Oboz Contour Trail
Test Report by Jennifer Koles
September 14, 2010
Skip to my Initial
Report- May 3, 2010
Skip to my Field
Report- July 13, 2010
Skip to my Long
Term Report- September 14, 2010
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California,
getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling
and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked
extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania
and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able
to go longer in duration and distance. I have done
so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year
round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent
and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.
The author in the Narrows at Zion
National Park, Utah.
Information and Description
Women's Contour (20802)
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer Website: www.obozfootwear.com
on Website: 12.2 oz (346 g)
Actual Weight: 13.10 oz (371 g) per shoe
Sizes Available: Women's
6-11 (half sizes and a men's model available)
Size Tested: Women's 9
Available Colors: Mint
Color Tested: Mint
MSRP: $110.00 US
When these shoes are purchased, Oboz
plants a tree in a partnership with Trees for the
The Women's Contours are a multisport
shoe manufactured by Oboz, a company based in Bozeman
Montana U.S.A. The Contour model is available in both a
men's and women's version.
At a first glance I found that the Contours are unique
since they have a bootie type of construction with no shoe
tongue, but they have some other unique qualities.
The uppers of the Contours are made of
two color tones of Nubuck leather (tan and brown) and abrasion-resistant
mint green mesh panels for breathability. There is no
rubber toe cap on the Contours and that makes me wonder
how the toe area will look after a few uses. I generally
kick a bunch of rocks and logs while hiking, mostly because
I am a klutz. There is a small portion of rubber on the
center of the toe area, but it does not protect the entire
toe box. The uppers also have a Nubuck strip with a nylon
pull tab. This is located in the center of the laces and
has a vertical orientation to the shoe. The nylon pull
tap is large enough for me to fit my finger through with
some extra room. There are eight Nubuck lace loops and
two plastic lace loops on each shoe. The plastic lace loops
are secured by grommets. There is also a nylon pull tab
on the heel of the shoe. This one is large enough for me
to get two fingers through. I think that is great, because
many times the pull tabs are too small and I end up injuring
my fingers trying to get my shoes on. The inside of the
Contours have a nylon mesh lining designed to wick away
moisture and dry quickly.
The mid-sole of the
Contours have four parts. They have dual densities
of EVA to provide cushioning and forefoot plates
to protect from stone bruising. The Contours have
(TPU) thermoplastic urethane arch shanks and nylon
mid-foot shanks to offer torsional stability and
support. The shoe also has a full forefoot ESS sheet.
The soles of the shoes are a high
friction carbon rubber compound, which is proprietary
to Oboz. The Oboz shoes are made with as little rubber
as possible to cut down on the weight of the shoes.
The soles of the Contours are made of non-marking
black rubber, with some green rubber accents. There
are beefy lugs on
the soles which are for both braking and propulsional
purposes. Something really neat about the soles of
the Contours; on the base rubber (where the lugs
are not placed) is a pattern in the rubber of a topographic
map. I think that is a cool idea. Even though people
will not be able to see this detail in the rubber,
I like the idea of the extra craftsmanship that went
into creating this added detail.
The Contours also have a Strobel
is a form of slip lasting where the upper is stitched
around the perimeter of the foot but no board is
inserted. This type of last is designed to provide
The Contours are designed
with what Oboz terms BFit Deluxe Insoles. The manufacturer
states the following on their website. "The
BFit Deluxe insole has a well defined arch that is
positioned to support and relax the Transverse Arch.
It also has a shaped heel pocket to keep the foot
centered properly inside the shoe. The BFit Deluxe
is composed of an EVA resin that will maintain shape
over time. There are two pockets of softer EVA under
the heel and forefoot for cushioning, and perforations
that open into channels on the underside of the insole
that allow for breathability and air flow."
At a first look at the Contours they are beautifully
crafted and do not have any manufacturing defects. The color
combination looks great in my opinion.
I was skeptical of the bootie construction,
with no tongue in the shoe to allow for more room when putting
on the shoes. However, using the pull tab I get enough stretch
in the bootie to slide the shoe on my foot. The shoes fit like
a glove and thus far the top of the bootie is not constricting
my foot at rest. But, I have four months of testing ahead of
me with the Contours.
During the past two months the Contours have
been worn for 63 mi (101 km). They have been nothing but comfortable
on the trail. They basically fit like a glove and are my new
favorite hiking shoes. They needed no break in time at all!
Mill Creek Canyon, Utah
Southern California: Day/evening
hikes and fitness hikes in Fremont, Limestone, and Orchard
Hills Canyons. These hikes ranged from 3 mi (5 km) to 7 mi
Cleveland National Forest, California: This
was a one night backpacking trip with a first-timer friend
of mine. The low temperatures were around 40 F (4 C) and
the elevation at camp was 1,600 ft (488 m). This was an 8
mi (13 km) hiking trip.
Near Red Rocks, Nevada: This
was a one night camping trip. It was very warm at night with
the temperatures in the upper 70's F (24 C) and the elevation
was around 4,500 ft (1,400 m). I wore the Contours around
Wasatch-Cache Mountain National
Forest, Utah: I wore the Contours in Mill Creek
Canyon on day-hikes.
So far I am very happy with the Oboz Contours.
After using them for 63 mi (101 km) I have to say they still
fit like new. I have not noticed any stretching in the shoes,
even after becoming slightly wet. Basically they feel and
fit like a slipper on my foot. And I think this is because
of the bootie construction.
