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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Oboz Sawtooth Trail Shoe > Test Report by Kara Stanley

November 26, 2017



NAME: Kara Stanley
EMAIL: karguo at yahoo dot com
AGE: 34
LOCATION: Phoenix, Arizona
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)

I have been hiking most of my life and backpacking since 2006. I have hiked mostly on the east coast, doing weekend trips in the Appalachian Mountains. Since moving to Arizona, my hikes have ranged from short desert hikes to overnight backpacking trips in the mountains. Recently I have taken up canyoneering and off-trail hiking/backpacking to spice things up. I currently use a solo non-free standing tent, canister stove, purification tabs, and lightweight trail runners, conditions permitting, to cut down on weight. My hikes are solo and range from an overnight trip to 4-5 nights on the trail.



Manufacturer: ObozIMAGE 1

Year of Manufacture: 2017

Manufacturer's Website:

MSRP: US$110

Made in: Vietnam

Listed Weight: W7: 13.8 oz / 391 g (per shoe)

Measured Weight: W11: 15.8 oz / 448 g (per shoe)

Sizes: 6-11, including 1/2 sizes

Upper: Nubuck leather & highly abrasion-resistant textile

Midsole: Dual density Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam, Nylon shank

Outsole: Speed Lite HDRIMAGE 2

Color: Clover (only color offered)


IMAGE 3The Oboz Sawtooth shoe appears to be a sturdy hiking shoe. The sole wraps up the side of the shoe about 1 inch / 2.5 cm all the way around. The shoes lace-up with 6 webbing loops and a metal eyelet at the top. There is a stabilization loop on the tongue about half way up to the top. At the top of the tongue, there is loop to pull the tongue tight before tightening the laces.

The heel had a very nice pull loop to assist with putting on the shoes. I can easily put my index finger through the loop. The heel is cradled by molded heel counters, which lend durability and stability to the shoe.

The shoes themselves are black and medium grey nubuck leather with hints of clover green. The nubuck covers about 70% of the upper part of the shoe. The rest is a light grey mesh fabric. The sole is mostly black with touches of medium gray and clover green. The sole has a neat topographic map pattern underneath the lugs. The sole looks quite aggressive with nice lugs.

The insole is fully removable. According to the Oboz website, the insoles are made of 4 different materials for comfort, support, and moisture wicking. When I took the insoles out of the shoes, I could see the different materials and also noticed that the heel and mid-foot portion of the insole is pretty stiff compared to other insoles I have had in the past. Since I hike on a lot of loose rocks, I am interested to see if this helps with stability and reduces ankle rolls.


The Oboz website provides care instructions: 4

The basic summary is: clean the shoes, waterproof them occasionally, and dry them out when they get wet. Oboz recommends Nikwax products for cleaning and waterproofing. They also recommend drying the shoes away from direct heat, such as fires, hair dryers, and sun light. Overall, the directions are simple and easy to follow.


So far I have worn the Oboz around the house and block to try out the fit. I find them to be roomy in the toe box. I like having a wide toe box so my toes have room to move around. My heels feel well cradled by the molded heel counters. I usually wear a thin, double layer sock with my hiking shoes and could wear those without any issues.


Overall, these shoes seem durable and I don't really have any concerns. I will be interested to see how they perform the next several months on the trail. I expect to test them on dusty desert trails and well as muddy forest trails in mountains.

While I am testing out the women's size 11, I would like to mention that these shoes come in a women's 10.5, a size that is hard to find. I am happy to see a company providing a wider range of women's sizes.

Thank you very much to and Oboz for allowing me to hit the trails in the Sawtooth shoes. Check back in two-ish months to see how these shoes performed in the field.



McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Arizona
Getting ready to hit the trail

When: August 2017
Length: Dayhike
Mileage: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Weather: HOT over 110 F/43 C
Trail: Well maintained, with some loose rocks

Baldy Loop, Eastern Arizona, USA
When: August 2017
Length: 3 days/2 night
Mileage: 10 miles/16 km
Trailhead Elevation: 9,394 ft/2,863 m
Weather: Cool, Sunny, and Dry
Trail: Well maintained, except for the short (few hundred yards/meteres) from the main trail to the campsite


Shoes and the world's best trail dog
I have had these shoes out on two hikes so far. One was a day hike, but I carried a full backpack that probably weighted 25 lbs (11 kg). The trail was well maintained and established, but had some loose rocks and gravel. I wore the shoes with a double-layer lightweight sock. I had no issues with blisters on this hike, but it was just a short hike (2 miles/3.4 km). The shoes were comfortable right out of the box and I did not feel like I needed a break in period. The sole is stiffer than the trail runner shoes that I normally wear. I noticed that I could not feel the rocks through the stiffer soles of these shoes. I even purposed stood on a pointed rock to see if I could feel it through the soles, which I could not.

