Feb 13, 2011 at 12:50 am #1269096
I'm trying to figure out my footwear for the PCT, and I've gone through a long list, and today tried on the Merrill Moab Ventilators. I wasn't so sure, but when I tried them on…wow. Wider than most, comfy toe bed, no heel slippage, Vibram outsole, lots of breathable mesh that dries easily (from what I can read…)
Anyone have any experience with these, pro or con?Feb 13, 2011 at 1:48 am #1696059
deletedFeb 13, 2011 at 1:48 am #1696060
These are generally the most comfortable hiking shoe out of the box bar none. Part of that is achieved through going really heavy on the cushioning. They have an air pocket on the inside of the foot bed than can (rarely) break, leaving a "hole" indentation in the footbed. Also, just lots of padding, which when it packs out, may not work for you. Lots of padding also means that they're slightly slower to dry than mesh shoes with less foam. They've also got a lot of seams that can and sometimes do, blow out.
I've listed the negatives that I know of. And I'll state that they're one of the best hiking shoes on the market. They're a perennial best seller. Part of that is because they seem so awesome in the store, but they also have a large number of repeat buyers. I've known people to thruhike in them too.
I've owned one pair. Not my favorite.
They also come in wides, which are pretty darn wide, and mids.Feb 13, 2011 at 1:54 am #1696063
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Feb 13, 2011 at 2:20 am #1696064
drowning in spamMember
Go ahead and get a pair and start using it for your training. You're going to use a lot of shoes to finish the PCT, so you don't need to try to whittle your list down to one model of shoes.Feb 13, 2011 at 3:35 am #1696067
I have thruhiked the whole Triple Crown and have gone through a lot of shoes.
I have also hiked with the Merrell Moab Ventilator in the beginning and really liked them then. In the last couple of years I have changed to Keens Voyager though and now prefer them a lot.
The Moab shoes' sole is not very durable and gets compacted very easily. On a thruhike Moab shoes last about 4-5 weeks, whereas I can easily get 6 weeks out of the Keens Voyager before my feet start hurting. I am on my 9th pair of Keens Voyager now….
ChristineFeb 13, 2011 at 5:40 am #1696071
Dug – I wear them because of the fit and they work well for me, but I replace the standard insoles.Feb 13, 2011 at 6:15 am #1696073
@zehnmmLocale: southern New Mexico
I have had mine for about a year and a half now and like them. I have a very high arch, which requires care in selecting and fitting my shoes. Would buy them again.Feb 13, 2011 at 8:01 am #1696095
Interesting. I'd actually consider the Moabs to be the wrong shoe for someone looking for arch support.Feb 13, 2011 at 10:21 am #1696137
I bought mine at REI and I'm taking them back. They felt great in the store, but as i began breaking them in last year i could feel pain on the top of my right toe. It got worse the more I wore them. I was very puzzled as my wife loves hers. I inspected the shoes and on the men's version the lace holders are much larger and have rivet like heads which in my case were hitting my toe joint directly where I felt the pain. I tried padding the area but it did not work.Feb 13, 2011 at 10:35 am #1696140
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I have a pair of Merrill Moab Ventilators and some other Merrill hiking shoes I purchase from the Merrill outlet near my house. They are very comfortable do have a lot of cushion because of the expanded pressure molded Eva mid sole. I wear them all the time but I have one beef about them is the Vibram out sole wear out very fast and does not grip very well when I used them for hiking only. I have retired my Merrill shoes and boots to street use now because of the Sole problems.
I use my Lowa Renegade Lo for backpacking and hiking more aggressive longer lasting Vibram out sole, leather upper,polyurethane mid sole make it a more stable shoe for me for backpacking and hiking.Feb 13, 2011 at 11:34 am #1696154
Since I will be mainly "on trail" on the PCT, will the Vibram slippery-when-wet issue be a big enough issue to nix these? And if worn mainly on dirt trails will the Vibram not devolve as fast as if on pavement?
And I agree, they were fantastic in the store straight from the box. I had average thickness socks on, not my Smartwool hikers, which will add some volume in the shoe around my feet. With the daily craziness of 15-25 mile days every day, do you former/current owners feel the inner padding will mash down in a negative way?
Also, planning on using Superfeet Blues if that makes a difference.