The insole is also very comfortable. Even
with my flat feet, they offer enough support that my feet are
not aching after hiking. There has been no need for me to try
an aftermarket insole in these shoes.
I have noticed that dirt enters in side the
shoes through the abundance of mesh on the outside of the Contours.
These are not large dirt particles, they are more like dust.
I can not feel the dirt inside the shoes, it is just that the
top of my socks and my skin on my feet (especially my toes
and between them) gets dirty after wearing the Contours on
dusty trails. Also the mesh fabric seems to collect Foxtails
(grass-like weed), thorns, and cactus needles. They become
imbedded in the mesh and at times are difficult to pick out.
So far none of the thorns or needles have penetrated completely
through the fabric.
The Contours have become damp from hiking
in misty fog and through small puddles or areas of water. The
mesh fabric dries more quickly than the leather portion of
The Nubuck leather is scuffed up in the toe
area, but this has not hindered the performance of the shoes
in any way. I have cleaned the leather and the mesh material
using a damp cloth and by slapping the shoes against each other
to get rid of the excess dirt in the mesh outer material.
I find that the Contours take a little bit
more work to put on my feet than traditional shoes. This
is due to the bootie type of construction (with no tongue for
additional clearance). It is not like I am jamming my foot
in the shoe to get it on. It just takes a little bit more effort
to push my foot into the opening of the Contours. The pull
tabs help a great deal when I am pulling on the shoes. When
I am taking off the shoes the process is very easy with little
effort, so I do not believe the bootie construction makes much
of a difference when removing the shoes.
My feet swell when hiking, especially my right
ankle due to a past surgery. At first I was concerned that
the bootie construction of the shoes would cause fluid to build
up more around the opening of the Contours. I am happy to report
that this has not been the case. I like the bootie construction
over traditional tongued shoes. It eliminates additional
pressure points and there is no moving tongue in the shoe.
My feet feel very comfortable and snug in these shoes with
no unnecessary side to side movement.
The traction of the Contours has been good
on dusty dirt, packed down trails, and rocks. I am finding
while hiking in mud the lugs do not shed the mud very well.
I can clear the mud off the bottom of the shoes by kicking
something or by stomping. However, they offer enough traction
in mud that I have not fallen, even on my night hikes where
we just use natural light. The soles are thick enough that
I do not feel rocks or sticks when I am hiking over them.
During my night hikes my footing is important.
This is because we only use natural light. The Contours give
me enough foot support when I am uncertain of my footing, hiking
on ground I can not see well, and on unknown objects. I have
not rolled my ankles while hiking at night and I believe this
is due to the last of the shoe along with the properties of
Since the start of this test I have worn the
Contours hiking and backpacking just over 100 mi (161 km).
Southern California: Day/evening
hikes and fitness hikes in El Moro, Limestone, and Orchard
Hills Canyons. These hikes ranged from 3 mi (5 km) to 10 mi
(16 km). Mostly the trails were dry with some spots mud.
Mt. San Jacinto State Park, California: I
took two one night backpacking trips here. We went for a day
hike to the summit on both trips. We camped at an elevation
around 9,000 ft (2,750 m). The low temperature was in the mid
40's F (5 C).
I must say that I am still very happy with
the Contours. They are now my favorite pair of hiking shoes.
They have not caused my feet any excessive pain, nor did I
get any blisters while wearing these. They are also so comfortable
and they make my feet feel very secure. The traction on these
shoes is also great. I have not encountered any excessive sliding
when hiking on packed wet dirt, dusty trails, or on rocks.
There are only a few things I do not like
about these shoes and I consider them to be minor. For instance
dirt enters in the mesh material of the shoes and thus my socks
and feet get pretty dirty. This is noticeable mostly on dusty
trails. Also little thorns and cactus needles become stuck
in the mesh material. I just pick them out; at times with tweezers.
On a night hike I had many Foxtails stuck in the material and
I had to pick them out after I was done hiking.
On my fitness hikes I like to wear a light
weight shoe that gives me adequate support. These shoes fit
the bill. They are not super heavy (but more so than my trail
runners) and I like the feeling of the bootie construction;
especially when I have to keep a fast pace on the trail. Earlier
this year I wore my trail runners on these hikes. But, I have
really enjoyed wearing the Contours; I think mostly because
of the fit and the traction.
Even with my backpack fully loaded for an
over night backpacking trip the Contours offer me enough stability
that I do not end up turning my ankles or end up with super
One thing I really like about these shoes
is that there has been no need for me to use after market food
beds in them. I pretty much have such out all of the foot beds
in my other trail shoes to an after market brand. These foot
beds offer great support for my fallen arches, don't give me
heel pain or slip, and are very comfortable.
To clean the Contours I just wiped them
clean with slightly soapy water or plain water and a cloth.
This approach has worked well for me. They look worn and have
wear marks on the leather, but that is it. The mesh lining,
pull tabs, laces, leather, and the soles are holding up great
with no wear issues other than from normal use.
- Initial fit is good
- Easy to slip on
- Good stability
- Thorns and vegetation get stuck
in the fabric
- Dirt enters through the mesh fabric
concludes my reporting on the Oboz Contour
Multisport Shoes. Thank you Oboz and backpackgeartest.org for
providing me with the opportunity to test this product.