OBOZ SAWTOOTH II LOW TRAIL SHOE
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
November 01, 2020
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
126 lb (57.20 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a co-ed scout group which made a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since college in Pennsylvania. I have hiked 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail and 2/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail. My typical trip is in the Sierra Nevada from a few days to a few weeks long. My base weight is lightweight at 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt. Longer mileage summer trips are now stoveless.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.obozfootwear.com
MSRP: $140 US
Listed Weight: 13.8 oz (425 g) per shoe in Size 7 (verbatim per website though conversion is not correct)
Measured Weight: 16.5 oz (469 g) per shoe
Size Tested: 8.5 Regular
Sizes Available: 6 through 11 in half sizes in Regular or Wide
Color Tested: Mineral Blue
Other Colors Available: Forest Gray/Sage, Violet, Brindle/Tradewinds Blue
Violet and Mineral Blue are not available in Wide sizes.
Designed in Bozeman, Montana, USA
Made in Vietnam
The Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof Trail Shoes are a second generation of the Sawtooth shoes. They feature B-Dry waterproof liners which are supposed to allow sweat to escape while keeping moisture out. Meanwhile there are large mesh vents in the Nubuck leather and abrasion-resistant textile uppers to provide breathability. There is a loop of webbing at the heel for pulling the shoes on. The round laces route through five sets of webbing eyelets and one set of metal eyelets at the top. The tongue has an opening for routing laces to hold the tongue in place.
The heel counters are 3D molded rubber to maintain a snug fit over time. The midsole is a dual-density EVA to provide cushioning and stability with an added nylon shank for support. The outsoles are rugged with deep lugs and side walls. They are designed to be supportive while being flexible. The coolest thing is that they feature a map of the Sawtooth mountain range!
The insole is Oboz O FIT proprietary insole which is molded to match the shape of the shoes. They feature three densities of EVA foam: low density pods at the heel and ball, medium density throughout and high-density at the arch and heel cup.
The sizing and fit of the Sawtooth II standard width have them being a B width in the heel and C width in the forefoot per Oboz website. They do offer wide sizing too with no mention as to the letter sizing, i.e. D. Per the website, the volume of the standard is medium for people but high-volume feet should consider a wide version.
Did I mention that Oboz included an awesome Oboz sticker? It is in the shape of Montana which is, of course, where Oboz is located, outside Bozeman. Hence, their name. Get it?
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the shoes looked very much like what I saw on the website in terms of ruggedness and colors. I found the Sawtooth II shoes to be substantial, sturdy and rugged especially as compared to the trail runners that I've been wearing the past few months. I like the cut-out at the ankle collar which allows room for my ankle to move without hitting the shoe. This is really useful off-trail or on rugged side-trail situations. I can't wait to see how they work out.
Then I tried the shoes on and found the fit to be roomy with no interference to my toes, but the overall fit also seemed confining even though I was wearing light athletic socks and not hiking socks. I can't quite explain it, but I believe it is from the stiffness and sturdier nature of these shoes. They are as rugged as a boot, but in a low-cut design. I wore them around the house for the rest of the day and felt that my feet got a little tired from having them on possibly just from the stiffer nature of a new shoe. The next day, I wore them for a 3 mi (5 km) walk on a paved trail and they felt very supportive and comfortable with no particular foot tiredness. The day after, I wore them for a 13 mi (21 km) mountain bike ride where I really loved the stiffness of the sole for transmitting power to my pedals. These will be my biking shoes for the test period too.
I plan to wear the shoes with lightweight gaiters during any backpacking trips to keep debris out, but will likely day hike and bike without gaiters.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
There were no instructions included but the Oboz website does show how to care for boots or shoes with these steps:
1) Brush or rinse mud after each hike.
2) Thoroughly clean them over the hiking season using a correct cleaning agent and never put them in a washer or dryer. They recommend Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.
3) Rinse well and use cleaner generously and use stiff brush as needed.
5) Apply conditioner or waterproofer if needed.
