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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Oboz Footwear Beartooth Boots > Test Report by Michael Mosack

OBOZ BEARTOOTH BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
March 30, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack@earthlink.net
AGE: 48
LOCATION: San Diego, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons and in various locations within the USA, to include my favorites being Yosemite and Sierra Nevadas, California. I also have worked in Afghanistan for 4 years and rely on my backpacking equipment constantly. I go lighter whenever possible. Quality and reliability of items I carry are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
IMAGE 1
Oboz Beartooth Boot image from manufacturer

Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.obozfootwear.com
MSRP: US$ 200.00
Listed Weight: 30.7 oz (870 g) for single US size 9
Measured Weight:
Left boot weighs 2 lb 6 oz (1.08 kg) for single US size 14
Right boot weighs 2 lb 5 oz (1.07 kg) for single US size 14

Other details:
Sizes available: 8-12, 13, 14
Available Colors: Midnight
Made in China

Manufacturing Code of Conduct is stated and provided on the manufacturer's website.
From the website, there is also a link to a YouTube video where "Josh", VP of product development at Oboz, explains the features of this boot.

IMAGE 2
Actual product tested

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Oboz Beartooth Boots are a medium weight backpacking boot. They are designed to be waterproof. The boots have a speed-lacing style system to make lacing up the boots quick and easy. The outsole tread is designed to provide good traction in both wet and dry conditions. The construction of my boots appears to be high quality. The stitching looks to be near perfect. The areas where the rubber connects to the body of the boot material is solidly glued and the contrasting colors are neat and go together well. This is an impressive looking boot that feels solidly built. The eyelets are securely fastened to the boot's upper and are easy to lace. The interior of the boot is comfortable and well padded. There is a convenient pull loop on the back heel portion of the boot that makes it easier to pull them on. The outsole tread has an aggressive tread pattern and appears well glued to the upper. I can not identify any weak areas on these boots.

IMAGE 3
Close up of boot


The manufacturer provides the following list of features...
Waterproof Nubuck Leather and High Abrasion Textile Upper
Oboz BDRY Waterproof/Breathable Membrane
3D Molded External Heel Counter
BFit Lacing System
Molded Rubber Toe Rand
Glove Leather Lined Heel and Tongue Top
Injection Molded Polypropylene Lasting Board
2 Park Dual Density PU Midsole
High Friction, Non-Marking Carbon Rubber Outsole
Wind River Outsole
BFit Deluxe Footbed

IMAGE 5
Close up of toe

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

I actually found no instructions whatsoever with my boots. I was initially surprised by this as usually I would normally expect to see cleaning or breaking in instructions, but not this time. I also checked the manufacturer's website and found no mention of cleaning or other instructions. I think if I were new to backpacking I would have appreciated them if provided.

TRYING IT OUT

The boots feel very solid in my hand and putting them on was simple. My feet slipped right in, they are very comfortable and lacing them was a breeze. I am a little concerned that the BFit system incorporated into the lacing is constructed of a Nylon type material webbing. There is the potential for rubbing against the laces while tying the boots up tight. I will have to watch for any degradation of the material that the friction might cause. No problems yet and so far the boots are really sweet and I can't wait to put some miles on them.

IMAGE 4
Close up of boot

SUMMARY

So far, I am impressed by these boots and they are comfortable. I noticed that according to my scale, the left boot weighs a little more than my right boot however, I can not feel this difference while wearing them. I also am looking to watch the potential for friction abrasion in the area of the BFit system where the laces slide against the Nylon type material. So far everything looks top notch with these boots and I will head outside with confidence when wearing them.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this testing phase, I have been in Nangarhar Province, located in eastern Afghanistan for the majority of the past two months. I have since spent 9 days with 2 overnight trips with 3 nights in the field with my boots during this phase.

The terrain is a harsh desert environment where temperatures have ranged from highs over 80 F (27 C) to night time lows of 25 F (-4 C). Winter is coming in quickly in Afghanistan. The weather has been mostly clear skies but occasionally there has been rain and even snow at elevation. The terrain is a mix of rocky mountains to sand and very fine dusty areas and the elevations have ranged from approximately 1700 ft (518 m) to over 6000 ft (1830 m).

IMAGE 6
They're holding up well

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

So far, I've found these boots to be very comfortable. The soles are still looking new and aren't showing any obvious signs of wearing down as yet. All of the stitching is intact and I have not had any complaints as far as the quality of construction goes to date. The boots raise me up about an inch higher than most of the other shoes I normally wear. They have a good grip on different types of rocky terrain. Although Afghanistan mainly consists of rocky terrain, as I mentioned above, I find the majority of my walking is on a variety of rock types. These include crushed rock (as pictured below), river rock, old and rough weathered/exposed rock with or without a dust layer, hard packed dirt trails and roads, and a lot of sandy areas as well. I have not yet had an opportunity to locate any grass, ice, or snow, to test the grip on as yet, but I am looking! Inclines are no problem for these boots whether walking up or down, and so far, I have enjoyed wearing my boots every step.

