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Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof - Women's Review

The perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive base
oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review
Credit: Myrha Colt
Price:  $150 List
Manufacturer:   Oboz
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 7, 2022
85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Support - 20% 9.0
  • Traction - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9.0
  • 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 the long haul. Even with a heavy pack, these shoes are comfortable, showcasing excellent structural support and watertight, durable construction. And on steep and loose trails, the traction is admirable. Although it weighs in heavier than other shoes in our lineup, the top-tier performance across the board leads us to believe the small amount of extra weight is worth it. While the Sawtooth X would serve well on any trail adventure, where it truly excels is on longer days or when your need to carry a pack. This shoe is incredibly supportive and will keep your feet cradled in comfort over many miles.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent cushioning
Roomy toe box
Great traction
Stable
Supportive
REASONS TO AVOID
Hard footbed
A little heavy
Editor's Note: This review was added to our Fall lineup on November 7, 2022.

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Pros Excellent cushioning, roomy toe box, great traction, stable, supportiveGreat traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-pricedSpacious toe box, great traction, waterproof, durable, stableWaterproof, lightweight, very supportiveLightweight, breathable, decent traction, inexpensive, vegan-friendly
Cons Hard footbed, a little heavyBulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyeletHeavy, hard footbed, not the most breathableNot super breathable, durability concerns with the soft rubber solesNot waterproof, narrow toe box, limited support, below average durability
Bottom Line The perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive baseSupportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experienceA burly, reliable trail partner with a wide base and sticky traction for when trips run long, and durability, stability, and waterproofing are importantLooking like a trail runner and performing like a hiking beast, this shoe is waterproof, lightweight, and supportive enough for multi-day adventuresA budget-minded, lightweight, athletic-inspired shoe for fair-weather day hikes when you know your feet won't get wet
Rating Categories Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Keen Targhee III Low Adidas Terrex Swift... Merrell Siren Edge 3
Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Support (20%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
Water Resistance (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Specs Oboz Sawtooth X Low... Merrell Moab 3 WP -... Keen Targhee III Low Adidas Terrex Swift... Merrell Siren Edge 3
Weight (per pair) 2.0 lbs (size 10) 1.8 lbs (size 10) 2.1 lbs (size 10) 1.5 lbs (size 7) 1.4 lbs (size 10)
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular Regular, Wide
Upper Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh Leather, mesh Oiled nubuck leather, mesh High-abrasion resistant synthetic mesh Mesh, 3D-printed TPU
Midsole Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA EVA Dual density EVA EVA EVA foam with softer zones that may reduce pronation
Lining B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane Gore-Tex Breathable Mesh
Outsole True Tread rubber Vibram TC5+ rubber KEEN All-Terrain Rubber Continental Vibram TC5+

Our Analysis and Test Results

The 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 superior slip-resistant outsole and an updated, even softer midsole — all to ensure a cushier, more stable ride. Just like earlier versions, this is one of the most comfortable hiking shoes on the market for long hauls.

Performance Comparison


oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - core strength and excellent stability wrapped in a cushy, protective...
Core strength and excellent stability wrapped in a cushy, protective exterior, the Oboz Sawtooth X is ready to rock (literally!). This is a shoe that will maximize comfort when the road is solid and unforgiving.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Comfort


As with every new pair of hiking shoes, individual fit and thoughtful design are the two keys to ensuring comfort and success on the trail. Fortunately, the Sawtooth X has maintained the same smart overall design as seen in earlier iterations, well-suited to all types of feet with a reasonably roomy forefoot and a well-padded backend that narrows to lock the heel securely. While not the thickest midsoles in the group, the Sawtooth X 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. All-in-all, a nice improvement for a shoe that already ranked high in comfort underfoot.


What one quickly notices in the Sawtooth X is not only the high level of support built-in underfoot (both under the arch and laterally) but also just how well-cushioned the foot is, from heel to toe and even under the tongue. Why is this so impressive? With ample padding across the entire length of the footbed, your feet will feel far less strained going up and downhill, no matter how many trail miles you log or pack weight you carry. Models in the group with less padding quickly revealed themselves to be less appealing options when faced with longer hauls.

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

While the Sawtooth X midsole offers significant shock absorption and substantial interior padding, we did note a pronounced firmness to the footbed from the get-go. We wondered if it might not turn to discomfort down the road. But in motion, and with so much softness cradling the foot from top to bottom, the sturdiness in the base only translates into added confidence with each step. Some reviewers have commented that the new Sawtooth is a bit narrower than the older version. We didn't have this experience in our own fit. But if you have a slightly narrow foot and previous iterations were not quite right, it might be worth testing out the updated X to see if it suits your needs.

