Hands-on Gear Review

Oboz Sapphire Mid Waterproof - Women's Review

Price:  $160 List | $160.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Stable, good traction, very durable, stylish
Cons:  Very stiff, takes time to break in, not very adjustable
Bottom line:  The Sapphire Mid is a burly, yet still feminine hiking boot that provides support, traction, and durability.
Editors' Rating:   
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Boot Type:  Midweight Hiker
Weight Per Pair (pounds):  1.7 lbs
Upper:  Waterproof nubuck leather
Manufacturer:   Oboz

Our Verdict

These sturdy, yet stylish boots have it all — support, traction, durability, and water resistance. The Oboz Sapphire Mid is a slightly lighter, less aggressive boot than the Oboz Bridger Mid. They are more versatile and lighter-weight, but still have the same attention to detail and durable design that is a theme among Oboz products. Their women's specific shape means they are relatively low-volume, so wide-footed women beware. Also, the boots seemed to run a tad small, so getting a half size up is not a bad idea.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Boots for Women of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson

Last Updated:
Sunday
May 6, 2018

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The Sapphire Mid is a lighter-weight, but still durable, all-leather hiking boot made by Oboz. They excel in the support, traction, and durability metrics. Since they are super stiff and take some time to break in, the Sapphire's received slightly lower scores in our comfort metric. Their leather construction makes them durable and water resistant, though this also makes them fall a bit short when it comes to breathability.

Performance Comparison



Comfort


More so than their slightly burlier cousin, the Oboz Bridger Mid, the Sapphire is a narrow boot designed for a women's specific fit. We also found that this boot ran a little small, and would order a half size up next time. This, combined with the narrow fit made them fall short in the comfort metric. That said, they broke in with time and ended up being comfortable. We also experienced this with the Teva Arrowood Mid, which had a similar narrow fit. The boots also had a similar stiffness to the Bridger Mid, probably because both boots are made of nubuck leather that tends to take time to stretch out.

The Oboz Sapphire Mid are worn here in the southern Utah desert.
The Oboz Sapphire Mid are worn here in the southern Utah desert.

Support


Where this model fell short in comfort, they excelled in our support metric. The stiffness in the toe box and ankle provided plenty of support throughout the entire foot. This combination of a supportive midsole and ankle support makes the Sapphire a high-scoring boot in this metric. This design is consistent with the Oboz Bridger Mid. Our Best Buy Award winner, the Keen Targhee III Mid, also provided tons of support throughout. Both of these boots have a mostly-leather upper, which adds to the overall support of the boot.

The aggressive tread pattern make these boots a great option for keeping traction on rocky  loose terrain.
The aggressive tread pattern make these boots a great option for keeping traction on rocky, loose terrain.

Weight


The Sapphire falls in the middle of the range when it comes to weight. These boots weigh 1.7 pounds, which makes them comparable to the Keen Targhee II and the Ahnu Montara. They are lighter, (by about .3 pounds) than the Oboz Bridger Mid BDry. The Sapphire has the same burly design and all-leather upper as the Bridger but is a lighter-weight option. For a contender that still provides support and protection, while retaining a lightweight feel, the Sapphire is a good choice.

Traction


The Sapphire is a slightly less burly version of the Oboz Bridger Mid in a lot of ways. This means that the Sapphire has the same rugged soles as the Bridger, but with slightly less bulk. The soles do not stick out on the sides, like the Keen Targhee III and are sleeker in design, similar to the La Sportiva Nucleo. Like the Nucleo, the Sapphire has excellent traction, even though Oboz does not use the same sticky Vibram sole that La Sportiva does.

Though the Sapphire's took a bit of time to break in  they ended up being one of the more comfortable boots we tested  especially considering their stiffness.
Though the Sapphire's took a bit of time to break in, they ended up being one of the more comfortable boots we tested, especially considering their stiffness.

Water Resistance


The Sapphire received high scores in our water resistance metric, due to their leather upper and seamless tongue. There are very few ways for water to get into these boots once they are laced up. Though the ankle height doesn't come up as high as the Lowa Renegade or the La Sportiva Nucleo, the Sapphire still kept water out, ensuring our feet stayed dry on the trail. The only downside is their lack of breathability, due to their all-leather uppers. For the best breathability and water-resistant, we love the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 and La Sportiva Nucleo, which are our top-ranked in this metric.

Durability


One of the best parts about Oboz as a company is the quality of their products. This small company takes great care to produce footwear that lasts, and the Sapphire is no exception. The soles are solid, and the leather uppers seem to resist wear and tear with ease. The only downside is the lacing system; the laces are thin, and the eyelets have been known to come off, according to a few online reviews. (this never happened during our testing period, though). Compared to other lightweight boots, like the Teva Arrowood or the Vasque Monolith, the Sapphire soared above the rest when it came to durability. These boots are more on par with the Ahnu Sugarpine or the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3.

The reinforced rubber toe caps on the Oboz Sapphire make them equally as durable as their beefier counterpart  the OBoz Bridger Mid.
The reinforced rubber toe caps on the Oboz Sapphire make them equally as durable as their beefier counterpart, the OBoz Bridger Mid.

Best Applications


These boots are best designed for long hikes in rugged terrain. The soles of the Sapphire are sticky and have an aggressive tread, while their leather uppers are durable and water resistant. It's also a plus that these boots are stylish and sleek and can be worn around town. Our testing revealed that they are ideal for women with narrow feet.

The one flaw we found with the Sapphire was their lack of adjustability due to the small tongue. This makes the boots difficult to adjust for wider feet.
The one flaw we found with the Sapphire was their lack of adjustability due to the small tongue. This makes the boots difficult to adjust for wider feet.

Value


Sold for $160, the Sapphire is a mid-range option regarding price. While boots like the Lowa Renegade and the Hoka One One Tor Ultra are almost $50 more expensive, our Best Buy award winner costs $30 less. The Sapphire's are made well and made to last, so at $160, they seem like a good investment in the long term.

The Oboz Sapphire's work great as a hiking boot for rugged  rocky terrain.
The Oboz Sapphire's work great as a hiking boot for rugged, rocky terrain.

Conclusion


The Oboz Sapphire is a great all-around boot. In nearly all our metric ratings, the Sapphire scored highly. From durability to traction to water resistance, this boot shines. The only downsides we found were its lack of breathability and narrow fit that can be a bit uncomfortable for those with wider feet. Slightly less burly than the Oboz Bridger Mid, the Sapphire is a good option for a lighter-weight Oboz model.
Jane Jackson

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Most recent review: May 6, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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