Oboz Sawtooth Shoes

Manufacturer Description

Proven on rocks and roots of the AT and razor peaks of the Idaho/Montana border, the Sawtooth is gaining a cult following. Leather and textile balance the dueling requirements of protection and breathability. The outsole has strategically placed rubber for increased traction and decreased weight over traditional designs.

Features

  • Nubuck Leather and High Abrasion Textile Upper
  • 3D Molded External Heel Counter
  • 2 Part Midsole
    • Dual Densities of EVA
    • Nylon Shank
  • High Friction, Non-Marking Carbon Rubber Sawtooth Outsole
  • Strobel Lasted
  • BFit Standard Insole
  • Measured size 9
    • Weight – 442 g (15.6 oz)
    • Forefoot width – 100.7 mm (4.0 in)
  • Available Colors: Charcoal & Shadow
  • Retail – $110

YMMV Review

Oboz is a small company out of Bozeman, Montana. That is also where it got its name; it is a mixture of “Outside” and “Bozeman.” The company started back in 2007. The motto of Oboz is to be true to the trail, and that is a good description of the company as well. They try to design shoes to be used on the trail to help people get into the wilderness. The shoes are made to work for a wide range of activities with the common theme of being outside. This is what they are passionate about, and the people of Oboz live the outdoors every day.

Top View

I officially had never tried a pair of Oboz shoes. In late 2007 I had the opportunity to be in a meeting that showed some of the models that were soon to be launched but never got the chance to try any out. Fast forward a couple of years and I was given a walk through of the line at the Winter OR Show and wanted to get a pair of light breathable hikers to test.  The Sawtooth was offered for testing, and the rest is history. I want to thank Oboz for giving me the opportunity to test these shoes.

Testing

I tried to remain “True to the Trail” on my test of the Sawtooth. I used these on some camping trips as well as hiking and even a mountaineering trip. Here in Bend we have a very dry summer so the non-waterproof Sawtooth was perfect for hot and dry conditions.

Oboz Box Explaining the Program

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (20%) ★★★☆☆

Construction (35%) ★★★½☆

Lacing (15%) ★★★½☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★★★☆

Weight (20%) ★★½☆☆

The Oboz Sawtooth is one of the most popular models they make. It is available in men’s and women’s as well as non-waterproof and waterproof versions. When you first look at the Sawtooth it feels like it has some roots to a climbing approach shoe. Just based on the appearance alone the lacing system is very climbing shoe esque. The lacing is very close together and comes down the shoe a bit further than most shoes do. This can provide a more adjustable and comfortable fit. After all the Sawtooth is part of the Multisport collection by Oboz, so it should be a do it all type of shoe. The upper is made of a combination of Nubuck Leather and High Abrasion Textile. These two materials give a good mix of breathability, durability, and support. The leather overlays offer a bit more durability and support while being less breathable. The tongue is partially gusseted and made of the same material mix for consistent performance. The tongue also has a lace loop to keep it in place along with the gussets which also help. On both the heel and tongue there is a webbing strap that can be used to get the shoes on as well as carabiner to a bag if they need to be carried.

Side View

The Sawtooth has been constructed with a Strobel last for increased comfort. To go with that it has a two-part midsole comprised of a nylon shank and dual density EVA cushioning. The nylon shank helps provide support and some rigidity for hiking with loads and over uneven terrain. In the heel, there is a 3d molded External Heel Counter which also helps add support while helping with the overall comfort as well. This Heel Counter has been molded instead of being bent into shape and therefore, will retain its shape better over the long run. For a bit more cushioning and better comfort next to foot the Sawtooth has the BFit standard insole which is removable if you wish to use another insole. The BFit Standard has triple density EVA with one density throughout and two densities in the heel that balance support with cushioning.

Another very important aspect of the design is the Sawtooth multisport outsole. This outsole is made of a proprietary high-friction, non-marking carbon rubber. This rubber will not only provide good grip across a variety of surfaces but also last longer due to the raw material mix. The outsole has lugs that provide various directions of traction to be able to accommodate whatever activity you are looking to do. The Sawtooth is a little more beefy of a shoe compared to the current direction of many shoes on the market, but not by much. They seem to be well-made and with great attention to detail. Here is a video from Oboz that highlights the shoes.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW2CgIE_Bk4&w=527]

Unfortunately, Oboz, like nearly all other shoe manufacturers, does not appear to make their shoes out of sustainable resources. I did some looking at the actual materials used and could not come up with anything. Oboz does, however, have many other programs worth mentioning. First is their One More Tree Program. This program plants a tree for every pair of shoes purchased. They have partnered with Tree For The Future which gives communities the gift of trees through seed distribution, agro forestry training, and hands-on assistance. When you buy a pair of shoes, you can see right on the box some explanation of the program. Oboz also works to use clean energy and offset the carbon emissions from their corporate travel. They use energy from the Judith Gap Wind Farm in Montana. They even try to recycle their samples, warranty returns, and factory seconds. By keeping them out of the trash and giving them to different organizations that can use them, this help eliminate waste while helping people out at the same time. While the shoes themselves may not be sustainable, Oboz has shown you can still make great strides to be socially responsible.

