Over the past few years of walking I’ve gone through a fair amount of gear, so I thought I would share some feedback for stuff that’s tried and trusted. Hope it helps.
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What is it?: Oboz Yellowstone Premium Mid B-Dry Hiking Boots
How much?: $300 plus tax, at Mountain Equipment Co-op
Where, when, how do I use it?: I bought these in April 2021 to replace my Zamberlan hiking boots. So far this pair has approximately 150-200 hours of walking on them, over a combination of rough trails, gravel paths, and paved roads.
I wear them whenever I am going on a longish walk, say 2 hours or more, and I also have been wearing them around town this winter when the snow is deepish. I am planning a 700-km camino walk with a 10-12 kg pack later this year so I’ve put them away for now as I’d like to get that out of the way on this pair. If that works, I’ll probably retire them with more than 1000 km on them – though if they are still holding up it would be great to keep going to see what it takes to wear them out completely.
[Update – June 2022 – I did wear the boots doing the PEI Island Walk, and put about 720 km on them. They held up well on a mix of gravel trail, dirt roads, and paved roads. I had two heavy rain days on that trip, and they did well in that too with respect to drying out quickly afterwards. A bit of dubbin to recondition the leather, and I think they will do me another few hundred km]
When I bought them, I was looking at a new pair of Zamberlans. What sold me on these was the fit and the relative low weight. They come with a good insole already but I took that out because I wear custom orthotics and these work great that way. The fit is true to size. I find them pretty supportive – I’ve stepped awkwardly on stones and sticks a number of times but haven’t turned an ankle yet.
They are warm, I’ll grant you, when it’s hot. There’s no getting around that when you have leather uppers with water resistant liners. That said, they keep my feet pretty dry when stepping into ankle high puddles. Even an accidental quick step into a knee-deep puddle wasn’t that bad – they lace up pretty tight so I didn’t pick up a full boot of water and walking for another hour with a damp boot didn’t result in blisters.
I usually wear Merino wool-based compression hiking socks and I’ve never had blister issues with these boots. That said, if you walk long enough you’ll get blisters no matter what you’re wearing, and I’ve not yet worn them all day every day for 3+ weeks like I will later this summer, so we’ll see. So far, so good.
[Update – June 2022 – I did get blisters on my first couple of days on my PEI walk, wearing merino wool socks. I put that down to simple lack of conditioning, and overly tight lacing. Once I figured out the right degree of lace tightening (surprisingly loose compared to what I was used to) and my feet toughened up, I was fine. The fit of the boots stayed pretty true, despite wear and tear on the soles and give in the uppers as the leather softened.]
I like the leather uppers, because they’re easy to care for with a bit of dubbin, The inside lining still looks like new. The soles and treads are holding up even on asphalt roads. The lacing system is great – you can get them snug without feeling they’re overly tight. Overall the quality seems pretty high – no sprung seams or stitches so far. [Update – June 2022 – over all, they’re in pretty good shape considering there’s at least 1500 km on them].
Would I buy it again?: Yes, I think so. Good boots. Happy feet = walking sweet.
Disclaimer: This is not a “review”. I don’t go around sampling things, instead this is a summary of my own experience with a product I have used a lot. All opinions contained in this post are my own. I offer no warranties or assurances for your experiences with the same product. I bought the gear with my own money and have not received any form of compensation from the manufacturer. Take my feedback as given – caveat emptor.