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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Oboz Teton Suede Trail Shoe > Test Report by Jeff Ruhle

OBOZ TETON SHOES
TEST SERIES BY JEFF RUHLE
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - May 28, 2009
FIELD REPORT - September 17, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - October 27, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jeff Ruhle
EMAIL: jjruhle@madski.com
AGE: 22
LOCATION: Waterville, Maine, USA
GENDER: m
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.90 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)

I developed a love for backpacking while spending the semester abroad in New Zealand. I enjoy playing games and seeing how little I can pack to keep my pack light, however, I always pack a lot of food. My favorite terrain is steep, rugged, alpine terrain with more vertical and less horizontal. Living in New England, I find a lot of this terrain since the trail makers don't seem to make many switchbacks. I also am highly involved with a large number of other outdoor activities like skiing, kayaking, climbing, and biking. Generally, I like to push my comfort zone.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Top View
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.obozfootwear.com/
MSRP: None listed - sold only through retailers
Listed Weight: 32.0 oz (907 g) per pair of men's size 9
Measured Weight: 37 oz (1049 g)
Size: Men's 11.5 (US)
Color: Bark

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

After receiving and opening the box, I got my first look at the Oboz Teton Suede shoes (from hereon will be referred to as the shoes). Having done considerable research before apply for the test, I knew exactly what to expect. However, the color the website lists is not the color I received, even though there is only one color option available. Bark, the color I received is a brown suede, and the ones pictured on the site are red. It was a little bit misleading, and slightly disappointing (I think I would have preferred the red). Other than the color, the website does an excellent job in representing their looks.

IMAGE 3
Inside
The tag was also a little misleading. The "Technology & Innovation" page pictured a shoe that was definitely not the one it was attached to, and named several features that I could see no evidence of in the shoe (such as a radial fit system and nubuck leather). I suppose this is just a general tag highlighting some of the technology that the company uses, but I expected something a little more product specific.

They are definitely attractive shoes. They have three tones of brown suede (tongue, body, and accenting stripe), grey mesh, attractive metal rivets for the laces, and a bright orange strip of webbing down the tongue. Their style seems to be an everyday casual design with a definite outdoor flair.
IMAGE 2
Tread

The construction of the shoe seems quite solid. I can feel the molded heel cup in the back and there is some stiff rubber protection around the toe box to protect from kicking rocks, curbs or stairs. All the stitches seem solid and accurate, and the multi-density sole is bonded together very well. The laces are looped through rivets, so they would have to pull completely through the leather to break free. The tread seems durable, yet sticky, with a fairly aggressive lug pattern.

INITIAL FIT

The shoes came out of the box already laced up and ready to go. Slipping them on almost felt like putting on a slipper. They were extremely comfortable right out of the box. I have extremely pronated feet, and this does not happen very often. Their asymmetrical lacing system seems to tighten just the right parts to provide a snug fit. The stiff rubber toe box stops right before the protruding knuckle of my picky toe, so it might be able to stretch around it with time.

IMAGE 5
Outside

TRYING IT OUT

The initial performance seems to be quite good as well. The heel cup seems to keep my heel from sliding around and they seem quite stable from side to side. The cushioning is good, but they seem fairly stiff for a shoe (they may just need some breaking in). The multi-density insoles are quite supportive and can be easily removed. They do not have a high arch support, however, so I may need to get an aftermarket pair to deal with my pronated feet. After several hours of wearing them I have no discomfort from the knuckle of my pinky toe, which is usually a problem for me.

TESTING STRATEGY

Back Country Field Information:
I will be primarily testing these shoes on day hikes in the Delaware Water Gap area and southern Vermont. During the summer, the temperatures in these areas usually range from 70-90 F (21-32 C) with high humidity, so excellent breathability is essential. For the most part, the terrain is moderate and at low elevation, so a overly rugged shoe is not necessary.
IMAGE 4
Rear

I am sure there will also be several other extended outdoor trips, however, none are planned yet.

Front Country Field Information:
On an average day I probably accumulate about 2 miles of walking. In addition, when visiting my parents in New Jersey, I take frequent trips to New York City where I spend almost all day on my feet walking around. The first New York City test date will be this coming Wednesday, June 3rd.


Testing plan:
Stay tuned for the Field and Long Term Reports. I will be testing these shoes in the following areas.
-Fit: I have badly pronated feet. These were remarkably comfortable out of the box, but will they get better? Worse? How long do these changes take? Does the asymmetric lacing system help the problem with my pronated feet after a long day on the trail?
-Blisters: Again, due to my pronated feet, most shoes will give me bad blisters in the heel area if I do not wear multiple layers of socks. Will these have this problem (even though they seem fairly low cut)? Does the 3D molded heel cup improve or worsen the situation?
IMAGE 7
Insoles

-Quality of construction: How do these shoes hold up to trail use? Urban use? How long does the sole last before it wears out? Will the laces/lace loops break? Does the outsole become unbonded quickly or easily?
-Performance: I am always skeptical of street wear that is marketed as performance gear (or vice versa). How well does this perform on rugged terrain? I also have very sweaty feet, and these are made of suede. Does this cause the breathability to take a hit? If I step in a stream, will they take all day dry out? How is the traction? How well can I feel the terrain underfoot? How is the traction on steep slopes with slippery rock/mud/dirt/tree roots? How is the performance effected if I have a large load on my back?
-Customer Service: If I need to contact them for some reason, how much of a hassle is it? Do I feel like they helped me to the best of their ability?
IMAGE 6
Front View


SUMMARY

I must say, I am very excited to be testing these shoes. I do not remember the last time something fit so comfortably out of the box. In addition to being comfortable, they also seem like they will hold up to the abuse of the back country. I don't think it is completely possible to bridge street wear and performance shoes, but these shoes seem to come close.


