Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Oboz Traverse Low is as light and nimble as many low-cut hikers. Dayhiking roughly 25 miles in Tennessee / North Carolina's Smoky Mountain National Park and a 50-mile section of the Appalachian Trail in Northern Tennessee, I found these as supportive and tough as models that are full on boots that are several ounces if not pounds heavier—a significant amount of weight in footwear—and a standout for traction, stability and break in time is extremely minimal.
A dual-density EVA midsole with a partial nylon shank, as well as a molded rubber heel cup, deliver enough support for hiking with 20 pounds or more on your back (average pack weight for a thru hiker). As a long distance hiker, I've heard that for every pound that is on you foot is the equivalent of adding 10 pounds to your pack. Finding a shoe that offers enough support without laying on the pounds is important for keeping fatigue at bay. The welded synthetic overlays that anchor the metal lace hooks form a cage that wraps around the midfoot, enhancing support, especially lateral stability and keeps laces from budging.
Besides support, the deep outsole lugs excel for traction on all types of surfaces: slippery wet rock slabs, thick mud, loose gravel, packed dirt, and even through creek and river crossings the traction still held up. The synthetic leather and tightly woven mesh uppers proved resistant to abuse from coarse sandstone; they also breathe well because they’re not waterproof, but still keep grit, sand and splashes out. And they dry quickly. A side mudguard and toe cap protect your forefoot.
Bonus: The shoes come with Oboz’ BFit Deluxe footbeds, these inserts compare with good after-market insoles. These hiking shoes will deliver everything you want and need while on a small day hike or a 2,000-mile thru hike.
Follow ambassador Aaron Ibey on Instagram at @aaronibey.