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Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry - Women's Review

Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry - Women's NEW
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $140 List | $104.99 at REI
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, stable, waterproof and ruggedly made
Cons:  Cut a little on the wide side, slightly heavier than some other models
Bottom line:  A great shoe for long or short hikes, with or without a pack.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Oboz

Our Verdict

Never heard of Oboz footwear before? That's okay — neither had we before this review. This small, Montana-based company cranks out innovative footwear, and including our favorite women's hiking shoe, the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry. There were so many things to like about this shoe, including great cushioning and support, aggressive tread that works on a variety of terrain, a waterproof membrane, and a combo leather/mesh upper for breathability. It is on the heavier side, even with the "cut-out" sole design, and the shoe was cut almost too wide for us in the women's size 10 that we tested; while we were still able to get a good fit, the laces were cinched down to their narrowest point. If you're looking for a burly hiking shoe that can tackle any day hike you might take that is stable enough for backpacking as well, this is the shoe for you. If you are looking for supreme cushioning, check out our Top Pick for Comfort, the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP - Women's.

Looking for a little more stability?
Oboz Sawtooth Mid
Oboz is offering our favorite hiking shoe as a boot as well! At $150, compared to the Lo's $140, the Sawtooth Mid gives more support and stability on top of all the qualities that made the Low an incredible all-arounder. If you like to travel on a variety of terrain but want that little bit of added support, the Mid may be the perfect fit for you.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Shoes for Women Review

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Score Product Price Our Take
87
$140
Editors' Choice Award
A great shoe for long or short hikes, with or without a pack.
83
$160
Top Pick Award
Perfect shoe for those who want or need exceptional cushion and comfort in their footwear.
75
$120
Great shoe for people who like to move fast in the mountains without a heavy pack.
73
$100
Best Buy Award
An affordable option for warm and dry climates.
72
$120
A great shoe for fast and light hiking.
72
$140
A good shoe for someone who likes to day and overnight hike and only wants one pair of shoes.
70
$136
A great shoe for shorter hikes or less rugged terrain.
70
$210
A stiff shoe for those who prefer minimal cushion but lots of durability.
60
$115
Great shoe for those with wide feet who need a hiker for arid areas.
60
$140
This low-cut hiker fell to the bottom of our list due to a slippery insole and lack of support.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Saturday
May 6, 2017

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You might mistake the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry as a Merrell offering — they do have a similar look and we had several people ask us if they were Merrells along the way — but these shoes have some unique elements, including the cut out sole to reduce weight and molded heel counter. The upper is leather and mesh backed by their BDry waterproof membrane.

Taking in the view in our Editors' Choice winner. Whether you're out for a day hike or going for a longer trip  these shoes will keep your feet comfortable and supported.
Taking in the view in our Editors' Choice winner. Whether you're out for a day hike or going for a longer trip, these shoes will keep your feet comfortable and supported.

Performance Comparison


As the chart below clearly shows, the Sawtooth had the highest overall score in our tests.


Comfort


Comfort and fit are one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing your next pair of hiking shoes, and this pair definitely delivered. While the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP was slightly more comfortable than this pair (thanks to its oversized and plush midsole), the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry was a close second.


Not only does this shoe provide ample cushioning under the heel, but there is also a good amount in the forefoot. Why is this important? When you're walking on flat surfaces your heel strikes first and takes most of the impact, but on an incline your forefoot strikes first, so having ample padding the length of the shoe is key to having happy feet. Some of the other shoes in this review, like the Asolo Outlaw GV - Women's and the Keen Voyageur - Women's, had minimal forefoot padding, and that really affected their overall comfort.

This shoe had us smiling all along the trail. It had ample cushion underfoot and supported us even on rocky trails.
This shoe had us smiling all along the trail. It had ample cushion underfoot and supported us even on rocky trails.

Support


This shoe received our highest score for support. It hit all of the targets we were looking for in a hiking shoe: arch support, adjustability in the laces, and lateral support. It comes with Oboz's "O Fit" insole, which they claim helps reduce pronation. While we couldn't confirm or deny that, we can attest that it provides extra arch support that other shoes lack. Some of the insoles we pulled out of the different shoes that we tested were almost laughable in their lack of structure, but not here.


This shoe is also cut on the high side around the ankle, which we liked. It's not quite as high as a mid, but did provide more ankle support than any other shoe in this review. The lacing comes up high on the shoe, allowing you to lock down the ankle. We did max out these laces though — if our feet were any narrower or even with an ultra-thin sock we'd have a hard time getting this shoe tight enough. The material is stiff though, further enhancing the support of this shoe. In comparison, the Vasque Talus Trek Low UltraDry - Women's is made with a softer leather and didn't provide the same support.

The molded insole has a defined and stiff arch support. This was the only model in this review to include a high end and supportive insole for "free."
The molded insole has a defined and stiff arch support. This was the only model in this review to include a high end and supportive insole for "free."

