Review: Oboz Arete Mid Waterproof

The first thing I noticed about my new Arete Mid Waterproof hiking boots from Oboz was the color—they look distinctly like blue clown shoes. (Don’t worry; they come in other colors.) But once I slid into these bad boys, I couldn’t have cared less about how they looked. These are some seriously comfortable boots, probably because they feature Oboz’ O FIT Insole. They’ve got a reasonable amount of cushion and give while still offering lightweight support. 

They’re mid-rise, which had me worried at first because I injured my achilles a few months back, and now certain shoes wreck my heel. But they’ve got a small, perfectly-placed dip on the rear lip that saves my achilles from unwanted rubbing. 

My initial test-run came on a trail covered with patches of melting snow. Luckily, these Oboz, like many of their other models, are waterproof but breathable. The only drawback in this department is walking through snow that’s more than a couple inches deep: it’ll find its way over that perfectly-placed rear-lip dip and fill the back of your boot with snow. Lesson learned; maybe save these boots for later in the year. 

Still, they’re seriously reliable on ice. The bottom of the boot, featuring Oboz’ Tempest outsole, has tons of traction while still managing to stay lightweight and pretty flexible, all things considered. I hate the feeling of tensing up my whole body to avoid slipping on ice; these boots gave me enough confidence to hike and throw caution to the wind. 

I also tried out the boots on dry ground, and in this capacity they sort of feel like they’re covered in Velcro. The traction is so good, you nearly have to peel the boot off the ground to get around. It’s nice to have that level of confidence in a hiking boot.

Available locally at Bob Ward's and Schnee's; $160.

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