Review by Arnie P
Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes
The Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes were provided by Oboz for review purposes.
The Oboz company
The company was founded in Bozeman, Montana in the year 2007. The company was founded by people who had been working for brand name companies and decided that their main principle in designing and making shoes would be “True to the Trail”. I like it when I learn that the people who design the product actually use the product they are designing. I suggest going to their web site to learn more about the company. They are making an effort to be ecologically sound by using wind power. Also, most employees commute by bike, and they plant a tree for every pair of shoes sold.
The Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoe comes in the color Russet Red. Sizes available are 8-12 in half sizes, and 13, 14. The shoe is low cut or about ankle high. There is added material at the toe for protection. The heel is rounded which I believe helps my stability on the trail. At the heel is a large loop to aid in putting the shoes on. The loop is large enough for me to insert my index finger and I think I will find this very useful. All the lacing loops are closed. The lower five pair of loops are raised and the top loop is flush with the surface. The upper part of the shoes are made with a waterproof, breathable membrane.
Size: Men’s 9 US
Color: Russet Red
Style: low cut
Left: 17 oz
Right: 17 oz
Left: 18.4 oz
Right: 18.1 oz
Web site description
The web site mentions that Acadia National Park was in their minds when this shoe was designed. Since I hike in New England and have camped and hiked at Acadia National Park, it looks like these shoes may fulfill my wish for a shoe designed with New England in mind.
Trying the Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes
When I first looked at these shoes they looked a bit small. I don’t usually try on anything until I have at least taken pictures. Curiosity got the best of me and I tried them on while wearing my heaviest wool socks. They felt tight. A few days later, after taking pictures I was ready to try the Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes on for real. I started with thin socks and they actually fit a little loose. I then tried a medium weight wool sock and it was a good fit. Needless to say I was baffled. I then put on the socks I originally used. Surprise, the fit was near perfect. This was a snug fit with no looseness. The only thing I can figure is that the shoes had been in the delivery truck and I put them on before they reached room temperature and the shoes were still stiff. I did wear them in the house a few hours while they were snug so that may have helped shape the shoe to my foot. I wore them today with the heavy wool socks inside the house and outside for a short period. It was in the high teens when I was outside. My feet felt warm walking in my icy driveway and over my snowshoe tracks in the back yard.
Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say about the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes in my next report.
Non hiking use
I like to start using a new pair of hiking shoes at the gym first to experience using the shoes under controlled conditions. I think this is especially true in cold weather when the shoe gets warmer in the gym and molds to my foot quicker. After 3 visits to the gym the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes felt very comfortable on my feet. At the gym I can feel how well this shoe performs with different socks which would not be as easy to do while hiking on the trail. With my thinest socks, the shoes are slightly loose whereas with my thickest socks the shoes are snug fitting. With my medium weight wool socks which I wear for most of my hikes, the shoes fit the best which is something I like.
I have been wearing these shoes around my neighborhood, taking the dog out for walks, and going shopping locally. I have also attended a few seminars. I am able to go anywhere and feel comfortable with Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes.
Harold Parker State Forest
This was a 2 hour hike, in 3-5 feet of snow, with a temperature of 20 F and no wind. I hike with a group and asked the leader if I could get along without snowshoes since I wanted to use my traction device. She thought that if I was the last person, the trail should be packed enough for me. This was fine until we crossed a pond. Once we reached the other side of the pond I was postholing randomly, sometimes up to my knee caps. I had a hiking pole with a small end and it was postholing most of the time. The Oboz shoes worked well and kept my feet warm. I did not know my socks were wet until I got home and took my shoes off. The snow was going in from the tops of my shoes and that was why my socks got wet. I had not planned on my feet sinking so I did not bring gaiters. My socks were wet but not drenched which is probably an indication on how well the shoes passed the moisture from my wet socks to outside the shoe.
