My name is Aaron and I have a problem. I’m addicted to Oboz.
I’m utterly and hopelessly addicted to the sheer comfort, supreme durability, and overall badassery of my Oboz shoes.
I don’t imagine it would be a stretch to say that the synapses in my brain are flooded with a rush of dopamine every time I lace up my boots in preparation for a hike, a day’s work, or even a mundane trip to the grocery store.
Yet, oddly enough, my love affair with Oboz began with a pair of shoes you can’t even lace...
In the summer of 2010, I was gifted a pair of the Oboz Sling Sandals by my parents, who had just returned from the Outdoor Retailer summer show in Salt Lake City with the gleam of new Oboz addicts in their eyes. Although the folks at Oboz have since sent the Sling Sandal to greener pastures (much to my consternation), it remains a staple of my daily footwear habits today.
Where it all began....All images: Aaron Hussmann
If The Shoe Fits...
My pair of Oboz sandals has seen a level of abuse that should have sent them to the great trail in the sky years ago. They’ve spent a summer lugging rental kayaks back and forth across Tahoe’s gritty granitic beaches. They’ve accompanied dozens of backpacking trips over the past five years acting as my camp footwear. They’ve scrambled across logs, creeks, scree, and boulders while achieving a level of grip and stability expected from a true hiking boot.
The result of five years of use and abuse is a sandal that still looks better than most brand new flip-flops. The sole is still so well defined that I leave the Oboz stamp emblazoned on every trail I traverse. If anything, five years has only made these sandals more comfortable and has created a moderately unhealthy attachment to a pair of shoes.
Quality and Endurance
My Oboz addiction comes with good reason. In a world increasingly dominated by single-use plastics, disposable everything, and products designed to fail through planned obsolescence, my Oboz Sling Sandals remind me that there are still durable products from companies that care.
I delight in knowing that this pair of shoes has avoided the nine month lifespan and suffocating landfill grave that is the fate of almost any other sandal. Instead, Oboz has given me a shoe that’s lasted five years across hundreds of miles and likely still have another few years in them.
Oboz Footwear breathes fresh air into a marketplace clouded by faulty products by infusing craftsmanship into quality shoes that are designed to be long-lasting and durable. Fellow Oboz Ambassador Matt Allenbaugh detailed wonderfully why quality and craftsmanship drew him to Oboz, and I hope it can draw others as well. This emphasis on quality also lessens the environmental impacts associated with production and disposal.
The Future of Business
I see Oboz as the frontrunner in a paradigm shift that brings ethics, care for the environment, and quality back into our marketplace, and makes this type of business practice the rule, rather than the exception.
Although the Sling Sandal has since been discontinued from the Oboz product line -- though consider this my impassioned plea for their return -- my own pair represents everything I love about the company and the shoes they produce.