The summer is hot, and that being the case, feet need to breath more than ever. The Scapegoat Mid from Oboz has that particular need covered. Designed with thru-hikers in mind with a highly breathable full synthetic mesh upper and a molded EVA midsole, these boots attempt balance speed, protection and ventilation.
The Scapegoat Mid boots are constructed with an emphasis on breathability. The upper is made almost entirely of mesh with a simple synthetic leather inlays strapped around it to provide abrasion resistance, stability and durability. There is a light weight rubber coated toe and heel paired with an elastic collar to protect from impacts, and to keep out mud and debris. The midsole is compression molded EVA throughout with extra EVA padding in the foot and heel, along with a nylon shank in the back for structure and stability. The outsole sports fairly thick and grippy lugs, contributing traction and additional impact absorption while on the trail. The boots weigh in at around 16.3 oz (closer to 17 oz on my size 9.5 tested) and retail for $145.
What I liked
Sporting the full mesh upper, the Scapegoat is certainly a well ventilated boot. Even on hot July hikes and backpacks my feet always managed to stay dry (from sweat) and cool. Even when paired with thick Merino Wool socks (I do love a thick sock) the boots handled the extra perspiration and material with ease, wicking away and moisture and heat build up that might have been developing.
Despite not having a waterproof membrane, the boots kept me feet dry in most conditions. Dashing through tall wet grass or shallow puddles never had any real effect on my feet as the material dries quickly even on a cloudy day. When they did manage to get a bit wet, leaving them under my vestibule overnight was enough to dry them out completely.
Comfort while, they Scapegoat does not dissapoint. The boot is shaped in a way to seems to hug the foot, with a fairly snug design that sticks close to the foot. The elastic cuff around the ankle paired with the arched heel manages to keep the boots in place with very little heel slip, helping to prevent blisters and abrasions. The midsole provides enough targeted cushion for hiking and even backpacking with a lighter pack thanks to he dual layer padding, especially under the toe and heel. The soft, flexible body moves with the foot in a natural way on climbs and hops, reducing fatigue in the arches and at the ball of the foot, always appreciated when I’m trying to make some distance in a short amount of time. The minimalist eyelets and soft rounded laces are also appreciated as they do not create pressure or pinch points. All-in-all, they feel lovely on the feet.
Performance is always a key factor when choosing boots, and these perform very well. The sticky high traction soles respond quickly to changes in angle and direction, allowing for quick movements, rock hopping and effort free scrambling. The traction has been quite excellent, slithering up steep lichen covered limestone with relative ease. They’re nimble and responsive, always a plus.
The boots are also quite light weight, at just around 17 oz on my tested pair, they never had any real effect on my legs, minimizing fatigue and allowing me to cover more miles more efficiently.
I do love the way these boots look. Packing a clean, simple design with just the right amount of flare added by the orange highlights and appropriately stylized Oboz logo, they look fast, sporty and most importantly, capable.
What I didn’t like
The Scapegoats are nimble, maximizing agility and minimizing weight; The cost comes in the form of less than ideal ankle ssupport. Even cinching down the boots tight I found them vulnerable to pronation, flexing and allowing my ankles to roll in ways that I don’t typically associate with hiking boots. This is fine in most situations, but those who are planning to hike or backpack with heavier packs or on unstable ground may find some instability here.
While not necessarily a bad thing, it must be mentioned that they’re not waterproof adn they’re not meant to be. Consideration should be made when choosing these boots. Drier conditions or enthusiast who only choose clear weather will find refuge in their impressive ventilation and light weight construction. However, soggy East Coast any weather warriors will need to keep a membrane bounded pair close at hand or become accustomed to squishy toes.
The Scapegoat Boots from Oboz represent an attractive idea. Dry, cool feet are hard to come by on the trail, and the strides made here make that dream a possibility. The soft, incredibly breathable body does an excellent job of breathing, while the light weight build reduces strain and fatigue on the legs. They provide excellent grip and enough protection to save a toe nail from a sneaky stone poking up from the trail, and the overall shape of the boot keeps them close and in place, largely eliminating the fear of blisters. Aside from a lack of more robust ankle support system, they’re an impressive pair of boots that offer many hikers an attractive alternative to the stuffy, heavy, restrictive boots that many are used to. These would be an excellent set of boots for fast and light hikers and thru-hikers. For this, I give them the thumbs up.
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I wanted to send a special thanks out to Oboz for their continued support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.