The Merrell MOAB collection: legendary footwear


June 2, 2023


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Moab Collection of Merrell

The name “MOAB” is often mentioned amongst hiking enthusiasts, and it’s not hard to see why: it is the best-selling hiking footwear in the world. The “Mother Of All Boots” (which is what the acronym MOAB stands for) has been around for a long time and is still going strong today, even in the face of fierce competition.

Versatile, durable and extremely comfortable, Merrell‘s MOAB collection is a sound choice no matter how hard you hike. Here, we take a look at how these iconic models have shaped the past few decades and why they are great options for your next adventures on the trails.  

In this article, you will discover how the Merrell MOAB collection came to be so legendary:

  1. Merrell: closely tied to the history of hiking boots
  2. Merrell’s MOAB hiking footwear collection
  3. What makes the Merrell MOAB collection stand out?
  4. Merrell MOAB 2 vs. MOAB 3: What are the differences?
  5. Merrell MOAB: style on the trails and in the city
  6. FAQ

Merrell: closely tied to the history of hiking boots


Hiking boots and shoes have always been part of Merrell‘s DNA. The company was founded in 1981 by Randy Merrell, a skilled boot maker, and two former Rossignol employees. Their goal was simple – to design a versatile and accessible hiking boot that could be enjoyed by all.

For more than four decades, Merrell has equipped both novice and seasoned hikers, all with the same idea of creating hiking boots for everyone. The American brand has sold tens of millions of its hiking boots and shoes, including the iconic MOAB models, earning its place as one of the top leaders in the industry.

Merrell never stops innovating to provide ever more functional, high-performance, and versatile models. The brand invests significantly in research and development and collaborates with reputable ambassadors while maintaining a strong focus on durability. As a result, Merrell hiking boots have a reputation for withstanding the test of time, with many hikers keeping their pair for years.

Merrell’s MOAB hiking footwear collection


Moab3 of Merrell

Merrell’s MOAB 2 and MOAB 3 hiking boots and shoes need no introduction. First developed in 1982, in the brand’s early days, they have evolved and improved significantly over the years, eventually becoming references in the outdoor world. Today, several versions are available that can be used for hiking, as well as for running and everyday life. There are waterproof versions of the MOAB, for example, ideally suited for winter outings.

The “Mother Of All Boots” is meant to be super comfortable from the moment you put it on. No more having to break in a pair for dozens of kilometres before your feet feel comfortable inside. The Merrell MOAB 2 and Merrell MOAB 3 give you optimal comfort and support right out of the box. Their wider forefoot provides plenty of room for the toes, which is extra handy for long hours of walking. In both its hiking shoe and boot (or “mid”) versions, the MOAB is also focused on stability, although it remains very flexible. Merrell places great importance on the durability of its products, too, making sure you can wear your shoes for hundreds of kilometres with no deterioration in their quality.

Merrell’s MOAB collection is an excellent choice for uses that go way beyond hiking. Whether you love mountain biking, camping or backpacking, you can never go wrong with a pair of MOAB footwear.

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What makes the Merrell MOAB collection stand out?

Vibram Merrell


Merrell’s MOAB hiking boots and shoes are truly iconic, and for good reason. The MOAB 2 and 3 are comfortable, durable and versatile. Though primarily designed for hiking – with their toe box and wide forefoot – they can be used for just about any outdoor activity.

Merrell and Vibram: going the extra mile together

To create and manufacture the soles of its MOAB footwear models, Merrell partnered with Vibram, a brand with a very solid reputation in its field.

The MOAB 3 feature a Vibram TC5+ (5 mm) outsole; it performs very well in all outdoor activities, be it hiking, mountain biking, or anything else. Extensive testing of this product led to the perfect balance between grip, flexibility and durability.

With a pair of MOAB 2 or 3 on your feet, you can take on any terrain, wet or dry, without ever losing traction or grip. This makes them perfect for hiking in the rain or snow.

Merrell MOAB: contoured midsoles for maximum comfort

MOAB footwear offers strong arch support to provide you with maximum stability and (long) lasting comfort on the trails. Every model of hiking boots or shoes, high- or low-top, will give you the same high level of steadiness and support.

The Kinetic Fit™ ADVANCED contoured insoles have comfortable, reinforced heel cushioning to absorb impact. The Merrell MOAB 3 also incorporates Super Rebound Compound technology, specifically designed to reduce pressure on the foot.

