Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review: Our Four-Month Test

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The Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof is designed to deliver equal parts comfort and capability over technical terrain, but are they worth paying for?
Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Introduction
Leather meets rugged Cordura mesh in the ultra-tough Oboz Sawtooth X Mid.



Specs: 
– Price: $180
– Weight: 2.49lbs /1231g (per pair, size 11.5)
– Cushion: Medium
– Waterproof: Yes/ B-Dry waterproof membrane
– Best use: Hiking, backpacking, thru-hiking
– What we like: Premium quality materials, comfortable, supportive
– What we don’t: Heavy, long break-in period




The Wise Adventurer’s Verdict: Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof

This is The Wise Adventurer’s review of the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof, a first-hand accounting of my field test in this premium leather hiking boot. Oboz designed the Sawtooth as a more “athletic” take on their trademark fit, which I’d describe as “snug in the back, roomy up front” based on other Oboz I’ve worn like the popular Bridger Mid.  

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - TWA Verdict
The Sawtooth proved to be a great all-rounder for short hikes, backpacking, and everything in-between.

Their goal here was to create a boot that was better suited to more technical and rough terrain than previous models, and after spending a few months hiking in the Sawtooth X, I think they succeeded in that regard. The Sawtooth X has a lower volume fit than I’m used to in Oboz boots, but these hikers grew on me as the miles added up, and by the end of my test I found myself wearing them anywhere and everywhere. 

Ofcourse no boot is without its faults, so if you’re looking for a deep dive into the pros and cons, just keep reading. 

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The Test: Why You Should Trust Us

My test of the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof was conducted over a roughly four-month period spanning from late fall to early spring in the mountains of North Georgia. Over the months I split my time between short day hikes, overnight backpacking trips, and walks around the neighborhood and local trails, often accompanied by a dog or two for a second opinion. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - The Test
My typical testing conditions in the Appalachian Mountains: Steep, covered in roots, and a little wet.

In addition to simply living with and wearing the Sawtooth X as often as possible, I also subjected these hiking boots to intentional waterproof testing in keeping with our standardized boot testing procedure. This included both brief dunks in moving water, minute-long submersions, and intentionally hiking on rainy days to collect data on all the most common use scenarios hikers encounter. 

Detailed Evaluation of the Oboz Sawtooth X Waterproof

First Impressions

I tested the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid back to back with another Oboz boot, the Bridger Mid, and my first impression was that these were two very different boots. Where the Bridger feels plush and open, the Sawtooth X feels snug and secure, more like a well-padded fortress for your feet than an easy-going hiking boot. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - First Impressions
Squeaky clean: Quality materials and excellent fit and finish made for a great first impression.

The Sawtooth X exemplifies the old hiking boot adage of “snug everywhere, tight nowhere.” The inside surfaces of the boot swaddled my feet all the way down into the toebox, leaving minimal wiggle room anywhere in the boot, but a comfortable and padded feeling overall. 

Fit and Comfort

Of all the boots I tested this year, the Oboz Sawtooth X took the longest to truly get dialed in. They’re designed to cradle your feet more closely than most, which makes finding the line between a too-tight boot and that just-right fit a bit more challenging. Ultimately I landed on a size 11.5 for the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid (my usual size is an 11, even in Oboz’s own Bridger Mid boots), so chances are you may need to go up a half size or possibly switch to a “wide” version to keep your feet happy. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Fit and Comfort
The lower-volume toebox of the Sawtooth X takes some time to break in, but once I put the time in, these boots became extremely comfortable.

Speaking of room, I’ll also share that the Sawtooth X took quite a while to properly break in. My first three outings with the Sawtooth ended with hotspots on the sides of my pinkie toes from the snug fit, and truth be told I nearly gave up on them just before they finally loosened up and hit their stride. 

All that to say, don’t give up on these boots. Once the Sawtooth X finally acclimated to my feet, they became extremely comfortable and rewarding. Oboz’s combination of their trademark “O-Fit” insole, dual density midsole, and buttery soft heels make for the kind of boot you actually want to wear all day every day, and I found myself wearing them around town by choice whether I had plans to go hiking or not. 

Support and Stability

At its core the Oboz Sawtooth X is essentially a traditional nubuck leather hiking boot, albeit one that’s slightly skewed toward the technical side of hiking. As such they slightly edge out most of the competition in terms of outright support and stability, providing a notable improvement over similarly positioned options like the Merrell Moab, Danner Mountain 600, and even Oboz’s own Bridger Mid. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Support and Stability
The Sawtooth X delivers the kind of support you expect from a taller, burlier boot, and I had no issues with ankle rolls on rooty and rocky trails.

Part of this I chalk up to the extremely supportive O-Fit insole, a hallmark of Oboz boots and hiking shoes, and part I attribute to the Sawtooth X’s secure heel cup, nylon shank, and more technical (read: snug) fit and design. Once I was properly laced into the Sawtooth, it felt like a natural (and particularly rugged) extension of my foot, and I was able to walk with confidence over just about any terrain over any grade. 

Grip and Traction

The Sawtooth X gets Oboz’s “Trail Tread” treatment, which they say is their most capable compound both in terms of durability and slip resistance. I’ll also point out that Oboz claims the Sawtooth’s tread pattern is specifically designed to better shed mud, which was my main complaint with the otherwise fantastic Oboz Bridger. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Grip and Traction
Oboz designed the Sawtooth X for improved grip and shedding of mud, and I found the tread kept things in control, even on slippery, mossy descents like this.

