Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Hiking Boots Review

Oboz Sawtooth Mid II Hiking Boots Review

Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Hiking Boots are vented hiking boots that can be comfortably worn out of the box but are burly enough for any terrain.  They are deliberately not waterproof to keep your feet cooler in hot weather while providing durable and comfortable foot protection on the trail and off.

Specs at a Glance

  • Footwear Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Footwear Closure: Lace-up
  • Upper: Nubuck leather/abrasion-resistant textile/rubber heel counter
  • Lining: Nylon
  • Midsole: Dual-density EVA
  • Support: Nylon shank
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 2.6 oz.
  • Fit: True-to-fit

I have been backpacking in southern Utah for years and never found a pair of hiking boots that worked well for desert conditions until I tried the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Vent Hiking Boots.

When I first put on the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid vent boots, I knew that my feet had found a home.
When I first put on the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid vent boots, I knew that my feet had found a home.

Backpacking in the desert requires footwear that can keep your feet cool when it gets hot and that dries quickly when your feet get wet. Most people don’t realize that your feet can get wet in the desert as you cross the meandering rivers and streams that run through vaulted sandstone canyons.

In the desert, a boot with a waterproof liner is worthless as it will never dry out. Vented boots, like these Sawtooth II Mids shed water quickly and dry up fast. In fact, I have grown to prefer a vented boot to a “waterproof” boot in most conditions where winter-like cold is not a factor.

The deeply lugged soles provide excellent traction in mud, on wet rock, and dry sandstone.
The deeply lugged soles provide excellent traction in mud, on wet rock, and dry sandstone.

When I first put on the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid vent boots, I knew that my feet had found a home.  These boots have a deeply lugged sole that provides great traction in mud, snow, and across rock, gravel, and even slick rock sandstone. A nylon shank, heel counter, and dual-density EVA midsole provide excellent support when carrying a multi-day pack, something that I haven’t been able to find in lighter-duty trail runners and hiking shoes.

The Sawtooth II Mids have an asymmetrical collar that provides over the ankle support while not overly constricting or rubbing against the ankle bones with a lacing system that makes it easy to lace up, adjust, or remove the boots quickly. Vents on the top and the side of the boots keep your feet cool while shedding water quickly so your boots can dry faster.

All Oboz boots come with excellent supportive insoles that are comparable to Superfeet in support and quality
All Oboz boots come with excellent supportive insoles that are comparable to Superfeet in support and quality, not some foam junk, like the insoles found in other boots and mids.

But the most distinct aspect of these boots compared to others that I’ve tried is the O-FIT Insoles provided in the shoes. These provide excellent arch support and I have found they perform as well with my custom orthotics. As someone who’s experienced Plantar Fasciitis, it’s nice to have a boot that includes a quality insole without having to pay extra for one, like Green Superfeet, which cost over $50/pair.

In my experience, these boots fit like a glove, they formed around my feet like moccasins, and they carried my weight as well as the much heavier boots I have used over the years.

Comparable Non-Waterproof Vented Mids

Make / ModelMensWomensPrice
Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 AeroYesYes$130
Oboz Bridger Mid VentYesYes$150
Oboz Sawtooth II MidYesYes$135
Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator MidYesYes$110
Merrell AltaLight Knit MidYesYes$190

Recommendation

While every foot is different, for hikers and trekkers that are looking for a full-featured vented hiking boot that drains and dries fast while providing stability, superior arch support, comfort and grip over all types of terrain; the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Vent is a boot to consider.  With a snug yet comfortably effortless fit, this boot is an affordable option for adventures where having cold feet is not a concern yet long days on the trail are the norm.  While not as lightweight as trail runners, for those who prefer hiking boots to hiking shoes, the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid vent strikes the right balance between fit and function. I will be picking up another pair before I completely wear this boot out on the trail: when I find something I like as much as I do this boot, it feels right to have more than one pair.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

About the author

Erik Birkeland is an avid hiker with a backpacking problem, that is, he just can’t seem to get enough. Living in Duluth, Minnesota with the Superior Hiking Trail just outside his backdoor, daily hikes and weekend treks fill his free time while he contemplates the next big adventure. He has completed numerous backpacking trips into such diverse landscapes as Escalante, the Wind River Range, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the BWCA, Isle Royale National Park, and even Iceland. While he hasn’t gone the farthest, fastest, nor the ultra-lightest; he does aspire to establish as many trekking BKTs (best known times) as possible - meeting the wilderness as it is, by simply getting out there.
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6 comments

  1. The Oboz Sawtooth II are great hiking shoes. The only thing I don’t like about them is the bottom treads wear out in abut 250 miles, which is not much.

  2. I bought a pair of these a few years ago after trying many different makes and models at REI. Then I brought them home and read the reviews on their soles being really slippery and confirmed that IRL. I returned them and went with Salomons and their Contagrip outsoles, which have done a decent job all-around. I’m basically a fast-packer/trail runner so the outsole is about the most important part of the shoe.

  3. Here in New Zealand we have had a problem with OBOZ SAWTOOTH shoes and boots as they appear to be made for a drier climate. If continually wet the adhesives break down often with no or little warning. I believe that they use an acrylic adhesive, these are not waterproof and will leak and eventually break down. Usually the sole drops off in one case after as little as 6 weeks of continuous trail use (not me) with many river crossings and wet weather. This is a real shame as I have found that these are one of the most comfortable and well made items of footwear with superb soles. I have had 2 pairs of these shoes, the first lasted about six months and the replacements eight months both showed little sign of wear but both dropped the sole.

  4. Frank G Groenewold

    To provide a little perspective, I live in Arizona (USA) and split my time between hiking the deserts near Phoenix and in the mountains near Flagstaff. I am 61 years old, weigh 265 pounds, hike 5 to 7 mikes per day (about 5 days per week) and 10 to 12 miles (about 2 days per week.)

    That said, I am on my 3rd pair of Sawtooth mid hiking boots. I have previously worn Merrell, Lowa and Keen, but these are the most comfortable shoes I have owned, both right out of the box, and after considerable use. My biggest complaint with these boots are the soles, which simply DO NOT LAST LONG ENOUGH. I wore through the soles in approximately 3 months, or as near as I can figure around 500 miles. As a comparison, my Lowa Renegade GTX lasted at least twice as many miles. (Although they were not nearly as comfortable once broken in.)

    Once I blast through this pair, I suppose Ill try the Premium Yellowstone model, as they come with Vibram soles. I suspect these may last a bit longer, but I worry that the ALL LEATHER UPPERS will be significantly warmer while desert hiking, which can be very uncomfortable.

    Time will tell.

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