrow portions of the path.
8. Fit and Sizing
The shoe provides a sock-like fit out of the box, conforming to the foot’s shape due to the plush cushioning inside.
To accommodate my feet, which have always had trouble fitting into regular hiking boots, I opted for the wide-width version, which offered my toes enough room to move freely.
Although the heel cups were slightly too wide, I was able to achieve a good fit by tightening my laces.
We’ve also included its mid-ankle-cut version as one of the best boots for wide feet in 2023.
What Are the Differences Between It and the Previous Version?
While preserving the same high standard in the upper material as the Merrell Moab 2, the third generation of hiking shoes produced by the company comes with a better sole with higher torsional rigidity and deeper lugs, biting better into uneven terrain.
The Moab 3 has a higher toe drop of 11.5 mm (the Moab 2 was already tall at 11 mm), which makes it more efficient in preventing blisters and, just like the previous version, it comes with good toe protection and two width versions that can fit both narrow feet and average-width feet.
What’s also new with the latest iteration are the recycled materials used for the webbing loops and laces. Moreover, the new version offers better foot protection for most trail runners with the more supportive nylon arch shank in the heels.
Learn more about the previous version by checking our Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof review.
How Does it Compare with Other Products?
1. KEEN Targhee Vent Low Breathable Hiking Shoe
The KEEN Men’s Targhee Vent hiking shoe offers a water-resistant oiled nubuck leather upper that alternates with mesh portions.
Nubuck is slightly more durable than pig suede and has better water resistance, so if you are crossing a creek, you have lower chances of getting your feet wet.
However, nubuck leather is also more difficult to maintain, so for regular day hiking, the Moab 3s make a better purchase.
The Keen model is more breathable and has a wider toe box, so you will enjoy it better in hot weather. But, if you are looking for a good grip on steep trails, you will find the high-quality Vibram outsole provided by Merrell to be more reliable.
2. Oboz Sawtooth X Low Hiking Shoe
The Oboz Sawtooth X Low Hiking Shoe offers excellent support and stability, making it a great option for more challenging hikes.
It features a durable and protective nubuck leather and abrasion-resistant mesh construction, as well as a high-density EVA midsole for cushioning and support.
However, the Oboz shoe may not be as well-ventilated as the Moab 3, and some trail runners may find it less comfortable for casual wear.
While both shoes have high-traction outsoles, the third Moab version has deeper lugs and may provide a slightly better grip on rough terrain and more comfort on longer distances, especially when wearing a heavy pack.
3. Salomon Outpulse Gore-tex Hiking Shoe
Compared to the traditional look of Moab’s third version, the Salomon Men’s OUTPULSE shoe has a more modern look with a synthetic upper and welded overlays.
This option looks more like regular running shoes than a pair of bulky boots and is lighter, with less cushioning.
The Outpulse hiking shoe also has a Gore-Tex membrane, so it is slightly more efficient in preventing leaks than the Moab 3s.
However, it cannot compete with Moab 3 when it comes to comfort, as the thick outsole of the latter, combined with its wide heel cup and Eva foam midsole, is far more reliable for long hikes.
Where Does Merrell Moab 3 Perform Better?
After trying out this hiking boot, we found that it is a versatile hiking shoe that can be used for a variety of activities, such as day hikes, backpacking trips, and even everyday walking.
The molded nylon arch shank and heel air cushion ensure stability and support, which can be helpful on uneven terrain. Moreover, these boots provide an excellent grip on wet areas, so you can confidently cross creeks and large portions of granite and wet grass in them.
With a high-quality leather-mesh upper and abrasion-resistant toe box and heels, this shoe is also an excellent choice for hikers and backpackers who expect long-term durability.
Where Does the Merrell Merrell Moab 3 Fall Short in Performance?
Like other models that include a waterproof membrane, these boots can cause your feet to sweat if you are heading out on a summer day. The cushioning works well to absorb shocks, but many hikers reported that it also adds extra weight, making the boot feel heavier.
The low-cut version of the Moab 3 is also less supportive for the ankles than the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof, although I didn’t experience any ankle rolls during my expedition.
Lastly, the insoles are not the best on the market, but they did all right during the tests and don’t irremediably affect the comfort feel offered by the boots.
We want to show you what people have written about Merrell Moab 3 hiking shoes even though we rely on client feedback and our testing procedures.
Do We Recommend It?
The shoes felt super comfortable and offered good ankle support during descents, with the cushioning bracing my foot and the high heel preventing it from sliding and rubbing.
My experience with the Moab 3 on the trails of Cracker Lake was excellent.
Although heavier than the shoes I was accustomed to, this pair was more stable, and the wide-toe box protected my feet better when I started hitting all the rocks in my way.
Overall, this Merrell is a great shoe that offers all-day comfort and is suitable for walking and hiking.
Yes, the Merrell Moab 3 is waterproof. The watertight membrane is integrated into the shoe’s upper, protecting against leaks. This means that the shoe is designed to keep your feet dry in wet and rainy conditions, while still allowing moisture to escape to prevent your feet from getting too hot and sweaty.
The Merrell Moab 3 weighs 2.36 pounds per pair in size 11 US. This is an average weight for a hiking shoe that comes with a suede upper and waterproof lining but can seem chunky compared to more modern hiking shoes designed to look more like trail running shoes.