Dave Shuey is a guide with Colorado Adventure Guides. Raised under the calm California sun, Dave Shuey grew up with an understanding of the therapeutic qualities of the great outdoors through backpacking, surfing and cycling. Dave and his wife live in the snowy heights of Summit County, Colorado to expand their mountain skills towards alpinism and skiing. Within this terrain, he is able to share with others his love and optimism towards climbing, skiing, hiking and exploring the places that continually inspire him. Dave continues to seek guide certification through professional organizations such as the AMGA, WMI and AIARE with programs in climbing/skiing, wilderness medicine and snow safety.
A waterproof/breathable hiking boot, designed for spring and summer adventures, that’s both supportive and lightweight, is nothing to scoff at. The Sawtooth Mid BDry by Oboz Footwear possesses all these characteristics while leaving little left wanting.
To test the performance of this boot, I took to the mountains of Summit County, Colorado with an ascent of the 13,864 foot Bald Mountain in early spring conditions. This venture tested a variety of features by including a snowshoe hike up a slope to timberline, walking a rocky ridgeline trail and finally a boulder scramble to the summit.
Appearance and Fit
The Sawtooth has a timeless, classic hiking boot appearance with varying shades of brown that would look just as nice in town as in the mountains. I wore the size USM 10.5 and found the length, toe box and heel to fit fairly true to size. I have heard Oboz shoes tend to run a bit wide across the mid-foot, and as I have a narrower foot, found this to be accurate. I synched up the laces tightly in order to keep my foot snug and my heel locked into place. The mid height came to just below my ankle bones with lacing to the top for support.
Pros – Waterproofing, Traction, Lightness
Oboz has developed their own BDry waterproof/breathable membrane technology, and I was curious to see how well this would perform. I gave this membrane a good run for its money during the four miles of snowshoeing below treeline, and it exceeded my skeptical expectations by a long shot. My feet stayed dry during this section, both ascending and descending, despite being berated with the wet, spring snow.
Due to an unseasonably warm, dry and windy March, the ridgeline of Bald Mountain was already largely free of snow. The upper mountain was mostly dirt and rock which allowed me to test the boot’s traction and stability. The large lugs beneath and along the sides of the outsole provided superior traction on both steep dirt and exposed boulders. The strength of the midsole shank allowed for several miles of hiking on compact trail and rock without developing sore feet.
A final noteworthy, positive attribute was the lightness of the whole boot. When lifting your foot thousands of times during a hike, the weight of your footwear can really come into play. I was impressed by the lightweight feel to the boot without a lacking of strength and support.
Cons – Stiffness, Breathability
Although the mid height provides support for the ankle, I experienced a bit of rubbing, particularly on the descent, due to the pressure of the stiff upper on the front of my ankle. This occurrence presumably could have been enhanced by both the extra space in the shoe due to my lower profile foot, and the fact that this test was done with the boots right out of the box without a sufficient break-in period.
Due to the inherent lack of breathability in all waterproof/breathable technologies, one may find this boot to wear rather warm if used in a hot and dry environment, and is something to keep in mind when planning a trip. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this boot if trail conditions call for moisture with its proven waterproof abilities.
At the end of the day, my consensus is that this boot performed rather well under the relatively harsh conditions placed upon it. It showcased its well thought out design over snow, dirt and rock. After a moderate break-in period, the Sawtooth Mid BDry would be a recommended choice for traveling over rugged terrain either day hiking or backpacking.