IR: Oboz Hardscrabble - Kurt Papke
- My first IR draft for the Oboz Hardscrabble trail runners is available
for the mystery monitor here:
With the text below
Oboz Hardscrabble Trail-Running Shoes
Test Series by Kurt Papke
Initial Report - May 2, 2010
Name: Kurt Papke
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 225 lbs (102 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA
My backpacking background has primarily been in the Minnesota area
where I have lived most of my adult life. I recently moved to Tucson
to take a new job, and am excitedly exploring the surrounding mountain
ranges. I prefer to hike in trail-running shoes for their light
weight and comfort, though I still use boots when the terrain or
weather calls for it.
Oboz Footwear LLC
Olive (only color currently available)
Sizes available: 8-12, 13, 14
14.6 oz (414 g)
35.3 oz (1000 g) The more than 2x discrepancy between the
manufacturer's weight and my measurement is most likely due to the
manufacturer listing only the weight of one shoe (the site was not
specific about this), plus the large size I am testing
The Oboz Hardscrabble shoes are designed for challenging outdoor use.
Features from the manufacturer's website include:
Synthetic Leather and Fabric Upper (as can be seen the photo above,
this is a mesh fabric)
3-Dimensionally Molded Asymmetrical Heel Clip
3 Part Midsole
Dual Density Posted EVA (cushioning)
Full Forefoot EVA SuperSkin Plate
Nylon Shank (should provide protection from stones)
High Friction, Non-Marking Outsole
Radial Fit System (nylon straps that connect the lace points to the sole)
BFit Deluxe Insole
I removed one tag that were attached with a plastic cord and the
cardboard shoe trees that kept them from collapsing during shipment,
and the shoes were ready to use.
It was the aggressive lugging on the bottom outsoles that initially
attracted me to the Hardscrabbles:
Many of the trails I hike on here in the Sonoran desert are strewn
with loose gravel and small rocks which make traction difficult on
descents. I am hoping the Hardscrabbles will help me with my footing
as I "rock surf" on canyon descents.
On close inspection I could find no evidence of manufacturing defects:
no glue drips, frayed threads or molding problems with the outsoles.
This is the product of a high-quality manufacturing process.
I found the color attractive and pleasing. It matches my hiking pants
quite well, even with the orange accents. I find the front toe of the
shoes have a "stubby" appearance to them. I will be testing shoes
that are just slightly larger than my foot size to allow for my feet
to spread during long hikes, and I'm hoping those stubby-looking toes
will prevent a frequent problem I have with blisters on the top and
outside of my two smallest toes.
I put on my midweight hiking socks and then the Hardscrabble shoes.
The very large heel loop visible in the first photo above made it easy
to pull the shoes on my feet. The supplied laces are nice and sturdy,
and give the appearance of holding a knot well. The laces tightened
easily and uniformly through the lace loops without a lot of messing
around. The tongue is well-padded and prevented me from feeling the
laces even with a lot of tightening.
Once I stood up my first impression is that I was not going to have
enough arch support for my Plantar Fasciitis, despite the fact that
the stock insoles are much more substantial than I typically see in a
trail running shoe. I removed the supplied insoles and replaced them
with the Orthosole inserts I am also testing. That felt much better,
though it must be said that with my fallen arches my experience my not
be typical. I walked around the house on our concrete floors to get a
first impression of the shoes: comfy, roomy, yet with nice airy feel
from what seemed to be pretty good ventilation. These should work
well in the hot Arizona climate.
I didn't get a lot of cushion feel from the Hardscrabbles. They don't
feel hard by any means, but neither are they squishy or bouncy.
When I feel the toe of the shoes with my thumb they seem extremely
rigid. They should provide excellent protection against toe stubs on
roots, rocks and stumps on the trail.
I have a good feeling about these shoes. I am really looking forward
to experimenting with them on my hikes. My initial thoughts include
Good toe comfort with the stubby design, I hope it prevents the
blisters I often get
Excellent apparent ventilation
Not enough arch support for me with the stock insoles, though they are
more substantial than I often see in a trail runner shoe
Please check back in approximately two months when I'll be reporting
on my hiking experiences with the gear.
Many thanks to Oboz Footwear and BackpackGearTest.org for the
opportunity to test this product.