Industry Veterans Vow to Stay True to the Trail
It’s a simple concept, but a powerful one; Staying True to the Trail is the principle that has guided Oboz Footwear since their 2007 inception. Founded just outside of Bozeman, Montana—hence the name, Oboz—by John Connelly, a 40-year veteran of the outdoor industry with a specialization in footwear (he’s worked for no less than 17 footwear brands)¹, Oboz has quickly become noted for their innovative, burly designs and commitment to green business practices.
Connelly and his team of eleven “renegades” claim to have started Oboz “so we could wake up in the morning and not dread going to the office.”¹ This ethos, the generally relaxed attitude that accompanies it, and the natural testing ground of Montana’s 3.4 million acres of federally protected wilderness allows for Oboz to cut to brass tacks, as it were–free of hokey gimmickry, the shoes that they make are durable, technical, and comfortable–the products of designers and engineers who love being outside.
Thoughtful Design and Engineering For Added Value
So what makes Oboz footwear so special? What has allowed the brand to quickly ascend to the top of many of the best-of lists printed by a myriad selection of outdoor publications? In short, it’s the innovation. Oboz shoes are a remarkably fresh breath of air in a market that can sometimes seem stagnant and repetitive.
The most oft-touted feature that sets Oboz footwear apart is the inclusion of their B-Fit insole:
The simple act of including a firm, actually supportive insole with every pair of their shoes immediately puts Oboz leagues ahead of nearly every other footwear manufacturer in the industry in terms of added value for the consumer. On par with aftermarket insoles that can cost $40 and above, the B-Fit insole’s ergonomic design prevents feet from elongating inside the shoe, which in turn prevents blister-causing friction and mitigates strain on the arches of feet. The deep heel cup centers fatty tissue under the heels, and triple-density EVA foam throughout the insole provides a high level of cushioning and durability.² All of this technology has one goal in mind: Mitigate foot-fatigue and keep you out on the trail longer.
The innovation doesn’t stop there, though.
Rather than using stock Vibram soles on their footwear, which often means being shoehorned into an outsole template, stymying design choices, Oboz instead developed their own ultra-grippy rubber graphite, allowing them to carefully craft their outsoles and midsoles to work in concert towards saving as much weight as possible while still providing excellent traction and remaining highly durable.
Keeping Clean, Staying Green
Oboz has taken it upon themselves to pursue environmentally-focused missions that ring true to their ideals, not the least of which is their pledge to plant a tree for every pair of Oboz shoes sold, through Trees For the Future.³ This organization has planted over 50 million trees in 12,000 villages across 58 countries, providing crucial environmental revitalization to degraded and unsustainably-logged lands.³
Another (not live-plucked, obviously) feather in Oboz’s ethically-sourced cap is their commitment to offset all of the carbon that is produced during the shipping of their shoes, as well as offsetting all of the carbon produced by their employees commutes (though they are quick to note that most everybody bikes, anyway) and the office utilities through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.⁴ Couple this with the fact that their headquarters is 100% wind-powered through the EPA Green Power Partnership,⁴ and it’s easy to see that Oboz’s reputation for unbridled environmental stewardship is well-deserved.
For Oboz, staying True to the Trail means caring for the environment. It means making the best shoes and boots they can, without frills or pretention. It also means getting outside and testing and developing those shoes and boots themselves. Trust True to the Trail.
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- “Company Spotlight: Oboz,” Outside, Sept. 27, 2011, http://www.outsideonline.com/1894261/company-spotlight-oboz.
- “Technology,” ObozFootwear.com, last modified 2015, http://obozfootwear.com/why-oboz/technology.
- TreesChangingLives. “50 Million Trees and Counting Trees for the Future.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 19 Jun 2013. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
- “Ethics,” ObozFootwear.com, last modified 2015, http://obozfootwear.com/why-oboz/ethics.