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I have the Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes and the Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes and it's not sure to me how I can tell them apart at a glance.

They're very different kinds of shoes. The Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes are not waterproof. I got them because they're recommended when you might be wading in water. As I understand it they're supposed dry out faster because they're supposed to be breathable or some such.

The Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes, in contrast, are waterproof. So if I'm going hiking in area with lots of puddles and rain those are the shoes I'd want to wear. Waterproofness doesn't really apply when they're being completely submerged.

The problem is that they look the same to me. Are there any visual cues I could look for to distinguish one from the other?

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  • Are they the same colour so this will be repeat problem or is it a case of tell them apart once only?
    – Willeke
    Mar 27, 2023 at 15:24
  • @Willeke - they're the same color
    – neubert
    Mar 27, 2023 at 16:30

3 Answers 3

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Looking at REI at the Moab 2 Waterproof, one sees that it has a little tab showing a tag with "Dry" on it:

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Similarly, the Moab 3 Waterproof (also REI) has a tag saying "Waterproof":

enter image description here

I will note that my Moab 2 Waterproof pair from late 2021 has this same tag, so the exact tag may depend on the year or lot.

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    I see that tab on the waterproof shoes but not the Moab 2 Vents. None-the-less, since one has it and the other doesn't, that's a clue I can work with - thanks!
    – neubert
    Mar 27, 2023 at 16:31
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If you do have the time to test them I guess that it will be possible to tell them apart with dunking them in a tub of water. I would keep the top of the boot higher than the level of the water in the test.

Once you have worked out which is which you can/should mark them.
This can be by different coloured laces or by a label which you keep tied to the boots when not in use. Or by writing with waterproof marker, on the inside or sole.

As I am not familiar with the boots I can not help you with how to tell them apart without a test.

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    If you need to test, I'd go the other way: put them in a sink and fill with water. One is designed to drain out, but the other isn't. Then pick your favourite lace colour. Another marking option (even the best permanent pens are only so tough) would be a couple of stitches of coloured thread right at the top of the tongue where it won't rub or cause a leak. +1
    – Chris H
    Mar 27, 2023 at 15:51
  • Filling the inside of the waterproof ones with water you will have a very wet boot which does not dry quick. I would not fill the waterproof ones shortly before a trip where I expect to use it. But I have to agree that it is the better way if you are pretty sure your boot has the time to dry before you use it. (But reading the label, see the other answer, is better.)
    – Willeke
    Mar 27, 2023 at 16:58
  • I have a home made cool air boot drier which dries my cycling shoes overnight, so at home I don't worry too much. But the main thing is to mark them in some easy to spot way
    – Chris H
    Mar 27, 2023 at 20:10
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The waterproof Moabs are like the fortress - they'll keep your feet dry. Look for a little tag or symbol that mentions "waterproof" on the shoe itself. If not, feel the material - the Vent version will have a lighter, more breathable mesh, while the waterproof one will feel sturdier and less airy. Happy hiking!

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  • until water drips along your calf right down inside your shoes, at which point they will be wet for days.
    – njzk2
    Apr 16 at 17:02

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