All images: Kyle Taylor
I am a big proponent of “freeing the feet”, as such, I like to go barefoot wherever possible. However, living in mountain community, the rugged landscape doesn’t afford as many opportunities to bare my naked tootsies as I would like. Enter, the sandal. I’m hard pressed to find another piece of footwear in my summer closet as frequently used as the sandal, so when I got my pair of Oboz Selway’s, I truly wanted to put them through their paces. I decided to put them through a series of tests to see how they stacked up to the rigors of my active lifestyle.
Test #1: Dog Friendly
As a proud dog-father to an almost 2-year old White German Shepherd named “Archer”, the Selway is my go-to choice for playing fetch in the backyard, late-night puppy pee breaks and strolls around the neighborhood. As the area around the door to my backyard is uneven and not very well lit, it’s nice to have the support and the tacky outsole grip of the Selway.
Test #2: Hiking Ability
First of all, I know what you are thinking. It’s a bit ambitious to be asking a thong-style sandal to be mountain capable. This type of usage would certainly not be the norm, but I wanted to put it to the test to see how it would perform in a pinch.
I took the sandals up a local hike to Whitecroft Falls near Sun Peaks Resort. A mild 3-km return journey up a trail with mixed single and doubletrack sections. Honestly, it far-exceeded my expectations. It started lightly raining about halfway up, so I was concerned about slipping around in the sandal while walking uphill. However, the rubberized texture and grooved channels on the sole underfoot stood up to the task, I barely had any slippage at all, despite the moist conditions.
Test #3: Music Festival Ready
Nothing like a human pyramid to kick-off the Coachella camping experience.
I am a bit of a music-festival junkie, every year I attend between 4-5 major festivals. So, naturally I wanted to see how the sandals would stand up to the demanding nature of festival life. During most festivals, you are on your feet for anywhere between 10-12 hours a day, so comfortable footwear is paramount. While I don’t advise wearing thong-style sandals for the entire festival (due to stepped on feet, and other hazards to the open toes), they are a necessity to any festival footwear arsenal. Whether you are making a 2AM trip to the restrooms, or you just want an easy option to kick your sandals on and off for the occasional tent party-- the sandal is the ideal choice for campsite life.
After 3 days of camping at Coachella Music Festival, my feet are in surprisingly good shape.
Test #4: Wet Weather Grip
This is actually where I was impressed the most. The stability of the Selway over slick and uneven surfaces was unbelievable. The denser sections of rubber on the heel and forefoot of the Headwaters outsole did a great job to apply traction where you need it most. I also found that the slightly softer rubber used in the middle section of the outsole performed extremely well on slick surfaces, due to the circle patterned design acting like little suction cups keeping the sandal in place.
Watch your step! Oh wait, the Selways have great grip.
Test #5: Durability
I have subjected the sandals to much harsher conditions and more rigorous wear than usual in the short time that I’ve had them. So far, the Selways have taken everything I have been able to throw at them, and they keep coming back for more.
Kyle Taylor lives at Sun Peaks in British Columbia where he works in the ski resort's communications department. When he's not taking visiting media around the mountain, he's hitting the trails with his dog, Archer.