Oboz Katabatic Low Review

© UKC Gear

It's always interesting when you get to review your first product by a brand that you're unfamiliar with, as you never know quite what to expect. Before this, Oboz were an unknown to me. How would I find their Katabatic walking shoe? Well I'm pleased to say that it ticks virtually every box for a walking/approach shoe, a feat that's left me mightily impressed.

In Use

For a shoe of North American design the Katabatic couldn't be better suited to the UK if it tried. It's got a good, grippy sole with deep lugs, a durable upper that seems to be designed to last, and an extremely supportive fit, which makes it very comfortable to wear on rough ground. In fact I've found them comfy from the moment I put them on.

In terms of usage, the Katabatic is very much an all-rounder, being capable of doing a wide range of outdoor/mountain activities. They offer enough support for long days, but are light enough to be equally appealing for short trips out too. This is a shoe I've found myself reaching for irrespective of what I'm doing, because I know that they'll be able to cope. A lot of my usage has been around the Peak District, walking over Kinder, Bleaklow, and the Eastern Edges, but I could see the Katabatic being equally well suited to mountains in Eryri, the Lakes and Scotland. Whether you're walking, scrambling, or using them as a climber's approach shoe, the Katabatic has the capability to do it all.

I've been reviewing the waterproof model. This has a lining in something called B-Dry, instead of the ubiquitous Gore-Tex. It's been really useful throughout the cold and damp spring that we had, but has obviously been a bit hotter in the warmer weather we've been having recently. Despite this I've actually been impressed with its breathability. That said, it's clearly not going to be as breathable as an unlined version, which is also available, and this has the added benefit of being a bit cheaper too (£135 unlined vs £150 lined). If you fancy something a little higher, Oboz offer a Mid too, which also comes in lined or unlined (£155 unlined vs £170 lined) so options abound based upon your personal preferences.

The sole is grippy enough to handle those damp days, courtesy of its deep and numerous lugs, which are well suited for use on mud and grass. Overall the compound used feels like it's at the more durable end of the spectrum, which means it feels a little bit slippier on wet rock, although I haven't noticed a problem whilst dry.

The fact that outsole sits upon a supportive midsole means that they feel very stable on whatever terrain they're on, which actually makes them incredibly well suited towards quite technical terrain, such as scrambling. The fact they've got reinforcement and protection around the toe, back and sides means that they're not going to fall apart as a result of rough use either, and the rock plate within the midsole also means you're not going to feel each and every sharp stone that's under your feet.


Size-wise the Katabatic feels like it comes up a little bit small, with the UK 8.5 I tested feeling a little bit on the snug side. Whilst this didn't present a problem, I would - if I could turn back time - have tried on a UK 9 side-by-side and suspect that would have been a better fit. Generally speaking I prefer having a little bit of extra room for when my foot expands on long walks and so that there's a bit of wiggle room at the end for my toes, although the fit with the 8.5 wasn't so small that this was an issue.

In terms of width they sit somewhere in the middle and whilst Oboz claim that it's similar in terms of its volume I thought the waterproof model felt a little lower volume than that. At the back, the heel is a little broader, but not so broad that my foot slips out of the shoe.

The Katabatic is available in both a men's and a women's fit, which differ in volume (men's = higher / women's = lower). As ever with footwear, fit is very personal to your foot shape, so we'd always advise trying them on in a shop. 

Ethics and environment

The Katabatic is vegan-friendly. Its B-DRY lining is 100% recyclable, and made from 25% post industrial waste. It's also worth mentioning that Oboz plant a tree for each shoe they sell.


Given that Oboz were a complete unknown to me before writing this review I've been really impressed by the Katabatic. For hillwalking, crag approaches, and even scrambling, it's a comfortable and capable all-rounder, and one that feels like it's built to last. 

For more information Oboz

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