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OTB Odhin & Abyss Water Boots

 OTB Abyss Water Boot

I've been testing hiking boots since January to try to find a pair that dry quickly in wet conditions, but still feel more like boots than trail runners. So far, Inov8's Roclite 370s and Keen's Targhee Mid II's haven't proven satisfactory for me, so I've been searching far and wide for some fresh options, including boots that are designed for water sports such as rafting and kayaking.

For example, I found these boots, manufactured by a company called OTB, for sale at NRS under the category of Water Shoes and they looked pretty interesting. They were originally designed for US Navy SEALS, as a single boot that could be used for many different missions, on land and at sea. Their design is really quite innovative and they have the most aggressive gravity-based drainage system I've every seen. 

I haven't tried them, but I thought you'd get a kick out of the video demonstration that OTB has put together for them. Just make sure, you watch through the end of the video, when the guy pours water into them. You'll be amazed by the drainage holes in these boot's soles.

Has anyone tried these boots? Can you hike in them?

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  1. Very interesting. I think they ought to work well on mainly dry, rocky hikes. On boggy ground, water would come up through the sole and your feet would be wet most of the time. I don't like wet feet, so I'm not sure they would be for me. I have a pair of AKU NS 564s which are also supposed to be for the Navy Seals and they are great boots without a membrane but resist water for only around 15-30 minutes before your socks become wet. However they have a rubber rand, which means unless it's raining (or water is constantly washing against the upper boot) your feet, your feet stay tolerably dry.

    I now use Salomon Fastpacker Mid GTX boots, which I find very breathable and surprisingly cool, ideal for walking in the UK, maybe too hot for a lot of the US.

  2. This may be slightly tangential, but if your need is highly aquatic – like canoe/portaging, then it is hard to beat the "jungle boots" (Wellco or Altima are decent brands). Being old fashioned they are a bit of a pain to break in, but on an 8 night, 9 day canoe trip this summer near Atikokan of 106 miles or so they stood up very well on extremely rough portages of up to several miles and slippery rocks for unloading/loading the canoes. I just used a polypro liner sock, which is all I need even with normal boots. When a college student (years ago) I used them for backpacking, but they wouldn't be my first choice today. (they and my Svea stove are the only equipment that has survived the time in a usable state ;-) )

    They don't look like they have much support, but

    "light weight" canoe gear means a 50 lbs canoe – so they gave plenty of support for normal backpacking.

    While they would get sort of comfortably dry – it is important to also carry a dry shoe for the evenings around camp.

    By the way your advice on headnets and spraying outer clothes with permitherin really helped with the legendary flies and mosquitoes of the area.

  3. I'm glad that the permethrin worked well for you. I still swear by the stuff and using it on my clothes means I have to put a lot less DEET on my body. I'm really just looking for a boot that dries faster than my old leather ones. I think I may have found an Asolo that is what I'm looking for, but I need to break them in and climb a few mountains in them before I write a gear review.

  4. Hi Phil,

    I understand my reply doesn't fit what you are looking for but you have a wide audience so I thought I would offer a different solution for beginners.

    Adam and I have a separate pairs of water shoes for river crossings and they double as our camp shoes. We clip them to our packs with mini-biners.

    The tradeoffs are weight and the time spent at each water crossing that is not a rock hop.

    The water shoes (combined with proper water crossing techniques and good judgment) offer some of peace of mind and they fit our hiking style. The water shoes are rock solid on underwater, river-bed, boulders.

    We use these – Teva Proton 4 Water Shoes [http://www.teva.com/ProductDetails.aspx?g=m&categoryID=&productID=6971&model=Proton+4] – and have been extremely happy with the results.


  5. I've been thinking along the same lines. Much better fitting than crocs and usable as camp shoes too. NRS has water shoes with a felt bottom, which they claim gives better traction on wet rocks.

  6. OTB's are junk.I destroyed a pair in 4 months.

    Haix is the best jungle boot.Mine are 4 years old and going strong. I bought the OTB's for the drain. Neato ! until the stitching goes bye bye.

    I'm in Costa Rica. This place will test any gear and quick.

  7. My friends used a pair of OTB out in Afghanistan. Although a very good boot, it was wasted by the end of a 5month summer deployment. sorry guys but you need to sort out hat stiching.

  8. The best shoes for my type of work that I have ever owned. I patrol 50 miles of beach and open ocean around barrier islands by boat. My job requires anchoring in the surf and wadeing ashore repeatedly. Kepping your feet dry is simply not and option; however with these boots keping them wet all day isn't necessary. These boots drain completly in about three steps. They are ventelated so they dry out completely faster than anyother shoe I have owned. The ankel support is great for long days spent running in pounding waves and traction with a non marking sole makes a diffrence weather I am boarding a million dollar yacth or a commercial fishing vessel. The Abyss 1st generation is the shoe I would have designed if I was designing shoes. I was disapointed that the second genration had reduced the number of drainages to 4 (from 30). Guess they are just too radical for the general public.

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