OBOZ SAWTOOTH TRAIL SHOES
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
November 19, 2017
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
128 lb (58.10 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.obozfootwear.com
MSRP: $110 US
Listed Weight: 13.8 oz (391 g) per shoe
Measured Weight: 13.7 oz (389 g) per shoe
Color Tested: Clover Green
No other colors available
Size Tested: Women's 8.5 US
Sizes Available: Women's 6-11 US
Made in Vietnam
The Oboz Sawtooth are a low-height trail shoe with no waterproof liner. The upper is a combination of nubuck leather and abrasion-resistant textile. There is mesh for good breathability.
The outsole has directional lugs on the sole and lugs up the side too. It even has a map molded in of the Sawtooth Range in Idaho. The midsole is a dual density EVA for supportive balance and cushioning. There is also a nylon shank for support between the heel and forefoot.
The heel counter is molded for a snug heel hold. The construction of the shoe is board lasted meaning that the upper is stitched to a sole-shaped board. This type of construction usually makes for a more rigid shoe.
At the back of the shoe is a loop of webbing for pulling the shoe on and off. The ankle area is lightly padded. The round laces route through six sets of webbing and one set of metal eyelets at the top for the lacing. There is one strap in the center of each tongue to hold it in place when the laces are routed through it.
The insole is stated on the website as the Oboz OFit Deluxe version which provides cushioning and support. The insoles have three different levels of EVA material strategically located. The low-density version provides cushioning and comfort beneath the heel and ball of the foot. The medium-density provides support under the foot while maintaining cushion. And the high-density provides support in the arch and heel cup. Lastly there is a moisture-wicking layer on top to keep feet dry.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
The shoes arrived looking very much like what I had expected based on the website description. Although they are called 'Clover Green' the color is mostly black and grey with some green accents. They have a typical Oboz look (to me) with the rugged outsole.
I tried them on without any adjustment and they were tight. I had to loosen the laces a bit since they were somewhat tightly laced right out of the box. Once I loosened the laces the toe box was quite roomy while the heel was snugly fitted. Overall, I loved the comfortable fit and left them on the rest of the afternoon just around the house. They are exactly the right size so I'd have to say that they run true-to-size based on the size requested.
I pulled out the insole to find a really well-constructed insole not like those that typically come with new shoes. These say BFit on them instead of OFit (like the website) but in reviewing the website there is only one Oboz summer insole version and mine look just like the OFit.
Walking around the house with them on, I could feel the stiffness of the sole. They are lightweight and as comfortable as a running shoe to me, but they feel solid and substantial especially in the sole. They felt immediately comfortable and ready to go with no breaking in needed. That's a good thing for me because I have an 8-day trip planned in two weeks so I'll likely only get in a few short hikes before then.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
There were no instructions included but the box does have the 'Take a Step. Plant a Tree' description on the side. It states that Oboz will plant a tree for every pair of shoes that are purchased from them.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During this test period I wore the shoes on an eight-day backpacking trip, several day hikes and for cutting firewood in the National Forest.
Pacific Crest Trail Section P, Trinity Alps, Castle Crags Wildernesses, Northern California: 8 days; 100 mi (161 km); 2,157 to 7,426 ft (657 to 2,263 m); 52 to 90 F (11 to 32 C); clear to partly cloudy skies with evening thunderstorms and hail; pack weight 27 lb (12 kg)
Rubicon Trail, Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 5.3 mi (8.5 km); 6,200 to 7,000 ft (1,890 to 2,134 m); 75 to 80 F (24 to 27 C); clear sunny skies; some off-trail scrambling
Auburn Recreation Area, Sierra Nevada Foothills, California: Multiple hikes from 2 mi to 4.5 mi (3 to 7 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 65 to 85 F (18 to 29 C); mostly clear to partly cloudy conditions
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The first hike that I wore the shoes was a day hike near Loon Lake. We hiked on the Rubicon Trail and did some off-trail scrambling to a nearby lake. Especially on uneven terrain, I could feel the upper outer cuff of the shoes digging into my outer ankle bone on both feet. It wasn't too significant so I decided to wear the shoes on an upcoming eight-day backpacking trip. The trail was sidehill for many miles across steep canyons and with some large rocky sections. Again the uneven terrain caused the shoe to dig into my ankle bone. The trail seemed to mainly slope from left to right, so it was my left ankle that was affected. After a particularly tough third day, my ankle was seriously bruised and painful with every step. I devised a plan to lift my heel so that the ankle bone wouldn't hit. I folded a bandana many times into a small package and placed it beneath my insole at the heel. It worked! Well, it wasn't perfect because my ankle was already bruised and tender. But I made it through the next five days. Once I got home, I swapped out the insole that came with the shoes for a very thick pair of insoles that I have. That also seemed to work and I no longer had a problem.
|Without socks to show tender ankle
The heel cup feels good and keeps my feet from sliding up. It is noticeably snug as compared to other shoes. I find the fit to be very comfortable with no problems with my toes sliding forward.
