Oboz Katabatic Hiking Shoe Review (& Giveaway!)

See why the Oboz Katabatic is our new favorite hiking shoe in this in-depth review covering fit, feel, style, traction, versatility, & more.

Closeup of the Oboz Katabatic light and fast hiking shoes on a dirt trail with a dog and mountains in the background

Oboz Footwear has long been my favorite hiking shoe brand. I’ve been wearing them almost exclusively for hiking and backpacking since 2017. The new Oboz Katabatic, one of their lightest hiking shoes to date, just dropped and it has quickly made its way into my rotation.

The Katabatic is a versatile hiking shoe, perfect for light and fast hiking, everyday wear, and even trail running. Its tough construction means it can handle any terrain you throw at it. At 1 lb, 4 oz per pair, they’re some of the lightest weight hiking shoes on the market.

Women hiking on log above a river wearing the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoe

For the past few weeks, the Bearfoot Theory team and I have been testing them out on hikes of all kinds – from easy strolls around the neighborhood to long day hikes and even trail runs. Together we can confidently say that they have performed incredibly well on a variety of terrain.

Here’s our full review of the Oboz Katabatic light and fast hiking shoe.

GIVEAWAY: We are giving away 6 pairs of the Oboz Katabatic! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end for the chance to win a pair of your own.

Sponsored by Oboz Footwear

I’ve been wearing Oboz hiking boots since 2017 and now work with them as an Ambassador. Based in Bozeman, Montana, I believe Oboz Footwear makes the most supportive, comfortable, and durable hiking boots on the market. Plus, the people behind the brand are just as great as their shoes, and they plant a tree for every pair sold. We only recommend products we truly love and think you will love too.

Outdoor Gift Guide - 85 gifts for outdoor adventure

Outdoor Gift Guide - best gifts for outdoor adventurers

First Impressions of the Oboz Katabatic

The Oboz Katabatic has quickly become my go-to everyday shoe. They’re comfortable right out of the box, lightweight, and flexible yet supportive. I’ve been wearing them for long neighborhood walks, day hikes in the local hills, and even around town when running errands. They’re so comfortable, versatile, and low profile that they really can be worn anywhere.

Women hiking on a flat trail with a stroller and a mini Australian shepherd wearing the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoe
Taking baby offroading in the Oboz Katabatic (low, non-waterproof, color: Dark Mineral)

Because I spend a lot of my time living and traveling in my Sprinter van, I need to think carefully about what kind of footwear I bring with me on the road. I rely heavily on comfortable and versatile hiking shoes that can be worn on the trail, at campsites, and even around town.

The Oboz Katabatic checks all those boxes and is what I brought as my everyday shoe in my van this summer. While I have the Oboz Sypes in my gear closet at home for heartier hikes when I want ankle support and my Oboz Bridgers for backpacking trips when I’m carrying a heavy load, the Oboz Katabatic is my new favorite for shorter day hikes and everyday wear. I’ve also had some ankle sensitivity ever since I was pregnant so low hiking shoes are my go-to right now.

I also love that the soles are grippy with plenty of traction to keep you from slipping on those slick sections of rock and scree on the trail. The soles also allow the shoe to flex with your movements, unlike heavier hiking shoes that tend to be more rigid.

The underside of the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoe with multidirectional lugs
The Oboz Katabatic provide serious traction so you won’t slip on loose rock and scree

Oboz Katabatic Features

Oboz wanted to make a lighter, more nimble hiking shoe without sacrificing traction, cushioning, and support and we think they absolutely nailed it with the Katabatic. It’s the sweet spot between a trail runner and a hiking shoe.

The Katabatic will help you go fast, light, and far, and the design is the result of thousands of miles of testing and refining. They are specifically engineered to adapt to various terrain, allow for the natural biomechanics of the foot, and return as much energy as possible without weighing you down for an efficient ride.

