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  1. #1

    Default Merrell Moab alternatives

    I have worn Merrell Moab Ventilators for years. They are comfortable and never give me blisters. The problem is that the Vibram soles are dangerously slick and they always have been. After nearly breaking my arm on a rainy backpacking trip, I've had enough. Tennis shoes would provide better grip than the Moabs. Can anyone suggest alternative shoes that are similar, but with better traction? I am a size 14 and don't have the ability to try on a lot of different shoes at local outfitters. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I had a pair of Merrill's (not Ventilator) with the slick Vibram sole, I ended up calling them my slippers - till one day I realized that it was too much of a risk to use them on trail and retired them to everyday service till they were gone. Really I never understood why the love for Vibram, it seemed like a step backwards to the soles I had before that. But anyway as a alternative it's going to depend on your feet and you will just need to try different ones. Good luck

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    I have worn Oboz Sawtooth low hiking shoes for years now, on trail, on daily walks, going to the grocery store, working in the yard, remodeling, just about all the time. After a number of previous failures, I tried them because of the advertised wide toe box and very grippy sole. I added Superfeet pink insoles. Never a blister or an ache, and never a slip, even on wet, slick floors (although wet leaves are a different matter. Not sure any shoe or boot would help with them). The only failure I've had is with a seven year old pair that started losing grip and then pieces of the soles after a long stint of tracking through high voc house paint. The other seven year old pair is fine. I know, not trail runners, super light, or high tech, but they work great for me.

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    I had moab years ago. Then switched to Keen. They were good but had trouble with the multi piece sole coming unglued. Then switched to Oboz. On my second pair. All are low top, non waterproof, ventilated hiking shoes

  5. #5

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    If you find them comfortable, find a shoe with a similar drop. I currently use both the Moab and Brooks Cascadia 14s depending on where and when I'm hiking. The moab provide better protection and hold up better though the added ventalation of the Cascadias is more welcome in the hotter part of the year/ Soles don't have as many issues out west, but on parts of the AT on the other hand...

  6. #6

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    I've used MOAB Ventilators, non-waterproof, low cut, for about 15 years. Great shoes. I am now trying some MOAB Edge 2. I'm liking them!

    But the OP issue is the soles and I suspect these are about the same as the Ventilators.
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  7. #7

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    Thanks everyone for the input so far. The Oboz Sawtooth looks like a similar shoe. If it has better traction, I may give that a shot. Hard to move on from a shoe that fits so well, but sliding around for 30 miles in the Moabs recently was enough for me.

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    Not much worse than complete loss of traction, very dangerous. I'm going to play Devils Advocate here and say it might not have been the shoes, any shoe might have slipped. I find the Vibram soles (including Merrill which I own but dont wear often) to be pretty darn good. But I think it's subjective. Unless you have two pairs of shoes to try in the same exact conditions, it's hard to say one would outperform the other. There are just some mossy rocks that no shoe will grip and give complete confidence.

  9. #9
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    On my 4 year AT hike, I wore Moabs three of those four years, and I slipped and fell six times, and nearly fell many other times.

    On my fourth year I wore Altra Lone Peaks from Vermont to Katahdin, and never fell once, and slipped very few times.

    The softer soles definitely make a difference.


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  10. #10

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    FWIW, I had similar traction issues with my Merrill Moab hiking shoes. Though they worked ok on what I consider average or general hiking trails overall, damp to wet surfaces seem to challenge their grip. I got a pair of Oboz Sawtooth's and found them to be a lot more sure footed in more rugged terrain and wet conditions. Hard to say if the Vibram material or lug/tread pattern on the Moabs causing slippery mischief. The Oboz has different sole material and lug/tread pattern that do seem to have a better grip. I think the Oboz are wearing a little faster than the Merrills with Vibram soles, but I will trade a few miles of wear for added confidence.

  11. #11
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    I might as well throw my 2cents in as I had the exact same experience with the merrills, they worked fine when I first started hiking but the more I got out there and more experience I also came to the conclusion way to slick. So I went trail runners 0- drop Altras, for a few years now I'm using the Altra temps same 0-drop but more cushion. Great traction super sticky to the rocks and roots and do very well under wet conditions. I looking at the hoka speedgoat I think there called they use 3 layers of Kevlar super tuff , super light, breathable. This is all 3 season of course.

  12. #12

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    After a year with my MOABs, I went to a local shoe repair and had Vibram Lug soles put on. Repair guy sanded down the old and glued the lugs.
    Never had a problem. They looked like brand new boots when I got them back.

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