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Oboz Sapphire Mid Waterproof - Women's Review

The Sapphire Mid is a burly, yet still feminine hiking boot that provides support, traction, and durability.
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Price:  $160 List | $159.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Stable, good traction, very durable, stylish
Cons:  Very stiff, takes time to break in, not very adjustable
Manufacturer:   Oboz
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2018
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 17
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

These sturdy, yet stylish boots have it all — support, traction, durability, and water resistance. The Oboz Sapphire Mid is a lightweight model from Oboz. Their low overall weight and simple design make them a more moderate hiker, but these boots 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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Stable, good traction, very durable, stylishGood traction, very comfortable, ankle padding, waterproofVery water resistant, durable, incredibly lightweight, sleek designComfortable, lightweight, durable, inexpensiveComfortable, stable, incredibly well-padded, low weight
Cons Very stiff, takes time to break in, not very adjustableRuns big, excess padding in tongueProblematic fitLacks support of larger, heavier bootsLack breathability, large sole, short collar
Bottom Line The Sapphire Mid is a burly, yet still feminine hiking boot that provides support, traction, and durability.It's difficult to find any short-comings in this fantastic product, which even comes at a fair price.This boot is designed for mountainous, technical terrain where lightweight and durable footwear is key.The Targhee III are the latest iteration of the Targhee model, and the best one yet; Keen has made some small changes, making these boots the full package.These boots are some of the most comfortable and supportive models we have tested, making them our Top Pick for Comfort.
Rating Categories Sapphire Mid Waterproof X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Alpenrose Ultra Mid GTX Targhee III Mid Sky Toa
Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
10
Support (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
Traction (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
6
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Sapphire Mid... X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Alpenrose Ultra... Targhee III Mid Sky Toa
Boot Type Midweight hiker Midweight hiker Lightweight/Midweight hiker Lightweight/Midweight hiker Lightweight hiker
Weight Per Pair (Size 7.5, in lbs) 1.70 lbs 1.83 lbs 1.47 lbs 1.80 lbs 1.64 lbs
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Upper Waterproof nubuck leather Suede leather, nylon Breathable mesh/ coated fabric Oiled nubuck leather Synthetic
Heel height (mm) 25 mm 32 mm 32 mm 35 mm 44.5 mm
Shaft height (mm) 146 mm 121 mm 127 mm 125 mm 101.6 mm
Midsole Dual density EVA with TPU Chassis Dual-density EVA EVA Dual Density EVA Rangi
Sole Swiftcurrent Contagrip rubber Michelin rubber Rubber Vibram MegaGrip

Our Analysis and Test Results

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


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

Comfort


The Sapphire is a narrow boot designed for a women's specific fit, reminiscent of the Ahnu Montara III. 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. The boots have a similar stiffness to other Nubuck leather models, like the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX. The Nucleo is a much burlier boot overall, but both models took some time to break in due to the stiffness of the leather.

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.

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 similar to that of our Best Buy Award winner, the Keen Targhee III Mid. Both of these boots have a mostly-leather upper, which adds to the overall support of the boot.

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. The North Face Fastpack III is lighter, by .2 pounds, but does not tote the same leather uppers that the Sapphire does. It is important to consider the type of materials used in a model when looking at weight - leather models will usually be heavier, but more durable, than synthetic or mesh boots. For a contender that still provides support and protection, while retaining a lightweight feel, the Sapphire is a good choice.

Traction


The Sapphire has a sleek, yet still aggressive sole. The Swiftcurrent rubber sole provides good traction without an obviously aggressive tread pattern. The Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid have similar looking soles but provide a bit more traction than the Sapphires.

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.

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.

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). The Sapphire comes close to the Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid in terms of durability for a relatively lightweight model.

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. The Editors' Choice Salomon X Ultra 3 cost only $5 more and provide superior performance, and our Best Buy award winner costs $15 less. The Sapphire's are made well and made to last, so at $160, they seem like a good investment in the long term, but not the absolute best you can get for the money.

The Oboz Sapphires are stiff underfoot and supportive in the ankle  making them a great option for rugged  rocky terrain.
The Oboz Sapphires are stiff underfoot and supportive in the ankle, making them a great option 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. The Sapphire is a good option for a lightweight model with the classic features of an OBoz boot.


Jane Jackson