After logging some serious miles in the Sawtooth X, I think those claims are both accurate. I have yet to find fault with the rubber in terms of outright grip, even over slick mud and wet granite, and the tread definitely seems to be holding up better than most. 

I will note, however, that while the slightly more dense materials of the Sawtooth (both the rubber outsole and ACT Impact Midsole) may make them slightly better in terms of overall support and traction, they don’t have quite as soft and plush a feel as the Bridger, especially in the heel. It’s a tradeoff many will find worthwhile, but a tradeoff just the same. 

Weight

The Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof tipped my home scale at 1231 grams, making them heavier than most hiking boots in my recent field testing. Only the uber-tough Lowa Renegade and Salomon Quest 4 were heavier, which was surprising considering the Sawtooth features a fair amount of breathable mesh in addition to its leather-heavy upper. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Weight
There are lighter weight hiking boots than the Sawtooth, but I had no issue with their added bulk in the field either.

While there’s no getting around the added heft of the Sawtooth X, it’s worth mentioning that this is also the only boot I tested recently in a size 11.5, so technically there’s “more boot” on the scale than anything else I’m comparing it to. In short I’d say the weight is noticeable, but isn’t an issue, and if anything further contributes to the Sawtooth’s overall “solid” feel on the foot. 

Durability

Oboz puts a heavy emphasis on the quality of its material selection, and the Sawtooth X is no exception. In my testing I found every part of the Sawtooth felt just as robust and long-lasting as the next, from the rugged leather and Cordura uppers to the rock-solid leather and metal lacing system. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Durability
Oboz uses a more durable rubber down the middle of the Sawtooth X’s tread, which I expect will help them stick around for a few hundred extra miles.

It’s also worth noting that unlike Oboz’s ultra plush “Granite Peak” rubber compound, the Sawtooth X’s “Trail Tread” rubber is specifically designed to last longer than anything else in the Oboz catalog. The dual-density compound registered an above-average hardness rating of 68 on our Shore A durometer, so I expect them to survive several years of regular use. 

Breathability

If you read our review of the Oboz Bridger, you’ll know that the brand’s B-Dry membrane leaves a little to be desired in the breathability department. While that’s still the case with the Sawtooth, I’m happy to report that the added mesh panels along the sides and ankle of this boot do make for a noticeable improvement in overall breathability. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Breathability
The leather of the Sawtooth X dries out fairly quickly, aided by added ventilation from the mesh Cordura panels on either side of the boot.

All things considered there are definitely stronger performers out there if breathability is a major concern for you (Oboz even makes a non-waterproof version of the Sawtooth X Mid, for instance), but I never felt it was an issue either. On the warmer days of my testing period (think: sunny and low-70’s) these boots definitely felt a little stuffy, but my feet never felt overly hot or uncomfortable, and I’d be more than happy wearing the Sawtooth for a mid-summer trek if need be. 

Waterproofing

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Waterproofing
While the Sawtooth’s DWR coating is practically non-existent, the B-Dry membrane kept my feet dry without fail.

While Oboz’s proprietary B-Dry waterproofing doesn’t breathe as well as some alternatives (GoreTex and eVent, for example), it keeps the wet stuff at bay with the best of them. This membrane survived all our standardized testing procedures from crossing shallow creeks to a full minute of submersion, so I’d gladly recommend them for hiking in wet climates. 

Value

The Oboz Sawtooth X Mid retails for about $20 less than the Oboz Bridger I tested it alongside this year, yet still delivers the same outstanding quality, stability, fit, and finish. For this reason it strikes me as a particularly solid value all-around, especially if you’re looking for a more traditional, leather-heavy, waterproof hiking boot. 

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Value
If you want a high-quality boot with a leather chassis, the Sawtooth X will make a worthwhile investment.

If you’d prefer something lighter and more breathable, however, the competition is stout to say the least, even at the same or lower price points. All things considered, I think those prioritizing durability, comfort, and fit will find a long-lasting companion in the Sawtooth X, especially those who can benefit from the added heel and arch support of Oboz’s outstanding O-Fit insoles.  

Who Should Buy the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof?

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - Who Should Buy
A premium insole and long-lasting materials are what make the Sawtooth X stand out to me.

To reiterate: If you know you want a leather boot and you’re not particularly interested in the ultralight hiking segment, the Sawtooth X is a great option. The slightly snug and more technical fit may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but personally I found a lot to love in these boots once I’d properly broken them in. 

Alternatives:

  • Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof: If you’re loving Oboz’s commitment to comfort and fit but want something a little roomier and better suited to wide feet, the Bridger is an outstanding alternative with the same high degree of fit and finish. 
  • Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid: An equally stable and supportive boot that’s capable of tackling technical terrain, albeit at a fraction of the weight and with improved breathability. Can’t quite compare in terms of outright comfort. 
  • Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof: A strikingly similar build and feature set at a budget-friendly price. Not quite as stable or supportive, but works great for standard hiking duty or backpacking. 

The Bottom Line

Objectively I’ve found the Oboz Sawtooth X wants for nothing. This is a durable and supportive hiking boot made from premium materials with a strong focus on performance and all-day comfort. This boot only appears to come up short in some metrics when compared to lighter and more breathable fabric-heavy alternatives, but that’s more a matter of taste than universal appeal.

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Review - The Bottom Line
While the fit of the Sawtooth X likely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, overall this is a great boot that only seems to get better with time.

My take here is that if you know you want a more traditional leather-heavy hiker, the Sawtooth X is an outstanding boot that’s going to give you everything you need. The only caveat I’ve found is that its lower volume “athletic” fit may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so if you prefer a wider, more open feeling around the toe box, these likely won’t be your first choice.  

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