I have a HUGE thing for hiking. I’ve been to Yosemite, Zion, all the good places, but I’ve always had a problem with my boots. They don’t have a good grip; some were way too expensive for the inferior quality, all the usual things. One problem, though, stuck out in particular:
My soles keep wearing out all the time! This one time, the soles literally got damaged when I was in the middle of Yosemite. I had to wear slippers for an entire day!
Anyway, I was looking up a new pair of boots for me yesterday, and I saw these:
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot
- Merrell Moab 2 MID Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot
These come from Merrell, which I think makes boots that are just as good for the 4 AM jog as they are for hiking on the somewhat rocky slope. I’m seeing good reviews, but they aren’t 100% waterproof if I believe what people say. On the other hand, these boots are very, very affordable.
I also found these:
- Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot
- Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot
- Oboz Firebrand II Low Leather Hiking Shoe
Oboz made these. I’ve tried out Oboz before, and I know for a fact they make good products great for walking on loose rock and dirt. The pair I owned, Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot – Men’s, had incredible ankle support and overall quality and had amazing durability.
Like, slap-me-upside expensive.
(If you haven’t guessed from the fact that I did a review about it) I had a hard time choosing between those. Merrell is reasonably good at everything, which means I can wear their frankly beautiful boots anywhere. Merrell’s the superior choice for hiking, but they’re also more expensive, and who likes spending money?
Oboz vs Merrell: A Quick Brand Review
You might be a little conflicted trying to choose between the six pairs I’m reviewing here, so tell you what? Let’s make this a little simpler.
Below, I’ll tell you what I thought of two of the most highly-rated boots from the Oboz vs Merrell argument: Oboz Men’s Firebrand II Low Leather Hiking Shoe on the Oboz side and the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot representing Merrell in several different factors, like comfort, support, and value for your money.
Outsoles: Even on Both Sides
Merrell uses outsoles from Vibram, a company famous for its traction and grip. That gives them a clear competitive advantage here, but the outsoles are synthetic material and honestly quite thin.
They’re great for walks, jogs, and light treks, but I wouldn’t use them on a rocky Arizona trail. Oboz, on the other hand, features thick Sawtooth outsoles perfect for day-long outings and has quite a good grip on rocky roads.
Durability: Oboz Wins This One
Merrells falls behind when it comes to the question of durability. You can expect the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot to wear out somewhere in the 500 – 900 miles range, meaning they’re not really all that durable.
The Oboz pair, on the other hand, have excellent Sawtooth outsoles that last north of 1200 miles if treated with a bit of care, along with their comfortable and durable O-Fit insoles. Mine lasted me for three years, and that’s just amazing considering the things I step in/over/into.
Weight: Merrell’s the Lighter Pair
Weight is one of the places where Merrell shines. All of their boots are pretty lightweight and are a breeze to wear on your feet. Combine that with their signature breathability, and you have the perfect pair of hiking boots for people who feel suffocated in regular hiking boots.
The downside to the comfort provided by the Oboz O-Fit Insole is the weight of the boots, which are usually a little heavier than most brands.
I don’t recommend them for people who want to keep their feet limber or for people with disorders that affect their leg muscles.
Oboz Product Review
Okay, you’re probably expecting an unbiased review with words like “fair,” “reasonable,” and “in comparison to,” but I’m going to be straight with you. Oboz is widely known as one of the best companies to look up if you want the best hiking shoes.
They’re not the lightest footwear you can find, that’s for sure, but their padded, comfortable, snug, beautiful boots aren’t made for speed. They’re made for comfort!
The Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot might be the singularly most famous pair of hiking boots on this list, and I’m not surprised.
They’re made of 100% leather, luxurious by anybody’s standards, and feature a rubber sole that has an excellent grip.
It’s got all of Oboz’s usual bells and whistles, but what I loved about these boots were the midsoles. They’re a firm EVA that doesn’t compress too quickly, and according to their official website, has shots of PU and PVU, which keep your feet from feeling the rocks.
Okay, so, first of all, the Sawtooth II Mid has an EVA sole. That’s sometimes a bad thing, but Oboz pulled it off perfectly with a combination of their O-Fit Insole and Sawtooth Midsole and Outsole.
The upper is a durable nubuck leather that is highly waterproof in most environments, so you won’t have to put sealant on the shoe for at least a year.
The best part of this shoe is that, unlike many Oboz boots, the price is very fair. The shoes will last you at least a year if used properly, and when they get damaged, I’d say order another pair instead of repairing yours.
