Oboz Sawtooth X Mids are agile waterproof/breathable hiking boots that are lighter weight than full-on hiking boots, but still provide loads of protection and support for your feet and ankles. The Sawtooth X is the 10th anniversary edition of the well-loved Oboz Sawtooth II Mid, hence the ‘X’ in the product name. The company claims that they only made minor stylistic changes to the Sawtooth in this latest version, but I consider them to be significantly different. The Sawtooth X is still a good hiking mid, but if you like the Sawtooth II and hate change, you should stock up on the older model while it’s still available. Sportsman’s Warehouse has a good selection of sizes left.
What’s new in the Sawtooth X?
- More toe and heel protection
- Wider forefoot and toe box
- Cordura mesh for better durability
- Increased lug spacing to shed mud
- EVA midsoles for softer heel strike
- Recycled laced and webbing
If you’ve never tried Oboz Sawtooth Mid Hiking Boots, they’re burly mid-height boots with an aggressive outsole and lots of toe, heel, and side protection to protect your feet and ankles from getting bruised or scratched on rough trails. They’re available for men and women, as mids or low hiking shoes, in wide and regular sizes, and with a waterproof/breathable membrane or without. That said Oboz has had terrible luck with Covid-related asian factory closures and supply chain delays this year, so you may have to hunt around for the model you want, although REI usually gets first dibs on any inventory that arrives.
I’m a big fan of Oboz footwear because they make solid, reliable, comfortable and quite durable boots. But what really distinguishes them from other makes is that each pair includes high quality Oboz insoles, which you can also buy separately. These help protect you against Plantar Fasciitis, which manifests itself as agonizing heel pain. Its typically occurs if your footwear doesn’t provide good arch support to distribute impacts across the foot or if your heel pronates excessively. Good insoles help prevent Plantar Fasciitis by augmenting your foot’s arch and helping to lock the heel in place. If you’ve ever had Plantar Fasciitis, you know how painful it can can be and how long it can take to heal from it.
In addition to external protection, the Sawtooth X has a nylon shank between the footbed and the outsole to support the foot and maintain the boot’s structure over hard obstacles. This is in addition to TPU heel counters placed in back of the shoe that wrap around your Achilles tendon and reduce the risk of blistering.
The Sawtooth X outsole has beefy lugs and you can see the outline of a topographic map between them which is how you know these are hiking boots. They provide excellent traction in all kinds of terrain. But the thing that I value the most about the outsoles is the rigidity at the edges, which makes them good for scrambling and climbing rocky trails. For example, I feel very surefooted wearing the Sawtooth X when I need to use tiny cracks or edges to propel myself up rock ledges.
The waterproofing on the Sawtooth X is excellent and you can splash through puddles or shallow stream to your heart’s content, but the breathability is lackluster. You can expect slightly damp socks at the end of the day, but then again I experience that with all waterproof/breathable hiking footwear.
The fit is noticeably wide in the forefoot and the toe box, but somewhat shallower in terms of height. Oboz claims this gives the Sawtooth X a more glove-like fit than the Sawtooth II which is true, but if you already experience friction on top of your toes, this might not be the shoe for you.
The Oboz Sawtooth X Waterproof/Breathable Mid is the latest generation of the well-loved Oboz Sawtooth hiking mid product line. While it has a few new features, new styling, and a larger toe box, it still has the qualities that made the Sawtooth II so well-liked by hikers. But when you add up the differences in the new model, including better toe and heel protection, a wider forefoot and toe box, and a softer heel strike, they’re net positive in my opinion. If you consider all the other strengths of the Sawtooth X, including it’s great traction, no-break-in time, and excellent insoles, it’s still a great hiking boot that you can count on rain or shine.
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