6) Air dry
Oboz has a policy to plant one tree for every pair of shoes sold. They're up to over 3 million trees just since 2007. Pretty cool.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the Oboz on one four-day backpacking trip, three car/boat camping trips, multiple hikes and mountain bike rides. I also wore them for working outside and just around. in total, I'd estimate that I wore them for 135 mi (217 km) so far.
Redfish & Alpine Lakes, Sawtooth Range, Idaho: 4 days; 27 mi (43 km); 6,547 to 8,337 ft (1,996 to 2,541 m) elevation; 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C); varied conditions from full sun to light sprinkles
Car/Boat Camping and Fishing Trips:
Silver Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 3-day fishing trip including kayaking and hiking; 7,200 ft (2,195 m) elevation; 49 to 80 F (9 to 27 C); varied conditions from full sun to sprinkles with major thunderstorms nearby
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 3 days boat camping and fishing; 6,327 ft (1,928 m) elevation; 45 to 82 F (7 to 28 C); mostly sunny with thunderstorms
Lake Davis, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days car camping, fishing and mountain biking: 5,886 ft (1,794 m) elevation; 55 to 91 F (13 to 33 C); mostly clear
Western States Trail, Northern California; 5.5 mi (9 km); 1,267 to 1,822 ft (386 to 555 m) elevation; 50 F (10 C)
Minkalo Trail / Silver Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 4.5 mi (7.3 km); 7,200 to 7,666 ft (2,195 to 2,337 m) elevation; 76 F (24 C)
Rubicon Trail / Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 6 mi (10 km); 6,327 to 6,512 ft (1,928 to 1,985 m) elevation; 75 F (24 C)
Two hikes on Gerle Loop in the Auburn Recreation Area, California: 2.5 mi to 3.5 mi (4 to 5.6 km); 764 to 921 ft (233 to 281 m) elevation; 72 to 81 F (22 to 27 C)
El Dorado Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 13 mi (21 km)
Gerle Loop: 5.3 mi (8.5 km)
Three rides around Lake Davis of 4 mi (6.4 km), 5.5 mi (8.9 km) and 20 mi (32 km)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I found the shoes to be solid and substantial. They were great for rocky areas so that there was no chance of bruising the bottom of my feet or getting a sharp intrusion in the side of the shoe. The support was especially good when carrying a full backpack. For backpacking I really appreciated the heft of the shoe for protection and being able to trudge along without any worry about where I stepped or how hard. I always felt like the Oboz were going to perform. I wore the Oboz with short summer gaiters for backpacking and hiking in looser terrain to keep out debris and small rocks.
The waterproof liner has been intact so far. I have crossed creeks with no water intrusion at all. In the summer, I don't usually care if my feet get wet and shoe-height doesn't allow my feet to get very deep without the water running right over the top of the shoe. However, I love waterproof shoes anyway. The Oboz breathe just fine and the waterproof liner is fantastic for keeping my socks and feet clean. This is really useful on backpacking trips, so I choose waterproof shoes just for that reason.
The stiffness of the sole made them great for mountain biking since the pedal power was easily transmitted with a solid foundation. I like that the insoles are quality and not just cheap throwaway insoles that I see so often included in new shoes.
The grip of the soles is good in varied conditions including wet rocks and mud or sand. I rarely had to question my steps unless I was in loose scree or some other terrain where no type of sole can prevent slips.
The shoelaces stayed tied but I usually double-knotted them anyway due to the length or just to ensure that they wouldn't untie during scrambling. The length isn't excessive though so single or double-knotting both work. The durability has been great other than looking very dirty very quickly. I've brushed them off with a stiff brush to try to clean them up a little but with minimal improvement. As compared to other shoes, they do seem to look worse than most after a shorter period. There are some scuffs at the toes but no failures of any kind. These are some solid hikers.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
With all of the forest closures due to wildfires or wildfire risks, my backpacking trips were postponed. However, I wore the Oboz on a five-day car/boat camping trip, for fourteen hikes and three mountain bike rides. I also wore them for working on our property. In total, I'd estimate that I wore them for over 100 mi (161 km) during the Long-Term period and for a total of over 235 mi (378 km).