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 insole (one of the most comfortable we saw across all models). Where arch support was lacking in other models, the Oboz delivers.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Support


When it comes to support, the Sawtooth X is at the top of the pack, with excellent arch support, an effective lacing system, and solid lateral support. The X comes with the same "O Fit" insole of the previous model, offering sturdy and solid structural support under the arch. We found it much more robust than most insoles we saw in this test.


The lacing system is designed well to lock down your ankle, with a set of runner's loop eyelets up top to provide maximum flexibility and adjustability in fit. The cut of the Sawtooth X also cradles the heel remarkably well. So unlike other shoes in the test suite, we never felt like we had to crank our laces too hard or often to keep each heel in check. Plus, the stiff upper adds another layer of structural reinforcement. Few other hikers in this group could match such a dialed-in fit.

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

Without a doubt, these shoes are our top pick for multi-day trips with a heavier pack. The outsole of the Sawtooth X is prepared to withstand rough terrain, with enough torsional rigidity to easily manage boulder hopping and scrambling. When your pack weighs more than 25-30 pounds, many hikers will point you toward a hiking boot as the best choice in footwear. And it is true, a taller boot will provide more ankle stability. But for some, they can also create hot spots and uncomfortable pressure points. If that's you, consider this Oboz as a great alternative. It's also the perfect shoe for anyone who needs a solid option for a few shorter backpacking trips but wants to avoid buying boots for regular use.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - whenever a heavy pack was involved, the sawtooth x was on our...
Whenever a heavy pack was involved, the Sawtooth X was on our shortlist for logging the miles. Such excellent shock absorption and underfoot stability 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 across the board.


The Sawtooth X 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 performs excellently on both slick rock and moist 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 granite slabs with the slick-resistant...
We had no problem crossing granite slabs with the slick-resistant rubber soles of the Sawtooth X underfoot.
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


All of the exceptional features in the Sawtooth X don't come without a price. This is a heavier hiking shoe (among the heaviest in the test group). But, while it's true that weight is an important consideration, we believe all the Sawtooth offers — exceptional stability, support, grippiness, and top-in-class comfort — make this shoe worth the extra weight.


More like a boot than an athletic shoe, this is not a fast and light hiker. This is the solid foundation upon which backcountry memories are built. Longer trail days ahead? Carrying a pack? No problem. The Sawtooth X is ready. But if it's a lighter shoe you're after, you could certainly cut up to 4 ounces off each foot by choosing another option. Then again, what you cut in weight, you also lose in comfort, protection, and durability. If you want maximum performance, this shoe is the clear winner.

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 are so significantly more comfortable than most other hikers we think the weight is a small price to pay for excellence.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Water Resistance


Constructed with a proprietary BDry waterproof membrane and advertised as both waterproof and breathable, the Sawtooth X performed admirably 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 and worked its way down into the shoe from above. This shoe also proved reasonably breathable throughout all activities.

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. True to form, the X 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. We also found no pattern of complaints among online reviewers calling out issues of durability. 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 regularly walk on concrete or asphalt.

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 remains a favorite shoe for all kinds of hiking objectives. The X stands out as especially comfortable, with excellent support, waterproofness, and traction. It is ready to tackle any adventure you can dream up yet will still cost less than a full pair of boots (and many other test shoes in this collection). Priced right in the middle of the pack, we think it's an option many hikers will be very happy with. There is also a lighter, non-waterproof version available at a lesser cost for those who don't need the added protection.

oboz sawtooth x low waterproof for women hiking shoes review - a bit heftier than more high-tech options, but what you get is a...
A bit heftier than more high-tech options, but what you get is a shoe built to last, far more cushioned and supportive than nearly any other model we've tested.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


The Oboz Sawtooth X Waterproof quickly rises to the top of the pile when it comes to comfort and durability. Like the versions that have come before, it will make your feet go "Wow!" when you first put it on. But if you seek something more responsive for quick, technical trips, you may want to consider the La Sportiva Spire GTX or Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex. Both provide excellent support, traction, and waterproofing in a lighter-weight, more athletic shoe. Or take a look at the Merrell Moab 3 WP for equally superior performance at a slightly lower cost.

Myrha Colt
 
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