Oboz Ousel Mid Boots Review

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In this Oboz Ousel Mid Boots review, Cal explores a sustainably produced multi-use women’s offering from the Montana footwear specialists.  We hope you find it useful. 

Introduction

Having previously tested Oboz approach shoes and winter boots, Paul has become very impressed with this Montana based footwear specialist.  So, it seemed time to review something from their women’s range. Cal takes a dive into the Ousel Mid.

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Oboz Trail Tread Outsole

Oboz

Oboz are a specialist footwear company founded in 2007 by footwear industry veteran John Connelly. They focus on producing high performance and top quality products, but also producing them as sustainably as possible. Their founding intention was ‘to do the right thing’ and they are big on walking the walk.   

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 and are a B Corp certified company.

Ousel Range

Their women’s Ousel range is broad.  There are shoes and boots designed for different activities.  For my uses, the mid version seemed just the kind of product I’d use a lot and they were kind enough to send some to test.  Please do check out my Oboz Ousel Mid Boots review to find out more.

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Coated Leather Heel Cup

Features 

The Ousel Mid comes in three colour ways and I didn’t know in advance which option they would send.  I received the blue version (called Yukon).  You could also choose from a red colour called port and a grey colour named Cdr Stone.

The shoes are made from Buttersoft LWG gold certified nubuck leather.  They also feature abrasion resistant breathable mesh and a breathable mesh tongue.  There is a Oboz B-Dry waterproof membrane and a coated leather toe and heel cap. The Ousel Mid’s fastens via fabric loops in the lace eyelets in the lower foot and hooks at the ankle.

Oboz always provide detailed information on the fit characteristics of their footwear.  For the Ousel they say the shoes are B in the heel and C in the forefoot.  This measurement is according to a Brannock Device which is an industry standard device for measuring foot length and width.  Oboz have a useful guide to how this device works here.  They do also say trying their footwear on is the best way to ensure a good fit.  

The stated weight is 400 grams although I couldn’t see information on what size this related too. The Ousel retail price is £150.

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Coated Leather Toe Box

In Use

Styling

I really like the styling of the Ousel.  The shoes are colourful and and the blue (Yukon) colour way I received is great. It is a 2 way colour scheme and Oboz have added some nice detail like the lines of stitching that reinforce the lacing tabs and the lighter colour heel pull loop. As always, it is often the detailing that sets a product apart.

On the point of styling, Oboz have designed these to be a well performing trail shoe, but I would also add that I think them also stylish enough for more general leisure use too.  If you wanted a pair of shoes that will suit various contexts, these could suit you very well. 

Fit & Comfort

As is common with a lot of modern footwear, the Ousel Mids were comfortable right out of the box.  Extremely comfortable actually.  I have a fairly broad foot and there is plenty of width to offer enough room.  I like that Oboz give detailed information about the fit characteristics.  This requires you to have an understanding of your own fit requirements, but is a great addition that would be useful if provided by a wider range of manufacturers.  

I asked for my normal shoe size and found this to be exactly right for me.  I wouldn’t usually rush to buy more technical footwear without trying it on, but when receiving a review sample this isn’t always possible.  

My feet are held snugly in the shoes and there is no heel lift once the lacing is tightened.  On that note, the lacing system is a fairly standard combination of fabric loops up the shoe and then two hook fasteners at the ankle.  This allows fit fine tuning and also allows more flex or support to be added to the ankle as required.

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Mesh Heel Cuff

Insole

Oboz put a lot of effort into the fit and performance of their O-Fit insole.  This means that each of their shoe models has an insole moulded to match the model.  Oboz combine 3 different densities of foam with a deep heel cup and medium arch to deliver what they describe as industry leading fit, feel and performance.

It is hard to quantify the exact effect of this when wearing the shoes, but that’s probably because you notice they are just very comfortable and perform well.  This in itself would support the Oboz strategy.  I often find myself needing to swap out the cheap insoles some manufacturers provide, but the Ousel insole just feels right.