This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report . Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I usually wear the shoes on a daily basis. As an instructor for the Thompson Island Outward Bound program, I put a lot of distance (at least 3 miles or 4.8 km daily) on these shoes wearing them around the island. Other than daily use, I have worn them on a couple trips that have required extended walking. These are described below.

The first trip was to New York City at the end of May. The weather was partially cloudy with the temperature in the upper 70s F (about 25.5 C). There was a significant amount of distance covered. While I cannot be sure, I would guess the distance to be about 8 miles (12.9 km).

The second trip with the shoes was a day hike to Terrace Pond, near West Milford, New Jersey. Starting out the wonderful day in July, it was sunny, very humid, and just under 90 F (32 C). The trail was very rocky and steep, with large mud puddles in several sections. Once we arrived at the pond, a thunderstorm moved in and it rained for about 45 minutes before becoming sunny once again. The whole hike was about 4 miles (6.4 km) round trip.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

For the first trip to New York, the shoes started out great. However, very quickly I started to develop hot spots on the rear of my heels. Around noon, these got so bad that I actually was forced to stop in a corner store and buy some mole skin. This stopped the progress of the blister effectively, but I was still ready to get out of the shoes when we got back to the car at the end of the day.

The next trip was the day hike to Terrace Pond. On the way up, the shoes seemed to perform well and the traction was about average. After getting to the pond, about two miles, I was developing some fairly serious hot spots on the rear of my heels (it should be noted that I was wearing cotton socks). I have badly pronated feet so this is a common issue, but it rarely happens after this short of a distance. I suspect this may be due to the molded heel cup which prevents the rear of the shoes from wrapping well around my narrow heel. Also, taking the shoes off to go swimming, I noticed that my socks were also very wet which leads me to believe that the breathability is poor.

On the way back down from the lake, everything was wet since it had just rained. The shoes have very poor traction on hard surfaces when it is wet. I had major issues getting the shoes to grip, and found myself slipping down sloped rock surfaces very often. By the time we got back to the car, the hot spots on my heels had gotten extremely painful. It is good that I tested them on this shorter hike before doing something longer. After returning from the trip the shoes were covered in mud, so I washed them off. It took 3 days baking in the sun to dry them out. On an extended trip, this would have been miserable.

After getting bad blisters on these two trips, I decided to stop wearing the shoes when I needed to walk long distances and stick to every day use. For every day use, these shoes do pretty well. I like the looks and find that they are very comfortable so long as I do not walk to far. They seem to be very durable, although most shoes won't start breaking down after just a couple months so it is hard to tell for sure. My chief complaint is the amount of time they take to dry out after I ford a large puddle.

SUMMARY

Things I like:
-They seem very durable
-They are initially very comfortable
-They look awesome

Things I don't like:
-They give me really bad blisters in a very short time
-They take a long time to dry out
-They don't grip well on hard wet surfaces
-Poor breathability

This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in two months' time for my Long Term Report. I would like to thank Oboz and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 3IMAGE 4As mentioned above, these shoes cause major problems for my feet if worn for long distances. Due to this I stopped wearing them on trips that involved extended hiking. I continued using them, however, around Thompson Island while I was doing day courses for Outward Bound. This includes 34 days in September and October, and I probably put about 3-4 miles (4.8-6.4 km) on the shoes daily. The weather ranged from 40-70 F (4.44-21.11 C) and was clear and sunny to pouring rain.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Even after these many days of use, the shoes did not break in. Instead, they tried to break my feet in. After several weeks of wearing them for a full day on the island, my heels were slightly less painful. However, this was due to thick calluses that were developing. The injection molded heel cup made it impossible for the shoes to change to the shape of my foot.

They also take long periods of time to dry out if they get wet. One morning after walking across the dew soaked lawn, the shoes were fairly wet. By the end of the day at 4:00, they still had not dried out. Since I was wearing cotton socks, this made them a lot less comfortable and much more abrasive on my heel.

IMAGE 1
The Hot Spot
The one thing I can say for the shoes, however, is that they appear to be quite durable. After these four months of almost constant use, they still appear to be in great condition. There is slight, but barely noticeable wear on the soles. All the seams are still intact and the sole remains completely bonded to the uppers. The only noticeable sign of wear is inside the shoe on the heel, where I rubbed right through to the plastic. No wondering it was giving me such a problem.
IMAGE 2
Tread Wear


Lastly, I must say that I do love the looks of the shoe. Even though the shoe is incredibly uncomfortable, I still wear it because I like the looks so much.

SUMMARY

Things I Like:
-Durable, rugged construction
-Aesthetics

Things I Don't Like:
-Lack of comfort
-Lack of traction on wet objects
-Poor Breathability
-Long dry time

Would I buy this shoe?
Since my foot is badly pronated, I would not as it makes wearing this shoe very uncomfortable.

This concludes my test for the Oboz Teton Trail Shoes. I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Oboz for the opportunity to test this shoe.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Oboz Teton Suede Trail Shoe > Test Report by Jeff Ruhle



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