BACKPACKER GEAR GUIDE 2018 - BEST FIT - LIGHT HIKERS
OBOZ SAPPHIRE MID WATERPROOF
Our take: A women's-specific last is one thing, but volume isn't the only thing that tends to differ between men's and women's feet. That's why our ladies reached for the Sapphire Mid, a women's-only model that not only has a smaller forefoot, but that supports their more slender ankles with an asymmetrical collar. "I felt at home right out of the box," our tester affirmed after her first outing. "I did a 3-mile hike on Canada's Prince Edward Island the first day and didn't experience any break-in blues." But comfy doesn't mean dainty. One tester, who tallied 33 miles over three days with a 35-pound pack on a rough coastline in Nova Scotia, proclaimed that her feet barely felt tired. (Three densities of EVA in the midsole provide varying levels of comfort and support.)
The details: Oboz uses its BDRY waterproof-breathable membrane in this version of the Sapphire Mid. (With B-DRY, Oboz places a PU bootie in the boot's core.) The waterproofing works, but combined with the nubuck upper, the Sapphire Mid left our feet steamy on an 85°F day on Prince Edward Island's Confederation Trail.
Trail cred: "I covered a lot of terrain in these boots—rocks, roots, gravel, and streams—but they don't look any worse for the wear after 150 miles," our tester said of the Sapphire's Swiftcurrent outsole. (Style points: The outsole has a molded topo map of Glacier National Park.)