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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Oboz Hardscrabble Trail Shoes > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

Oboz Footwear Hardscrabble Shoes
Initial Report 15th May 2010
Field Report 20th July 2010

Long-Term Report 29th September 2010
By Mark McLauchlin

Oboz Hardscrabble
Oboz Footwear Hardscrabble

Reviewer Information

Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at
City: Perth, Western Australia

Backpacking Background

I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where possible. Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 6 kg (13 lb), which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: $110.00 USD
Size Tested: 11 US
Sizes Available: 8-12, 13, 14 US
Listed Weight, each shoe: 414 g (14.6 oz)
Measured Weight, each shoe: 410 g (14.46 oz)
Colour Tested/Available: Olive

Product Description

The Oboz Hardscrabble shoes are a light weight trail runner. Although there isn't a huge amount of information available on the shoe from the manufacturer's website, just by the 'chunkiness' of the tread it would be safe to assume these will perform well on most trail or off trail activities. My plan is to clock up as many miles as I can during the test series both on and off the trail to assess their performance and durability. This time of the year in Australia (May - July) we should see a large amount of rain which will provide for some great testing.

Some of the features of the Hardscrabble as listed by the manufacturer are below.

  • Synthetic Leather and Fabric Upper

  • 3-Dimensionally Molded Asymmetrical Heel Clip

  • 3 Part Midsole
    -Dual Density Posted EVA
    -Full Forefoot EVA SuperSkin Plate
    -Nylon Shank

  • High Friction, Non-Marking Outsole

  • Ignition Outsole

  • Strobel lasted

  • Radial Fit System

  • BFit Deluxe Insole


Sole of shoe
  Sole of the Hardscrabble
3mm Depth at Toe (0.12 in)
5mm Depth at Mid Sole (0.20 in)
5 mm Depth at Heel (0.12 in)

One of the features of this show that is quite unique, well perhaps to me at least, is the BFit Deluxe Insole. The removable bright orange insole, according to the manufacturer is made from three densities of foam, it has a solid heel cup and provides support throughout the plantar fascia. The insole has a well defined arch that is positioned to support and relax the Transverse Arch. Its made from an EVA resin to help maintain it's shape over time. The heel and forefoot areas of the insole have a softer EVA for cushioning. Perforations or holes are also visible to allow for breathability and air flow.

The Ignition outsole of the shoe is another key feature. As listed by the manufacturer:
"◦2 Density EVA Midsole - higher density heel perimeter for stability, lower density elsewhere for cushioning
◦Underfoot EVA SuperSkin for torsional stability and stone bruise protection under the metatarsal heads
◦Heel TPU clip for stability and upper/outsole integration
◦Multi-directional high friction outsole
◦Graded nylon shank for lateral and torsional flex control"

The 3-Dimensionally Molded Asymmetrical Heel Clip or heel counter is as the name suggests three dimensional instead of flat and bent to shape. This, apparently, prevents heel slippage and ensures the foot remains centred inside the shoe. I am looking forward to testing that theory out.

The Hardscrabble, US size 11, fit perfectly and from my initial few walks in them I have found them to be very comfortable. They also appear to breathe quite well which will help reduce the temperatures within the show and aid in preventing blisters and swollen feet.

There were no instructions as such supplied with the shoes. There was however a small information booklet outlining who Oboz is, a brief point form summary of the technology and innovations of the shoe, and the standard warranty details. The warranty of the show is quite simple, defects in materials and workmanship will be covered for one full year from the original date of purchase. The shoes I received arrived in perfect condition.


close-up of tread

BFit Deluxe Insole

Close-up of the Hardscrabble tread

Thank you to Oboz Footwear and for the privilege of testing the Hardscrabble Shoes


Field Report
20th July 2010

The first hike out with the Hardscrabble was on a geocaching trip. The temperature at 8am was 6 C (42.80 F). I spent the entire day hiking up and down hills and bushwhacking through some tough terrain and covered about 15 km (9.32 miles). The photo above shows ice on the shoes which is an absolute first for me, never have I see this before where I live. The shoes on this day performed really well, I did not end up with any blisters or sore feet, which is great news. Quite often with lots of hills to walk I end up with bruised toes and blisters. They provided some good grip when walking over gravel and slippery boulders. Due to the ice and mud I walked through my feet did become saturated and extremely cold, however as the day warmed up they dried out quite easily. There are several cosmetic stains which I have not been able to get out since this first hike.

