Obōz Women’s Sawtooth Low Waterproof

I'm trying out the Oboz Sawtooth Low B-Dry Waterproof Shoe because I've been struggling with hiking boots, it was initially just certain boots,  it's developed into all boots.  Hiking boots had started to cause pain in my Achilles, so much pain that within in that within a few miles I can no longer bear it.  When in North Wales hiking the pain had gotten so severe, I reached Moel Hebog summit barefoot.  I did put my boots on to descent down the front rockface but very loosely, which isn’t the best for many reasons.

I’ve had my boots fitted and I still have the same problem, eventually I called different retailers and spoke with their fitters. I discovered, I’m not alone, many people can’t wear hiking boots for the exact same reason.  Boots tend to be padded around the ankle for support, the padding, coupled with the close fitting can lead to the Achilles being aggravated.

I always thought that I needed to wear boots for hiking and hill walking for the support, I did some searching on the web.  I read through some reasoning by some knowledgeable people, they had concluded that you don’t really need boots.  We wear footwear to protect us from the terrain and boots are great if we’re going to be walking through deep mud or water.  I'd been of the impression that I needed boots for ankle support but I’ve found myself going over on my ankles often when wearing boots, so they’re not protecting me from sprains. So, I decided I was going to try Hiking and Approach Shoes.

I love hill walking especially a good scramble, I also love our planet, it’s very beautiful and she deserves our protection.  When looking at new purchases I always want something that doesn’t impact the environment to badly or to buy from a company that is environmentally friendly and Ethical!

OBŌZ

Bozeman, Montana. It's where it all started. It's what inspired their name. Outside + Bozeman = Oboz.
Tested on the trails of Yellowstone National Park, a beautiful place, if only I could go there and test them out, a girl can dream.

I had read that Obōz have the One More Tree initiative, for every pair of shoes sold they Plant A Tree, in the UK it’s Small Woods and this year was the Hawthorn Project.  I’m from West Bromwich and our local football team is West Bromwich Albion and they play at The Hawthorns.  It’s called the Hawthorns due to the Hawthorn Trees/Bushes that used to grow in the area, I attended Menzies High School and the ball boys for West Bromwich Albion were organised through Mr Hawthorn who was an English teacher at the School.

No Wasted Shoes

OBŌZ also have adopted No Wasted Shoes - The shoes we don't sell make a difference, too. We donate our unsellable (but still trail-worthy) shoes, partnering with Project Sole and local non-profits to find feet in need.

Carbon Offset

We carbon-offset our shoe shipments—and then some. We also carbon-offset all employee travel, commuting (although almost everybody bikes), and the office utility bill with the help of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

Wind Powered

Our HQ is powered by clean wind energy. 100% of our office Energy comes from Wind Farms in Central Idaho and Washington, through the EPA Green Power Partnership.

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A little personal information about me.

I’m passionate about the planet that I'm fortunate to call home, it’s a mesmerising wonder of perfection.  From its perfectly balanced eco systems to its ability to overcome, adapt and heal (to a certain degree).  I can spend hours doing our weekly shop,  avoiding ingredients that are causing major destruction and deforestation to some of the most intriguing and wondrously vibrant,  yet delicately balanced marvels of nature, “The Rain Forests”.    Being outdoors is a great release for. me, the joy of discovering new places and photographing them, I have Bipolar Disorder, I find the solitude of remote places therapeutic.  In August it was suggested that I may have Autism, the initial test confirmed this, so I'm just awaiting the final assessment which will confirm the diagnoses.

I also have some challenging mobility conditions, I’ve suffered with a “bad back” since my teenage years, after years of lifting heavy things helping out my father and a Saturday job whilst young.  I’m not a girly girl, I enjoy manual labour, power tools and I know my way around an engine.  One day I was landscaping our garden removing the Rowley Rag, which is big and heavy, I lifted a very large piece and that was that.

Hello wheelchair, crippling pain, loss of feeling in the front half of my left foot, falling and dragging my left leg.  After 20 months, I was told, I had a torn disc at L5S1 pressing on my spinal cord and some wear at T10&11, 31 years old.  I had initially been told it would repair itself at Birmingham’s Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, nearly a year later the Neurosurgeon at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital, said that the nerve damage was irreversible, it had been left too long.  Off to pain management, I went and given Morphine.

