OBOZ BRIDGER BDRY WOMEN'S MID-BOOTS
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
NOVEMBER 12, 2014
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
|Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.obozfootwear.com
MSRP: US $160.00
Listed Weight: 16.2 oz (459 g) Women's size 7
Measured Weight: 17.5 oz (496 g)
Colors Available: Walnut & Rio Red
Color Reviewed: Rio Red
Sizes Available: Women's 6 - 11
Size Reviewed: Women's 8
Other details: From Manufacturer's Website
Materials: Upper - Waterproof Nubuck Leather
Materials: Interior - Oboz BDry Waterproof / Breathable Membrane
Molded Rubber Toe Cap & Heel Counter
|Picture Courtesy of Manufacturer
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
In the past 8 months, I've worn the Oboz Bridger BDry Women's Mid Boots on 5 overnight backpack, 2 multi-day backpacks, at least a half dozen half to full day hikes and many casual days in between. I'd estimate I have 75 "hard" miles (120 km) on them and countless rural/urban miles/kilometers as well. I got them in early March of this year, so I have worn the Bridgers through the heat of summer and into the cool of autumn. Just this week, I got to see just how well they would hold up in bitter 2 F (-16 C) temperatures and in 6 - 8 inches (15 - 20 cm) of snow! It's WINTER!
Most of my trekking has been in south central Colorado. A lot of it was into the approximately 100,000 acres (40,468 hectares) of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land encompassing the Cooper Mountain range/Royal Gorge area near Canon City or the Wet Mountains south of the Arkansas River Valley.
The Cooper Mountain range is mostly piņon pine and juniper-covered high desert with rough primitive game and mining trails (for the most part) and is easily accessed just outside of my property fence line.
The Wet Mountains rise up from the Arkansas River Valley and are dense ponderosa pine and sage forests.
Elevations I wore the Bridgers in ranged from 5000' up to almost 14000' (1524 m to 4267 m).
|Oboz Bridgers in soggy weather - Mt. Harvard, CO
|Oboz Bridgers in snowy weather - Breckenridge, CO
|Oboz Bridgers in dry weather - Blue Lakes, CO
|Breakfast at Mt. Harvard Base Camp
|Yeah, Those are Oboz BDry Boots Under the Snow!
|Bridgers on Blue Lake Trail, CO
The first time I tried on the Oboz Bridger BDry Women's Mid Boot (hereafter called the "Bridgers"), I was amazed at how comfortable they felt. I had to loosen the top two eyelets a bit to wiggle my feet into the boots as the cuff of the boots is nice and high. Once my feet were settled in, the Bridgers immediately felt like well-worn slippers.
While I couldn't find a size chart on the Oboz Footwear website (there could be one, I just didn't find it), I ordered a women's size 8. I'm pretty easy to fit size-wise and I haven't had many boots where an 8 didn't fit me! I was happy to find the Bridgers didn't disappoint in that department - they are truly true-to-size. They are wide enough for my feet - nice toe box room - but not so wide as to be mini-boats and the heel fits snuggly so my feet don't move up and down in the boots with each stride. But for me, where the Bridgers really make me happy is the arch support. It's in exactly the right spot for my feet and is not too high, not too low, but just right as Goldilocks would say!
I like the lacing system of the Bridgers. Once on my feet, I find I only have to loosen the top "quick-loop" and the next eyelet when loosing the laces for a steeper uphill climb. Going downhill, I general pull the top two loops a bit tighter so as to not have my tootsies banging against the toe box. The corded laces are not overly long where I have to practically wrap them around my ankles to keep them from tripping me up. A simple double bow will do nicely.
The insoles I've used have been stock insoles. Whereas I often trade out stock insoles in my other boots with aftermarket insoles, I have found the Oboz stock insoles to be perfectly adequate.
Over these last 8 months, a great deal of my backpacking has been on some rather rough trails. I've done my share of nicely packed groomed dirt trails, but I've also hikes miles/kilometers of fist-sized (and larger) boulders - both scattered on the trail on which to stub my toes or just nasty upward/downward piles of ankle-busters. This is when the Bridgers really shined!
The cuffs of the Bridgers are high enough to help support my ankles, keeping them steady which minimizes after-hike soreness. The thick padding of the cuff has protected me from rubbing and the subsequent after-hike abrasions and/or blisters. The arch support works wonderfully to keep my arches from rock bruising, especially when wearing a heavy backpack. That's usually the place I feel the most - my arches. Not so with the Bridgers! And lastly, thanks to a roomy (but not, too roomy) toe box, I have not suffered one blister or "black" toe due to rubbing or banging my toes on the downhill treks.
I've had plenty of experience with very hot weather hiking this summer and I haven't noticed any undue sweating while wearing the Bridgers even when wearing heavyweight socks (which I usually do, all year round). I'm sure that I did sweat - sometimes - the insides of the boots are a bit damp - but never to a point where it bothered me on the trail. My attitude is, if I'm not conscious of a piece of gear, that's a good thing. Seems when I'm backpacking, the only time I'm thinking about a piece of gear, it's not working!
As for cold, we are just getting into really cold weather here and I've worn the Bridgers on 3 separate day hikes this past week in temperatures down to 9 F (-13 C). Even when staying still in snow up to my knees, my feet have remained warm!
Oh, and dry! Just today, I was out in the snow for 3 hours. My pants were soaked, my hat and jacket covered with snow, but though the Bridgers were constantly covered in the snow, they remained perfectly dry inside. That was really a welcome situation!
I am a natural klutz! When backpacking and hiking, it's only a matter of time before the seat of my pants is going to meet up with the ground. I depend on the tread of my boots (and my hiking poles!) to help me stay vertical. The Bridgers worked really, really well on most all the trails I encountered this past spring, summer and fall. Dirt, gravel, rocks, sheer granite, all were no obstacle for the Bridgers. While I wasn't quite as steady as a mountain goat (no snarky comments from my trail mates, please), I held my own.
Where the Bridgers aren't so great is on hard-packed snow and ice - at least not for me. These last few day hikes here in Breckenridge saw me dancing less than gracefully on several occasions. My high kick will be legendary and re-counted for a while. Fortunately, nothing was injured except, perhaps, what little pride I had left! Thank goodness for good, sturdy trekking poles!
As of yet, there is no undue wear and tear to be seen on the Bridgers. They sport the usual scuffs (they're MY shoes after all) and dirt but overall are in great shape. They even still smell like leather with no special care. A quick brushing when the mud get too thick is all I've ever done.
I think I'll keep them!
1.) Super comfortable right out of the box - no break-in required.
2.) Really keeps me dry even when standing in water for several minutes
3.) Great arch support even with a heavy backpack.
4.) Cleans up easily with just a stiff brushing.
NOT SO MINOR DISTRACTION
1.) Not the best boot on hard-packed snow or ice.
I love shoes and boots. I have a closet full of them. I try to justify having so many by seasons, trail conditions and when really desperate, "the color matches my base layer"! Many of my boots sit at the back of the closet. Not so, the Oboz BDry boots. I really prefer them over some other boots due to the great comfort and stellar arch support, especially when backpacking multiple miles/kilometers over rough terrain with a heavier-than-day-use backpack. My only real complaint is they are not the greatest in slippery conditions which means I will probably not be able to wear them when I am likely to encounter hard-packed snow or ice. Fortunately, that's not often the case for me here in south central Colorado. My pretty red boots will continue to get lots of wear-time for the foreseeable future!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Read more reviews of Oboz gear
Read more gear reviews by Kathleen Waters