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Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's Review

This beefy shoe features rugged durability and excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrain
Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's
Credit: Oboz
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $140 List | $140.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, stable, great traction, durable
Cons:  Upper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavy
Manufacturer:   Oboz
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Support - 20% 9.0
  • Traction - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 4.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry is a burly, rugged hiking shoe that is great for the long haul. These shoes are comfortable, even with a heavy pack, supportive, waterproof, and durable. The traction is fantastic, even on steep and loose trails. They weigh a bit more than some other shoes in the test, but given how well the shoe performs, we think it is worth carrying a little more weight. The Sawtooth II is a fantastic hiking shoe for all kinds of hiking but truly excels in technical terrain and longer hikes. They are a bit overkill if you stick to short day hikes on groomed trails.

Editor's Note: We included two new sections in this hiking shoe review to help readers with their buying decision. This update happened on March 6, 2022.

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Pros Comfortable, stable, great traction, durableSuperb traction, supportive, waterproof, comfortableFeels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great tractionComfortable, lightweight, decent traction, inexpensive, vegan-friendlyWaterproof, great traction, breathable
Cons Upper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavyExpensive, laces not durable, sizing runs longAverage durability, not as protective underfootNot waterproof, below average durabilityNeeds breaking in, runs short, awkward tongue, laces difficult to adjust
Bottom Line This beefy shoe features rugged durability and excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrainA high-tech hiking shoe that delivers in every category, outperforming the best shoes we've ever testedThis high-performing shoe is impressively lightweight and suited for hard-charging missions across versatile terrainA budget-minded, lightweight, and comfy shoe for fair-weather day hikes when you know your feet won't get wetGood at most things and great at some, this solid hiker meets most needs at a surprisingly low price
Rating Categories Oboz Sawtooth II Lo... La Sportiva Spire GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Merrell Siren Edge 3 Merrell Moab 2 WP -...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Support (20%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Water Resistance (15%)
6.0
10.0
10.0
4.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
9.0
5.0
4.0
6.0
Specs Oboz Sawtooth II Lo... La Sportiva Spire GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Merrell Siren Edge 3 Merrell Moab 2 WP -...
Weight (per pair) 1.83 lbs (size 7) 1.61 lbs (size 7)
1.81 lbs (size 9.5)
1.37 lbs (size 7) 1.41 lbs (size 9.5) 1.69 lbs (size 7)
1.71 lbs (size 10)
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular, Wide Regular, Wide
Upper Leather/textile Abrasion-resistant mesh Synthetic/textile Waterproof mesh, 3D-printed TPU Suede leather, mesh
Midsole Dual density EVA EVA EVA EVA EVA
Lining B-Dry Gore-Tex Surround Gore-Tex Mesh M-Select Dry & Mesh
Outsole Sawtooth Vibram XS Trek Contagrip Vibram TC5+ Vibram TC5+

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sawtooth II Low BDRY has held up incredibly well after a year of long hikes. There are no signs of sole compression, de-lamination, or loose stitching. It remains comfortable and supportive and is still a favorite for multi-day trips when carrying heavier packs and traversing rugged terrain. This is a really excellent hiking shoe that is our Top Pick for long distances and longevity.

Performance Comparison


Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - we happily wore the sawtooth ii on many adventures, and they are...
We happily wore the Sawtooth II on many adventures, and they are holding up extremely well.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Comfort


Comfort and fit are two of the most important aspects to consider when choosing your next pair of hiking shoes, and the Sawtooth II is just as comfortable as its predecessor. While other shoes have more plush midsoles, Oboz knows they fit better than most brands, and the Sawtooth II is a close runner-up in the comfort category.


The heel is well-cushioned, and so is the forefoot. Why would you care about this? Hiking on flat surfaces, the heel strikes first and takes most of the impact, but the forefoot strikes first when you hike on an incline. If there is ample padding through the length of the shoe, you will most likely have happy feet, especially when you are hiking in technical terrain or carrying a pack. Other models that lacked much forefoot padding revealed this in such conditions.

Some testers feel that the new Sawtooth is narrower than the old version, so if you have a narrow foot and couldn't get the old Sawtooth to fit, it might be worth checking out the Sawtooth II and see if it is more to your liking.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - ample cushioning in the whole shoe kept our feet happy on steep...
Ample cushioning in the whole shoe kept our feet happy on steep inclines, too.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Support


When it comes to support, this shoe lacks the support of many rivals. Arch support, an effective lacing system, and lateral support are all there. The Sawtooth II comes with Oboz's "O Fit" insole, which is sturdy and provides excellent arch support. It is much more robust than the majority of the insoles that we saw in this test.


