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IR: Oboz Hardscrabble - Kurt Papke

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  • Kurt Papke
    My first IR draft for the Oboz Hardscrabble trail runners is available for the mystery monitor here:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2 1:08 PM
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      My first IR draft for the Oboz Hardscrabble trail runners is available
      for the mystery monitor here:


      or http://tinyurl.com/28owjay

      With the text below

      Oboz Hardscrabble Trail-Running Shoes

      Test Series by Kurt Papke

      Initial Report - May 2, 2010

      Tester Information

      Name: Kurt Papke
      Age: 56
      Gender: Male
      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.

      Initial Report

      Product Facts

      Product Information
      Oboz Footwear LLC
      Manufacturer website
      Year manufactured
      Men's Hardscrabble
      Color tested
      Olive (only color currently available)
      Size tested
      US 13
      Sizes available: 8-12, 13, 14
      $110 US
      Weight (specs)
      14.6 oz (414 g)
      Weight (measured)
      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
      Ignition Outsole
      Strobel lasted
      Radial Fit System (nylon straps that connect the lace points to the sole)
      BFit Deluxe Insole

      Initial Inspection

      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.

      Initial Experiences

      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.

      First Impressions

      I have a good feeling about these shoes.  I am really looking forward
      to experimenting with them on my hikes.  My initial thoughts include
      the following.


      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.
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