IMAGE 7
A repeated issue


As pictured above, I have had a reoccurring issue with the laces on my boots. They have popped loose from the BFit Lacing System (speed-lace hooks) at the top of my boots. This is a relatively minor annoyance, but it has happened 5-6 times now. Certainly I could tie them tighter, but I've already tied them as tight as I am comfortable with and still be able to stand wearing them for more than a mile. I do like my boots snug as it is, so I wouldn't want to go any tighter than I have already. I believe the issue is more to do with the style of the uppermost hook that the laces are routed around. The hooks have an angled cut or shape to them which seems to allow the laces to come off of them a little too easily and often just by walking. I think that if the angles were cut the opposite direction than they are now, or if they flared out in both directions, they might hold the laces better.

I rarely notice that my laces have popped off again until either I look down or someone mentions it. My boots, even when the laces are not tied, still feel comfortably snug on my feet and I am able to continue to walk for some distance before they work themselves loose. Regardless, I have found that my boots are quite comfortable and I haven't gotten tired of the occasional re-tying of my boots during the course of a hike.

SUMMARY

During this testing phase, I find I am enjoying my boots. I am very happy with the quality of construction. The materials, seams, and soles, are all still looking as if they are holding up very well so far. These boots are comfortable and allow my feet to breathe. I like the solid and secure feel I get while wearing these boots and have not had any issue with rolling an ankle. My step is stable and secure and I have not experienced any slippage. I have not had any blisters or even hot spots and I have only worn a single pair of either standard athletic (white) socks or my hiking socks. The BFit Deluxe Footbed is well padded and comfortable.

I am a little concerned about the laces popping out of the BFit Lacing System (speed-lacing hooks) as mentioned above and I will continue to monitor this closely and report on any future issues (both good and bad) in my Long Term Report. This concludes my Field Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this testing phase, I have been in Nangarhar Province, located in eastern Afghanistan for the entirety of the past two months. I have since spent 23 days with 5 over nights in the field with my boots during this phase.

The terrain is a harsh desert environment where temperatures have ranged from highs over 60 F (15 C) to night time lows of 32 F (0 C). Winter in Afghanistan is pretty short. The weather has been mostly clear skies but occasionally there has been rain and even snow at elevation. The terrain is a mix of rocky mountains to sand and very fine dusty areas and the elevations have ranged from approximately 1700 ft (518 m) to over 6000 ft (1830 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The boots provide a lot of ankle support and have possibly helped negate the possibility of my turning an ankle on more than one occasion. My foot feels secure and does not slide or shift once laced in even when going up or down an incline. I have only worn standard white sport type socks of mid-calf height. I have yet to wear technical hiking socks with these boots and I have never worn sock liners either.

Traction with these boots has been excellent. I have had good, secure and stable grip throughout this test series on a variety of desert type terrain. I routinely carry equipment that weighs in at around 65-100 lbs and I walk with confidence while wearing these boots.

I have found that after a long day of hiking, my feet do not get noticeably hot. I have always preferred lightweight boots and even more so, running shoes usually so going to this mid-weight boot was noticeably heavier, but also probably one of the most comfortable boots I have worn. During my winter hikes, my feet stayed dry and warm.

IMAGE 8
Navigating a mountain pass near Dar-e Noor, Afghanistan



SUMMARY

I am extremely satisfied with these boots. The laces have held up well with no signs of wear. I generally wear many different styles and types of footwear, from sandals, to running shoes to cross-trainers to military boots to technical hiking boots. I have a large foot size being 14, but it is regular width and I have a normal arch. I normally do not have foot problems and blisters while they do occur, are not a common issue for me. I have chosen to wear some sort of footwear my entire life as a preference to going barefoot so my feet are healthy, soft skin, and without calluses. Depending on my activity, I appreciate the security of the high ankle support when available, but feel quite secure hiking in running shoes.

The insoles that come with these boots are comfortable. I chose to stick with the same insoles and configuration as received from the manufacturer. I have been very pleased with the boots. I have no intention to even shop for aftermarket insoles as a result.

My feet are not very prone to sweating, even in insulated, GORE-TEX lined boots. I think there is enough ventilation that my feet do not overheat. I have not had the opportunity to push the level of waterproofing as I have just not had the ability to test that to my liking. I would gladly buy another pair when these finally wear out.

DURABILITY

The boots have held up well thus far. The soles show some minor wear, but seem to be holding up well.
The leather upper and stitching all around, has remained intact, except for some minor scuffing on each side. I consider this normal wear and tear. The rubber sole has not come apart anywhere which was a surprise to me as I always have some form of shoe glue at the ready, but have not needed any for these boots.

THINGS I LIKE

1. Excellent ankle support.
2. Superior fit to my foot type.
3. Very good durability.
4. Ridiculously comfortable - no seriously.


THINGS I DON'T LIKE

1. The laces have on occasion, come loose from the upper lace hooks, but this has been manageable so far.
2. Not made in the USA. Not really a dig against the boot or the manufacturer, but one I felt important enough to mention.


I would like to thank Oboz Footwear and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these boots. This concludes my test report.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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