The Oboz Sawtooth hiking shoe isn't for everybody, but four out of eight testers in an expert review of these trail shoes declared them "the most comfortable low-topped hiking shoe they'd ever worn." A few users say the ankle was a little stiff at first, but it loosened up after a bit of wear. Experts report that the torsion-resistant sole feels "impenetrable" against rocks, and that unlike other light hikers, it doesn't get sloppy with extended wear.
One user reviewer logged an impressive 800 miles on the Appalachian Trail in a pair of Oboz Sawtooths before the rocks started to get to him. However, we did find a few complaints that the heel was too stiff or that a seam in the heel cup caused blisters. Although the grippy outsole is a high point for one expert reviewer, providing great grip in both wet and dry conditions on all types of terrain, several users point out that the sole wears quickly.
For a hiking shoe that gets a more unanimous positive recommendation, check out the Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo (*Est. $170) waterproof hiking shoe, which is also available in a Mid boot (*Est. $220) if you want more support. If waterproof isn't important to you, the Merrell Moab Ventilator (*Est. $90) is in the same price range as the Oboz Sawtooth and gets excellent reviews for summer use.
The most authoritative review of the Oboz Sawtooth comes from Backpacker magazine. The Seattle Times and The Gear Caster also provide useful expert reviews, and a couple dozen reviewers weigh in on REI.com.
1. Backpacker Magazine
The author gives this shoe (despite what the title of the review implies) an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5. Testers offer specific comments about how the shoe performs, praising its superior torsion control and "impenetrable" sole, thanks to the nylon shank. This shoe was also the most durable out of 80 pairs tested.
Review: Gear Review: Oboz Sawtooth Boot, Berne Broudy, Aug. 2009
2. The Seattle Times
Four out of the eight testers who contributed to this review dubbed the Oboz Sawtooth "the most comfortable low-topped hiking shoe [they'd] ever worn." It fits medium-volume feet well, and the author describes the firm, grippy outsole as providing good grip on a variety of terrain. It even "smears on rocks like a climbing shoe."
Review: Kick the Heavyweight Habit with These Hiking Shoes, Dan A. Nelson, Sept. 10, 2009
3. The Gear Caster
The author notes that unlike other light hikers, these shoes don't get sloppy after extended wear. He praises them for their stability, comfort and roomy toe box, although he notes that the rigid heel created some irritation around his ankle bone.
Review: Oboz Sawtooth Hiking Boots Review, Terry Doyle, May 28, 2011
About two dozen reviewers give the Oboz Sawtooth a 4.2-star average rating. They like its comfort, traction and cushioning, but a few say it's too heavy for a trail shoe. One reviewer complains about an abrasive seam on the heel cup that gave him blisters, and another says the sole wore through too quickly.
Review: Oboz Sawtooth Cross-Training Shoes - Men's Customer Reviews, Contributors to REI.com