Lightweight, waterproof hikers are a must-have for approaches in the Pacific Northwest. It’s just gotta be something that’ll grip the trail and keep your feet dry from springtime runoff and unexpected storms. Bozeman-based company Oboz makes the ideal hiker, the Crest Low with BDry waterproofing.
Oboz Crest Low BDry Features:
- BDry waterproofing combines laminates, DWR and inner lining for breathability
- Upper material: waterproof synthetic leather, abrasion resistant
- Durable toe and heel mud guards
- Speed lacing closure system (with standard laces included)
- Thu-Hiker outsole is designed for longevity
- Compression-molded EVA midsole
- PU heel plug
- Nylon shank
- Men’s size 9 weight: 15.4oz
- MSRP: $150
Go the distance, dry
The Crest Lows have been my buddies for both traveling and hiking during this incredibly rainy PNW spring. We’ve had more rainy days than average here in Spokane, so the waterproof component to the Crest Lows has been very significant.
The foundation of the boots is Oboz’s Thru-Hiker outsole. This is an aggressive, luggy sole designed for maximum grip. That said, it’s created with a fairly firm rubber that should hold up well over time. The downside to this firmer rubber is that it doesn’t grip as well in cold weather or on icy surfaces, but for general hiking it’s an excellent sole overall.
Oboz designed the Crest Lows with a really excellent support system for your feet. There’s an EVA molded insole with a PU plug in the heel to cushion shock and impact. Oboz is particularly proud of their insoles, and rightly so. The EVA density modulates throughout the foot, with high-density areas at the heel and metatarsals for support and mid-density elsewhere in the forefoot to balance support and cushion. It’s the type of insole that you’d usually spend an extra $50 on at a specialty retailer, so it’s great to see Oboz recognizing what a critical part of a good fit the insole is and shipping high-quality options as the default for their footwear. I especially appreciated the added support of the nylon shank between the heel and forefoot. It gives the Crest Lows some added chutzpah when hiking over very rocky trails.
There are a few unusual touches to the Crest Lows. For one, there’s a stretchy rubber retainer strap along the top of the heel. In theory, this helps press the back of the shoe down on your heel to keep it from lifting. I have to say, I didn’t notice any effect but it doesn’t do any harm either. The second feature was quite a bit more helpful during my testing. Oboz included their own speed lacing system to make things a bit quicker in the mornings. I was really impressed with this system – it holds up well and doesn’t loose tension, rain or shine. I’ve heard reports that other wearers are having problems with the system, but can’t confirm any issues personally. Rest assured that Oboz also includes a pair of standard laces with each pair of shoes.
Since I wore these shoes during the springtime, I put up with quite a bit of mud and muck. Oboz thoughtfully added some hard plastic elements low on the sides of the shoes to shed mud.
In practical testing, the shoes performed well. I have a high-volume foot with a tall arch and the shoes gave me plenty of support. Long days didn’t really phase them, and after the break-in period they were comfortable for all-day wear whether on trail or around town. On trail, the extra protection under the heel and metatarsals was a significant contributor to comfort since they fended off rocks well. I did notice that, while BDry is an effective waterproof layer, it doesn’t breathe as well as other mainstream waterproof/breathable fabrics.
- Very thoughtful, well-designed midsole
- Good grip and durability with the Thru-Hiker outsole
- Speed lacing system worked well on my pair
- BDry waterproofing kept the wet out
- BDry waterproofing doesn’t breathe as well as Gore-Tex
- Other users have reported issues with the speed lacing (though spares are included!)
The Bottom Line: Oboz Crest Low BDry
I spent a summer in Bozeman doing research on glacier-bound bacteria, and I have a lot of fondness for the place and the people there. Oboz’s shoes channel something of Bozeman, even down to the Continental Divide Trail topo map pattern on the Thru-Hiker sole. If you want to support a little guy, Oboz’s footwear is a really viable option for great boots.
Buy Now: Available from REI.com