The materials used for the Merrell MOAB collection

MOAB hiking boots and shoes are made from various materials, including recycled ones. Most of the models are built with a suede upper and breathable mesh. This is, in fact, one of the strong points of the Merrell MOAB 2 and 3 (non-waterproof models); they offer remarkable breathability.

Merrell MOAB waterproof boots and shoes, always with Vibram soles, also feature a waterproof membrane. This means you can get through mud, snow, puddles… and always keep your feet dry!

Merrell MOAB 2 vs. MOAB 3: What are the differences?

Moab2 of Merrell

Is there a better model between the Merrell MOAB 2 and the Merrell MOAB 3? Both are excellent choices, actually quite similar, but with some variations in their characteristics.

Materials in the Merrell MOAB 2 and MOAB 3

As far as materials are concerned, the MOAB 2 and 3 are comparable in construction: leather and mesh upper, with recycled straps, laces and mesh lining.

The outsoles differ depending on the models, but they are always Vibram, like the MOAB 3’s TC5+ outsole. Both versions also feature a rubber toe box and moulded nylon arch shank.
On the waterproof MOAB 2 and 3, there is either a Gore-Tex membrane or M-Select™ DRY technology.

Merrell MOAB 2 vs. MOAB 3: performance and durability

The Merrell MOAB 2 and MOAB 3 are excellent hiking boots and shoes, plus they are pretty affordable compared to some other models. They are a perfect option if you are new to hiking or are on a tight budget.

Both versions offer excellent cushioning and a comfortable midsole suitable for long hours of walking. Overall comfort is further improved by reinforcement inside the heel. The MOAB 3 is a bit more cushioned and supportive, but the MOAB 2 may feel slightly more dynamic. It’s up to you to decide what you like best.

The MOAB 2 and 3 are both pretty “flexible,” meaning they adapt well to the terrain; this is a great asset if you are not a fan of stiffer hiking shoes and boots. The two additionally offer excellent forefoot protection thanks to a toe cap that extends slightly to the sides.

The MOAB 2 and 3 (non-waterproof versions) are also tied in terms of breathability – a pretty impressive feature for protective hiking footwear. Last but not least, one and the other deserve a shoutout for their quick-drying properties.

Merrell MOAB 2 vs. MOAB 3: for which activities?

Merrell’s MOAB 2 and MOAB 3 footwear share the same purpose: to be the best possible shoes and boots for hiking – but also not just hiking. In fact, you can wear them for almost anything: camping, backpacking, cycling, nautical activities… Their versatility has been tested and praised by tens of millions of customers to date.

Merrell MOAB: style on the trails and in the city

The MOAB 2 and 3 are not your average hiking footwear. Through years of existence – and ever-growing popularity – they have gained iconic status, often seen being worn in locations well beyond the hiking trails.

Merrell, particularly with its MOAB collection, falls right in line with the current “Gorpcore” style phenomenon. The brand’s hiking footwear ties perfectly into this popular trend, which could be summed up as a widespread hype for outdoor clothing and accessories. A growing number of fashion enthusiasts, fans of the likes of Columbia and The North Face, are actually falling for the MOAB 2 or 3 and rocking them in their everyday life.

Merrell and Gorpcore

You can’t really overlook the Gorpcore trend these days. Basically, it’s all about bringing outdoor clothing and gear to the city streets. Named after the American term “gorp,” which stands for “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts,” this trend is currently making its way into the fashion world. Style-conscious people and fashion lovers are now turning to multi-layer clothing, colourful rainwear, and winter jackets designed initially for mountaineering. The whole point is always the same: adding an outdoorsy element, a hiking or mountaineering flair to your style by wearing durable and functional clothing.

Merrell knows that the Gorpcore trend, currently in vogue in North America and Europe, is working in its favour. This has led to collaborations with streetwear labels like the Montreal-based brand Dime. A number of Merrell’s items now have a real fashionable appeal. Such is the case of the Merrell MOAB Speed, a lightweight hybrid between a hiking boot and a multi-sport shoe.

Whether you’re just hearing about Merrell or have already bought more than one pair of MOAB footwear, the “Mother Of All Boots” is always a safe bet. These iconic boots and shoes are a staple for many hiking enthusiasts, providing comfort, support, and durability while remaining affordable. So grab your new Merrell MOAB and set out on your next adventure on the trails!

Are Merrell shoes good for hiking?

Are the waterproof MOAB 2 good for snow?

What is Gorpcore?


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