Oboz at Intracoastal Outfitters in Pensacola, FL
We ditched our cush footwear industry jobs the same way we got into them—by obsessing over shoes. We’d spent our workdays designing them, our weekends destroying them, and our afterhours dreaming of how to make them better. And after 60-plus years of combined experience in shoes, we had a slew of good ideas…ideas that no one else had really tried. Maybe those ideas were too idealistic (said management). Oboz was named for the mecca in the mountains where we set up shop: Bozeman, Montana, home to 18 million acres of national forests—AKA, the perfect testing grounds in for our shoes and boots. (And we do a lot of “testing” in these mountains—backpacking, hiking, fishing, approaching crags, running trails, chasing dogs…) Anyway, mash together “outside” (our favorite place) and “Bozeman” (our other favorite place) and you’ve got Oboz. Get it? Everything we do goes back to the trail. When we add a new technology feature to a shoe, it’s for one reason: to help people better tackle their trail, be it a lunch hike, backpacking trip, crag approach, or off-trail adventure. When we plant trees and partner with conservation groups, it’s because we want to protect the wild spaces and trails that have filled so many of our days here. And when we aren’t at work, we’re on the trail—letting it lead us to wild moose sightings, don’t-tell-anyone fishing holes, secret alpine lakes, and, when we’re really feeling a suffer-fest, wind-sucking sunrise summits.