Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Bouncy, very waterproof
Cons: Fabric is not very durable, not the most breathable
Best Uses: Dayhiking, light backpacking
The Oboz Yellowstone is a narrowly fitting, waterproof, light hiking shoe. It has a slightly higher profile on the ankle than most other shoes, adding a bit of support and stability for uneven terrain or for carrying heavy loads. It stands out as having the bounciest cushion of all the shoes tested, but is also the heaviest shoe, weighing in at 2.24 lbs per pair. We prefer the lighter Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra or the similarly mid-cut Adidas Terrex Fast X. If you don't like the narrow toe-box, try either the Keen Voyageur or the Merrell Moab Ventilator, which are both more spacious, particularly in the toe.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A waterproof, slightly high-cut shoe, the Oboz Yellowstones are heavy, bouncy, and protective.
As the heaviest shoes in this review, weighing 2.24 lbs per pair, the Yellowstone sits right in between the category of light hiking boot and hiking shoe. The Yellowstones weigh a little more than all of the other shoes we evaluated (all the others are under 2 pounds), but they do offer more protection and support. Compared to boots, these are on the lighter side, but they are less durable than a heavier boot.
While the bounciness provides comfortable cushion when hiking, the toe box is narrow and restrictive. If you have narrow feet, this may not be an issue, but our tester, whose feet are average bordering on wide, noticed that her toes fell asleep after extended wear. On the upside, the boots hold your feet securely, with no heel slippage.
The first thing our tester noticed when putting on the Yellowstones was that they feel springier than all the other shoes. These will immediately put a bounce in your step, which makes hiking feel easy and fun.
The Sawtooth outsole on the Yellowstone is beefy and bouncy, providing great traction on a trail, but it slips slightly when scrambling over slabby rock surfaces, such as on the domes in Tuolumne Meadows.
After only a couple wears, the EVA on the midsole showed scuffing, signs of wear, and started to separate from the toe, which doesn't bode well for extended use. Since there is exposed foam on the midsole, it is likely that these soles would have the same problem as the Keen Soles, where the EVA started to deteriorate after a season of hard use.
Water Resistance / Breathability
The Yellowsotne held up extremely well in our creek-immersed water resistance test. No water at all penetrated the proprietary Oboz BDRY membrane, and they actually insulated a bit, not even letting the cold temperature of the water reach through the shoes. When removed from the creek, water beaded up and rolled right off the leather on the upper.
These shoes, because of their higher cut work best on uneven terrain or weekend backpacking trips with lighter loads. They are not as versatile or as comfortable as some of the other low-cut hiking shoes.
With an MSRP of $140, these boots fall in a middle price range. You may want to spend your dollars on a more durable shoe that will last longer, such as the Patagonia Drifter, or on a lighter shoe, like the Salomon X-Over.
Oboz Yellowstone Men's
— McKenzie Long
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Most recent review: May 5, 2015
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