If you are looking for a non-waterproof summer hiking boot then the Sawtooth X Mid will fit the bill.
- No waterproof lining
- Well made
- Comfortable on a variety of terrain
- Felt a little narrow in the toe box
- Could have done with another free eyelet
It’s getting quite hard to find a hiking boot that doesn’t have a waterproof lining, most offerings are Gore-Tex lined or some other lining. Maybe folk over here in the UK expect to be hiking on wet ground all the time (which is not unreasonable) but if, like me, you get hot feet when hiking then a non-lined boot can be a relief.
The Oboz Sawtooth X Mid is a well-made 2 season hiking boot that will take from late spring through to early Autumn in dry conditions. The combination of Nubuck and Cordura makes for a durable mix that gives good breathability whilst offering protection when descending rough ground. Although Oboz is a huge brand in the USA, they are a relative newcomer to the UK and judging the by quality and price of these boots they should become more popular. This version is an upgrade to the original Sawtooth boot that was realised in 2022 for its 10th anniversary.
I have tested the Sawtooth X Mid’s as a non-waterproof boot throughout late March into April and early May when conditions have been mixed – a recent walk to a remote moorland Summit by Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales was a mixture of good quality path and boggy heather bashing. For this type of early-season hiking, the Sawtooth X Mid and waterproof socks worked very well, maximising the versatility. So, during warmer weather, you could wear the boots with normal hiking socks and pair them up in wetter/cooler conditions with waterproof socks.
The traction on the Oboz Sawtooth sole was good for loose descents.
In terms of the all important fit, I found the Sawtooth X Mid comfortable straight out of the box. I tested a size UK 8 and the fit was good, with normal hiking socks there was still room in the toe box to wiggle my toes (which is important for descending). Oboz states the Saxwtooth X Mid is a wider fit and I’m still experimenting with the lacing as I have been feeling a little squeezed across the metatarsal area of my foot. I have a narrow foot profile so the jury is still out and I’ll need to wear them more – I think they will be fine however once I have got the lacing right. My advice is to try a pair on with the socks you intend to hike – but then I would always recommend that with any hiking boot. I found the captive 2nd eyelet awkward and would have preferred anther open one so I could really open the boot up.
Style wise they are in the same category as the Keen Targhee III (the Sawtooth is less fussy) and the Merrell Moab 3 (the Sawtooth are less aggressive looking) and all at a similar price. With the Sawtooth X Mid, you are getting premium Nubuck leather and Cordura mesh so you can expect them to last longer. Also, the X means you are getting a little extra ankle support and a soft leather Achilles cup. The extra leather on the revamped 2022 versions also offers a little bit of protection for those occasional forays into wetter ground.
The Nubuck leather kept the occasional puddle or wet grass at bay.
There is extra leather for a cap around the toe box and the leather covers the whole toe area and the heel area is also leather with thermoformed areas that are likely to take knocks and scrapes. The heel also has a TPU heel cup to help fix your heel in place – why is this important? Because that is the most likely area you are going to develop a blister!
The sole is Oboz proprietary Trail Tread. I found this perfectly fine for hiking on steep, loose ground such as gravel and loose stones on paths. The lugs are well-spaced and deep enough to cope with steep grass and dirt. It worked very well when ascending, with the occasional boulder hop. The traction was overall very good. The heel is well-moulded and offered excellent cushioning for heel strikes when descending. Comfort is further improved with the rubberised EVA midsole and the excellent O Fit insole (which is what Oboz are well known for), this is easily as good as an Ortholite insole. It is removable and replaceable with either a straight replacement or a thermal one to improve the warmth. I plan to replace it every other year to keep the boots well cushioned and help protect my knees. Finishing touches include a gusseted tongue, tongue and heel loops and flat laces.
The traction on the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid was good for no technical scrambling.
Finally, on the sustainability front. The laces and mesh are made using 100% recycled PET. Oboz are currently on their B Corps journey (I wish them all success) and the leather is sourced via LWG (The Leather Working Group) certified tanneries. Plastic-free packaging was also a nice touch.
So, in conclusion. The Oboz Sawtooth X Mid are a good all-round hiking boot for warm and dry conditions. They are comfortable with plenty of protection from the Nubuck leather and the soles offer secure traction on rough and steep ground. The ACT+ midsole and Ofit insole offer great cushioning and the Cordura mesh will help keep the boots looking fresh for many years.
For those looking for a low cut shoe the Sawtooth X Low version which also comes in both waterproof and non-waterproof options. There are male and female specific versions too.
The Oboz Sawtooth X Mid come in two colour options and sizes UK 6-11, 12, 13 and 14
The SRP is £150 and they can be bought directly from Oboz Footwear and specialist reatilers