Rating 4.9 out of 5
Over the years I’ve been purchasing a multitude of hiking shoes and boots. Since every trail in Arizona has a significantly different texture ranging from sandy, rocky, and slippery, choosing the right shoe or boot for the hike is critical. I carefully plan out wearing the right footwear depending upon the upcoming terrain. Nothing is worse than having your feet begin to hurt half way through a trek knowing you may have to turn back to the trailhead. What’s worse is listening your handful of fellow hikers returning later on with all their great stories and pics of an amazing adventure.
The most difficult part in choosing the correct shoes to wear is knowing the extent of your trek. For longer hikes in rugged terrain I will opt for my all leather Asolo TPS 520 GV Evos. However, while the Asolo’s are incredibly comfortable and protective, they are sometimes way to bulky for shorter and smoother paths. This is where the Oboz come into play.
Ultimate All Around All Purpose Shoe
The Oboz Firebrand II, in my opinion, is the ultimate all around hiking shoe. I say this because not only are they constructed incredibly well, but they are waterproof and extremely grippy on wet and dry rock surfaces. Although the Oboz don’t fashion Vibram soles I’ve come to trust over the years, their soles stand up equally in several environments.
In fact, the Oboz Firebrand II are also my go to Mountain biking shoes out on the trails. Since I don’t use clip-in style riding shoes, the Oboz grip amazingly well to the pedals. In fact, an REI Rep in the bike department recommended me wearing them (I was wearing them at the time while checking out some bikes) as an alternative, since Oboz have such great low center of gravity stability when regaining your balance. Since that time, I’ve been wearing them as my biking/trekking combination. Also, I love the toe guard rubber molding over the front top of the shoe. It allows the shoe to last much longer over rugged and rocky trails.
Ankle support has always been a issue for me. Although the Oboz Firebrand do not fully support and cover the entire ankle area, the shape and design of the lower sole aids in preventing ankle rollover. To date, I have not sprained any ankle while wearing these shoes. I feel very solid on the ground and sure footed when jumping from rock to rock even in slippery areas.
Another concern regarding the hiking shoe, which in my opinion is a plus, is the weight of the shoe. As you can see by the spec chart below, the average weight for a pair of shoes is 2 lbs. 5 oz. While some ultralight hikers on the trail speak highly about how light their trail shoes are, they are giving up on support and durability over time. I prefer a more rigid and solid feel on my feet when traveling through unexpected terrain surfaces. Unfortunately, added weight in ounces in stronger materials is necessary in achieving a more durable and rigid trail shoe.
Our anatomically-designed insole maximizes stability and support in our backpacking boots, hikers, and lifestyle shoes, with a supportive arch and a deep cushioning heel cup. Triple-density EVA throughout provides both cushioning and durability, and a shot of urethane under the metatarsals and heels adds extra protection to high-strike zones.
The inserts are well proportioned, stiff but not uncomfortable at all. Of course, all feet handle inserts differently depending on the person. I understand by reading other blogs that these trail shoes support specialized orthotic inserts. This is on account of your foot fitting deep into the shoe allowing for varying designs and styles of inserts.
Oboz Firebrand II are waterproof and very breathable due to the B-DRY™ membrane material. But since they are not a high over the ankle shoe, I don’t see myself treading in too deep a stream. However, I have completely submerged the pair and they seem to dry fairly quickly.
I totally recommend purchasing the best boot or trail shoe your money can buy. I can’t stress to you the importance of purchasing comfortable and trusting foot gear for multi surface terrain hiking. But the most important thing to remember is that buying shoes strictly by brand name like Asolo, Merrell,Salomon, or Vasque isn’t going to matter much unless they are perfect on your feet after a good 25 mile hike. Always purchase the boot or trail shoes that your foot fits perfectly into. For me, and my style of trekking/biking adventures, the Oboz Firebrand II is the clear winner in quality, durability, grip, and performance. In fact, after years of wearing them, REI still carries them in their store and claims they are their most popular shoe. Since I love them so much, I purchased another pair. My current pair are still in excellent condition after years and miles of abuse. But, in the back of my mind, I know there will always be an excellent backup waiting for me at the top shelf of my closet.
- Waterproof nubuck leather uppers feature abrasion-resistant nylon mesh panels for just the right combination of breathability and protection
- B-DRY™ waterproof, breathable membranes keep soggy elements out while letting water vapor escape, keeping your feet cool and comfortable
- Nylon mesh linings wick moisture, dry quickly and further enhance breathability
- Anatomic EVA footbeds and dual-density EVA midsoles provide cushioning over days on the trail
- Nylon shanks offer torsional stability and protection underfoot, increasing surefootedness on varied terrain
- The Oboz Firebrand II hiking shoes feature high-friction, nonmarking rubber outsoles that grip with ease in all directions
|Upper||Nubuck leather/nylon mesh|
|Lining||B-DRY waterproof breathable membrane/nylon|
|Average Footwear Weight (Pair)||2 lbs. 5 oz.|