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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Teva Ossagon Mid eVent Boot > Test Report by Ray Estrella

Teva Ossagon Mid eVent boots
Test Series by Raymond Estrella
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 12, 2009

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.


INITIAL REPORT

The Product

Manufacturer: Deckers Outdoor Corporation
Web site: www.teva.com
Product: Ossagon Mid eVents
Year manufactured/received: 2008
MSRP: US $120.00
Size: Men's 11 (US)
Weight listed (each): 17.04 (483 g)
Actual weight of test boots (each): 20 oz (567 g)
Color tested: Brown, also available in Black

Ossagon boots

Product Description

The Teva Ossagon Mid eVent boots (hereafter called the Ossagons or the boots) were delivered to me in their retail box. They came in excellent condition and are what I expected after viewing the boots on the Teva website noted above. The Ossagons are part of Teva's Adventure series, and are suggested by the manufacturer for use on "extended forays into the wilderness". As I do that quite a bit I hope that the Ossagons and I will get along quite well.

One thing that I really liked was the fact that they did not have a bunch of hang tags attached to them, little pamphlets of information from the company and the various material suppliers. Instead they put the info on stickers that are seen on the inside lid of the box.

I will assume that the boots get their name from Ossagon Creek which is in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park of my home state of California. (I used to live near there as a kid.) I know one thing for sure, they will be expected to cross Ossagon creek without letting water into the boot as long as I do not submerge them. This is because of the eVent waterproof / breathable membrane that is between the outer leather and the lining fabric. As I have never outgrown my love of stomping through water I will be watching the functionality of the eVent with great interest.Front and back

The Ossagons are mid height hiking boots. They stand 6 in (15 cm) high. The outside is made of full grain and suede leather with Scotchguard stain protection added. The leather wraps up the sides to meet in a seam in the middle of the boot, giving it a old fashioned look. As this keeps the seam from being on the side of the foot where the action of constant flexion causes most of my hiking boots to wear out I will be interested to see if this placement results in longer life.

The round nylon laces run through six steel speed loops and two nylon loops formed by folding over the Wraptor system. (More on it later.) The laces then go into a pair of steel hooks to finish off the lacing system.

A well padded ankle cuff is made running at an angle down towards the back of the boot, but it swoops up right over the heel. A scalloped piece at the back center allows some relief for the Achilles tendon. It does not have a pull loop of any kind on the back.

The tongue is gusseted and very well padded. The sides of it reach a bit higher than the lowest point of the of the cuff so I am hoping that will translate into nothing coming inside the boots as long as I do not submerge them. A leather lace patch is sewn on just below the steel hooks allowing the laces to help keep the tongue from slipping to the side or down.

Insoles


Inside the boots are insoles (seen above) that Teva calls enhanced comfort OrthoLite. They are made with dual layers of foam under the ball of my foot. The outer layer has a lot of holes to allow moisture transfer. The heel area feels pretty nice out of the box and I will try them at first with these. (I often switch to after-market insoles for comfort and a better fit.)

Tread on me


The soles are made of Teva's Spider XC rubber, their most durable type, but at the sacrifice of traction according to the chart printed in the box. They are attached to the boot with some type of adhesive. A thick toe guard wraps up the front of the boot.Wraptor

A very interesting part of the boot is the Wraptor fit system. A nylon strap is attached at either side of the heel at the sole. This strap runs all the way under under the boot below my arch. The strap folds over to form the top lace loops. Pulling the laces tight should help suck the boot into my foot. I have tried other systems like this. Some worked while others did nothing.

It should be noted that the boots shown on the web site do not have the strap as I described. I will assume that these are newer versions of the system.

The quality of my test boots seem to be very good. The stitching is all straight and uniform. There are no loose threads or blemishes other than the natural look of the leather. The leather is very soft to the touch and it feels as though there is some waterproofing applied. Maybe it is the ScotchGuard.

I have Teva XT-1 trail runners in size 11 that fit well so that is what I ordered for the Ossagons. Right now they are a bit tighter than I like. I will start out with a mid-weight sock and see if the leather relaxes down the road. If it does not I may have them stretched as I like to wear a heavy sock in winter.

In the words of the immortal Porky Pig, "Goo-b', goo-b', goo-b'…That's all folks!" Time to get these nice looking boots dirty and wet. Please come back at the beginning of the year to see how the Ossagons fare as I put them to the test. My thanks to Teva and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to try them out.


FIELD REPORT

Field Conditions

The Teva Ossagon boots have seen a lot use in Minnesota for the harshest winter I have seen there. I have worn them in a lot of snow including two blizzards and three storms, with lots and lots of wind! Temperatures were as low as -28 F (-34 C) with wind chills to -50 F (-46 C). (What is this global warming they talk about…?)