Here are some of the key features:

  • Oboz’s O FIT Insole® provides comfort and support for a variety of foot shapes and arch levels to allow the foot to move more naturally in the shoe
  • Aggressive tread provides major slip resistance and long-term durability
  • Improved B-DRY lining adds 5x more waterproofness & breathability than before to the waterproof version, plus it’s 100% recyclable and made from 25% post-industrial waste
  • The shape is gender specific for a more custom fit
  • Mesh upper allows feet to breathe while keeping out debris
  • Rubber heel counter protects the heel, essential for foot health and stability
  • Overlays and toe cap provide durability and protection on the trail
Closeup of the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoe from the side
The Oboz Katabatic is designed to be fast and light for all types of terrain

Oboz Katabatic Fit & Feel

The Oboz Katabatic are comfortable right out of the box with no break-in period needed so you can buy a pair and head right out the door. While they’re lightweight and flexible, they also feel super supportive, durable, and sturdy so you can feel confident on the trail. The shoes run true to size without feeling too cramped.

Everyone’s feet are a little different, and what’s nice about the Katabatic is that they fit a wide range of feet types. For example, I have a narrow heel and an average forefoot, while Bearfoot Theory’s Director Linda has wide feet with low arches, and BFT team member Courtney has high arches that she sometimes needs special insoles for. The Oboz Katabatic manages to fit all of us comfortably.

My narrow heels make me prone to heel slippage if a hiking shoe doesn’t fit me right, but I found that the heel pocket of the Oboz Katabatic is deep enough and snug enough to prevent this. My feet stay in place nicely while I hike, and I haven’t gotten a single blister or sore spot.

Woman hiker taking a break sitting on a log wearing the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoes
Happy feet after a long day of hiking in Yosemite Valley in the Oboz Katabatic (low, non-waterproof, color: Dark Mineral)

Best Uses for the Oboz Katabatic

What I really love about the Oboz Katabatic is its versatility. Whether your day includes a hike, bike ride, hanging around at camp, running errands around town, trail running, or even backpacking, this shoe is truly multi-purpose.

Closeup of the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoes on a wooden boardwalk trail with flowers in the background
The Oboz Katabatic have become a BFT team favorite as an everyday shoe for hiking and more

When I first tested them, I was just starting to get back outside after having a baby and I wore them on long walks around the neighborhood and on local trails.

Linda took them on a camping trip to Yosemite and ended up wearing them the entire time. They were comfortable all day long and she wore them for everything from walks on paved trails with the family to long bike rides, strenuous uphill hikes, and for hanging around camp.

Here are some of the best uses for the Oboz Katabatic.


With their low ankle and natural articulation, the Oboz Katabatic is designed for fast and light hiking. The pair only weighs 1 lb 4 oz together, and the sole provides plenty of traction for a variety of surfaces and will keep you quick on your toes. The sole has ample cushion for rocks and uneven terrain, making them comfortable and supportive for longer hikes as well.

Woman hiking in the Oboz Katabatic shoes through a field of flowers with the ocean in the background in Montana de Oro State Park
Hiking in the Oboz Katabatic in Montaña de Oro State Park in California

Trail Running

The Oboz Katabatic makes a great trail running shoe, especially if you’re looking for something that’s an all-in-one-solution for different activities. They’re a little beefier and seem to be more durable than other trail runners we’ve tried so they’ll give you a little more support on rocky terrain and may last longer as well, but they’re still lightweight and nimble so you can move freely without being weighed down.


While I personally prefer a stiffer hiking boot like the Oboz Bridger for backpacking trips to provide more support and stability while carrying a heavy load, I know many people who prefer to hike and backpack in trail running shoes since they’re so lightweight and efficient. If you fall into this category, the Katabatic, which also comes in a mid-ankle version (more on that below), would be a great option to consider for backpacking, especially if you want to go fast and light.

We could see these becoming a favorite of ultra-light long distance backpackers that don’t want to be weighed down by a heavy boot.

