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Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof - Women's Review

A great balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive base
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oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review
Credit: Myrha Colt
Price:  $160 List
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Manufacturer:   Oboz
By Myrha Colt and Trish Matheny  ⋅  May 11, 2023
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Support - 20% 6.0
  • Traction - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

Much like its predecessor, the Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof is a well-engineered, highly stable low-rise hiking shoe that is ideally suited for day hikes in colder climates. Even with the additional weight of a day pack, these shoes showcase structural support and a watertight, durable construction. And on steep and loose trails, the traction is admirable. However, one of our biggest complaints is that these added features and ample padding really weighed us down. Another caveat to the design is the lack of breathability within the incredibly durable and high-performing BDry waterproof membrane that left our feet quite "pruny" after longer days on the trail. For these reasons, it's difficult to recommend this shoe for much more than average day hikes in cooler, more precipitous climates.
REASONS TO BUY
Ample cushioning
Great traction
Stable
Supportive
REASONS TO AVOID
Rigid footbed
Heavy
Limited breathability
Too much shoe
Editor's Note: This review was updated on May 11, 2023, after retesting the shoe.

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Pros Ample cushioning, great traction, stable, supportiveExcellent traction, responsive and stable support, breathable waterproof protection, comfortable right out of the boxExcellent traction, very supportive, breathable design, comfortable for various foot shapesVersatile, nimble, excellent traction, excellent waterproof protection, supportive midfootAmple traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, affordable
Cons Rigid footbed, heavy, limited breathability, too much shoeExpensive, sizing runs large, 100% recycled polyester laces may require replacementNot waterproof, minor durability issuesSingle-pull lacing system has limited adjustability, fit favors narrow feet, not recommended for cross-country travel, less breathableBulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyelet, durability concerns
Bottom Line A great balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive baseA stand-out hiking shoe that features ample comfort, great traction, a stable base of support, and a high quality, durable, and waterproof mesh upperAn excellent choice for those looking to navigate popular trails that feature polished granite or slippery sandstoneA comfortable, supportive, and waterproof shoe that offers excellent and responsive traction in a sleek, modern packageSupportive and affordable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to numerous foot shapes, hikers, and backcountry experiences
Rating Categories Oboz Sawtooth X Low... La Sportiva Spire GTX La Sportiva TX4 - W... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Merrell Moab 3 WP -...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Support (20%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
8.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Oboz Sawtooth X Low... La Sportiva Spire GTX La Sportiva TX4 - W... Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Merrell Moab 3 WP -...
Weight (per pair, size 8.5) 1.92 lbs 1.68 lbs 1.42 lbs 1.54 lbs 1.78 lbs
Upper Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh Abrasion-resistant mesh Nubuck leather/1.5mm polyurethane TechLite rand/Vibram rubber toe rand Synthetic textile Leather, mesh
Lining B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane Gore-Tex Surround Nonslip mesh Gore-Tex Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane
Flood Level 3" 3.75" 3.5" 3.75" 3.5"
Midsole Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA EVA Traverse Injection MEMlex EVA EVA
Outsole True Tread rubber Vibram XS Trek Vibram Megagrip Traverse with Impact Brake System Rubber Contagrip Vibram TC5+ rubber
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular Regular

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof is the newest addition to the Sawtooth hiker series, named in celebration of the company's 10th anniversary. It comes equipped with a few notable enhancements — a sufficient slip-resistant outsole and an updated, softer midsole — all to ensure more cushion and stability underfoot. Just like earlier versions, this design prioritizes waterproof protection and durability at the cost of increased weight and volume, which can really weigh you down during longer days on the trail.

Performance Comparison


oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - this is a shoe that will maximize comfort when the road is solid and...
This is a shoe that will maximize comfort when the road is solid and unforgiving even if the weight of the design becomes a factor after miles spent on the trail.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Comfort


The Sawtooth X offers a fit that is well-suited to varying foot shapes with a reasonably roomy forefoot and a well-padded and narrow backend that holds the heel in place during activity. While not the thickest midsole in the testing group, the shoe delivers new Adaptive Cushioning Technology built of a proprietary dual-density rubberized EVA meant to be more easily adaptive to changing terrain with deeper cushioning to improve efficiency and create an even softer heel strike zone. While the midsole offers significant shock absorption and substantial interior padding, we did note a pronounced firmness to the footbed from the get-go. We hoped this firmness would break in over time but found that it doesn't break in enough to promote efficiency and full range of motion.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - the main feature that distinguishes the sawtooth x from the rest:...
The main feature that distinguishes the Sawtooth X from the rest: it's plush cushioning.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Our testers quickly noticed that the Sawtooth X not only offers a decent level of support built-in underfoot (both laterally and below the arch) but a very well-cushioned foot, from heel to toe and even under the tongue. Unfortunately, this added support and cushioning can be a bit much while hiking in warmer climates and also comes at the cost of additional weight in the design, increasing fatigue in the feet after miles spent along the trail. We also noticed that the lack of breathability within the heavy design created discomfort and hot spots in the forefoot when spending long days hiking around the Eastern Sierra. While this shoe offers a reasonably comfortable design, we were eager to remove them after several miles.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - the sawtooth x has an incredibly supportive midfoot including a...
The Sawtooth X has an incredibly supportive midfoot including a solid yet cushioned midsole, excellent structural supports, and a proprietary O-Fit.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Support


