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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Oboz Yellowstone Boots > Test Report by Jo Ann Moffi

OBŌZ YELLOWSTONE BOOTS

Initial Report April 4, 2008
Field Report June 17, 2008
Long Term Report August 19, 2008

Oboz Yellowstone Boots


TESTER INFORMATION
PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Obōz Footwear LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer URL: http://www.obozfootwear.com/
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: N/A
Colour: Tan/Red
Size: Women's US 9 (EU 40)
Also available in Women's US Size 6-10, 11
Listed Weight: N/A
Listed Measurements: N/A
Actual Weight: both boots: 949 g (1 lb 0.4 0z)
Actual Measurements:
Bottom of sole to back of heel: 14 cm (5.5 in)
Heel to Toe: 28 cm (11 in)
Warranty: Guaranteed to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the date of purchase. Contact the authorized dealer where the boots were originally purchased for credit, replacement, or repair depending on the defect. This warranty does not cover damage done through misuse, accident, modification, or unauthorized repairs.
Name Jo Ann Moffi
Age 34
Gender Female
Height 168 cm (5ft 6 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lbs)
Email Address jomoffi AT gmail DOT com
City, State, Country Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
I was introduced to backpacking about 16 years ago when I met my husband. We have been backpacking, canoe camping, car camping, hiking, and participating in all sorts of outdoor activities together ever since. We live in a border town (US & Canada), so we spend lots of time in both countries for our outdoor excursions. When making a decision on gear, I like to go lightweight and practical. I pack as light as possible without denying myself little luxuries. 


INITIAL REPORTOboz Yellowstone Boots Side
April 4, 2008

Received March 29, 2008


The
Obōz Yellowstone Boots (referred to as 'the boots' throughout this report for simplicity) are marketed as a 'light hiker built for the Northern Rockies', named after America's first National Park. The colour of the boots are stated on the box as 'Tan/Red', but I would call them ore of a sage green colour with tan and red accents. The inside of the boots are black and the sole is black and grey. 

The hang tag attached to the boots outlines several key features:
  • Multi-Density Anatomically Correct Insoles - I pulled out the insoles to have a better look. They are contoured to the shape of the bottom of a foot. There is a firmer circle of foam under the heel and a thicker density foam over the arch and back of the foot than under the ball and toes. 
  • 3D Molded External Heel Counter - The heel counter is a harder density plastic like material that wraps around the entire heel from the Achilles tendon down.
  • Multi-Density Propulsion Foam Midsoles - The midsole is the portion of the boot just above the sole. On this boot it is the lighter grey portion that runs the entire length of the boot. It feels like a really thick foam. I am able to press into it with my fingernail, but it bounces right back. Oboz Yellowstone Boots Outsole
  • Radial Fit System - This is an overall feature of the boot for 'maximized fool control and stability'.
  • Sticky Non-Marking Outsoles with Multi-Directional Lug Patterns - The bottom of the boot has lots of bumps and grooves designed to maximize traction. 
  • Gender Specific Fit - From the manufacturer's website, they state the boots and shoes they produced are formed around differently sized and shaped lasts for the different ball-heel and toe-heel length ratios, volumetrics, and Achilles tendon attachments between men and women. I gather this to mean men's and women's feet are differently shaped and their footwear accommodates this. 
  • High Abrasion Textiles - The fabric inside the boot and around the top portion is some sort of a nylon fabric. 
  • WP Nubuck Leathers & WP Split Grain Leathers - The tan portion looks to be the nubuck and the red and sage portions look to be split grain. Split grain has a 'fuzzier' appearance and the nubuck is more velvet-like. 
Obōz has combined all these features together to make the Yellowstone a light hiker for all seasons and all conditions.

Initial Impressions

The boots look exactly as depicted on the manufacturer's website for the women's version of the Yellowstone model. They have the characteristic smell of a new pair of shoes, a combination of leather and rubber, not an unpleasant smell. After a thorough examination of the boots I found no defects in workmanship. All the stitching is complete, there are no stray threads, and each portion of the boot is glued together well. The construction is of very good quality.

When I was chosen to test these boots and asked what size I wanted, I requested a half US size larger than I would normally wear in a hiking boot. This was based on the recommendation of another fellow tester that had tried on a pair of these boots previously. I am very glad I did as I don't think I would have been happy with the fit of a US 8.5. My regular shoe size is a US size 8, but I like a half US size larger in a hiking boot so that I can get some of my thicker hiking socks into them comfortably.

I tried on the boots and had a walk around the house for a few minutes to check out the feel. My first thought was 'Wow! I'm tall!'. I stood next to my husband in the kitchen and was almost shoulder to shoulder with him. Mind he wasn't wearing boots, but normally I'm a few centimeters (couple of inches) shorter. The boots add a good 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) to my height. They felt quite comfortable and supportive.


FIELD REPORT
June 17, 2008


Testing Locations:
I have worn the boots on all my outings hiking, backpacking and canoeing. Most of my hiking and backpacking has been in the Hiawatha Highlands and Voyageur Trail system areas in the Algoma region just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. These two areas have many linked trails meandering through red and white pine old-growth forests and dense boreal stands of jack pine and spruce linked by a network of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Elevations range from 225 to 315 m (738 to 1033 ft) above sea level. I have also ventured up into Lake Superior Provincial Park, about 2 hours north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The terrain here consists of trails similar to those found along the Voyageur Trail with the addition of rock and pebble beaches, long sandy stretches, and numerous stream crossings.

