OBOZ BRIDGER BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - October 29, 2013
FIELD REPORT - January 27, 2014
LONG TERM REPORT - April 13, 2014
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://obozfootwear.com/
Listed Weight: 19 oz (540 g) per shoe for size 9
Measured Weight: 22.7 oz (640 g) per shoe for size 12
The Oboz Bridger boots are lightweight, mid height, waterproof, hiking boots. I'll be using them mostly for backpacking with some dayhiking. I do mostly trails but also a little off trail, boulders, etc.
Oboz Footwear is "inspired by the wild environs surrounding the company’s Bozeman, Montana home." They've been selling footwear since 2008. The Bridger is a new model for 2014. They are made in Vietnam.
The uppers are made of leather. I count ten pieces that are sewed together (including the tongue). There are many rows of stitches holding them all together. There are black rubber pieces over the toe and heel to protect against abrasion.
I have the "Sudan" color which is a Gray color. They also have Black. For women, they have "Rio Red" and Black.
There are 6 eyelets on each side and one on the bottom. Some of the eyelets are metal and some are webbing. The top eyelet on each side is open for easier unlacing and lacing. Most boots have two open eyelets on each side, which makes it easier to open the tongue wide to make it easier to put on and take off the boot. This is a minor criticism just barely worth mentioning.
The laces are round and made with some sort of squishy synthetic material. They have a fairly rough texture on the outside. They're a few inches (cm) too long, like every shoestring I've ever had, which I suppose is good because it's long enough for wide feet.
There is no loop on the back of the heel outside to make putting on the boot easier. Most boots have this. I don't know that I really ever use this so I don't think it makes any difference.
Inside there's a synthetic fabric lining with a waterproof breathable layer called BDry between the lining and outer leather.
The insole is some sort of molded foam, with inserts at the heel and ball of the foot that are made of a different type of foam. There's fabric on the top.
In the past, boots I've had, most often wear out on the sides of the foot where my toes bend. These boots have a solid piece of leather there rather than a seam, which is good, because that's caused failures on boots I've used in the past. Also, the boots are fairly stiff so the leather doesn't bend very much so it shouldn't wear out there. I'll be able to evaluate that a little during my testing, but normally it takes more use than what I'll do before it starts wearing there.
The soles are made of orange and black rubber - fairly aggressive lugs.
The top of the boot is 6 inches (15 cm) above the ground. The soles are 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) thick at the heel and 0.75 inch (1.9 cm) thick at the ball of the foot. The lugs on the sole are about 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) high.
There are four "Oboz" logos and one "BDry waterproof" logo on each boot.
Right and left side of boots:
Front and Back of boots:
Bottom and top of boots, bottom and top of insole:
I wore the Oboz around the house a little. They feel good. Plenty of room for my toes both length and width. The Oboz sizing is consistent with other boots I've worn - I wear size 12 (U.S. men's) which is what these boots are labeled as. I'll evaluate this better during my testing - if I don't get blisters then it's sized good.
All of the stitching and gluing looks good. All the pieces are cut good so they fit together good.
The soles are pretty stiff. When I try to bend my toes, the boots don't bend very much. These are stiffer than most other boots I've had. This can be a good thing in that when I step on a sharp rock I won't feel the sharp edge on my foot, the boot spreads out the load. This can be a bad thing in that it's harder to keep the sole flat on the ground for maximum surface area against the ground for best traction. I'll evaluate this on a range of trail surfaces.
I'm looking forward to some real use.
The Oboz Bridger boots are new for 2014.
They are all leather on the outside, made of about 10 pieces sewed together.
They have a waterproof breathable BDry layer inside.
These are about the lightest mid height boots I've ever tested - 22.7 ounces (640 g) for one size 12 boot.
The soles are fairly stiff.
The lugs are fairly aggressive.
I'll be testing these boots on about two trips in each of the Field Report and Long Term report periods. Each trip will be about 4 nights and 30 miles (50 km). I'll do more cold, wet weather testing since this is winter.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Nov 1, 2013 - 5 night car camp and 1 night backpack on John Day and Deschutes rivers in North Central Oregon. 24 miles (39 km) of backpacking and 34 miles (55 km) of day hiking. 700 feet (200 m) elevation gain. 35 to 55 F (2 to 13 C).
Nov 28, 2013 - 4 night car camp and 3 day backpack on Olympic Peninsula. 14 miles (23 km) backpacking and 24 miles (39 km) dayhiking. 1200 feet (400 m) elevation gain. 32 to 50 F (0 to 10 C). Mostly dry, a little rain and wet brush.
Dec 14, 2013 - 6 night backpack on Rogue River in Southern Oregon. 44 miles (71 km). 4500 feet (1400 m) elevation gain. 30 to 40 F (-1 to 4 C).
Wearing the Oboz on the Rogue River:
Jan 15, 2014 - 6 night backpack on Herman Creek in North Central Oregon. 40 miles (64 km). 7000 feet (2100 m) elevation gain. 26 to 45 F (-3 to 7 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Field Report period I used the Oboz Bridger boots on four trips, 16 nights of backpacking, and 9 nights of car camping. I hiked 180 miles (290 km) and 13,400 feet (4100 m) of elevation gain (and loss).
