More steps, fewer footprints - Meet The Cottonwood

The Cottonwood Collection is one of the most sustainable, versatile, and durable shoes that Oboz has launched to date. These shoes are built with environmentally preferred materials (EPM): Defined by the US General Services Administration as products or services – in our case, footwear - that have a lessened or reduced effect on human health and the environment. An Oboz Preferred Materials label indicates a minimum of 20% environmentally preferred materials by weight. The Cottonwood Collection surpassed this threshold, reaching 34-36%* of EPMs by weight. 

This makes our team, partners, and Oboz community really excited, here’s why:

The Cottonwood Collection propels us in a direction that we haven’t gone before. In addition to our intentional use of EPMs, we’ve maintained our unwavering commitment to high-quality footwear. This is without compromising on creating comfortable, quality, and durable footwear to withstand all that the trail brings. 

The Cottonwood is just that:

The Cottonwood is made for hiking. 

It’s meant to get dirty. 

It’s made to be the pair of footwear that you keep by the front door. 

In addition to its fun, functional, and sustainable style, the Cottonwood has inspired us to push the boundaries of what we once thought possible in reducing our impact. By integrating EPMs into our full product line we can rely on our footwear to take on the trail knowing that it was designed with a better future in footwear design, development, and sustainability in mind. 

It starts with design.

The design of the Cottonwood required the support of every member of the Oboz Team and the entire supply chain. A true team effort. By coordinating directly with suppliers at the start of the development process we were able to collect information about water, energy use, and the material selection process. Once the first version of the Cottonwood was produced, the Oboz Development Team took each component and weighed them individually. They then multiplied by its percentage of environmentally preferred material content to take a combined by weight, per pair score. Truly a labor of love - both for the footwear and the earth around us.

And this is just the beginning.

The Cottonwood is an exciting beginning to applied sustainability practices within our product line. At the core of it all, our team cares largely about the trails in which we hike, paths in which we roam, and wild spaces that we aim to protect for years to come. Since our very first pair sold in 2007, we have planted a tree for every pair of footwear sold. That’s over 5 million trees and counting! In 2023, we joined the global B-Corp community – balancing profit with our impact on the planet and the people that our brand connects with. The B-Corp certification is just the beginning and holds us to stringent standards for positive social and environmental impact.

Sustainability, like Montana, is vast.

We are the first to admit that we don’t have all the answers. There is so much innovation in sustainable design which challenges us to do a lot of learning, unlearning, and evolving. The benefit mindset, instilled in us by the B-Corp community, spreads these values across every facet of our business, every retailer, and every community member who finds themselves in a pair of Oboz Footwear out on the trail. The vastness of this reach helps in defining our commitment: communities, climate, and circularity.

Views from Bozeman's Hyalite Reservoir.

More on the Cottonwood Collection.

To learn more about the new Cottonwood Collection and its sustainable design features, head to the collection page. For more on Oboz commitment to sustainability head to this page.

* Cottonwood collection EPMs by style: Men’s Cottonwood Low 34.63% | Men’s Cottonwood Mid 35.37% | Women’s Cottonwood Low 36.12% | Women’s Cottonwood Mid 36.76% by weight. All measurements are based on sample size men’s 9 | women’s 7

Guide and resource for setting Preferred Material standards: FDRA's Footwear Environmentally Preferred Material Guide (

Abigail Cook

Abigail Cook

Montana based hiker, office-dog aunt, and early riser (for mostly the coffee).

Abigail is the Brand & ESG manager at Oboz Footwear and a big Great Lakes advocate.