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.
Comfort and fit are one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing your next pair of hiking shoes, and this pair delivers. While the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP is slightly more comfortable than this pair (thanks to its oversized and plush midsole), the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry is 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 Keen Voyageur - Women's, have minimal forefoot padding, and that affects 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 received our highest score for support. It hit all of the targets we are 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 cut on the high side around the ankle, which we like. It's not quite as high as a mid, but it does 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, further enhancing the support of this shoe. A close second for this category is the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX. This pair has a stiff synthetic upper and rigid sole that is almost as stable as the Sawtooth.
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. It is often recommended to go with a full boot once your pack weighs more than 30 pounds or so (for better ankle stability), but if you've worn one too many pairs of uncomfortable boots and will never go back, these shoes are a great option instead. It's also an excellent option for someone who mostly day hikes but wants to do one or two short backpacking trips a year and doesn't want to buy an additional pair of boots.
When scoring for traction, we considered both the action of the tread going up and down trails and how grippy they are 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 on the sole are deep, well-spaced (for shedding mud 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.
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 models we tested? Because that extra weight gets you some necessarily features, like a rugged sole and a stable ride. The lightest shoe that we tested, the Merrell Siren Edge Q2 WP, weighs about 5 ounces less per shoe, but they are not nearly as comfortable or stable as the Sawtooths.
The lightest shoe that is actually functional for day hiking is the Ahnu Sugarpine II WP, which weigh 1.56 pounds. However, we still don't recommend them for longer hikes or when wearing a backpack. Lightweight is great and all, but it's not always better if it sacrifices stability or comfort.
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 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.
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 midsole, which is softer than a full rubber outsole and can get snagged or deteriorate quicker than something like the Lowa Renegade GTX Lo. 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. If you are a toe dragger, look to a pair like the Keen Targhee III, which have a rubber toe box. 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 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.
This pair retails for $140, which is 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 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 one, Oboz makes a non-waterproof version for $110 (see below). You can also check out our $100 Best Buy winner, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator.
The Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry is hands, or feet, down our favorite pair of hiking shoes. This pair is a standout performer in almost all of our testing metrics, and we look forward to the days when we get to take them out to play. In a sea of hiking shoes, these stand out thanks to their comfort, stability, waterproofness and sticky rubber. We hope you like them too!