I love the shoulder season between mountain biking and backcountry skiing. It’s fun to slow things down and hit the trails in slow motion. You can connect with trails in more intimate ways on foot than you can on wheels. Time goes by slowly and details of the trail overlooked all summer are now etched in my memory.

Trail running shoes come in all varieties from ultralight endurance race shoes to heavier and more stable trail shoes. I’ve got a variety of trail running shoes to flog this Fall and have been looking forward to some head-to-head testing of some of the finest trail shoes on the market. The first review of the season comes from a relative newcomer to the industry, Oboz with their Ignition trail shoe.

About the Oboz Ignition Trail Running Shoes

Made with comfort and stability in mind, the Ignition is a versatile trail shoe that sports some excellent technology. The Dynamic Bootie construction is meant to provide a solid and comfortable fit while the floating forefoot cage ensures consistent pressure and feel. Traction is provided by Z Grip High-friction outsoles with burly treads.

More details on the Oboz Ignition shoes:

  • Dynamic Bootie construction for even, comfortable fit
  • Z Grip soles for all-terrain traction
  • EVA midsole cushioning
  • Nylon footplate for stability and protection
  • Mix of nylon mesh and synthetic leather uppers
  • MSRP: $99.95

Oboz Ignition Trail Running Shoes Review

When these shoes arrived, the first thing that caught my attention was the burly tread. These shoes are definitely meant to tackle all types of terrain without flinching. On top of that, the Dynamic Bootie is unique amongst the other trail running shoes in the hopper (Vasque Celerator, Vasque Blur, Salomon XT Wings and Salomon XA Pro 3D).

The snug, comfortable feel of the bootie is great. It cradles your foot and ensures a stable feel. With the combination of the floating front “cage”, it really provides the most even pressure of any trail shoes I’ve worn. Too many shoes attach the front straps to the shoe, but the floating nature of the cage really allows for a more comfortable fit.

I like the even pull of the laces through the eyelets from top-to-bottom as well… some shoes require that you tighten the laces manually from bottom to top, these provided even pressure with a single pull. With the bootie and the floating cage design, I was able to wear my favorite Lorpen ultralight socks for a close-to-foot fit. Some shoes require a little thicker sock, but these were perfect.

With no break-in period, I headed right out to the local trails and my feet were well taken care of. I instantly noticed both the amazing traction and stability provided by the Ignitions. These shoes are at home in the dirt. So much so that when I looped back and checked my tracks, I was digging in with the tenacity of a wolverine.

As I said, in the dirt, these shoes shine. They feel very comfortable and shield your tootsies from sharp rocks, etc. While not the lightest shoes on the block, they don’t feel heavy on the trail by any means. The bootie does offer excellent fit and keeps your foot in place on uphill and downhill sections. But, it isn’t as breathable as some shoes. For warm weather trail running, the Ignition may be a little toasty, but in the 50-70 degree temps I’ve been running in, they are perfect.

To test the versatility of the Ignitions, I took them out for a run while pushing the kids in the BOB Duallie stroller on the Provo River Trail. While they felt excellent on in the dirt, they were “acceptable” on pavement, but definitely aren’t my first choice. The trail-devouring treads don’t translate so well to pavement and end up feeling a little clunky. Many of my trail runs involve short stints on pavement between trail networks, so that’s why I notice the pavement performance.

Cushioning and support has been great thus far. I’ll post long-term durability results in the Spring.

I must note that with my super-flat feet, I always use SOLE orthotic footbeds in all my shoes and did so throughout the test of these shoes. Regardless of your foot type, I highly recommend using SOLE or Superfeet footbeds in all your shoes.

Good Ignition

  • Superior tread traction
  • Bootie wraps the foot and keeps it super stable
  • Excellent support
  • Great with SOLE footbeds
  • Lacing tension is even top-to-bottom with a single pull

Bad Ignition

  • A little toasty when it’s warm
  • Heavier than some shoes
  • A bit clunky on the road

The Bottom Line on the Oboz Ignition Trail Runners

These are the first Oboz shoes I’ve ever worn and hopefully they won’t be the last. I’ve really enjoyed these shoes on the trail–especially on slower and steeper climbs or descents. The extra traction provided by these shoes is awesome. Just keep in mind that these shoes are trail shoes first and foremost with the ability to run on the road on a rare occasion. On the other hand, they are suitable as lightweight hikers, which may not be an option with some trail runners.

Buy Now: Find Oboz at REI

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Thanks for the review. Maybe my feet are strange but I couldn’t get my feet into the shoes. I had to cut a couple of slits about an inch long and at that it is still a tight squeeze. But once in the fit is perfect and I agree with Jason’s review.

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