I took the Hardscrabble away with me for work to Karratha which is further north of the state. The temperatures there are vastly different to Perth. The few days I was there it averaged 27 C (81 F). I went for a hike to the top of a look-out which has some great views, unfortunately I didn't have my camera. The terrain in Karratha is very harsh and there is little shade. Total hiking distance was 16 km (9.94 miles). The shoes performed really well, they are nicely ventilated which is a good thing in these temperatures. On the negative side the good ventilation also meant that a lot of dust and dirt penetrated the shoes to my socks. This is not a real big issue unless I am trying to get multiple days' wear out of a pair of socks.

I found myself in a town in the south of the state called Collie, primarily a logging and coal town. The Bibbulmun track also passes through this town, which was my next hike. I walked from Perin Lookout back into town, which was about 18 km (11.18 miles). Temperatures were really cold, I would estimate between 10 - 13 C (50 - 55 F). This is a really nice part of the country, lots of green. I have a feeling that I am going to need to wear thicker socks in winter with these shoes, which is something I don't normally do. My feet were again really cold, that aside they did perform well, and I am happy with them.

water crossing

River Crossing

On the recent Collie hike I was able to test out the Hardscrabble on a water crossing. I was a little cautious at first as I really didn't want to run the risk of being stuck walking for the next 10 km (6.21 miles) with wet feet. So as you would expect as soon as I stepped into the water my feet were soaking, no points for guessing that. What I did find however was that due to the very thin materials in the sidewalls of the shoe the water drained out very quickly and after a few kilometres I hardly noticed where they had been. My feet were still wet or possibly just cold but they did not cause me any issues.


Although total distance hiked with the Oboz Hardscrabble has only been 49 Km or 30.43 miles (more than likely double off trail) I feel they have performed very well. I have subjected them to a variety of conditions and they have served well. They show no signs of excessive wear and tear and are becoming more comfortable with each use. The main advantage I can see with these shoes is their ventilation which does well to cool the feet in hot temperatures and also assists with releasing water.

Thank you to Oboz and for the opportunity to test the Hardscrabble.
This concludes my Field report.

Long-Term Report
29th September 2010


Taking a rest after a steep climb

During this phase of the report I have walked well over 300 Km's (186 miles) in the Oboz Shoes, including on and off trail activities. I have been able to monitor the distance fairly accurately as I am wearing a pedometer for work. They have been exposed to rain, ice, water crossings, soft sand, hard gravel, steep ascents and descents and some regular non-hiking sports.

The latest hike with the Hardscrabble was a 'climb' to the top of Mt Cooke, which peaks at approximately 530 Meters (1050 ft), huge hey? The majority of the hike is on fairly hard compacted rock which makes the going a little more difficult. The temperature on the day was a nice 31 C (88 F).

The shoes have been great, they are very comfortable and the wear and tear seems to be very limited to the sole. After the last hike I have noticed that the sole in the heel area of the shoe is starting to become detached, something I will keep a close eye on. All the stitching, fabric and laces are in great condition.

After each hike the shoes get a wash and scrub with hot soapy water to kill off any disease that may have been picked up. Here in the West Coast of Australia, Die Back is a major problem and is easily spread by walkers and motor vehicles.

I continue to wear a light, thin sock with the shoes as I prefer to have well ventilated feet. The Hardscrabble shoes and thin socks are a good combination.

Overall the Oboz Hardscrabble have been a great shoe to test and definitely something I would recommend to someone in the market for a comfortable, lightweight and very breathable shoe.


Southern side of Mt Cooke

Thank you to Oboz and for the privilege of testing the Hardscrabble Shoes.

This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the Hardscrabble Shoes.



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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Oboz Hardscrabble Trail Shoes > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

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