Appreciate the feedback from everyone, thank you.Feb 13, 2011 at 11:39 am #1696155
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I own Merrill Moab GTX Mid boots and Merrill Moab Ventilator shoes. Both are very comfortable.
I use the shoes for day hikes and the boots for backpacking. BUT, I've put heat-moldable insoles in the Moab GTX boots and never had a blister in weeks of backpacking. Couldn't say that for my former favs, Danner 453 boots.Feb 13, 2011 at 11:43 am #1696157
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
you have GOT to be one of the priemer female long trail backpackers.
NINE pairs of Keenes? Wow!
Please post your gear list hre. I'd be very interested in knowing what you carried and in what seasons/climates.
EricFeb 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm #1696173
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
On seams that wear easily, I cover them with silicone. Silicone caulking in a tube from the hardware store may work but I use Shoe Goo.Feb 13, 2011 at 2:40 pm #1696213
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
I had a pair of these, but they didn't get replaced when the time came. They're very comfortable out of the box, and that's what sold me on them initially. I was disappointed in them for trail use. Midsole is about as flexible as a pair of beat up trainers. After feeling this in my feet, I relegated them to street use and surprise day hikes. They wore pretty quickly as well. I'm a very heavy guy, so the lack of support probably wouldn't matter as much to you. I've been digging my Montrail Sabino Trail Mid GTXes and more recently a pair of New Balance 909s. I had some issues with the Sabino Trails at first, but now that I've gotten used to them I love 'em.Feb 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm #1696242
I purchased a pair of the mids as they were offered in a wide size (for some reason kind of a rarity anymore)- comfortable and I found the sole to be decently grippy (mine were purchased in 09 so maybe they are the "new" style???)
They've held up pretty well considering the the number of days they've been worn completely wet (I find that kind of hard on light trail runners)
This last year I picked up a pair of Sabino Trails as they were supposed to run wide in their normal width and I wanted to try a shoe vs a mid- the Sabino Trails fit every bit as well as the Moabs and are lighter, but they aren't as padded either- always a trade-off :)Feb 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm #1696282
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
I'll agree with you there- the Sabinos aren't as padded as the Moabs, but they are stiffer, which is what makes them better trail shoes for me. Seems easier to add a bit more cushion than to give the shoe a firmer shank. YMMV!Feb 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm #1696287
I'll take some time to check those out. Was looking at the 909's a litle, they seem pretty solid, always had good luck with that brand…
Also looked at the Merrell Refuge Pro Ventilator, but couldn't find much on it. Seems like it has the features I want, a little more expensive, but I'm ok with the small price increase…Anyone ever try the Refuge?Feb 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm #1696299
@kmyers1234Locale: Pacific Northwest
I have been using these for the past few years I'm on my second pair and can honestly say they're the most comfortable light hiking boots I've ever worn. I have extremely large feet (16's) and i find most boots to be too narrow in the toe box. I have never had issues with blisters with the moabs.
I too have found that they are a little slick on wet rocks however if you are just wary of where u are putting your steps I see no problem with them at all.
I put about 700 miles on my first pair before they blew out while surfing down a shale slope (bonehead on my part) since getting my replacements I am equally as happy. They are very durable and dry extremely fast. I sectioned hiked the PCT through Washington which lived up to its wet reputation. I found that even when they were soaked at bedtime as long as they were under cover they dried out fine by the morning (a little stenchy though i might add).
Overall a fine piece of footwear for the PCT IMO, once i get done with the whole college thing and I plan on attempting a thru-hike most likely on a pair of moabs. Hope this helps and good luck!
Happy TrailsFeb 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm #1696307
@jameslantzLocale: North Georgia
I purchased a pair of these in August 2009 & wore them on one trip which was a thru hike of the GSMNP on the AT (72 miles) over that Labor Day weekend. Mine were not the GoreTex type. They were worn with green Superfeet insoles & Smartwool PhD socks which is a combo I have used in many other trail runners ( namely GoLite & New Balance) for years without problems. The Moab Ventilators would not dry much & it seemed that the "nubuck" leather reinforcements & hindfoot padding actually retained moisture. Needless to say, I developed 3 blisters on each foot, each of which was larger than any I had ever had previously. I pretreated my feet with BodyGlide & changed socks each midday to no avail. I totally agree, as others have stated, that they are treacherous on wet rocks! I'll stick with my GoLite Comps which dry incredibly fast, are lighter, & also have a huge footbox. Also, my feet were paresthetic (numb) for 2 months after that trip in the Ventilators. Never again!Feb 14, 2011 at 4:56 am #1696453
Thanks, yeah, I guess I have done a lot of hiking. Sorry, I can't post a gear list right now as I am still travelling.