Get this. Like, seriously, if you’re looking for a pair of Oboz boots, you won’t find a better choice than this. The Men’s Firebrand II Low is as perfect for hiking as they are for workplaces and don’t even suffocate your feet as some Oboz boots do.
The pair I owned (and I sure hope the quality hasn’t changed) was an excellent set of rugged boots that performed well on the trail. These boots are comfortable, ventilated, and provide great support.
Like the Bridger Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot, you won’t feel sharp rocks with this pair, and you also get a wider toe box to let your toes breathe.
Merrell Product Review
I spoke to a couple of people that used the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid boots before, and by all accounts, this pair can give some of the Oboz boots a challenge in terms of durability. Five people said they lasted upwards of a thousand miles, which is… wow.
They use the Vibram TV5+ rubber soles, which come very highly rated. I haven’t worn one of these on the trail yet, but the pair I checked out looked like it would have an incredible grip on wet or steep surfaces.
In a pleasant little surprise, this pair features Gore-Tex Waterproof, which is premium grade as far as I’m concerned.
The laces, though, fall behind a little in quality. They’ll still last a couple of months but might need changing before long.
If you thought being waterproof was the only thing different about the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, think again. These boots are definitely what I recommend for urban or casual use, as they can withstand light water like rain and stuff without problems.
From what I saw, they’re way more comfortable and are ventilated. A specific thing they do much better is the support: the synthetic sole is excellent at keeping your ankle comfortable during long walks.
You will see problems if you try crossing streams or wading through rivers with these boots, but I hope you don’t go wading through rivers daily.
The Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Mid is the best pair of Merrell boots I checked out: they combine great affordability, excellent performance, and stylish performance in one compact, breathable package.
The boots are made of suede leather and mesh lining, which are well-ventilated according to Merrell standards.
The first thing you’ll notice when taking this out-of-box is their snazzy look, and if that isn’t enough to hook you, you’ll love both the breathable mesh lining and the removable insole for greater customization.
The tongue is made of closed-cell foam that protects your ankle while keeping out water and debris. There’s also an air cushion in the back that provides that extra bit of stability on rocky slopes.
Q. Are Oboz Boots Made in the US?
I’m afraid not. Oboz manufactures their world-famous boots from two factories located in urban Vietnam.
Q. Can You Use Merrell Boots for Walking?
Yes! I’m gushing about Oboz, but Merrell has certainly earned their place in the spotlight. I recommend the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot, which both avid hikers and exercise nuts swear by because they take maybe a day or two to break in and keep your feet well-ventilated.
Q. Which is the Most Comfortable Pair of Merrell Boots?
This is a tough one. Merrell makes good boots overall, but I’d say the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof if I had to pick. It’s part of their ‘Mother of All Boots (MOAB)’ series, and it seems to have a huge following online.
Q. How Long Can You Expect Merrell Moab Boots to Last?
The pair I tried out, the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot, was much better than most of the reviews I saw online said it would be. You can expect these affordable boots to hold up for way more than 500 miles (around 600 realistically?), and they come with a 60-day guarantee.
Q. How’s the Arch Support on Oboz Shoes?
Delightful, heavenly, and every other over-the-top word you can think of. Their patented insole design, the O-fit insole, provides maximum stability and support. It’s a medium arch that uses a deep-cushioning heel cup for the best comfort.
Q. How Do You Break In A Pair of Oboz Boots?
Decided to go for a pair of comfortable Oboz boots? The first thing to remember about breaking these boots in is that you should go steady. I’d say wear them around the house or take a walk around the block wearing them. Don’t hit the trail just yet, but a somewhat steady hill should be fine.
Q. Are Merrell Moab Boots Waterproof?
I don’t want to be one of those people, but… it depends. Moab series boots come with a layer of sufficient sealant, and you can wear them outside in the rain. I wouldn’t recommend them for fording streams, though, since they do also get significantly weighed down.
I decided I’d never find the perfect pair of boots if I wanted it to be the best in every category. That’s why I chose one problem that I could solve with the Oboz vs Merrell argument: finding boots with high-quality soles.
The winner wasn’t too hard to pick once I had decided on what I was judging it by: The Oboz Men’s Firebrand II Low Leather Hiking Shoe!
These all-leather boots come with an O-Fit rubber sole, and unlike other rubber sole boots, they don’t wear out in the first couple hundred miles. Hundreds of people say that the soles are thick enough for the wearer not to feel the rocks, and I know I’ll be grateful when my feet don’t feel like they’ve been put through a grinder.
And honestly? They look cool, and they’re cheaper than the other Oboz boots. I recommend going for these if you’re looking for a long-lasting, well-performing pair of boots that will give your feet the comfort they so desperately want on those long rocky roads.