The laces are a bit thick so I found that I have to double-knot them every time or else they will work themselves loose. The laces are extra-long so there is enough length for the double-knot.
I wore the shoes without gaiters except for on the backpacking trip where I wore lightweight running gaiters. The low-cut height does allow debris into the shoes especially when off-trail like when I'm cutting firewood.
|Filthy after woodcutting
All of the water crossings that I encountered were easy to navigate without getting wet. There hasn't been any rain except in camp in the evenings, so the shoes have not been exposed to water yet. Of course, they are not waterproof, so I don't expect them to keep my feet dry. If I get a chance then I will try them for water crossings to see how quickly they dry out.
The traction has been good on all surfaces including some wet rocks along creekbeds, on talus, scree and loose dirt. The soles seem to be minimally worn even after nearly 120 mi (193 km) of use.
The durability of the shoes has been very good with no tears or any problems besides abrasions and some serious staining. I've gotten several questions about what color the shoes originally were since they are so dirty. I brush them off between hikes, but the staining is permanent, I think.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the test period I wore the shoes on two overnight trips and one four-day backpacking trip. I wore them for many, many short day hikes so I'm listing them in general areas. Overall, I wore the shoes for an additional 100 mi (160 km) for a total of approximately 225 mi (362 km).
White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona: overnight; 4 mi (6.4 km); 5,646 to 5,732 ft (1,721 to 1,747 m); 42 to 77 F (6 to 25 C); clear to partly cloudy skies
Hackberry Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah: overnight; 5 mi (8 km); 6,100 to 6,225 ft (1,859 to 1,897 m); 48 to 83 F (9 to 28 C); clear sunny skies
Lassen National Park, California: 4 days, 15 mi (24 km); 6,695 to 10,463 ft (2,041 to 3,187 m); 27 to 54 F (-3 to 12 C); mostly clear skies with one very breezy day
Angel's Landing, Zion National Park, Utah: 5 mi (8 km); 4,430 to 5,800 ft (1,350 to 1,770 m); mostly sandstone trail conditions
North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: 4 mi (6.4 km); 6,757 to 8,180 ft (2,060 to 2,493 m); sand, dirt and rocky trail
Eleven Hikes in Northern Arizona, Southern Utah from 1.5 to 4.5 mi (2.4 to 7.3 km); mostly sandstone or sand trail conditions
Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada: 4 mi (6.4 km); sand trail conditions
Kuilau/Moalepe Trails, Kauai, Hawaii: 7.5 mi (12 km); 580 to 1,149 ft (177 to 350 m); dirt and slippery red mud conditions
Four Hikes in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii from 2.5 to 3.6 mi (4 to 5.8 km); sea level to 3,900 ft (0 to 1,189 m); wet and dry lava rock, soil and decomposed lava
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
With the change-out of the insole as described in my Field Report, the collar of the shoes no longer bothered my ankle even on sidehill or uneven hikes. The shoes performed well in a wide range of conditions including wet smooth lava rock, sandstone, and mud. The soles stuck well to any trail conditions and I always felt confident. Of course, Kauai mud is notoriously dangerously slippery, but the shoes held their own and I was able to keep myself upright!
I found the shoes to be very comfortable especially in warm weather hiking. In Utah I was so glad to have brought these light airy hikers because more substantial boots would have been much too hot. They were also wonderful to have in Hawaii. I wore them just for walking around because my nice tennis shoes would get too dirty. I was actually surprised to want to wear them so often and could have gotten by with just these shoes and flip-flops for the entire trip.
The toe box is nice and roomy while the heel has a firm fit so my feet never slipped around. They were very comfortable on any length of hike or walk. My feet never got too hot and I was able to feel the airy vents cooling my feet. I also wore the shoes for mountain biking where the sole stiffness worked very well in transferring power to my pedals. They work great on bike trips when I plan to do some hiking as well.
The shoes are well-made and the durability has been fantastic. Other than the ugly staining coloring that seemed to occur right at the start of the testing, the shoes have held up well. The toes have some typical scuffs from my hiking in sharp rocky areas but there are no signs of any tears, delamination or other significant wear. The soles look practically new and the laces are even in great shape.
The Oboz Sawtooth Trail Shoes are a lightweight pair of hikers that have a rugged sole and solid feel.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
Quality insole right out of the box
Top of cuff hits my ankle bone - solved with a thicker insole
Round laces don't stay tied
This concludes my Long-Term 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