I hiked Breakheart Reservation with a group of 6 from Meetup.com. When I left the house it was 13 F, sunny and little or no wind. The hike was about 3 miles long and took slightly over an hour. There was at least 3-4 feet of snow on the ground. The path we took was over the paved surface of a road in the reservation. It probably was plowed after the first snowfall and from then it was packed by the many hikers who visit this place daily. The surface was very well packed where the hikers had walked but it was easy to be partially off the path and end up posholing. Since it was supposed to warm up and this being a younger group, I knew the pace would be fast and I did not want to hold them up if I had to take off my traction device. I was bare booting it like everyone else. I was more than happy with my results. I had only a slight slip once and never lost my balance. The trail packed path was one person wide and in a few areas there were 2 packed paths. Most lone hikers coming in the opposite direction seeing a group of 6 would step off the trail for us. This hike had very few flat areas and we took the hard way to do this loop trail. The first part was downhill and from the low point it was a series of 6 small hills each one slightly higher than the previous hill with the exception of the last one which was slightly lower in elevation. The Oboz provided adequate traction and stability, and kept my feet dry and comfortable.
I really like the pull tab at the heel for putting these shoes on and almost never having to retie my shoes. Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say about the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes.
A last look 4-24-15
The Boston area has finished a winter with a record snow fall of about 110 inches. What is also amazing the snow was almost gone by Easter. I think the reason for the quick departure of the snow without flooding was because the snow arrived before the ground had really gotten very cold and the ground did not freeze as deep as it normally does. The weather in this period has been mostly in the 40-60 F range, I did wear the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes every day during this period with a small exception which I will discuss later. As I get older I find bending more difficult and not having to re tie my boots a lot is very comforting. I found the comfort outstanding and I will get into more detail later in the review. I will also get into their ability to stay clean. In addition to non gym use, I have hiked in Harold Parker State Forest 3 times and in the Middlesex Fells twice.
Harold Parker State Forest
I continued hiking with the Wednesday morning Harold Parker group. I have been hiking 3 times, and for all practical purposes the snow was gone. With the snow almost gone the hiking group has doubled to the usual number in the 20-30 hiker range. When the snow goes, all the rocks and exposed tree roots become visible. This area was designated as a recreational area in the early 1900’s because it was so rocky it was not practical for farming or almost anything else except hiking and camping. The trails have plenty of rocks, both large and small. There are a lot of large rocks left over from the glaciers of the past. There are many places with roots on the path. For me, this is an excellent hike to get in shape in preparation for the longer hikes in the White mountains of New Hampshire. I have had no problem with the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes tripping, stumbling or sliding on the various obstacles on the trail. The group tends to do some bushwhacking on these 2 hour hikes. The short bushwhacks usually involve going over fallen trees, stream crossing and just walking through the bushes. I have had no problems doing this and my shoes have never come untied doing a bushwhack.
Middlesex Fells Reservation
On the weekends, I hike with a smaller group out of Stoneham. Our hikes are in the 1-2 hour range and will probably increase as the hikers get to know each other. The group has been together only since last October. We have had temperatures in the 50’s and low 60’s for these hikes, sunny with a slight breeze. This area is a water shed for reservoirs and the heavily used trails are very rocky. There is a predominance of pine trees and some hard wood. The paths are mostly hilly except where they are near the reservoir lakes. There were only a few muddy areas which was a surprise to me. The melted snow was quickly absorbed by the trees and lakes which may have been low last fall. The Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes performed well on these hikes, no slipping, tripping or stopping to retie my shoes. I was always stable on my feet wearing a pack weighing about 10 pounds.
Non hiking use
I have been up on my aluminum ladders several times during this period. Recently I was on the ladder removing paint blisters from the sides of the house. When I was on the ladder, wearing the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes, it did not feel much different than being on nearly flat rock or cement. I have also continued using the hiking shoes for the non hiking uses mentioned in my past reports with the same success.
I was extremely pleased with the fit. I mentioned there was a short period that I was not wearing the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes. I had a gout attack and my left foot was so swollen that it was painful wearing the shoes during that time. After the swelling went down, I was back to normal with the shoes. These shoes are as close to a perfect fit as I have ever had.
Laces that stayed tied
I am always annoyed when I have to stop and retie my shoelaces while hiking. My attitude on this does not improve with age. I am now pleased that I very seldom have to retie my shoelaces with the the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes. It may have to do with the flatness and slightly rough surface of the laces, but they do stayed tied very well.
I have been very comfortable and confident wearing the Oboz Traverse Low Bdry hiking shoes. They have an excellent fit and the heel loop helps me put the shoes on. Despite the fact that I have worn them for over two months, except for about a week, they appear clean and scuff-free. They also are an attractive shoe.
I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Oboz for the opportunity to test the Traverse Low Bdry shoes.