I think there is a big technological difference between the Merrell and the Keens. The problem with the Merrells is that the sole compresses much faster than with the Keens. If the rubber sole has been compressed by walking it does not provide much cushioning/padding anymore. The result is that your feet will hurt quickly.
As I have mentioned before this process takes about 4-5 weeks (800 – 1000 km) with the Merrells, whereas the Keens last about 6 weeks and longer (1000 – 1500 km).
After 2 years in Keens I have changed back to an old pair of Merrells last year on the Florida Trail – bad decision. The Florida Trail has a lot of road walking and with the Merrells my feet hurt like hell.
There is nothing wrong with the Merrells – just keep in mind that they won't last that long. You will need at least 4 pairs for the PCT. To prevent foot problems I would change shoes every months on the PCT.
I suggest you have a look at the Keens Voyager as well. They have a similar fit as the Merrells and are only a bit more expensive.
ChristineFeb 14, 2011 at 8:33 am #1696499
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
The Merril compression molded EVA mid sole is what breaks down fast it is also what makes it so cushy feeling when you first put them on. When I sold running shoes I would see and feel the same problem. In shoes like New Balance,Sacunoy, Nike that had cut slab thick Eva mid soles then most companies went to the compression molded EVA that solved the problem some what in running shoes. Lowa use a Polyurethane midsole that dose not break down as fast is more stable.
The outsole for the Merrill's Just don't wear well at all on trail or street. I don't know how it works if
Vibram licenses out lug design or rubber compounds? If it both Vibram may have different hardness of rubber compounds for out soles I think Merrill use a softer compound. That may explain why you get a sole that wears out faster than a harder rubber compound shoe.
New balance for example use to uses a eva mid sole with carbon rubber Infused in to the eva in the out sole they would wear out faster. Than a running shoe with a thin harder compound rubber out sole. That is why the average running shoe had life span of only 90 to 200 miles depending on the manufacture.
I have also had some bad results with out soles on Asolos and Adidas hiking boots that de-laminated because the glues soften in 90 degree weather at Joshua tree national forest. They started to flop around like a dogs tongues. Back about 15 years ago it was quite funny since I was near my car kind of cartoon like my hot dog feet were done.
Just remeber the only true thing about hiking shoes or running shoes is some kind of degradation over a period of time is built in to all shoes to keep the shoe companies in business.
So you will buy more, It up to you is the instant comfort a trade off worth the price for shoes that degrade faster or do you prefer a shoe that degrades slower but is less comfortable.
Here's some tips for buying shoe go shoe shopping at the end of the day when you feet are swollen up , Also take the socks you will be wearing , walk around that store and do al kinds of forward, backwards, stopping and starting, lateral movements to mimic trail use and wear them for at least 30 minutes minimum in the store before you buy them. Try all kinds of shoes on and to figure out what is best shoe for you before buying. Then you will be happy with your shoe purchase.
When you find a shoe that works buy a couple pairs because most companies changes something about each shoe in their line every year and it may not be the same shoe.
Happy shoe hunting,
TerryFeb 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm #1696588
@erdferkelLocale: S. California
I got a pair of the midtops a few years ago and they are my goto hikers. I've put a few hundred miles on them and they're still going strong, though the nubs are almost worn off of the bottom. The thin sheet insole was squashed flat almost immediately, but since I'm flat footed and like the fact that the insole is now perfectly contoured to my feet I haven't replaced them.
I did Bucksking/Paria in them with lots of water crossings every day and they held up well, though they smell a little mildewy now, unlike my keens that delaminated after not much use and only a few stream crossings. They worked well in the Sierra, nice and grippy on rock.Feb 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm #1697149
I have the Merrell Moab Ventilator in mid-height light hiking boots, and I love them. I've had the non Gore and the Gore-Tex versions. Unlike others, I've had great experience with wet rock, wet wood and tree roots and have never had an issue with slipping. My friend in his Oboz on the other hand, can't walk down a wet boardwalk without slipping.
Love the Moabs! Will buy again and continue to do so until something else comes along that's great enough to take me.
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