I went on an overnight to San Jacinto State Park chasing storms. (They got stuck on the other side of the mountain though.) I stayed in Round Valley with a side trip to Tamarack. The temperature got down to 20 F (-7 C) and there was a lot of wind. Starting pack weight was around 37 lb (16.8 kg)

I wore them on a backpacking trip with Jenn to San Mateo Wilderness in Cleveland National Forest. We did a 9 mile (14.5 km) first day with an all up-hill 3.5 mile (5.6 km) hike back the next day. It hit 75 F (24 C) for a high but felt hotter in the sun, and got down to a chilly 28 F (-2 C) at night. High elevation was 2000 ft (610 m) with a total of 1300 ft (400 m) of elevation gain and loss. My pack weight starting out was 30 lb (13.6 kg)

In snowshoes


Observations

I am pretty impressed by Teva's entry into the boot market. The Ossagons have proven to be out-of-the-box comfortable. I really like the way they felt when I first put them on. Everything over my foot and around my toes felt wonderful.

Because of the timing of the test and shipping these 3-season boots got to see some of the harshest weather I have ever put a boot into without being on a mountaineering trip. I used them for 3 weeks in Minnesota in the conditions mentioned above. After one blizzard I had them out in snow to 3 ft (1 m) deep. As I was wearing (and testing) some rain pants and did not have gaiters with me I had snow going over the top of the Ossagons many times. I had to dry them out just about every day for one straight week. Once the snow was more normal I did not have it going over the top. (Plus I brought some winter pants with built in snow gaiters.) Not once did I feel any moisture get past the outer shell or eVent liner of the Ossagons.

I had one problem become immediately apparent with the Ossogons though. They will not stay tight. They become loose right away. After playing with them for a couple days I have decided that the culprit is the single lace hook at the top ankle cuff section of the boot.

The fit of the lacing is very important in my opinion. It is crucial to me to be able to have a boot that fits well in the toe box. This is mostly a result of how the boot is made. Then the boot needs to fit snugly but "not" tight over the top of my foot. If it is too tight here it will cut circulation to my foot. Then I need to be able to tighten the laces at the top around my ankle as this is where the support I look for comes from. This also locks in the heel keeping it from slipping. The worst blisters I have ever had came from slipping heels and I watch this carefully in all my boots.

I can not tighten the Ossagon enough to keep the heel from slipping. It feels like it loosens itself within minutes of tying them. I have tried tying a knot below the upper lace hook first and then tying the laces at the top of the boot. It helps only a bit. I then tried wearing the heaviest, densest socks I own, some new Teko Heavyweight Hikers, to take up more space. This also helps some but does not completely alleviate the heel slip.

I think that the single hook way above the last loop is allowing too much of an angle in the laces. This extreme angle negates the friction of the knot below and allows the laces to loosen. Having two lace hooks on the cuff it would allow the laces to be at less of an angle. This would allow an increase in pressure on the top without having it affect the lower section as much.

I tried putting the Sole Ed Vistuers model footbeds that I bought for my Kayland Contact boot test in the Tevas, but they were too big for the boots. So I ordered a pair of Sole Dean Karnazes model footbed and put them in the Ossagons. (Watch for a review of the footbeds after the conclusion of this test.) After putting the new footbeds in the Ossagons I walked 4 miles with no pack. I only had mid-weight socks with me at the time. The slipping was still taking place but not as much.

So I took them on a snowshoeing backpacking trip wearing my heaviest, densest hiking socks. This combination got rid of almost all the slip. I tightened the laces as well as I could, and double knotted them. As I was wearing full gaiters I did not look at them again until I got into camp. When I took off the gaiters I saw that one boot had come almost all the way untied. Both had loosened considerably.

The Ossagon boots worked quite well with the snowshoes and also with some Yak Trax Pros as shown below.

With Yak Trax


Besides all the snow I was in, I also had to climb down into a creek bed to get to running water. I never saw any water leak into the boots. In fact the only place that I even saw the leather look wet was where the snowshoe buckles closest to the toe of the boots sat.

With the success of that trip I wore them on a little longer trip with my wife. Again I took my heaviest socks to negate most of the slipping. They worked pretty well on this hike too. I did not get any blisters and the boots stayed dry through many creek crossings.

In stream


I got to see how the eVent liner handled massive moisture inside the boot when I caught a salamander for Jenn, who had never seen one. I slipped off the submerged rocks I was standing on and had water go over both boots. I had another pair of Teko socks in my pack but decided to hike with the wet ones on. 5.5 mi (9 km) later the water had been transferred out of the boots. When I took the socks off that evening they did not even feel wet. I was very impressed with this. Above is a picture before I chased the salamander into the creek.

I will continue to wear the Ossagons for the next couple of months. Hopefully I can get in a fast-pack to see how they do with a long distance trip. This concludes my Feild Report, the following is the conclusion of the four month test.