Most of my hiking was on standard trails with three feet (one meter) width and not a lot of elevation gain. But, on all my trips, there were some places requiring scrambling up and down steep slopes, over boulders, with some muddy places. It was mostly dry, but it rained some and there were muddy places left over from previous rains. The Oboz boots handled it all well.
My last trip had a lot of elevation gain (and loss) although it was fairly standard trails. My feet were fairly comfortable but my right heel was a little sore on the steep uphill places.
On two trips my heels got some minor blisters. The toenails on my three smallest toes got sore and discolored on another trip. These were fairly minor and didn't adversely affect my trips.
One thing I noticed about the Oboz boots, is they weren't as breathable as other boots I've used. At the end of the day, my socks were quite damp. It didn't matter whether it was raining or not, so it had to be from sweat. The main negative of this was my socks started smelling a bit after a few days.
I didn't get a good test of waterproofness. Ordinarily, in the Pacific Northwest, this is not a problem - there is plenty of rain, wet brush, and melting snow. But, this winter it has rained very little and there has been little snow at altitude. I'm sure during the Long Term Test period I'll have better testing of this.
Since it wasn't wet or snowy, I didn't really test how well the soles provided traction on slippery wet or snow. For the limited testing I did do they were okay.
I wore the Oboz Bridger boots for 16 nights of backpacking and 9 nights of car camping. I hiked 180 miles (290 km) and 13,400 feet (4100 m) of elevation gain. During that time I was fairly satisfied.
I like how lightweight the Oboz are.
I didn't like that they weren't as breathable as other boots I've used - after a day of hiking my socks were unusually damp.
I didn't like that my left toes got sore on one trip and my heels got sore and blistered on two trips. With other boots in size 12 I have been more comfortable. I suppose it's possible my feet have gotten a little bigger.
I didn't get a good chance to evaluate traction or waterproofness, but I will during the Long Term Test period. I should also get a chance to test more off trail bouldering.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Feb 7, 2014 - several day trips in the snow in Portland Oregon. 10 miles (18 km). 20 to 32 F (-7 to 0 C).
Wearing Kahtoola MICROspikes:
Feb 23, 2014 - 4 night backpack on Metolius River in central Oregon. 35 miles (56 km). 1600 feet (500 m) elevation gain. 30 to 45 F (-1 to 7 C). Rain, some snow on ground.
At Metolius River:
March 15, 2014 - 4 night backpack on Badger Creek in central Oregon. 38 miles (61 km). 2400 feet (700 m) elevation gain. 30 to 40 F (-1 to 4 C). Some rain and snow on ground.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Field Report and Long Term Report periods I used the Oboz Bridger boots for 20 nights of backpacking, 9 nights of car camping, 263 miles (421 km), and 17,400 feet (5300 m) elevation gain.
I did a wide range of level and steep up and down trails, dirt and rocks, slippery mud, and snow. The Bridgers handled it all very good. Occasionally I slipped a bit on wet sticks or mud but that happens with all boots.
One problem I had was I got quite a few blisters on my toes and heels. It limited the distance I traveled a bit, and was a little painful at the end of some days. Maybe my feet have changed or something, but I did a short trip with some other boots and got no blisters so maybe it's the Oboz boots. They don't seem tight so I don't understand it.
I did several day hikes in the snow, just outside my house. There was 4 inches (10 cm) of snow. Sometimes fairly dry, other times very icy wearing Kahtoola MICROspikes. The soles provided good traction. The boots were stiff enough to comfortably support the MICROspikes.
I did a fair amount of hiking in rain, wet snow, and wet brush which was a good test of waterproofness. My socks were just somewhat damp from sweat. The socks were the same amount damp whether it was wet or dry conditions, so I think the waterproofness was good.
Another problem I had was breathability. My socks were noticeably more damp at the end of the day due to sweat, compared to other boots I've used. My socks got a bit stinky compared to other boots I've used. One day I tried the trick of putting a plastic bag over my feet, under the socks. Then, the socks were quite dry at the end of the day, showing that breathability is the problem. My feet became prunes at the end of the day, so I didn't do it again. For what it's worth, I consider my feet to be more sweaty than the average person.
The soles showed a bit of wear, but came nowhere near being worn out. There were a few scuff marks but again, nowhere near worn out inside or out. A weakness on some shoes and boots I've owned, is the place where the boot flexes, on the sides, right at the base of my toes. The Oboz showed no wear there.
Most boots I've owned have open lace hooks for the two top rows. The Oboz is open only at the top one row. This makes it more difficult to tighten and loosen, but I did manage to tighten and loosen the Oboz, so I'm not sure whether this makes that much difference.
Overall, I was quite satisfied with the Oboz Bridger boots.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
They comfortably handled a wide range of trails and some scrambling on rougher terrain.
Waterproofness was good.
These boots are the lightest mid height boots I've used.
The boots are nowhere near being worn out.
The Oboz are not very breathable.
The Oboz have only one row of open lace hooks at the top which makes it a little more difficult to tighten and loosen.
I got a lot of blisters with the Oboz, but maybe that's because my feet have gotten bigger or the Oboz just don't fit my feet very good.
In the future I will use these boots in only limited amounts, like on day hikes or around the garden, because I get blisters too much for multi-day trips.
Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Oboz for letting me test these.
Read more reviews of Oboz gear
Read more gear reviews by jerry adams