Lugged Outsole

Fit ★★★★☆

Comfort (25%) ★★★★½

Foot Length (15%) ★★★★☆

Foot Volume (15%) ★★★★☆

Heel Width (15%) ★★★½☆

Midfoot Width (15%) ★★★★☆

Toe Box Width (15%) ★★★★½

Where the Oboz Sawtooth really excels is in the fit. These are a really comfortable shoe. The Sawtooth has full mesh inside liner that does not have many seams. I really found the interior of the shoes comfortable. On a camping trip, I wore the shoes the entire weekend and never had any issues. Of course, I was not hiking or doing too much. On another trip, I did hike about 13 miles round trip with over 4,000 vertical feet of climbing and once again, my feet were very comfortable. I have never had any issues with blisters as the upper keeps my foot snug with no slipping. I think this is due to the combination of the lacing system and the heel counter which keeps your foot secure.

Strobel Last

I am normally a size 9, and that is what I tested in the Sawtooth. The shoes fit just about perfect. In the size 9, there was a little of extra length to prevent my toes from banging into the end when hiking downhill. The volume is also very good. If you have a high-volume foot, the Sawtooth can accommodate that nicely. With the lacing system, the shoes are easily able to adjust to a variety of foot shapes. I personally felt like the heel was a medium to wide with but did cup my heel well. The midfoot has a bit of extra room, which can be mitigated slightly by the lacing but was the one area where the fit was not perfect on me. The toe box has an excellent shape. It is wide enough that you can wiggle your toes and allows for some swelling over the course of a long day on the trail. I must say that I have been fortunate to test quite a few hiking shoes that are very comfortable, and I can now add another to that list.

Leather and Mesh Upper

Performance ★★★½☆

Breathability (20%) ★★★★☆

Cushioning (20%) ★★★½☆

Durability (20%) ★★★☆☆

Flexibility (15%) ★★★½☆

Protection (15%) ★★★½☆

Versatility (10%) ★★★☆☆

The Oboz Sawtooth has also performed quite well. The upper is made of a combination of Nubuck Leather and Mesh. While there is not a lot of mesh, there is enough to make the shoes breathable. Hiking in hot weather my feet stayed cool and comfortable. The only drawback with mesh is dust can get through, and over time can cause some irritation. I did not have this problem but after my Broken Top climb, there was plenty of dust on my feet. The upper has held up well during my tests. I even did some descending of a scree field which is some really rough rock, and the upper came through in unscathed. The sole, however, has been showing a little wear. Nothing bad but it has been more than I expected. Most likely from the rough lava rock we have here in the Central Cascades.

Triple EVA Insole

The outsole has a nylon shank but still maintains good flexibility. The Sawtooth also has protected my feet from rocks well too. The sole was designed with only the essential rubber to save weight, but they did leave enough so you do not get your feet bruised by any rocks. The outsole uses Oboz proprietary rubber, and it did a great job griping rocks and trail. I had some creek crossings and even some rock climbing, and the shoes handled both with ease. This points to the versatility of the Sawtooth shoes. They are good for hiking, scrambling, or even around camp.

Sawtooth from the Top of Broken Top

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, my first experience with Oboz was a good one. The Sawtooth shoes are great for light hiking. The upper is breathable, which proves outstanding for the hot and dry climate I live in. If you need something with more weather protection, they do make the Sawtooth with a waterproof membrane. What really set these apart was the comfortable fit. I tested the size 9 and had plenty of room and a nice wide toe box. The Sawtooth is really comfortable to wear and walk in. I never had any comfort issues. While the Oboz proprietary rubber gripped well it did seem to wear slightly faster that some of my other hiking footwear. The other drawback with the Sawtooth is that they are not the lightest shoes. Many companies have been trending to make stripped down and lightweight hikers to encourage the done in a day crowd. The Sawtooth would not fall in this category even though they have tried to lighten it up. If you are looking for a solid and comfortable hiking shoe, the Oboz Sawtooth is worth a look. They retail for $110, which is a fair price and Oboz is a company that does things right. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Good Traction
  • Excellent Foot Shape
  • Comfortable and Breathable Upper
  • Good Cushioning from Rocks

Cons

  • Outsole Wearing Slightly Faster than Expected
  • A Bit Heavy

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Adventures

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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