Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots Review

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

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.

The Sawtooth X provides plenty of toe, heel, and side protection.
The Sawtooth X provides plenty of toe, heel, and side protection.

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.

Oboz Insoles have a rigid heel to prevent pronation and shock absorbing foam to disperse impacts.
Oboz Insoles have a rigid heel to prevent pronation and shock-absorbing foam to disperse impacts.

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 lugs are widely spaced to help shed mud rapidly
The lugs are widely spaced to help shed mud rapidly

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.

Recommendation

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.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.

 

9 comments

  1. Bit surprised by the “Wider forefoot and toe box” claim. Friend had wms Sawtooth regular shoes from 2018 that she really liked but now needed replacement. I’m guessing they were the original Sawtooth’s since they had 7 side vents rather than 5…the X has 4. She just tried the Sawtooth X in the same size and was very disappointed. The new shoes are visibly narrower in the toe box with a much different last. Basically a completely different shoe design. I do not understand the way shoes are marketed. Seems to me what defines a shoe model is the basic shape of the last. If the last is a different shape then it should not be called the same thing! It’s fine to change colors, materials, tread design, even maybe the lacing pattern but a differently shaped shoe is a different shoe. Qualifying the name with some Mk number is just misleading. Shoes are not cars.

    • The reason companies reuse names, even though their products change drastically, is twofold. 1) People already know the name, so they have to advertise less, and 2) Google. Once you have achieved a certain rank with a name, it pays to reuse it rather than trying to establish a new one. I agree with you about changing product names if the product changes, but what can we do?

  2. Hey Phil,

    Big fan of your blog and regularly check it. I wanted to reach out about the following questions. Hoping you’d be able to answer.

    1. How would you say the low version of the sawtooth x compares with the Moab ventilator 2s?

    2. Are there any parts of the sawtooth x that you aren’t a fan of?

    Thanks!

  3. Hi Philip,

    has Oboz stopped using acrylic adhesives in their footwear now? My gripe with an otherwise superb shoe/boot was that when confronted with continuous wet conditions they fell apart as the acrylic adhesive is water-soluble.

    • I seem to remember someone asking that before. I called the company, and the answer was yes. I use their boots from late autumn, through winter, and into early spring in continuously wet conditions and they don’t fall apart on me.

  4. I’ve been a fan of the Sawtooth since they first came out. Needed a new pair and found the X version on the Oboz site, despite my previous fave the Sawtooth ii being available elsewhere. Shipping took a loooong time, but finally they arrived. Put them on. Uh oh. They pinched across the top of the foot box putting pressure on the big toe joint, which they have never done in previous versions. Loosened up the laces big time, put on light weight socks and have been out walking in them for five days now. They do not fit as well as the previous versions. One shoe is putting pressure on my heel, the other has an annoying little bump inside where the insole meets the side of the shoe — one of those things that will cause blisters if you don’t place your foot just so. They also don’t have as stiff a sole as the previous version, and this is important for my feet, which have arthritis. Too bendy is not a good thing. They’ll be okay for summer hikes and walking, but I’ve found the Sawtooth ii version elsewhere and bought a pair for winter. I wanted to love these, but I don’t. Pretty bummed because this means in all likelihood I’ll have to find a different brand to switch too once the Sawtooth ii is out of circulation.

    • I think the Sawtooth X may appeal to new Oboz customers, but if you have used the Sawtooth II, they’re a letdown and not the same. I grabbed a pair of the Sawtooth II’s before they disappeared. Much higher toebox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.