The second time I wore these shoes it was on a real backpacking trip. My pack weight was around 30 lbs (14 kg) as I was carrying a larger two person tent and dog gear. I wore the shoes with double-layer socks for the whole trip.

Mountain Trails
I had no issues with blisters or hot spots during this trip and found the shoes to be comfortable. I did noticed that the soles were not very grippy. In order to get from the main trail to the campsite, I had to cross a small stream using fallen logs. These shoes did not provide good traction on the slippery logs, and the first time I crossed I did slip off the log into the stream. For subsequent crossings, I paid closer attention to my foot placement and didn't slip off again.

The shoes got wet on the first night and I left them out to dry overnight and in the sun in the morning and they were dry by noon. After they dried out, I did not notice any change in the fit or comfort of the shoes.


So far these shoes have performed well. I have a 4 day backpacking trip coming up, so that will really give me a change to test these out. So far, I haven't noticed any wear and tear on the shoes.

* Comfortable
* No break-in period
* No changes to the fit after a wet/dry cycle
* Good foot protection

* Lack of grip on slippery surfaces

Thank you and Oboz for allowing me to take to the hills in these Sawtooth shoes!



Cedar Mesa, Utah, USA
When: October 2017
Length: 3 day/2 night
Mileage: 20 miles (32 km)
Elevation: 6,500 ft/ 1981 m
Weather: Sunny, high around 65 F (18 C) low around 40 F (4 C) one day and an-all night dust storm the next!!
Trail Conditions: Partly well-maintained trail, partly overgrown trail and off trail exploring

Superstition Wilderness, Arizona, USA
When: November 2017
Length: 2 days/1 night
Mileage: about 18 miles/29 km
Elevation: around 2,500 ft/800 m
Weather: Sunny, high around 75 F (24 C), Low about 50 F (10 C)
Trail Conditions: well-maintained trail, dry and dusty


Shoes at the end of the test period
Overall these shoes have performed well. While I haven't gotten them wet again, I haven't noticed any changes in the fit of the shoe from their prior soaking.

Peeling Toe
As shown in the picture, the toes are pretty beat up, but most of the rocks and bushes in the desert southwest are sharp and prickly, so this is normal wear and tear. The right toe is peeling away from the toe of the shoe (see photo). This seems to be a pretty common issue with most of the shoes or boots that I have worn. The mesh panels do not show any wear or tear. I think that these shoes have quite a lot of life left in them.

My last two backpacking trips have been in the desert with lots of cacti and I have not had any thorns in my feet with these shoes. Once I had to carry my dog across a patch of prickly pear cactus that had fallen on the trail. When I got through, I had no thorns in my feet even though I was stepping on cacti.

While I have not gotten blisters, I did tape my left heel on day two of the three day trip due to hot spots. The stiffer collar of these shoes rubs my ankles more than other shoes I have worn, despite wearing double layer anti-blister socks while hiking.

I have walked on sand stone and granite without losing any traction or slipping. I do think that the stiffer sole and collar of the shoe provides good stability for my prone-to-rolling ankles.

These have been worn in very hot (over 110 F/43 C) to cool (50 F/10 C) temperatures and my feet have been comfortable. They do sweat some, but at 110 F/43 C, everyone and everything sweats!!


Overall, I have enjoyed these shoes. While they have rubbed my ankles some, taping my heels solved the issue. I think that they are in very good shape at the end of the test period as my hiking terrain is very hard on shoes. They dry pretty quickly after getting dunked in a creek and the fit didn't change. I do like the stability that the stiff sole and ankle collar provide on uneven surfaces. I will continue to use the shoes on future hikes.

Thank you and Oboz for allowing me to hit the trails in these shoes! This concludes my test report.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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