Oboz Arete Low ReviewNovember 24, 2012
- Good protection from rocks and stones.
- Durable construction.
- Solid and secure footing on uneven terrain.
- Sticky rubber soles.
- One of the better stock footbeds for hiking shoes.
- The fit at midfoot is a touch roomy – it isn’t as close-fitting as it could be.
- The high-friction sole may wear quickly, but it’s thick enough to last a while.
The Arete was our favorite hiking shoe in the test, thanks to its superior construction, outstanding protection, and excellent support and comfort. It felt at home on rough trails and in rocky country, and had enough support to handle pack loads up to about 30 pounds. Firm purchase, excellent protection, and all-day comfort came together for a really nice hiking experience.
Support and Stability
Firm torsional flex coupled with respectable footbeds and strong heel cups held my feet firmly inside, and the stout sole (with sticky rubber) stayed where I put it when I stepped through rugged terrain. The arch support was adequate, though I would have liked it to be a little higher.
Protection & Comfort
The midsole and outsole were burly enough and just wide enough to do a good job of protecting my feet from sharp rocks, and a molded rubber cap warded off blows to my toes. There’s just enough padding around the ankle and in the tongue to protect without feeling mushy.
Construction and Design
The nubuck upper is cleanly designed with very few seams to wear out. The overall flex is firm enough to provide good support both laterally and front to back. The proprietary outsole is made with soft, sticky rubber, which comes in handy for its ability to stick to rocks during off-trail scrambling. The fit was pretty easily dialed with the to-the-toe lacing system.
One area that could be improved was the fit at midfoot – it felt a little roomy (a higher arch support would have helped, and this most likely isn’t just a tester fit issue). I didn’t have any problems with wet feet while hiking in summer rains, but when I stood in a pan of water, there was a little seepage after about 5 minutes. The shoes didn’t fill up, but I felt damp after 10 minutes.
The Aretes handled rough trails and rocky country with assurance, largely because of the great support and quality construction, and they worked well for me while carrying packs over 20 pounds. Firm purchase, excellent protection from hard pointy stuff, and all-day comfort came together for a really nice hiking experience. I didn’t encounter any real limitations within the kind of conditions where you’d expect to be wearing a low top hiking shoe.