Good, solid hooves for hikers who want to take on proper trails without wearing clunky, chunky ankle-covering boots.
Excellent foot protection
Some recycled materials
Run warm in hot weather
Pig leather suede not suitable for some people
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Merrell Moab 3 Gore-Tex: first impressions
Merrell Moab 3 Gore-Tex hiking shoes are essentially a low-cut version of Merrell’s perennially popular, high-performing boots of the same name. The ankle protection a “mid” boot provides is ideal when you’re carting a heavy pack across technical terrain, but for the vast majority of the time, when you’re walking on well-formed trails and travelling fairly light, hiking shoes are perfectly fine, especially when they’re as robust and well-designed as these ones.
• RRP: $155 (US) / £120 (UK)
• Gender specificity: Men’s and women’s versions available
• Materials: Pig suede leather and breathable mesh upper; Gore-Tex membrane; nylon arch shank; Vibram TC5+ outsole
• Weight (per shoe): Men’s (size 11): 488g / 1lb 1oz; Women’s: 370g / 13oz
• Colors: Men’s: Beluga / Black & Gray / Granite & Poseidon / Navy / Olive / Pecan; Women’s: Sedona Sage / Aluminum / Altitude / Black / Laurel / Olive
• Compatibility: Day hiking, hut-hut trekking, fastpacking
We’ve been around long enough to remember when they were first born, and it was all fields around here, but unbelievably the Moab 3 Gore-Tex shoes are now into their third generation, and with each new iteration the American brand has made subtle but effective evolutionary changes.
The upper is made with pig suede, combined with a lighter weight mesh (recycled), which is all backed by a breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex membrane. There is a substantial midsole, with lots of cushioning, and the Vibram outsole is very well designed, with sizeable 5mm lugs.
Like the mesh, the webbing and laces are made from recycled materials, but the most environmentally friendly thing about these very robust shoes is that they’ll likely last you for many years.
Merrell Moab 3 Gore-Tex: on the trails
I’ve been putting these Merrell Moab 3 Gore-Tex shoes through their paces on sections of the rollercoaster South West Coast Path, in the Mendip Hills and on parts of the South Downs. Conditions have been pretty dry, but on the few rainy days we’ve had, the shoes have coped well with wet tree roots and mud, maintaining their excellent grip and not collecting too much heavy muck between the lugs.
The first thing to say is that the Moab 3s are extremely comfortable, straight out the box. There is no need for any breaking in whatsoever. The Gore-Tex membrane is expertly incorporated into the upper of the shoe, as you would expect from Merrell, supplying breathable protection against the ingress of water when crossing shallow streams or walking through wet grass. It has been exceptionally hot, however, and there’s no denying that these large and relatively heavy shoes do run on the warm side.
There is plenty of suspension and some rebound in the midsole, especially in the heel, which boasts an air cushion. This is something I appreciated during longer days on the trails, especially with the terrain being particularly dry and hard, with baked-in corrugations.
Overall, the foot protection is excellent, with the outsole providing an all-round bumper, bolstered by a large toecap, and the bellows tongue keeps trail debris out (which, again, proved very useful on the dusty, dry trails I’ve been hiking on).
Combining comfort, protection, durability and performance, Merrell Moab 3 Gore-Tex walking shoes are an excellent choice for day hiking in a wide range of conditions and across a variety of terrain types.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.