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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Oboz Teton Suede Trail Shoe > Test Report by Nathan Kettner

OBOZ TETON SHOES
TEST SERIES BY NATHAN KETTNER
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - May 27, 2009
FIELD REPORT - August 24, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - October 27, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Nathan Kettner
EMAIL: kettnernw "at" yahoo "dot" com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Colorado Springs, Colorado
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)

I'm a medium weight backpacker, meaning my pack usually weighs 30-35 lb (13-16 kg), and I generally hike a moderate pace and mostly in mountainous terrain. I almost always use a tent (lightweight when backpacking, wall tent when hunting). I'm a weekend backpacker and make lots of day trips and single night outings, plus a few week-long backpack trips. All of my outings have been in the beautiful and rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming since I started backpacking in 2004.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Oboz
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://obozfootwear.com
MSRP: US$ 95.00
Listed Weight: 32 oz (907 g) - Men's size 9
Measured Weight: 36 oz (1016 g)
Tested Size: 11 (US) Mens
Tested Color: Bark
IMAGE 2
IMAGE 1
Outsole picture courtesy of Oboz Foowear


Oboz classifies the Tetons as "Mountain Sport," but there's no further information about what activities the Tetons are recommended for. Also from Oboz's website:
Style: Cross-training
Cut: Low
Waterproof: No
Upper: Suede leather
Lining: Nylon mesh
Midsole: Triple-density EVA
Support: Thermoplastic urethane plate
Outsole: Rubber

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

These shoes may look more like a mix between tennis shoes and loafers, but they definitely have the stiffness of hiking shoes. The laces go almost all the way to the toe of the shoe which may be more for asthetics, but the design seems to improve the fit of the shoe since I can tighten the laces along the entire length of the shoe. As for appearance, my wife's first comment was, "Why can't I find cool looking hiking shoes like those?"

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

No instuctions were provided, which I can appreciate. Who wants to read a bunch of directions I'll probably never follow anyway?

TRYING IT OUT

It is a small detail, but the Tetons came already laced, so all I had to do was slip my feet in and tie the laces and away I went. I walked around the house and the neighborhood for a few hours just after I pulled them out of the box and of course, they are stiff and will require a breaking-in period. My feet didn't slide around and I didn't feel any pressure points around my ankle, which may be the advantage of a low-top shoe versus a high-top hiking boot. On the other hand, my weak and often-injured ankles may not appreciate the lack of support.

One other note is that the size seems to be true. I wear an 11 (US) in most brands and that is the size I requested and received for this test series. So far, they fit quite well and I have a good amount of space around my toes.

SUMMARY

The Oboz Teton Suede shoes have the feel of a sturdy hiking shoe minus the ankle protection of higher boot-style footwear. On the other hand, my weak and often-injured ankles may not appreciate the lack of support, but only time and miles on the trail will tell if these shoes are really made for a woodsman.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I wore the Oboz Teton shoes for about 28 miles (45 km) of backpacking and 12 miles (19 km) of hiking in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming over the past three months. Most of my backpacking and hiking was on well-used single track dirt trails, except for a few short, off trail bushwacking adventures. I also took them for an unplanned whitewater rafting trip (I forgot my old tennis shoes) through the Royal Gorge in southern Colorado. For added testing I wore the Teton shoes almost daily even when I wasn't hiking, backpacking, or rafting.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Comfort: The Teton shoes were quite comfortable from the first step on the trail all the way through the ride home. I never had any soreness, blistering, or other undue discomfort. Even on my two day, 20 mile (32 km) hike in the Eagles Nest Wilderness of central Colorado, which involved 2,500 ft (760 m) of elevation gain, my feet didn't ache at all. The feature I noticed the most with the Teton shoes compared to other hiking footwear is the stiff soles. In the past, I've worn tennis shoes just to cut down on the weight I have to pick up with each step, but one outing on a rocky trail convinced me that stiff soled footwear is a must. The Teton shoes excelled in this area and was most notable on my short foray into the boulder field near Salmon Lake in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. As a side note, I wear quality sock liners under hiking socks (all man made material) for comfort on all hiking and backpacking trips, regardless of which shoes or boots I'm wearing.

IMAGE 1
Salmon Lake, Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado


Traction: The outsoles of the Teton shoes gave me plenty of grip on all sorts of terrain, including snowpack, boulders, and loose gravel.

Durability: Although I probably voided any warranty Oboz may have provided by taking the Teton shoes rafting, I am pleasantly surprised by the appearance of these shoes after three months of use and abuse. The only wear I can find, other than the normal scuff marks, is that one of the toes (where the rubber outsole wraps up the front of the shoe) is just starting to separate from the upper. I don't think I've ever owned a pair of shoes that didn't eventually have some separation at this exact point, and the tiny bit of separation at this point is no cause for concern.

Style: I'm no fashionista, but the Teton shoes are an attractive design that I felt comfortable wearing with everything from hiking shorts to jeans and khakis on the trail and everywhere around town.

Breathability: I'm not sure how my feet compare to the typical hiker's, but I would guess that I sweat a little more than average. I had hopes that a new pair of hiking shoes would make it possible for me to air my feet out in the car on the ride home without offending the other passengers, but my luck was not that good. Although my feet never felt clammy inside the Teton shoes, once I pulled them out, the calls from friends and family to put them back in were just as fast as with any other hiking shoes or boots I've worn.

Fit/Function: As I said above, I think the Teton shoes are very comfortable, but I added this section to provide a space for my general conclusion that high-topped, waterproof, shoes or boots are a better fit for backpacking. On steep terrain, I often felt my heel sliding up and down with each step and I think the stiffness of the sole contributed to this effect. Although this did not chafe my heel, it was enough of an annoyance, that I never really got used to it. Also, the Teton shoes were not advertised as waterproof, so I had no expectations that they would be, but when my feet got wet just walking through dew-laden grass, I was frustrated with wet feet for the next few hours. These are really just personal preferences for the reader to consider and are not a criticism of the quality of the Oboz design.
 

SUMMARY

Despite my stated bias for high-topped, waterproof shoes or boots when I'm on the trail, the Teton shoes have taken everything I've thrown at them and come through looking practically brand new. They are comfortable, durable, and stylish too.

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


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

In the past two months, I've worn these shoes just about everywhere I've gone, which has been mostly to work and around town. I did get them out on the trail for a few short hikes, but nothing more than a mile and never in inclement weather or difficult terrain.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Since I didn't wear the Teton shoes on any challenging terrain during this final test period, I can really only comment on the comfort they provided while wearing them for long durations, which was very much the same as during the previous test periods - very good.

I intentionally avoided wearing the Teton shoes in any bad weather, or on a long backpacking trip when I reasonably expected to encounter bad weather, because they are not waterproof. In hind sight, I should have taken this feature into more critical consideration before selecting the Teton shoes for testing.

SUMMARY

The Teton shoes are well made, very sturdy, and quite comfortable. And, as an added bonus, they are apparently stylish - I've received several comments on their unique design. As I've noted before, my personal preference for a high-topped shoe and a waterproof layer or coating are the two biggest drawbacks for me when considering whether to choose the Teton shoes for a hike or backpacking trip.

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to wear the Teton shoes for as long as they last, but I will avoid wearing them on steep trails where my heel tends to slip and any time I expect to encounter rain or wet undergrowth that will soak the shoes and make them heavy and uncomfortable.

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 Nathan Kettner



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