After 4 years in the wheelchair I was getting heavy and extremely miserable, I had crutches but putting your body weight through your wrists takes its toll on your wrists and shoulders.  Enough I decided,  I was going to sort myself out, I started weight and resistance training to build up my core, it took time, I had learn to ignore pain.  I now do Pilates along with my strength training.   It's all paying off, I can walk up hills and hike, yes, I have to use poles and I descent on my bottom (my knees dislocate when bent more than 45°or if I kneel on them).  After a hike or climb I will be physically unable to stand for days or weight bear.  However I enjoy it and I’m not giving up!

Footwear, especially for me is import, I need it to be lightweight, extremely durable and flexible this is especially important for the shoe on my left foot.  I need to have confidence that I can feel where my foot is placed overwise I will fall over, with no feeling my left toes my shoes the foot box needs to be strong.

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The Obōz Women’s Sawtooth Low Waterproof Performance

I’m a size 8, Euro 42, many ladies size 8 have been altered and are now a Euro 41 and therefore too small, fortunately this isn’t the case and Obōz truly run to size, which is great because it means I can have women’s shoes. I found them to be lightweight and comfortable when I first tried them on, the shoes are nice looking not too bulky looking, I liked the colours and the grip on our kitchen floor was impressive.

Our first outing was a trip to Scotland, Four nights the first one on Loch Doon and then onto the Isle of Arran.  I'd only taken these shoes with me, risky maybe, but fortunately not.  I travelled in them for 6 hours, we found our spot, on Loch Doon it clouded up for sunset so we set up and made a fire,  then the skies cleared and the temperature plunged, it got down to -2ºc before I went to sleep, my feet remained warm whilst I was outside. I had my merino/lambswool mix winter socks on inside the shoes, I had the shoes on for around 15 hours on the first day and they were comfortable and my feet didn't sweat.

I wore the Sawtooth Low all around Arran with my 50L backpack on my back, we hiked for miles and wild camped.  The terrain varied from rocks to rubble paths to sand and mud, mud especially on the walk through the woods to Glen Rosa, the forest floor was boggy, very boggy in places.  I was concerned because my foot was sinking quite some way down, I hadn't got any gaiters with me, however my feet remained bone dry.  The B-Dry works, well the water just beads off and to my surprise so does the mud.  I covered about 40 miles over the trip, not a blister or sore, not a toenail harmed, brilliant shoes straight out the box.

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Some of the adventures on Arran

The second outing was in Pembrokeshire near St David’s which is the smallest city in the UK, I want to try Coasteering, Pembrokeshire is known for Coasteering and the Blue Lagoon is quite famous, Red Bull hold an event there.  I thought I would check it out and also do some climbing really test the Oboz Sawtooth out. The Blue lagoon is made from slate it was once a working mine, I had a great time discovering it, climbing and taking some photos.  The shoes performed brilliantly they gripped the slate both in the dry and the wet, they gave me confidence underfoot when I was moving over the slate.  The Sawtooth Low are very flexible which is good in small crevice’s and also for me with my limited feeling.  The grips at the side offer more traction and protection but they’re not cumbersome which is great.

I found a rock pool and thought that I would give the B-Dry waterproof  protection another test,  I submerged the toe box so that the water went above the rand and covered the fabric.  I left them submerged for a good few minutes and my feet remained dry, excellent!  The only time the shoes slipped was on the seaweed, I think everything slips on seaweed including your bare feet, well mine do. I didn’t go over on my ankle on either trip, which supports the research I had been reading.

The shoes still look brand new despite the mud, the climbing and the sea water, I also forgot to mention that the tread doesn’t trap mud, so you don’t slide in them.  I highly recommend them, if you’re going to be in deep mud, I would suggest wearing some gaiters.  I’m really thankful that I had the chance to try the Oboz Sawtooth Low, they have made me happy, I can continue my adventure filled journey in comfort. 

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Some of the Adventures in Pembrokeshire