The sole on the Sawtooth is also stiff enough for rock hopping and scrambling without fear of it collapsing or rolling your ankles. Of all the shoes in this review, this would be our top choice for wearing with a heavier pack. While it is often recommended to go with a full boot once your pack weighs more than 30 pounds or so (for better ankle stability), if you've been burned by uncomfortable boots in the past and will never go back, then these shoes are a great option. It's also a great option for someone who mostly day hikes but wants to do one or two short backpack trips a year and doesn't want to buy an additional pair of boots.

Traction


When scoring for traction we considered both the action of the tread going up and down trails and how grippy they were on bare rock. Good news — the Sawtooth excelled at both!

The lugs are aggressive and well-spaced (so that mud doesn't get stuck in the entire sole)  and very sticky. We really like the traction on this shoe.
The lugs are aggressive and well-spaced (so that mud doesn't get stuck in the entire sole), and very sticky. We really like the traction on this shoe.

The lugs on the sole are deep, well-spaced (for shedding mug and dirt), and sticky. Whether we were on steep dirt trails or scrambling around exposed rock bands, we had full confidence in these shoes and no slippage issues.


There is also a well-defined heel to help your feet dig in when going downhill, a key part of a shoe's traction.

This shoe is flexible enough for us to get a good bend in the toe  which is key to getting enough traction when scrambling on rocky slabs.
This shoe is flexible enough for us to get a good bend in the toe, which is key to getting enough traction when scrambling on rocky slabs.

Weight


There is no question that weight is an important consideration when it comes to hiking footwear. So why are we heartily recommending one of the heaviest shoes in this review? Because that extra weight gets you some really necessarily features, like a rugged sole and a stable ride. The lightest shoe that we tested, the Ahnu Sugarpine WP - Women's, weighs a quarter of a pound less per shoe in the women's size 10 that we tested them in.


With the old adage of weight on the feet compounding five-fold, that's the equivalent of 2.5 pounds, or an extra 1 liter water bottle when wearing the Sawtooths. However, we couldn't see ourselves using the Ahnu's for more than a light hike without a pack on, so lightweight is not always better if it sacrifices stability or comfort.

Water Resistance


You can cross streams with confidence in these hiking shoes.
You can cross streams with confidence in these hiking shoes.

The Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry offers exceptional water resistance. This shoe comes with Oboz's BDry waterproof membrane, which keeps the water out while allowing for the transportation of moisture (i.e. sweat) out of your shoe. Sometimes our feet are more likely to get wet from sweat than rain, so this is key. What really helps this shoe stay waterproof is how high the upper comes up in the front and on the sides.


While a half an inch of extra coverage might not seem like much, it can be the difference between crossing a stream with dry feet or a splash getting inside.

Four inches at the ankle and even higher around the front  this hiking "shoe" is almost a mid-height model. As such it gave us even better water resistance than some lower cut models.
Four inches at the ankle and even higher around the front, this hiking "shoe" is almost a mid-height model. As such it gave us even better water resistance than some lower cut models.

Durability


We had no durability concerns with this shoe during our testing period, and a thorough look at online user reviews didn't reveal any major or commonplace issues either. There are some things that add to this shoe's durability, such as the triple stitching on the upper to hold the leather strips in place, and the external molded heel counter that will preserve the integrity of back of the shoe.


Some concerns for durability could be the exposed TPU shank, which is softer than a full rubber outsole and could get snagged and/or deteriorate quicker than something like the Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo - Women's. Note also that with a sticky rubber sole like this one, the rubber will wear out/down faster if you wear them on concrete or asphalt surfaces. Overall though, these shoes are solidly built and should be able to withstand miles and miles of use on the trail.

The extra rubber on the heel might add an ounce or two to the overall weight of the shoe  but it helps prevent the heel area from caving in over time  and adds more stability to the shoe as well.
The extra rubber on the heel might add an ounce or two to the overall weight of the shoe, but it helps prevent the heel area from caving in over time, and adds more stability to the shoe as well.

Best Applications


The Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry is a great all-around hiking shoe. If you like to mix it up and hike on a variety of terrains, with or without a pack, on dry days and wet ones, this pair can do it all.

We loved wearing these shoes on day hikes around the desert  and they have enough structure and stability for hiking with a pack as well.
We loved wearing these shoes on day hikes around the desert, and they have enough structure and stability for hiking with a pack as well.

Value


These shoes retails for $140, which is surely cheaper than a full hiking boot. Considering it comes with a well-built insole (you shouldn't have to buy an aftermarket one unless it really doesn't fit you), and is built to last for years, we think this shoe is a good value. If you like this shoe but don't need a waterproof shoe, Oboz makes a non-waterproof version for $110 (see below). You can also check out our $100 Best Buy winner, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilators - Women's.

Conclusion


The Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry was our favorite pair of hiking shoes that we tested in our updated review. This pair was a standout performer in almost all of our testing metrics, and we looked forward to the days when we got to take them out to play. In a sea of hiking shoes, these really stood out thanks to their comfort, stability, waterproofness and sticky rubber. We hope you like them too!
Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: May 6, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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