For a "low cut" shoe, the Sawtooth II comes up higher around the ankles than most other hiking shoes, adding to its support. The eyelets for the laces run up high on the upper, so locking down your ankle works with these shoes. And the cut of the shoe cradles the heel well, so we didn't feel like we had to crank on the laces to keep our heels in place. Even more, the stiff upper materials reinforce the support of the shoe. Few shoes provide a more dialed-in fit.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - the o fit insole provides excellent arch support, one of the best in...
The O Fit insole provides excellent arch support, one of the best in the test.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

The Sawtooth's outsole has enough torsional rigidity to withstand rough terrain, boulder hopping, and scrambling. Among all contenders, these shoes are our top choice for backpacking with a heavier pack. It is a common piece of advice to wear a hiking boot rather than a shoe if your pack weighs more than 25-30 pounds. Hiking Boots will provide more ankle stability, but they can also create more pressure points and hot spots. If you've sworn off boots for good, we recommend these shoes as a great alternative. We would also recommend this shoe for someone who primarily hikes but may make one or two short backpacking trips per year and doesn't want to buy a pair of boots.

Traction


When scoring for traction, we consider how well the tread handles traveling up and down loose scree as well as rock slabs. Volcanic rubble is the ultimate test for lugs, while wet rocks reveal the strengths or weaknesses of the rubber. The Sawtooth II did well on both!


The lugs are chunky, zig-zag shaped, and deep, great for shedding mud and smaller rocks. There is ample rubber on the sides of the shoes for added grip in technical situations. We also appreciate the soft, sticky rubber, which easily grips bare rock. We felt secure underfoot on steep, loose trails and exposed rock and scrambled confidently around on rock bands and cave rims.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - mossy rocks are always a challenge, but the sawtooth ii is a...
Mossy rocks are always a challenge, but the Sawtooth II is a traction champ.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

The Sawtooth also gets high marks for its downhill traction. A well-defined heel is useful to dig in with your heels when chugging down slopes.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - we never had any qualms about going downhill. the oboz sawtooth ii...
We never had any qualms about going downhill. The Oboz Sawtooth II has sticky rubber, large lugs, and a well-defined heel.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Weight


All that sticky rubber that we love comes with a price, which is a heavier hiking shoe. And while there is no question that weight is an essential factor when it comes to hiking shoes, we believe that the stability, protection, and solid ride of the Sawtooth II are worth the extra weight. And the new version is, in fact, lighter than the original Sawtooth, bringing it closer to the rest in this metric.


Often, lightweight hiking shoes don't work well for longer or multi-day hikes or when carrying weight in a pack. The lightest shoes that we tested weigh about 4 ounces less per shoe, but they lack the traction, support, and durability of the Sawtooth II. If light and fast is your style, you might want to look at other options, but for max protection and durability, this shoe beats the rest.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - the sawtooth ii absorbed over an ounce of water per shoe in our...
The Sawtooth II absorbed over an ounce of water per shoe in our bucket test.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Water Resistance


As with most of the hiking shoes that advertise waterproofness, the Oboz Sawtooth II Low did not leak at all in our testing. It is made with Oboz's BDry waterproof membrane, which keeps the water out while also transporting foot sweat out. We were a little surprised by how much water the Sawtooth II absorbed in our bucket test — over an ounce per shoe! While it would be a rare hike that you are standing around in three-plus inches of water for ten minutes or more, it is possible that a downpour could soak the shoes, and you would be carrying around that extra weight. Leather can absorb water, but luckily it can also be treated with a bit of waterproofing wax for better repellency.

A feature that we appreciate in this shoe is that the upper comes up higher in the front and on the sides for added protection. An extra half-inch of coverage can make a difference when crossing mountain streams or navigating puddles. If you love hiking in the winter, Oboz also makes our the Bridger 7" Waterproof boot.


Durability


In its previous version, we had no durability concerns with this shoe, and we have no reason to think anything less of the Sawtooth II. Triple stitching on the upper will keep the leather attached to the mesh, and the rubber heel counter that functions to maintain the shoe's shape also provides extra durability. We've surveyed online user reviews and see no complaints about durability there, either.


One thing to note is that sticky rubber soles, like those on the Sawtooth II, will wear out faster if you wear them on concrete or asphalt surfaces, so stick to the trails to maximize their life. Of course, this is true for any shoe.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - even on steep, loose lava rubble, carrying a 20-pound pack, the...
Even on steep, loose lava rubble, carrying a 20-pound pack, the Sawtooth II was solid and supportive.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Should You Buy the Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry?


Multiple testers and our scoring metrics agree — the Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry is a fantastic shoe for all kinds of hiking objectives. They stand out in almost all of our testing metrics, but we especially appreciate their comfort, stability, waterproofness, and sticky rubber. Our feet are always happy at the end of an adventure in the Sawtooth II, and we think you will love them, too. The Sawtooth II is cheaper than a full hiking boot and costs less than many shoes in this review. Considering that it excels in so many conditions, comes with a well-built and supportive insole, and is durable enough to last for years, we think this shoe is a great value. Dig this shoe, but don't need the waterproofing? Oboz also produces a non-waterproof version of this shoe for about 30 bucks less.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry - Women's hiking shoes - happy to be hiking in the sawtooth ii!
Happy to be hiking in the Sawtooth II!
Credit: Laurel Hunter

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


If durability is your top priority, it can be hard to find a better choice than the Sawtooth. However, if you want the best across test metrics, the La Sportiva Spire GTX provides better traction and offers more water resistance, and is lighter weight than the Oboz.

Laurel Hunter
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