Biking and Other Activities

The Oboz Katabatic is great for bike rides since they’re so lightweight and flexible. Plus the multi-directional grooves on the sole prevent your feet from slipping on the bike pedals. Linda wore these while biking around Yosemite National Park on the paved bike trails and loved being able to go from bike to hiking trail with ease.


The Oboz Katabatic can also be worn as an everyday shoe and make for a great travel companion since it’s so versatile, lightweight, and low profile. Courtney packed these shoes for a trip to Guatemala and loves that they are rugged enough for hiking while being stylish enough to wear around town without looking like full-on hiking boots. Being able to bring just one pair of shoes for all the active pursuits during your trip is a huge benefit since shoes take up a lot of space!

Woman traveler standing in front of a mountain background wearing the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoes and REI trailmade shorts
BFT team member and full-time van lifer Courtney wearing the Oboz Katabatic on the road (waterproof, color: Snow Leopard)

Oboz Katabatic Models

The Oboz Katabatic come in a waterproof and non-waterproof version, as well as a low and mid version in a variety of colors.

Waterproof vs Non-Waterproof

We tested both the waterproof and non-waterproof versions of the Oboz Katabatic and found the non-waterproof version to be more breathable than the waterproof version as to be expected.

The non-waterproof Katabatic has a mesh upper which allows for more breathability in hot temps while the waterproof version utilizes Oboz’s B-DRY lining to keep out water. This lining reduces the breathability compared to the non-waterproof version but it’s still designed to allow for some breathability to prevent your feet from getting uncomfortably hot (plus the new and improved B-DRY lining provides 5x more waterproofing and breathability compared to older Oboz models).

Closeup of woman hiker wearing the Oboz Katabatic hiking shoes sitting on a log during a hike
Both the waterproof and non waterproof Oboz Katabatic do a good job of keeping dirt and debris out

If you live somewhere where it rains a lot and you know you want your trail shoes to be waterproof, then the waterproof Oboz Katabatic will be a great option for you. If you’re looking for more breathability and something you can wear comfortably in warmer climates, we recommend the non-waterproof Katabatic.

Linda lives in Baja California where most of the hiking she does is hot and dry so she went with the non-waterproof version for maximum breathability and ventilation.

Since all of my other hiking shoes are waterproof, I went with the non-waterproof Katabatic for breathability and functionality that my other shoes don’t provide.

Courtney lives and travels full time in her van and wanted something versatile she could wear in all types of weather so she has been loving the waterproof version.

Closeup of the Oboz Katabatic low waterproof hiking shoes in Snow Leopard
Courtney wearing the Oboz Katabatic
Closeup of the Oboz Katabatic low waterproof hiking shoes in Snow Leopard showing the back of the shoes
Low waterproof, color: Snow Leopard

Mid vs Low

The Oboz Katabatic comes in both a mid and a low version. Which one is best really comes down to the terrain, the load you are carrying, and personal preference.

While we haven’t tried the mid-ankle version of the Katabatic ourselves, we think they’re pretty stylin’ and are a great option if you want a light and fast hiking boot with ankle support.

The low version doesn’t provide ankle support, but they do feel supportive overall, plus they’re more lightweight and nimble than the mid version and can be worn for running in addition to hiking.

Oboz Katabatic low snow leopard
Oboz Katabatic Low (color: Snow Leopard)
Oboz Katabatic mid mineral
Oboz Katabatic Mid (color: Mineral)

Why We Love Oboz

We love Oboz because the people behind the brand are just as awesome as their shoes. Plus, as a brand, Oboz puts the planet first. They plant a tree for every pair of Oboz sold (more than 5 million and counting!), and they donate shoes to nonprofits that help distribute them to people in need.

100% of the energy they use in their Bozeman office comes from renewable resources like wind, solar, and biomass, and they carbon offset all their shoe shipments.

Plus, while Oboz has been fully committed to environmental and social responsibility since its beginning, they are now a certified B Corp® which means that they meet stringent standards for positive social and environmental impact.  

Now that’s the kind of brand that we want to support and stand behind, and we hope you will too!

