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OBōZ Sawtooth Low Waterproof: aka the foot tractor

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The go anywhere, do anything shoe that took us by surprise

Story and photos by Brandon Mathis

After months of pillowy running shoes and falling off flip- flops, the Obōz Sawtooth Low Waterproof was an adjustment to get back into a real shoe, one that can take on weather, rocks, sloppy footwork, mud, muck, ice, snow and rain yet still be able to handle one of the most harsh environments we know: a day in an office.

Obōz is headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. A real shoe company in a real mountain town. While the Sawtooth Low Waterproof is no featherweight runner, it’s close enough. This is a well rounded shoe that can do just about anything.

We opted for a weather-ready version of the Sawtooth with what Obōz calls B-Dry, a waterproof/breathable membrane in the shoe that lets sweat escape while keeping the elements out.

All it took was one 36-degree outing in a few inches of snow at 10,000 feet spent crawling up and down slopes of thawing mud coated with layers of melting ice. What we grumbled about being a wooden clog just out of the box days before suddenly came to our rescue. Our feet were warm, thanks to a combination of nubuck leather, hardy materials and Obōz B-Dry. Plus, the outsole provided some concrete traction: tractor lugs.

Not only do these lugs look cool, but they work. We scrambled up plenty of steep and slick talus slopes and to our delight the Sawtooth delivered.

That all made us happy enough, but there’s more from this shoemaker from Bozeman, Montana: O-fit.

A blend of low- and medium-density EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, a cushiony, wonderfully bouncy bulletproof foam that lasts forever and doesn’t absorb water, even the top of the insole features a moisture-wicking layer, adding more defense against cold. As runners and climbers, we know a nice insole when we feel one, and this was a nice surprise. Go ahead, take off in a sprint. This is like an approach shoe meets a trail runner. A bit heavier, but it’s just about that good. The insole gave us plenty of reassuring support, and we soon found ourselves picking the Sawtooth for errands over other comfort marketed footwear in our pile of shoes. That’s saying something.

With deepening snows, we wandered if we might like a little more height than the low provides, and of course Obōz has an answer for that in the Sawtooth Mid version. There you go.

The Sawtooth’s B-Dry weather proofing kept our feet nice and secure from ice, snow and winter muck. We didn’t love it at first, but function ruled and the shoe quickly grew on us soon enough.

Other than the simple equation that dry equals warm, our favorite element of the Sawtooth Low Waterproof really came down to fit, which is saying a lot, because the first time we put them on, we wanted to take them off.

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