I hike an average of 5 km (3 mi) per week. Sometimes this would be a 2 km (1.2 mi) trek, others times it would be a 7 km (4.4 mi) trek. Over the past two months, I estimate that I've worn the boots for 40 km (25 mi) of hiking and backpacking. This breaks down into one overnight backpacking trip, a weekend canoeing trip (worn in the canoe as well as on side trips), and many day hikes.

Testing Conditions:
The weather has been cool for spring; temperatures have ranged from 0 to 24 C (32 to 75 F). Although we haven't had any snow as precipitation, there has been snow pack in the bush into early June this year. The skies have been clear, cloudy, and dark with thunderstorms over the field testing period.

Terrain and Footing:
The boots have been worn on hard packed dirt trails, leaf and twig strewn forest floor, large rocky beaches, sandy and small pebble beaches, muddy and boggy areas in the bush, hard packed snow, frozen lakes, and 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) deep slush covered ice.

In the Field Performance:
Ice Hiking
I have been very happy with the performance of the boots so far. They are very comfortable and fit my feet well. As I mentioned in the Initial Report, I chose to have a half size larger than I normally would purchase in a hiking boot. Thus far, this has worked well. When I wore the boots in the early spring in cold, wet conditions I had thicker hiking socks on. As the spring has gotten warmer, I have switched to a lighter sock that I will continue to wear through the summer. My forefoot feels like it has a bit more room around it than when I am wearing thicker socks, but not so much that it has caused any problems.

I wore the boots in very wet conditions over a weekend of hiking and ice fishing on Lake Superior at our family camp. I hiked in the morning while the ice was mostly frozen, but as the day warmed up and I was heading back to camp, the top of the ice became slushy and wet. There was 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) of slush and water on the top of the ice. The boots handled having water up and sometimes over the top of the toes without soaking through the boots. I spent about 2 hours walking back over the melting ice heading back to camp. 

When I tie up the boots, they remain snugly laced up. The leather tabs the laces thread through work well and don't stretch as I was initially concerned about. The lug pattern of the sole has provided me with exceptional grip in all the conditions I have worn them in so far. Some of the trails have been quite challenging with lots of roots, branches, mud, and more mud. I have also found they provide ample support when carrying a 16 kg (35 lb) pack. My ankles and arches did not feel wobbly or painful the next day as I have experienced with some hiking boots in the past.

Care and Cleaning:
Although the boots have been through some pretty muddy and dirty areas, for the most part they have remained tidy. The lugs can hold a significant amount of dirt, but a quick bang against a tree or wall knocks most of it loose. Some dirt has adhered to the nubuck and split grain leather, but it just makes the boots look well used. I will probably treat the boots with some sort of water repellent product since they have spent some time hiking through very wet areas.


LONG TERM REPORT
August 19, 2008

Testing Locations:
I have continued to wear the boots hiking on my local area trails. A description of the trails can be found in the Field Report.

I hiked about an additional 20 km (12.4 mi) with the boots over the past two months. Sometimes this would be a 2 km (1.2 mi) trek, others times it would be a 5 km (3 mi) trek.

Testing Conditions:
The weather has been cool for summer; temperatures have ranged from 15 to 28 C (59 to 82 F). The skies have been clear, cloudy, and dark with thunderstorms over the field testing period.

Terrain:
I have worn the boots on several hikes in the bush along the shore of Lake Superior, occasionally jaunting out onto the beach. The beach was composed of large rocks from about the size of a baseball down to ones about the size of a marble. There were also sections of shale like rock with large flat surfaces. On other hikes I wore the boots on hard packed trails, bush, and slogging through muddy and boggy areas.

In the Field Performance:
Putting my feet into these boots when getting ready for a day of hiking is very satisfying. With no word of a lie, these boots have been one of the best pairs I have worn over my hiking and backpacking career. I have worn them exclusively for this season of backpacking and hiking, which equates to 60-80 km (37-50 mi). They have been consistently comfortable throughout the season. They will continue to be my hiking boot of choice until they wear out.

No matter what kind of terrain I was on, the boots provided my feet with adequate support and stability. They were not excessively slippery on wet rocks or other potentially slippery situations. The laces stay snug with a double knot as is my usual practice when tying hiking boots. The boots are nice and light - I never experienced any fatigue from carrying around a heavy load on my feet. The boots continued to provide me with dry feet while walking in damp underbrush and through muddy and boggy areas. I would remove them for any stream crossings.

One thing I have noticed is that the boots have become a bit looser in the forefoot as time has gone on. I had chosen a half size larger than I usually wear, but now that they are well broken in, I find that if I wear thin socks my forefoot will move a bit more in the boot that I am accustomed to. Given the opportunity to try these on in the store ahead of time in the future, if I find my usual size to be just a bit snug I would probably go with it instead.

Durability:
Although there is the usual trail dirt engrained into the boots, it is not something I find excessive. Any time I went into muddier areas, the mud would easily knock off by banging the boots together once the mud dried. The treads don't hold any excessive dirt, although I have had to stop and pluck out the occasional rock from the tread. This is more likely due to the terrain I was walking on that an issue with the boots themselves. There are no excessive signs of wear for the four months I have been using the boots. The treads have many miles left on them.

Concluding Remarks:
I have been extremely satisfied with the Obōz Yellowstone Boots. They fit my hiking style perfectly, providing me with a boot that is a pleasure to wear while on the trail. I will continue to be a customer of Obōz Footwear LLC.

Likes:
The fit.
The colour.
The sturdiness of the boot.

Dislikes:
None!



This concludes this test series. Thank you to BackpackGearTest and to Obōz Yellowstone Boots for the opportunity to test the Obōz Yellowstone Boots.


Read more reviews of Oboz gear
Read more gear reviews by Jo Ann Moffi

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Oboz Yellowstone Boots > Test Report by Jo Ann Moffi



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