Midsole

The midsole is a lightweight high rebound single density PVA unit with an EVA plate for underfoot firmness.  A good local test for any footwear is boulder hopping on the gritstone edges and walking the blocky paths of the Peak District.  The Ousel have felt comfortable at all times and the plate keeps any sharper trail debris from poking into the foot.  You should certainly be able to put in some decent mileage in these shoes and still have happy feet.  

Outsole 

The outsole uses Oboz’s own Trail Tread rubber unit.  This features 4mm multi-directional lugs.  The sole is designed to offer good levels of traction on a wide variety of terrain and plenty of contact area for use on slippier surfaces like rocky slabs or boulders.  

I like the step down sole units of many boots that leave a defined heel edge.  This is especially useful on the varied terrains we get in the UK.  The Oboz Ousel Mid has a flat sole.  For that reason I would have said I would favour these shoes on drier terrain where the benefits of the grippy rubber will be more noticeable.  

Having said that, for testing purposes I have tried them on most surfaces and in lots of very slippy conditions over the last very wet UK autumn and into this winter.  They have worked really well.  From wet gritstone to grassy slopes and loose gravel paths, I have grown more and more confident in their ability with every use. 

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Lacing System

Durability

The Ousel Mid’s are made from leather.  Infact, it is also responsibly raised Buttersoft LWG gold certified nubuck leather leather. I use footwear made from different materials, but I am a leather fan.  I think it is easy to maintain, offers good weatherproofing and is durable.  It also tends to look great.  The durability is also helped by a substantial coated leather toe box and heel cup.  

In the case of the Ousel’s the shoes have stood up to some considerable use over the recent months and show only slight signs of wear.  I did scratch them on one gritstone boulder hopping session, but with some leather wax the scratch has become pretty much invisible.  As long as the leather is well cared for, I think you will get plenty of adventures from these shoes.

Weatherproofing

Treated leather has good waterproofing qualities and I have treated the shoes with Nikwax leather wax a few times.  Incase this isn’t enough, however, Oboz have also added their B-Dry lining which is designed to offer both waterproofing and breathability.  All I can say is that the shoes have so far kept my feet dry even in some extremely wet conditions.  I also took them as an approach shoe on a recent sport climbing trip to Greece and my feet stayed comfortable in some very warm conditions.  The weatherproofing and breathability system has worked a treat so far. 

Sustainability 

Oboz have sustainability at their core.  I am always keen to really consider how a particular companies sustainability claims are over hyped.  With Oboz there is no doubt they walk the walk.  

Firstly, since they sold their first pair of shoes in 2007, they have had a tree planted for every pair sold.  So far, that is well over 5 million trees!  That is definitely walking the walk!

But Oboz also think about the best way to do this.  They work with an organisation called Trees For The Future who use an approach called Forest Garden.  A Forest Garden consists of thousands of trees that provide families with the resources to create a sustainable income.  It also allows them to target particular areas.  Since 2020 they have focussed on the Tabora region of Tanzania.  It seems such a positive way to help.  The video below explains the concept and is well worth watching.  You can also read more about the Oboz One More Tree strategy here and about Trees For The Future here.

In 2023 they also became B Corp certified. This is a rigorous process measuring a company’s entire social and environmental impact. Details are available here.    

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Summary

I have really enjoyed completing this Oboz Ousel Mid Boots Review. They are stylish and perform really well both as a more technical and about town boot. They are also durable and manufactured by a company that values sustainability very highly. I really have nothing but good things to say about these boots and would highly recommend them. Full details about the Ousel range can be found on the Oboz website here.

As well as this Oboz Ousel Mid Boots Review, we have also tested a selection of other Oboz products. Please also have a look at our review of the Katabatic Low Waterproof shoes review here and the Bridger boots here. We also have a broad range of other product reviews and all are available on our reviews page here