Merrell MOAB 3 Mid

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid hiking boot made its way to our review section this week as we were able to get a pair on sale. The Merrell Moab was first released in 2007 and since then it became one of the most popular models on the market due to its innovative mid-cut design that delivers a remarkable balance between stability and comfort. This model is the brand’s best selling hiker with more than 25 million pairs sold to date. The Merrell Moab 3 Mid is a testament to the enduring success of the line, and continues to exemplify the brand’s commitment to quality and performance. They are crafted for the rigors of rough, uneven terrains and challenging trails, and manage to deliver exceptional comfort during long, strenuous walks. They are made for those who like traditional boots but also for the novice hiker. They are good alternative to the Timberland White Ledge, Mt. Maddsen or Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II

The Merrell Moab is available in a low version as well as the mid top, with the first one being a hiking shoe while the second is more of a traditional hiking boot. The latter comes in a few versions as well, including a waterproof and a Gore Tex one. It was a pair of Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof that we got this November in the olive and gum colorway, one of the several available. At a first look I was impressed with the craftsmanship of these boots and how soft they felt to the touch. Size 12 I weighed just over 16 oz which is not too bad for a mid hiking boot. They felt super comfortable from the get go with no need to break them in. 

Moab 2 vs Moab 3 

The Merrell Moab 3 boasts significant enhancements over its predecessor, the Moab 2. Featuring redesigned uppers with smaller mesh panels and more robust pigskin suede leather, the Moab 3 prioritizes durability. A waterproof Gore-Tex liner elevates protective capabilities, while sustainable practices, including recycled materials, align with eco-friendly trends. Beyond aesthetics, the Moab 3 offers heightened cushioning and shock absorption, catering to those with larger frames. Improvements include a Vibram TC5+ outsole for superior traction and a shift from suede to leather for extended durability. Merrell’s commitment to sustainability extends to recyclable materials and a partnership with Unlikely Hikers, making the Moab 3 a technically advanced and eco-conscious choice for avid hikers.

Merrell MOAB 3 Mid Review 2

How They Fit 

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid fit true to size, with an ample toe box. The brand also offers wide sizes which makes them even better for those who need the extra room. The accommodating fit, wide toe box, and plush padded ankle collar eliminate the need for a break-in period – you can lace them up and embark on your adventure right away.I took these for a short hiking trip in Wisconsin this fall and they felt super comfortable from the get go and throughout the day.

Merrell MOAB 3 Mid brown 3

Merrell MOAB 3 Mid brown 5


The version we got in features a mix of soft suede and mesh upper with an in house made waperfroof membrane. I tested them for this Merrell Moab 3 Mid review in wet grass and on a muddy terrain and overall they kept our feet dry but when we submerged them in water the suede got wet and some of the moisture could be felt inside the shoes. The suede was also slow to dry up afterwards. Many have complained about these not being waterproof but given the few versions these come in likely many got confused. The regular pair which retails for $120 is not waterproof at all but it excels in breathability compared to the others. If you anticipate wearing these mostly in wet conditions then the Gore-Tex would be the best way to go and paying extra is well worth it.  

While the waterproof versions tend to be warmer, the Moab 3 Mid strikes a balance by integrating breathable mesh lining throughout the upper, offering increased air circulation. The boots’ warmth, combined with their breathability, positions them as suitable for various conditions, transitioning seamlessly from summer hikes to fall and early winter adventures. The versatility extends to their potential use in light snowy conditions, making them a reliable choice for those who seek a dependable, year-round hiking companion.

Overall, the Merrell Moab 3 Mid’s upper construction showcases a thoughtful blend of materials designed for both comfort and performance. The mid-height design enhances ankle support on rugged trails, providing an extra layer of stability. 

Crafted with sustainability in mind, the Moab 3 Mid incorporates 100% recycled laces, webbing, and mesh lining, marking a significant step towards eco-friendliness. The upper, available in suede and mesh or pigskin leather and mesh (with vegan options), maintains an airy build, strategically placing open-weave mesh panels to maximize airflow on hot days. This thoughtful design contributes to an overall comfortable and breathable experience, even during challenging hikes.

