Gear Review: Oboz Teewinot Hiking-Approach Shoes
$120, 2 lbs. (men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 8-14, women’s 6-11
Tagging the top of 10,751-foot Thompson Peak, highest in Idaho’s Sawtooths, is a full day: 12 miles and 4,000 vertical feet, more than half the distance and elevation off-trail over big talus and loose scree, including scrambling steep, granite slabs and some exposed third-class onto the summit block. When I did it in July, there was still a bit of firm snow to cross in the morning. It’s a good test of any approach shoe, and the Teewinot handled it without flaw, just as the shoes performed well on dayhikes in a variety of terrain.
I also wore them on trail hikes, including a late-afternoon, a 6.4-mile, 1,400-foot walk up 10,243-foot Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park in September, and an approximately seven-mile dayhike up Taylor Creek Trail in the Kolob Canyons of Zion National Park in May.
The Teewinot is built for rough, off-trail terrain. The outsole’s combination of sticky rubber and aggressive, multi-directional, 4mm lugs makes the shoes stick well on wet and dry granite or sandstone slabs, in loose clay, and on packed dirt, and shed mud better than approach shoes with smoother outsoles (though not as well as boots with deeper lugs). The shoe is armored with suede leather uppers reinforced with overlays, tough textile fabric in the tongue and collar, and a molded rubber toe cap that protects against rock and kicks a firm step into consolidated snow. The perforated uppers kept my feet from getting sweaty in hot, alpine sunshine and temps well into the 70s Fahrenheit, but my feet certainly did get warmer than they would in lightweight, hiking shoes with mesh uppers (which would also offer less protection).
A compression-molded EVA midsole with a partial nylon shank (to the midfoot), and a firm heel cup, give plenty of underfoot support and cushion for carrying a 20-pound daypack—or a pack stuffed with 25 or more pounds of climbing gear—on a day as long and strenuous as Thompson Peak. But the forefoot flexes as easily as the lightest low-cut hiking shoes and even some trail runners, so these shoes remain comfortable logging big-mileage days. And that’s bolstered by Oboz’s BFit insole, which delivers the superior support and cushion for your feet that you’d normally pay extra for in an after-market insole. On my medium-volume feet, these shoes feel comfortably roomy in the toes and ideally snug in the midfoot, with a little more space than I need in the heel. While to-the-toes lacing and the suede uppers conform nicely to your foot’s dimensions, fit is probably best for medium- to high-volume, slightly wide feet. The cut is below the ankles, so don’t expect support or protection there.
Final analysis: The Teewinot is a light, nimble, sticky, and very tough shoe for dayhiking on- or off-trail and scrambling peaks.
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See all of my reviews of hiking shoes, approach shoes, and backpacking boots that I like, all of my reviews of hiking gear and backpacking gear, and my “Pro Tips For Buying the Right Boots,” plus these stories at The Big Outside:
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“My Top 10 Favorite Backpacking Trips”
“10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit”
“10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier”
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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.
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