By Mark McLauchlin
|Oboz Footwear Hardscrabble
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5’ 9”)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
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.
Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2010
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
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
Synthetic Leather and
Molded Asymmetrical Heel Clip
3 Part Midsole
-Dual Density Posted EVA
-Full Forefoot EVA SuperSkin Plate
Radial Fit System
BFit Deluxe Insole
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
The Ignition outsole of the shoe is another key feature. As listed by
"◦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
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
BFit Deluxe Insole
Close-up of the
Thank you to Oboz Footwear and BackpackGearTest.org for the
privilege of testing the Hardscrabble Shoes
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.
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 BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the
This concludes my Field report.
29th September 2010
Taking a rest after a
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
Thank you to Oboz and BackpackGearTest.org for the
privilege of testing the Hardscrabble Shoes.
This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for
the Hardscrabble Shoes.