These shoes were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review.
By Jenn K.
Here I go with another shoe review. I selected to give the Oboz Women’s Pika shoes a try since I have worn Oboz shoes (a light hiker) a few years ago and they fit me well. Lately I have been having issues with fit and comfort. The Oboz Pika shoes arrived in the eggshell
color, which is a light grey with light greenish-blue accents. I selected a size 9 (available in women’s sizes 6-11) as that is the size of my previous Oboz shoes. Looks like I made a good choice as they do not seem big or small on the initial fit. The outside has a quilted fabric appearance with the styling of a trail runner. The quilted fabric gives them a feminine/soft appearance and a comfy look at first glance. However, with a closer inspection they are a rugged looking pair of shoes. The soles have varied directional tread with nubs for extra traction. They have a trail runner type of sole with a beefy appearance. They come with a Bfit Deluxe Insole that is designed to stabilize the arch and protects against high-impact. It will be interesting to see if my feet are happy with these insoles. I am very used to wearing custom orthotics on a daily basis.
Some more details on the construction of the shoes
The Pikas are made of a single mesh piece upper with minimal seams and a textile mesh lining in the heel. There is a supportive synthetic leather midfoot overlay and protective synthetic leather heel and toe overlays.
They are strobel lasted (which is common in running shoes) and from what I understand this gives them a medium flexibility. The midsole is compression molded EVA and has a lightweight PU heel plug (which per Oboz is to help keep energy in the step). The midsole also has an EVA Super Skin and forefoot armoring. According to Oboz the EVA Super Skin plate at the forefoot mitigates over flexion and stone bruising, adding comfort and protection.
Oboz calls the outsole of the Pika a thru-hiker. It is designed per Oboz to not only grip the terrain but also durable to withstand mileage.
So for the first try I decided to wear the Oboz Pika shoes on the local fitness trail near my home. This is a dirt packed trail with grass that can be walked on between the trails. The trails are mostly flat with a few gentle inclines (my total elevation gain was 200 ft.) The shoes were comfortable and they were not too heavy on my feet. The traction was good, I even walked in some mud and kept my traction. So far I only walked 2 miles in the shoes, but I will be venturing out more. I just wanted to see if I noticed any fit issues. My next adventures with the Pika shoes will be exploring the canyon trails near my home and the ridgeline beachfront trails.
Update July 4, 2016
A month has gone by and I have been enjoying the Oboz Pika shoes twice a week. I have worn them at Torrey Pines Reserve and Rose Canyon. Both these locations are in Southern California near San Diego. The temperatures ranged from the low 70’s to the mid 80’s on my outings and the weather has been dry.
The trails at Torrey Pines are mostly packed dirt with some rocks. However, there are a few trails that can be made into a loop with a return along the beach. I walked on the packed/wet beach sand and I was very impressed that the sand did not cake to the bottom of the shoes or in the tread. I was able to stomp my feet to remove most of the sand. There was just a small layer of sand particles here and there on the rubber outsole. At Torrey Pines I have worn the Pikas in a range of 3.5 to 5.5 miles. Generally the elevation was 400 to 550 feet. I carried a small waist pack that holds a water bottle.
The Rose Canyon Trails are very close to my house, so it is easy for me to explore there. I moved to the area just over a month ago, so there is much exploring to be done. These trails are mostly packed dirt fire road with a few rocky sections. My shorted hiking adventure in Rose Canyon has been 4 miles and my longest has been 8. Even walking at a brisk pace I have not lost traction on the rocks or the packed dirt with these shoes. One evening I decided to take the Rose Canyon Trail to and from the grocery store. On my return trip home I had a pack loaded with about 15 lbs. of groceries and my feet felt secure with no rolling of my ankles. My back was suffering, but not my feet.
So far I am very happy with the Oboz Pikas. They are comfortable, the toe box is roomy, they have good traction, my feet do not sweat excessively, and they look good. They look more like a rugged trail runner than a typical hiking shoe. I like that they do not feel heavy on my feet, even after several miles. I am happy to say that I experienced no blisters or foot irritation from the Pikas (it is difficult for me to find hiking shoes that do not give me blisters). I have enough room in the Pikas when my feet swell that there is no added pressure. I used the included foot bed for the first hike and I found that I needed more support due to my history of plantar fasciitis. I was able to remove the insoles and use my custom orthotics without any significant change to the shoe volume. This provided me with the extra support I am accustomed to in my daily shoes. I have been cleaning the Pikas with both a dry and a damp cloth to remove light dust and dirt from the soles.
Well I will be back in another month with an update. I hope to explore some new areas in my Oboz Pika Shoes.
FINAL UPDATE August 14, 2016
Over the past month I had the opportunity to wear the Oboz Pika shoes on both short hikes at Torrey Pines (3-5 miles)/Rose Canyon (3 miles) and two longer hikes at Iron Mountain and Mt. Woodson (6 and 8 miles). The trail at Iron Mountain is rocky in some places and involves some high stepping. I was relieved on the way down when I was physically tired that I did not lose traction nor did I twist my ankles (I always worry about this while descending). The other trails at Torrey Pines and Rose Canyon are mostly packed dirt with some sporadic rocks. The trails at Torrey Pines involve man made steps at times on the steeper section of trails and plenty of sandy areas that can be wet or dry. I also wore the Pika shoes in a cave in la Jolla. This was a hike down a steep tunnel with some water/moisture on the inside and there were a ton of steps. The Pika shoes provided me with enough traction, but they are not waterproof; water will seep in. Lastly I wore the Pikas at Las Penasquitos Canyon on a 4-mile hike. The trails in this area are dusty with sections of deeper dirt/sand. During all the hikes I typically wore a lightweight wool hiking socks. The temperatures ranged from the upper 60’s to the mid 90’s. I am happy to say my Pikas are not stinky from my feet sweating on the warmer days.
I am very happy with these shoes. They are comfortable, lightweight, work well for day-hikes, can be used on multiple types of trails, and do not cause blisters or foot pain. I will admit I am most comfortable wearing my custom full foot bed orthotic in the Pikas. I think my feet are just so accustomed to my custom orthotics and that position for my feet is the most comforting. After completing all the hikes I kept the Pikas on to drive home and that signifies comfort for sure. I have noticed that the top of the right shoe is puckered (just below the laces) when I tighten the laces slightly. This does not bother me. I just found it strange. Maybe my foot volume is slightly less. To be honest I usually have a problem with shoes/boots and I am happy to say that I will continue to wear these shoes. For me these are a winner for sure, but like any shoe some work for some people and some don’t. Go try them on! You may be happy you did.
The Pika is available in two colors, eggshell (grey) and fuchsia (a light purple). The retail price is $120.00. For more information please visit obozfootwear.com.