Oboz Arete Mid Hiking Boots Review
Oboz hits a sweet mix of lightweight comfort and trustworthy stability with their Arete Mid hiking boots. The Arete Mids offer a unique option for indecisive hikers. They provide the shape and stability of a traditional hiking boot without the bulky weight. No need to skimp all the way down to trail runners: the Oboz Arete Mid boots have you covered.
Oboz Arete Mid Hiking Boots At-a-Glance
Weight: 15.4 ounces (men’s size 9)
Upper Material: Weather resistant open spacer mesh with no-sew panels
Midsole: Single-density EVA
Outsole: Tempest rubber
Circumstance of Review
I’ve been testing these over the summer across Tennessee. They’ve seen about 20 miles in each of Big South Fork, the Smoky Mountains, and Frozen Head State Park (home of the Barkley Marathons!). These shoes have trudged through thick mud, forded deep creeks, and scrambled up dicey slopes. I’ve been fortunate to have a healthy variety of conditions to put these shoes to the test.
Their performance has been steady. The rugged toe has allowed me the luxury of feeling indestructible in pretty much any terrain I’ve hiked in. Even though they aren’t waterproof by any means (though they do make a waterproof version!), they were actually pretty awesome to cross creeks with. They never totally dried out over the course of the weekend trip I soaked them on, but they drained well and only stayed moderately damp. I never had any issues with grip on the steep terrain I encountered at Frozen Head.
At the end of the day, the shoes got a well-rounded test and absolutely rose to the challenges.
Lightweight: A pound per shoe is an excellent low weight for a boot. This is definitely the shoe’s number one selling point.
Rugged: For the weight, these guys stand up admirably to everything you’ll want to throw at them. This ruggedness makes it all the more impressive that they only weigh a pound per shoe.
No-Sew TPU Overlays: This is fancy jargon for “plasticky transition from mesh upper to tempest outsole.” This is part of the secret to its lightweight durability.
O FIT Insole: This is the Oboz signature insole that promises unique comfort in each shoe they make.
A3 Chassis: The innards of the shoe provide both a two-piece suspension as well as a shank plate. The ensuing combination results in dynamic comfort and, once again, impressive durability.
This shoe is all about its two big selling points: a durable and rugged shoe in a (relatively) lightweight package. You’ll never feel a stubborn pebble through the rugged tempest outsole. And the impressive toecap will keep you from stubbing your toes on hidden roots. And for the authentic ruggedness offered, this really is as lightweight as a shoe can come.
But is that light enough?
Who Will Like These?
The Oboz Arete Mid is a great lightweight boot option. So, who’s going to love this shoe? To be honest, not everybody. I think this is a dream shoe for folks wanting to lighten their load from a classic dense hiking boot. However, I don’t think it is quite groundbreaking enough to sway trail runner fanatics to something more robust. I say this, of course, as one of those fanatics.
Let me clarify: this shoe wasn’t designed to replace trail runners. It was made as an option for folks wanting to lighten up their footwear without sacrificing the stability and protection of a true hiking boot. When a shoe is touted as “lightweight,” though, I think it’s worth disclaiming that it’s not meant to replace a trail runner by any means.
I also had the pleasure of testing the Arete Low back in spring. It has all the same pros and cons as the Mid, except of course without the added ankle support. I could get behind the Lows and still plan on using them even when pitted against my prized trail runners.
From what I’ve experienced, though, it’s tough to transition from the ultimate in lightweight shoe technology all the way back to the full ankle support of a mid boot. Even though they served their purpose well, it just felt a little too constraining after being used to the freedom of trail runners.
In summary: this shoe is awesome for hikers who want to downsize their current heavy boots, but trail runner devotees looking for a little more foot support might find it easier/less jarring to transition into the Arete Low hiking shoe rather than the mid boot.
Lightweight for a boot: I think we’ve covered this, yeah?
Rugged for a lightweight boot: Again, starting to beat a dead horse a bit here.
Highly comfortable for any boot: The two big points have really been hammered, but it’s worth noting all the effort that went into making this shoe comfortable along with everything else. The O FIT insole is seriously comfortable. Also, the tongue is notably soft and flexible, making it a breeze to wear all day without any worry of chaffing around the ankles.
Truly excellent all-around shoe: What it does well, it does SUPER well and it really doesn’t have too many strikes against it.
Not INSANELY lightweight: Probably not lightweight enough to convert ultralight fanatics (but come on, you can hardly knock a shoe for not being what it isn’t supposed to be in the first place).
Toe caps are maybe even too rugged: I had the same issue with the Arete Lows: the only discomfort I experienced with the shoes was my toes being crunched a little too tight at times.
At the end of the day, I think the Oboz Arete Mid is a slam dunk for its intended purpose. This gem of a boot can and will make a lot of classical hikers much happier and will save a lot of feet in doing so. Any fans of a good old fashioned hiking boot should definitely check out this shoe. It may not be for everyone, but it should absolutely be a top consideration for boot lovers everywhere.
MSRP – $110
Weight – 17 ounces per shoe
MSRP – $130
Weight – 14.1 ounces per shoe
MSRP – $160
Weight – 13 ounces per shoe
This product was donated for purpose of review
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