Top critical review
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Good Boots but remember to STAY on Trail! Not exactly waterproof. Here is why...
on December 23, 2012
At best the are good for first year hikers that only hike in fair sunny weather and hike on trail.
I get why this is the most reviewed boots out there and perhaps the most loved Merrell boots; If you never hiked before then you will love these boots.
Beginners worry most about comfort, in regards to footwear, when starting out for the first time.
Hiking is tedious on virgin feet. Before weather conditions it is usually comfort, or rather lack thereof, that turns most beginners away. The feet comes first and if at the end of a 5 mile hike your feet are in pain then most likely you may not want to ever hike again.
With these boots easy to moderate hiking in fair weather (which is the condition that 99.999% beginners start in)is a joy. They are durable for most terrain as long as you stay on trail and don't bushwack.
The Moabs are perfect because they can make any trail seem like you are walking on carpeted pavement. The removable insoles are very soft and flexible and the outsoles are more like something you would find on sneakers than mountain boots. Hence the rave reviews for comfort. But for me the positives stop there especially when discussing the quality of the uppers.
The Moab upper is a cheap glued together construction of faux suede leather and nylon mesh that say MADE IN CHINA. My toe rand started to peel off after a few wears (which was how I saw it is glued on and the stitching tracks are for fashion) and the eyelets for the laces at the toe end somehow kept digging into my feet everytime I flexed my feet while walking uphill(I will put some pictures up).
The reason I say these are not 'exactly' waterproof is because the outer mesh fabric soaks up water like a sponge and water clings onto the boot for a duration of time until the boots dry out. So your feet inside remain dry, due to the GoreTex XCR lining, but will feel wet and cold. The cause of this effect is the breathability disappears on a soaked boot and your feet starts sweating on the inside.
This is why some folks claim their feet get wet in the Moab XCR. It is not water getting in but the outer fabric soaking and losing breathability causing your feet to sweat buckets of water inside the boots.
The Moabs are good boots for fair weather trail-only hiking and I get the idea that Merrell intended these Moabs to do just that. In that regard they will make most beginners happy for the sub $100 price. However if you want to go off trail or want to overnight, regardless of weather conditions, then look elsewhere.