Where to Buy the Oboz Katabatic

The Oboz Katabatic are available through a variety of outdoor retailers including REIBackcountry, and Oboz Footwear’s website. They come in both men’s and women’s and a low or mid version in both waterproof and non-waterproof in a variety of colors.

Here are some of the current Oboz Katabatic styles and colors available

Low Snow Leopard
Oboz Katabatic low dark mineral
Low Dark Mineral
Oboz Katabatic low dark island
Low Island
Oboz Katabatic low waterproof snow leopard
Low Waterproof Snow Leopard
Mid Drizzle
Oboz Katabatic mid mineral
Mid Mineral
Mid Waterproof Acorn
Mid Waterproof Island

Oboz Katabatic Hiking Shoe Giveaway

In partnership with Oboz Footwear, we’re giving away six pairs of the new Oboz Katabatic hiking shoes! Each winner will get to pick their desired style (mid or low, waterproof or non-waterproof), color, and size.

Enter to win below and share with your friends!

Oboz Katabatic Giveaway

Do you have any questions about the Oboz Katabatic? Have you tried them out yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

See why the Oboz Katabatic is our new favorite lightweight hiking shoe in this in-depth review covering fit, feel, style, traction, versatility, & more.

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  1. I just recently bought my 1st pair of Oboz and love them they are very comfortable and lightweight hiking shoes!

  2. Love Oboz!
    Wear many versions of the boots but not light weight trail shoes! Hope to try them out!

  3. I’m enjoying following your adventures on Instagram. My husband sent an article to me on the best women’s undies for outdoor adventures that you wrote, and I’ve been enjoying your helpful insights on what works best that you share. I’m especially enjoying your blogging/vlogging of your trip this summer with a baby on board. We’re about to be grandparents for the first time, and researching all the awesome gear for having babies outdoors on adventures brings me joy. You have a happy reader in me 🙂 looking forward to seeing and reading more on your adventures this summer. I’m envious of your trip to Vancouver Island ❤️

    1. Hi Joanna, I’m so glad you’ve been finding the blog & my stories on IG helpful. How exciting about becoming grandparents! A new adventure awaits 🙂 Thanks so much for reaching out and the kind words – it means a lot to hear from readers!

  4. I had foot surgery in February 2023 followed by a complete ankle replacement March 2023 these shoes sound fantastic. It’s now June 2023 and I am learning how to walk again. I would love to have a pair of them but they are out of my price range.

  5. Having teenagers that generally want to hang with friends instead of someone with a dad-bod, I made a resolution to work on a 6-pack (no, not beers) so I changed everything, intake, supplements, sleep protocols, hiking to name a few… Fast forward to June and no noteworthy improvement… So with my Dr’s help, I’ve decided to become sober and ad a regimen for hypertrophy… I will get there and will try those Oboze for sure.

    1. Hi Terry, thanks for sharing your story & good luck. As someone who has also made quite a few of these lifestyle changes over the years (I used to be about 30lbs heavier until I started hiking) including going sober, it’s tough but worth it. Cheering for you from afar!

  6. Love the durable look as most hiking shoes are so tennis shoe plain. Love the chance at trying on a pair ♥️
    Thank you for opportunity !

  7. Have an old pair of Oboz, love them. They look a little shabby from creek crossings and red dirt but not planning on giving them up until a new pair is in my closet.

  8. Hi!
    Thinking of purchasing a pair of Oboz Katabatic but with flat feet and 2 previous knee surgeries I’m unsure. Can you speak to that all? Also. I’m curious if the toe box is roomy or not.
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Shawn, there is a some arch support in these shoes but it’s not super noticeable. Our team ranges from more flat-footed to super high arch and none of us had any complaints about the arches – it felt supportive enough without making your feet ache. The toe box is pretty roomy as well.

      That being said, hiking shoes are pretty specific to the person, and what works for one person might not work for another. I’d recommend buying from REI because of their generous return policy. If you try out the shoes a few times and find they don’t work for you, you can always return gently tested items.