Solid all-around performance in warm weather makes this a good day hiking choice.
We were quite impressed with the overall comfort of the Sawtooth Low shoes. They are easy to slip into, have large diameter laces that are simple to tie and stay secure, and the fit is wide enough that it should fit most feet. The outer material is made up of a combination of nubuck leather and mesh, which is pliable and does not pinch or constrict the foot like other shoes with stiffer materials. The footbed is a basic one that could be swapped out for one with more support, but we did not have any arch discomfort on our short test hikes.
The Oboz Sawtooth Low is on the heavier side when compared to many of the incredibly lightweight models that are better suited for fastpacking adventures, though the intended user of this hiking shoe, the casual day hiker or light backpacker, will not be overburdened by the few extra ounces that these shoes will weigh. In fact, the Sawtooth Low shoes are slightly lighter than its closest competitor in this review, the Merrel Moab 2 Ventilator.
The Sawtooth Low shoes are not the lightest on the scales, but their mesh makes them feel light and airy on the foot.
The Sawtooth Low hiking shoe is built on a dual-density EVA outsole that is supportive enough to give us confidence while walking over uneven and rocky trails and through a variety of different terrain types. The outsole is wide and stable and resists rolling while angling across on side slopes. This shoe does not have a high level of torsional stiffness, making it less ideal for kicking through scree, soft snow or mud. These types of trail conditions might indicate a stiffer shoe that has more edging ability.
Smooth rock scrambling is made easier due to the wide supportive outsole.
The proprietary rubber compound used by Oboz on the Sawtooth Low shoe is soft and pliable enough to stick well on dry rock, does better than expected on wet rock, and is adequate on slippery terrains such as snow, mud and loose gravel. The lugs of the outsole are large, rounded and shallow, giving the sole a lot of surface area with which to contact smooth rock such as found on trails in the Southwest, though these lugs don't do as well as others at expelling mud, or aggressively kicking into softer trail types.
The shallow lug pattern of the Sawtooth Low gives them higher performance on smooth rock but less so on muddy trails.
This hiking shoe is reasonably versatile. It has its best applications closer to the trailhead, on day hikes and easy trail walks with dry conditions so as not to test its lack of waterproofness, though many users have found them to be fine on short overnight backpacking trips so long as the weight you are carrying is not too heavy.
Walking on hot and dusty trails is the best place for the Oboz Sawtooth Low shoes to shine.
These shoes are not waterproof, nor are they even water resistant aside from the shallowest of stream crossings. Oboz does make a version of this shoe called the Sawtooth Low BDry
, however, so consider that if having a waterproof shoe is important to you.
Very shallow streams (less than 1 inch deep) are as much as the Sawtooths can handle without jumping up into the waterproof version.
The Sawtooth Low shoes have a lot of mesh and nubuck panels making up their outer, and these are held together with lots of stitches. We did not have any firsthand durability issues, though other users have reported seams failing, stitches fraying and soles delaminating, so consider the maintenance and upkeep of your shoes if you are planning on hiking high mileage trails with these.
The significant mesh and soft nubuck will not stand up to years of abuse, so take care if your trails are sharp and rocky.
The Oboz Sawtooth Low hiking shoes are a good option for those seeking a basic pair of shoes to hit the trail with, and who don't want to spend too much to get something that will work for casual, everyday hiking. If you plan on heading out with a fully loaded pack and putting down some serious miles, then there might be better choices available, but for day hiking and light backpacking in warm and dry climates, these should treat you well.
With a list price of $110, these shoes are a good value, and since Oboz plants a tree for every pair of shoes purchased, you are leaving a positive environmental impact as well!
The Oboz Sawtooth Low is a great option for those just getting into hiking, or for those who are seeking out a comfortable shoe that will breathe well in hot and arid conditions. Not everyone needs a burly hightop hiking boot or one that has a waterproof liner that makes feet perspire in hot weather, so the Sawtooth Low could be a perfect fit for the average day hiker in these kinds of conditions.