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Gear Review: Oboz Traverse Low Shoes

Oboz Traverse Low

Oboz Traverse Low

Hiking Shoes
Oboz Traverse Low
$125, 2 lbs. (men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 8-12, 13, 14

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this shoe is as light and nimble as many low-cut hikers; the Traverse Low is like a Hummer that weighs no more than a Prius. Dayhiking in Utah’s Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks, I found them as supportive and tough as models several ounces heavier—a significant amount of weight in footwear—and a standout for traction.

A dual-density EVA midsole with a partial nylon shank, as well as a molded rubber heel cup, deliver enough support for hiking with 20 pounds or more on your back (for hikers accustomed to wearing low-cuts while carrying that much weight). The welded synthetic overlays that anchor the metal lace hooks form a cage that wraps around the midfoot, enhancing support, especially lateral stability. Beyond support, the deep outsole lugs excelled for traction on all types of surfaces: hard-frozen ice, slippery wet snow, slick mud, gravel, packed dirt, and when I scrambled off-trail up and down steep slickrock in Capitol Reef. The synthetic leather and tightly woven mesh uppers proved resistant to abuse from coarse sandstone; they also breathe well (in part because they’re not waterproof), but still keep grit out. A side mudguard and toe cap protect your forefoot. Fit is good for medium- to high-volume feet. Bonus: The shoes come with Oboz’ BFit Deluxe footbeds, inserts that compare with good after-market insoles—about a $50 value. Overall, the Traverse Low is an excellent choice for dayhiking on or off-trail and ultralight backpacking. The women’s version is the Oboz Luna, $125.

See all of my reviews of hiking shoes I like.

NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.


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  1. MichaelALanza

    Hi QT, the Traverse are significantly more supportive than trail-running shoes, but still with plenty of forefoot flex for comfortable, fast striding (if that’s your thing). Depending on the trail-running shoes model you’re talking about, the Traverse are also a few ounces to several ounces heavier (per pair), too. They’re certainly light and flexible enough to run in, but I wouldn’t recommend them primarily for trail running.

  2. Avatar

    I am curious, how does it compare to trail running shoes – which is what I’ve been using recently for backpacking (not so light because of 15lbs of photo gear).


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