When it comes to support, the Sawtooth X is in the middle of the pack, with noticeable arch support, an effective (though somewhat confusing) lacing system, and reasonable lateral support. The X comes with the same "O Fit" insole of the previous model, offering sturdy and firm structural support under the arch. We found it much more robust than most insoles we observed during testing.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - the oboz allows you to quickly individualize your fit with easily...
The Oboz allows you to quickly individualize your fit with easily adjustable laces and extra runner's loop eyelets at the top, plus a roomy toe box and wealth of padding around the ankle collar and heel to eliminate gaps and slippage.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The lacing system is well-designed to lock down your ankle, with a set of runner's loop eyelets up top to provide some flexibility and adjustability for a more customized fit, even if it takes a little getting used to. The cut of the Sawtooth X cradles the heel remarkably well, and we never felt like we had to crank our laces too hard or often to keep each heel in place. The stiff upper adds another layer of structural reinforcement but at the cost of added weight and a limited range of motion. Though this shoe offers a stable base of support both underfoot and laterally, we felt like the structure was cumbersome, bulky, and weighed us down, especially when carrying a heavier pack. There are hiking boots that offer more ankle stability, breathability, and traction at a reduced weight for a similar price.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - such excellent stability underfoot will make a world of difference...
Such excellent stability underfoot will make a world of difference in how you feel at the end of a long trail day.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Traction


Good traction is critical to confident hiking, and how your tread handles loose scree and rock slabs will determine what types of trails you tackle. This becomes particularly important once pack weight is involved. And, of course, wet, slick terrain will quickly reveal the strengths (or weaknesses!) of rubber outsoles. We tested and scored for all of these factors, and the Sawtooth X performed very well.

This shoe features deep, chunky, zig-zag-shaped lugs and ample rubber siding to allow for easy movements and solid grip when confronted with everything from loose rock and mud to more technical situations. Out on the trail, the soft, sticky rubber outsole performed excellently on both slick rock and wet logs. And the well-defined heel and toe tread pattern proved superb when heading up and down steep inclines, allowing us to dig in and stabilize easily when crossing all kinds of terrain.

Deep lugs in a multidirectional pattern allow the foot to dig into...
Deep lugs in a multidirectional pattern allow the foot to dig into loose dirt and other unstable trail materials to secure your footing.
We had no problem crossing low angle granite slabs with the rubber...
We had no problem crossing low angle granite slabs with the rubber soles of the Sawtooth X under foot.
We tested each shoe on loose dirt and granite, up and downhill, and...
We tested each shoe on loose dirt and granite, up and downhill, and over slick wet surfaces. The Oboz nailed it every time.

Weight


The Sawtooth X is the heaviest hiking shoe in our lineup. Weighing 1.92 pounds per pair for a US women's size 8.5, we felt the additional weight with every step. Features like the nubuck leather and BDry membrane are excellent for increased durability and waterproof protection, but this is a lot of shoe and weighs more than some of the top-performing hiking boots that we've tested.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - although these are far from the lightest hiking shoes in the test...
Although these are far from the lightest hiking shoes in the test suite, they offer comfort for various foot shapes in addition to waterproof performance.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Water Resistance


Constructed with a proprietary BDry waterproof membrane that is advertised as both waterproof and breathable, the Sawtooth X performed well during stream crossings as well as under controlled testing (submerged in 3 inches of water for 5 minutes). There were no signs of leaks at seam lines or seepage through venting nor any other indication of failures. The only water that made it inside came over the ankle collar, which sits at a relatively low height of 3 inches above the outsole. While we were stoked about the waterproof performance, we just found ourselves hoping for better breathability, especially during long and warm days along the trail.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - comparison testing the sawtooth x in a bucket of water to see just...
Comparison testing the Sawtooth X in a bucket of water to see just how waterproof the hiking shoe really is.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Durability


The Sawtooth X continues to impress with its strength and staying power. It incorporates triple stitching along its leather and Cordura AFT fabric upper, plus a heavy rubber outsole that rides high for extra protection. We saw no issues anywhere along the seams between the upper and lower, nor among the lacing or tread systems after testing. We also found no pattern of complaints among online reviewers calling out durability issues. The only item to note is that these are meant to be trail shoes, not city shoes. So their sticky rubber soles are likely to wear out faster if you plan to walk on concrete or asphalt regularly.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - there are no signs of notable wear anywhere on the shoe, even after...
There are no signs of notable wear anywhere on the shoe, even after many miles over a great deal of rock and across fields of heavy, sharp vegetation.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Should You Buy the Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof?


After several rounds of testing across each iteration, the Sawtooth X remains an adequate shoe for various kinds of hiking objectives. Just keep in mind that you may find its features weighing you down and causing early fatigue on the trail — this is a heavy shoe. Though it is ready to tackle everyday adventures, you may want to consider another option if considering an extended trip carrying a heavy pack or planning to hike in warmer climates. There is also a lighter, non-waterproof version available at a lesser cost for those who don't need the added protection and are seeking increased breathability.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - this design is quite a  bit heftier than more high-tech, modern...
This design is quite a bit heftier than more high-tech, modern hiking shoe options, but what you get is a shoe that's built to last.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


The Oboz Sawtooth X Waterproof stands out from other hiking shoes we've tested in terms of its waterproof design and quality leather construction. We just wish it wasn't so heavy and offered more comfort and breathability. If you're seeking a shoe that's more agile and responsive for quick, technical trails, you may want to consider the The North Face VECTIV Fastpack FUTURELIGHT or the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex. Both provide excellent support and waterproofing in a much lighter-weight, more athletic design. And if a little extra weight isn't an issue, consider our overall favorite hiking shoe, the La Sportiva Spire GTX.

Myrha Colt and Trish Matheny
 

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