LONG-TERM REPORT

Field Conditions

dont slip, dont slip


Stretching the boundaries of how they should be used again I wore the Ossagons on a 15 mi (24 km) winter peak bagging trip to the Mt Baldy area. We summited Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak and an unnamed peak in one day. Conditions ranged from dirt trails with some snow on the approach to frozen snow/ice fields, hard frozen ground and rock. I did not carry a thermometer but will guess the temps to be from 30 F to 60 F (-1 to 16 C). Above is a shot as I traversed a very slick area below Timber Peak. (I know, where is my helmet?)

Then Jenn and I did a 5 mile (8 km) hike that followed the coast in and out of the tide pool areas at Crystal Cove State Park. It was raining right before we left so it was a bit cool. It started out at 50 F and warmed up later to 68 F. (10 to 20 C)

Next I did a solo hike in Cleveland National Forest including a summit of Sitton Peak. It was 40 F when I started and heated up to 82 F (4 to 20 C) by the time I finished, on trails that ran between rock, packed dirt and sand. I ended up with 19.5 miles (31 km) and 3320 ft (1012 m) of elevation gain and loss. The creeks are very low.

Then Jenn and I went to Agua Bonita Spring in the Santa Rosa Mountains. This was a very hot hike that dropped from high desert to low desert. Highs of 75 F and got down to 33 F at night (24 to 1 C). I carried a 32 lb (14.5 kg) pack. We went 21 miles (34 km) with 2950 ft (899 m) of gain and loss.

In March I wore them on an overnight snow camping trip in Minnesota. I stayed in a clearing near the river bottom by the Red River outside of Moorhead. It got down to 12 F (-11 C) and the humidity averaged 64%.

The following weekend I drove up to Lake Bronson Minnesota, near the Canadian border to camp for the night. The low was 33 F (1 C) and I was walking in very wet slushy melting snow. The day after getting back I wore them for a day of volunteer work carrying sand bags through water, snow and mud in Moorhead Minnesota.

At the end of March I wore them on an easy 5 mile (8 km) out-and-back overnighter in the Angeles National Forest near Lake Hughes. I stayed at 4000 ft (1219 m) elevation. The low temp was 26 F (-3 C).

And lastly Jenn and I went for four days of assorted approach hiking, climbing and day-hiking in Red Rocks Nevada and Zion National Park in Utah. Our first day was rained out and got very cold but the next three days were great. Temps ranged from 40 to 72 F with elevations from 3600 ft to almost 6000 ft. Winds were constant, but mild except for the first day when they were very strong. The shot below is on the way up to Angel's Landing in Zion.

Where angels fear to tread...

Observations

I have had an interesting time with the Ossagon boots over the past two months. I have had them in lots of snow, lots of fresh water and even some salt water as we explored the tide pools and sea caves around Crystal Cove. Probably the Ossagon's strongest point is its waterproofness. (Is that a real word? It should be.) I have yet to see a bit of moisture get into the boots other than from me stepping in too deep, something that has happened a few times. I am very impressed with both the eVent and the leather itself. And when I did step too deep the boots dry very quickly.

The boots seem to breathe nicely too. Even though they are leather they have been as comfortable in this regard as some of my fabric paneled boots.

I did finally beat the slipping issue by using the SOLE footbeds and very thick socks. While this kept my heel from slipping it also made it pretty tight on my toes. Stopping the slipping gave me the cofidence in the boots to increase the distance and intensity of my hikes with them as can be seen in the first half of my field data.

But I never have been able to get the laces to tighten properly. The ankles get loose right away still. As such they do not give the support I would like to see. And this is the reason for the lesser distances (indeed some were camping trips with no distance) of the second part of my field data.

While crossing a creek bed in the Santa Rosa Mountains I rolled over a rock spraining my foot pretty bad. I attribute this to the fact that the ankle just does not offer much in the way of support. I really think that a little bit more height and another set of lace hooks on top would help immensely. Here is a picture taken just starting out on that trip. (Ray, watch out for that rock…)

On the way to disaster


After babying the foot for a month I went to Red Rocks in Nevada and to Zion National Park in Utah. At the top of Angel's Landing while just starting back down I re-twisted the same foot. It was not as bad and it was feeling better seven days later as I wrote this.

The strap that makes up the Wraptor System is fraying at the bottom of both boots. I think that I can say the only reason I have not had it break off yet is the amount of use I had on snow instead of my normal rocky terrain of the summer season. If Teva would like to keep this feature I think that they would do well to protect the bottom section with a sleeve or cover of some kind.

Other than that they have held up well. The leather is getting pretty worn from all the traction aids, snowshoes, gaiters and such along with the steady diet of moisture in some form. But the stitching is still intact and the rand shows no sign of peeling. I still like the retro look of the Ossagons. I hope that Teva can work the kinks out with these boots. If so, I look forward to trying them again in the future. My thanks to Teva and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test the Ossagon boots. (The salamander thanks them too…)

Salamander

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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