Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof - Women's Review
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Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof - Women's
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|$208.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Ample cushioning, great traction, stable, supportive||Excellent traction, responsive and stable support, breathable waterproof protection, comfortable right out of the box||Excellent traction, very supportive, breathable design, comfortable for various foot shapes||Versatile, nimble, excellent traction, excellent waterproof protection, supportive midfoot||Ample traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, affordable|
|Cons||Rigid footbed, heavy, limited breathability, too much shoe||Expensive, sizing runs large, 100% recycled polyester laces may require replacement||Not waterproof, minor durability issues||Single-pull lacing system has limited adjustability, fit favors narrow feet, not recommended for cross-country travel, less breathable||Bulky 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 base||A stand-out hiking shoe that features ample comfort, great traction, a stable base of support, and a high quality, durable, and waterproof mesh upper||An excellent choice for those looking to navigate popular trails that feature polished granite or slippery sandstone||A comfortable, supportive, and waterproof shoe that offers excellent and responsive traction in a sleek, modern package||Supportive 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 -...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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