The lacing system of the Moab 3 Mid is reliable and secure, contributing to a fit that should satisfy most hikers. The roomy heel and toe box ensure comfort without sacrificing support or leading to a sloppy fit. 

Merrell Moab 3 mid Waterproof vs Gore-Tex

Choosing between the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof and the Gore-Tex version involves a trade-off between waterproofing and breathability. The Gore-Tex option excels in keeping feet cool, dry, and comfortable due to advanced features like laminated membranes and waterproof sealing. While more expensive, Gore-Tex shoes offer enhanced durability and longer-lasting water-resistant properties compared to basic waterproof alternatives. The challenge lies in balancing waterproofing with breathability, where Gore-Tex is a leader. While both versions provide effective waterproofing, the Waterproof model may sacrifice some breathability inherent in its design. The overall comparison suggests that the Moab 3 Gore-Tex is superior in waterproofing, while the standard Moab 3 emphasizes breathability, and the Waterproof version falls in between. Ultimately, the choice depends on individual preferences, needs, and budget considerations.

Merrell MOAB 3 Mid brown 4

Merrell MOAB 3 Mid brown 2

Sole Unit 

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid sets itself apart with a well-crafted sole designed to deliver optimal performance, support, and traction on diverse terrains. Anchored by the Kinetic Fit™ Advanced footbed, the midsole contours to the foot, ensuring a comfortable stride from the get-go. This footbed, coupled with the Merrell Air Cushion technology, provides solid yet responsive cushioning, striking a balance between protection and connection to the ground beneath.

The star of the show is the Vibram TC5+ outsole, recognized as best-in-class for its outstanding traction on any terrain and in any condition. With a 5mm lug pattern, the sole offers stability and grip on smooth trails and rock slabs. The shallow and spread-out lug design excels on even surfaces but may clog in muddy conditions, making them less suitable for off-the-beaten-path adventures. This was the case for me when testing these off road in Chicago when I first got them and before writing my review. 

The midsole’s 11.5mm heel-to-toe drop and stack height of 20.5mm (toe) to 31.7mm (heel) contribute to a stable and secure ride. The boots strike a balance between agility and responsiveness, ensuring a firm connection with the ground while navigating slippery shale and rocky inclines. The Merrell Air Cushion in the heel provides ample shock absorption, enhancing the boots’ suitability for day hiking and backpacking.

The construction of the Moab 3 Mid’s sole includes a molded nylon arch support and the unique Super Rebound Compound, creating a stable mid-foot structure. This combination effectively supports the foot, bridges weight, and minimizes fatigue even after extended wear. The mid-top design, coupled with the ankle collar just below the ankle, offers additional protection without sacrificing articulation.

In terms of durability, the Vibram rubber compound and rugged construction make the Moab 3 Mid a reliable choice for various conditions. For this review we only tried them on for about a week but you can tell that they are made to last in rough conditions. While the boots may need a few miles to maximize their grip, the outsole’s notable improvement over previous Moab versions enhances traction on mud, dirt, and most trail conditions. The raised rubber toe cap at the front adds an extra layer of protection against impacts, complementing the reinforcements along the side of the toes.

Bottom Line 

All in all, to wrap up our review, the Merrell Moab 3 Mid stands out as an accessible and versatile option, proving its worth as an everyday hiker. Its well-priced nature, coupled with solid out-of-the-box comfort and performance, positions the Moab 3 Mid as a worthy successor to its renowned predecessors.

Whether for hiking, backpacking, or casual walks, the Moab 3’s breathable mesh upper makes it a reliable choice for various terrains, from paved walkways to rugged trails.Their versatility expands in many other areas from every day boots to wear while doing work outdoors to roofing and construction. Despite being slightly heavier than some models, the trade-off is justified by the supportive midsole and durable materials, making it an excellent choice for backpacking newcomers or seasoned adventurers. In conclusion, the Merrell Moab 3 Mid remains a top choice in the hiking boot market, evolving with each edition to cater to a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts.