Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oboz Sawtooth Hiking Shoes

Two or three years back, I switched to lightweight backpacking and from hiking boots to hiking shoes. That, and I always had trouble with boots when it came to blisters and the like. My first and second set of shoes were Keen low cut hikers also designed for water duty. I really like not having to stop and change shoes when on a trip with lots of wide water crossings. And they are still my choice of shoe for those kinds of outings. However, that being said, hiking off trail and on long really rough, rocky trails I found my feet were played out at the end of the day. Time to look for a bit more protection from the rocks (one of the joys of living in Arizona).
There were specific things I wanted and didn't want, in my next hiking shoe. Although I knew I would have to compromise here and there, I wanted to keep it to a minimum.
I wanted a shoe with a stiffer last, didn't want Gortex (I do live in Arizona after all). Fairly light, good rugged sole with a fairly deep tread pattern. Lot's of eyelets so I could customize the lacing. Oh, and I wanted to buy it locally. After trying on six or seven different shoes from different manufacturers I chose the Oboz. The Sawtooth low cut hiker to be precise. Interestingly, the larger local retailers have very little choice of shoes without GoreTex®.

Oboz Sawtooth Hiking Shoes
The Sawtooth is light, grippy on dry trails and very comfortable out of the box. The wet/dry grip on very smooth canyon rock is a bit less than on some other shoes, but not bad. The good side is the rubber should wear well under normal hiking conditions. It's stable and imparts a sense of confidence when hiking on the rough stuff. In my experience, the Sawtooth shows very little wear from the rough trails of my day hikes and longer over-nighters. The standard insole provided by Oboz is the best I've seen from a manufacturer. My only real problem with this shoe is, it appears that the leather has stretched just enough for the fit to change. Enough that I had to experiment with inserts and such to regain a proper fit.
With that done, I'm once again very pleased with this shoe and would recommend it to anyone with a normal to large volumn foot.
A great place to purchase Oboz shoes is LowerGear. Their retail location is on the NE corner of McClintock and University Dr. In Tempe AZ.

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