|Mount Shasta looms over Lake Siskiyou|
Car/Boat Camping and Fishing Trips:
Lake Siskiyou, Southern Cascade Range, California: 5 days camping, fishing, kayaking and mountain biking; 3,185 ft (971 m) elevation; 52 to 86 F (11 to 30 C); clear with occasional wind
Two hikes on Montour Run Trail, Western Pennsylvania: 3.7 and 4.7 mi (6 to 7.6 km); 767 to 846 ft (234 to 258 m) elevation; 75 to 80 F (24 to 27 C)
Monroe Ridge Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 4.8 mi (7.7 km); 743 to 1,262 (226 to 385 m) elevation; 80 F (27 C)
Heart Lake, Southern Cascade Range, California: 4.5 mi (7.3 km); 5,450 to 6,050 ft (1,660 to 1,845 m) elevation; 80 F (27 C)
Lower and Middle McCloud Falls, Southern Cascade Range, California: 3 mi (5 km); 3,100 to 3,600 ft (945 to 1,095 m) elevation; 75 F (24 C)
Two hikes on Gerle Loop in the Auburn Recreation Area, California: 2.5 mi (4 km); 764 to 921 ft (233 to 281 m) elevation; 72 F (22 C)
West Rim Trail, Cronan Ranch in Auburn Recreation Area, California: 4.5 mi (7.3 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 64 to 84 F (18 to 29 C)
Four hikes on El Dorado Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: between 4 mi (6.4 km) and 4.7 mi (7.6 km); 1,630 to 1,900 ft (500 to 580 m) elevation; 55 to 60 F (13 to 16 C)
Heenan Lake, Toiyabe National Forest, Sierra Nevada, California: 3 mi (5 km); 7,200 ft (2,200 m) elevation; 64 F (18 C)
Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California: 5.5 mi (9 km); 23 to 413 ft (7 to 126 m) elevation; 72 F (22 C)
Two rides around Lake Siskiyou Loop Trail: 7.8 mi (12.6 km) and 8.7 mi (14 km)
Shelter Island, San Diego: 8.3 mi (13.4 km)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Oboz continued to be comfortable and protective trail shoes. I wore them without gaiters during this test period. The collar keeps a lot of debris out of the shoes so I didn't really need gaiters most of the time. I only got small debris in the shoes if I was scrambling in loose terrain.
The shoes continued to be great for keeping my feet from being bruised when stepping on sharp rocks or banging through rocky areas. They were always comfortable and easy to walk in no matter the length or type of trail.
With the drier summer season, I haven't encountered water crossings like in the Field Report period. I did wear them once for retrieving a fishing lure across a large stream but the water was over my knees so the shoes were soaked inside and out. I wore them without socks for the rest of the day and they dried out fairly quickly with my body heat and then with dry socks the next day. So, in order to test the waterproof liner, I stood in the bathtub while filling it with water until the depth was threatening to go over the collar of the shoes. I spent some time gently sloshing about and standing there to allow time to soak. The hydrophobic coating is clearly worn off and the shoes wet out from the outside. However, there was absolutely no breach through the liner. My black socks would easily show any sign of water and they were completely dry. Impressive!
I really have no gripes at all with the shoes. They are solid hikers. The waterproof lining has stayed intact. The durability is fantastic overall. If I had to have a nitpick, I would say that the shoes stain easily and didn't look very attractive after the first few hikes. I'm not really worried about my hiking shoes looking like hiking shoes, but I notice that my other hikers just maintain a nicer look. I've tried to brush off the dirt and even after the stream soaking, they weren't much better looking.
The Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof Trail Shoes are a pair of rugged low-cut hiking shoes with a substantial sole and solid construction.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
This concludes my Long-Term Test Report and this test series. Thanks to Oboz Footwear and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these shoes.
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Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith