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Hiking poles, hydration packs, and GPS units might make an outdoor adventure better, but no gizmo or amenity can salvage a trip into the woods if your feet are in pain. As the one thing that connects you to the trail, a good pair of shoes is the one thing you can't skimp on when buying outdoor gear.
Enter the Oboz Sawtooth: a solid cross-training contender for trail running, hiking, and lightweight backpacking. At first glance, it might seem like this bulky boat should only be reserved for 60-pound packs and miles of backcountry, but after trying them on, you'll change your mind.
The Sawtooth successfully synthesizes the strength and stability of a hiking boot with the featherweight feel of a running shoe, creating a great option for the next time you hit the trail. Coming in at barely over a pound, the shoe is surprisingly light, considering how bulky the heel and tread might look.
The sole features huge knobby lugs that bite into mud and snow with ease, and good arch support plus a roomy toe-box rounds out the list of advantages. The BDRY waterproofing system works well, keeping soaked socks at bay when tromping through snowmelt or tall grass, but since the Sawtooth is only an ankle-high shoe, it's best to shy away from splashing into anything deeper than minor puddles.
Coupled with nylon mesh linings, this shoe breathes well and wicks moisture, helping your feet stay as dry as your trail mix. Most importantly, keeping the moisture to a minimum helps combat the inevitable problem of boot stink.
The Sawtooth isn't without disadvantages: they lack the out-of-the-box wear-ability of some trail runners, so remember to break them in appropriately before heading out on longer adventures. Also, they run a little big, necessitating a thicker pair of socks to keep your feet from sloshing around when hammering downhill. Overall, the pros outweigh the cons, and Oboz delivers a solid trail-runner. (MSRP $110)
Dave Reuss grew up in the flat, boring plains of eastern Montana, knowing something was missing. As soon as he could, he escaped into the Rocky Mountains, found his true home, and never looked back.
After graduating from MSU-Bozeman (and narrowly escaping a career in law), he now spends his perennial (albeit impoverished) adolescence enjoying every diversion the mountains have to offer, from black diamond skiing in Utah to run-out trad climbing in New York.
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