Our Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof Shoes Review explores a multi-purpose approach and hiking shoe from the Montana based footwear specialists. We hope you find it useful.
Having previously tested Oboz approach shoes and winter boots (our review of the Bridger winter boot is here), I have become quite a fan of this Montana based footwear specialist. Oboz produce a broad range of quality footwear options and details are on their website here.
But just as important, they have a big focus on sustainability and giving back. Their founding intention was ‘to do the right thing’. A tree is planted for every pair of shoes sold and the company have been off setting carbon for many years. They are also passionate about driving the change to sustainable manufacture.
We had met up with the Oboz team on our recent Outdoor Trade Show visit (details off that visit are here) and several new products stood out. Of particular interest was the Katabatic Low which looked to be a great multi-purpose shoe. Oboz kindly sent some through and I have been testing them over the last couple of months. Here is my Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof Shoes Review and I hope you find it useful.
The Katabatic Range
The Katabatic Low is part of a Katabatic range. There is the Low and a waterproof version of the low. There is also a mid version and a waterproof mid. So, plenty to choose from and there should be a model to suit everyone. The model tested is the waterproof low version.
The uppers are made from abrasion resistant breathable mesh. There are reinforcing PU sections at the heel and toe and along either side. The heel is further reinforced with a rubber section. The ankle padding is supportive and yet well cushioned.
In the waterproof version Oboz have added their B-Dry lining. Infact, they say it is their improved B-DRY lining which adds increased waterproofness and improved breathability. It is also 100% recyclable and made from 25% post industrial waste.
TPU overlay reinforcements criss cross the shoes and run along either side of the lacing. Oboz have strategically used welding and stitching to reduce weight.
Outsole, Midsole & Insole
The Oboz blurb says the midsole is the lightest, softest and most responsive ever used in an Oboz shoe. The shoes also incorporate an O FIT insole featuring Ortholite Eco and Hybrid Eco with recycled moisture wicking top layer.
This is paired with what is described as a bio-mechanically designed Trail Tread outsole. This features Oboz’s most-tested rubber compound designed for superior slip-resistance, enhanced durability, improved elongation and tensile strength. In simple terms, this is a deeply lugged sole unit that looks well designed for challenging and mixed terrain.
Oboz always provide lots of detail on the fit characteristics of their footwear. In this case they describe the Katabatic Low as standard width. That, if more detail is needed, equates to a standard width C in heel and D in the forefoot according to the Brannock Device. This all sounds very technical, but the key is probably that Oboz say a medium volume foot equates to a standard (although with some combinations of high/low arches and high/low instep). As always, the key is really to try some on before purchase.
Oboz give the weight of the Katabatic Low Waterproof as 441 grams but without specifying which size this equates too. As a reference I weighed the size UK8 (42) provided at 384 grams. The Katabatic Low Waterproof is available in 4 colours. The version tested is their Evergreen colour. They cost £150.
There are so many uses for shoes of this type. They are ideal for climbers approaching routes. They can be used by trekkers and walkers. Cyclists could make use of them providing they are used with flat pedals. They are, of course, also just as suited as a pair of everyday shoes. Lots of people are dipping into more and more activities and so multi-purpose shoes are ideal.
In my case the main uses have been everyday walks on the local Peak District trails and lots of use for walking into crags in the Peak District, Snowdonia and Pembroke. They have also had just as much use for everyday wear.
Out Of The Box Comfort
The Katabatic Low’s were comfortable straight out of the box and sizing is true to size. I am a very standard UK 8 with a medium width foot and they have been perfect for me.
The shoes also, beyond the sizing, just really fit. My heels are well secured in the heel cups and the lacing system pulls everything securely. As mentioned earlier, it is important potential users try shoes on to ensure they fit their feet well. For me, I can say the fit is great.
Under Foot Comfort
The Katabatic Low Waterproofs also perform really well under foot. There is plenty of cushioning to offer a comfortable ride on any terrain and yet enough stiffness to protect from terrain. Many of the approaches I make to climbs involve walking across rocky features and stony ground while carrying a heavy pack. It is soon noticeable if the terrain can be felt to put pressure into the foot.
The Trail Tread outsole was a feature I noticed quickly when I first inspected the shoes at the Outdoor Trade Show. It looked ideally suited to the mixed terrain I have to regularly negotiate. So I was interested to see if it performed as well as it looked. Infact, it is hard to fault.
The heavily lugged sole copes well with everything from mud to loose stones and wet grass. It also copes well when rock hopping, also I have noticed the Katabatics don’t feel quite as secure as some sole units on wet rock. I really rate the sole of these shoes for typical UK terrain.
There is also plenty of lateral support in the shoes and traversing steeper slopes hasn’t been a problem. Just to note that if overall ankle support is of concern it may pay to choose the mid version with the higher ankle. I also feel this lateral support is helped by the TPU overlays which provide a support matrix over the mesh upper. As this is also linked in to the reinforced lacing eyelets, it seems to pull everything together very securely.
This summer we have had our fair share of very wet weather. This may be a challenge emotionally (!), but has been a useful testing ground for the B-Dry liner. I have deliberately worn the shoes on some very wet instructing days and for a number of wet weather walks. The shoes have certainly kept my feet dry. If you are choosing these shoes for use in wetter weather areas, I would certainly recommend the waterproof version.
The B-Dry liner is also breathable, although the shoes have got quite damp with sweat inside on some hotter days. I’m not sure many similar shoes would have coped better, but if you are consistently using the shoes in hotter and drier weather, it is great that Oboz offer a non-waterproof version too.
The weight of the Katabatic Low Waterproofs certainly doesn’t put them into any super light category, but they also don’t feel at all heavy on the foot either. For weight saving the non waterproof version has a stated weight around 70 grams lighter, so that may be a consideration if the weight is a factor for you. I feel the weight is reasonable given these shoes seem durable enough to last for many adventures. Durability against weight always has to be a trade.
Finally, a big shout out to Oboz for their sustainability ethos and the fact that a tree is planted for every pair of Oboz shoes sold. A great initiative.
I hope my Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof Shoes Review makes it clear that I really rate these shoes. They are a comfortable, versatile and durable pair of multi-use shoes that will suit a wide range of users for a wider range of uses. They also offer good value for money and some sustainability benefits.
I have been impressed with every pair of Oboz shoes I’ve used to date and these are no exception. Please do check them out if you are in the market for a new pair of versatile outdoor shoes. Full details on the Katabatic range can be found on the Oboz website here.
We hope you have found this Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof Shoes Review useful. We regularly test products and have a wide selection available on the reviews sections of our website here. If this review has been of use, you might also find our review of the Oboz Bridger winter boots useful. That is here.