OBOZ BRIDGER BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
April 03, 2017
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
126 lb (57.20 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Oboz Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.obozfootwear.com
MSRP: $185 US
Listed Weight: 20.5 oz (581 g) per shoe
Measured Weight: 21.6 oz (612 g) per shoe
Color Tested: Tan
Also available in Gray
Size Tested: Women's 9 US
Sizes Available: Women's 6-11 US
Made in Vietnam
The Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated BDry Boots are winter boots that look and feel more like trail hikers. The upper is a combination of waterproof Nubuck synthetic leather with 200 gram Thinsulate insulation. They have a waterproof and breathable Oboz BDry membrane. The collar and top of the tongue have a pile lining for extra warmth. The heel counter is molded TPU for a snug fit. The midsole is made of dual-density EVA.
The outsole has a nylon shank and directional lugs on the sole with lugs extending up the sides. In the middle of the outsole is a TPU chassis for stability and to prevent bruises from stones while claiming to also be flexible. The construction of the shoe is 'board lasted' meaning that the upper is stitched to a sole-shaped board. This type of construction usually makes for a more rigid boot.
At the back of the collar there is a loop of webbing to pull the boot on and there is a molded rubber heel kick to push the boot off with the other foot. The heel kick can also serve as a lip for securing snowshoes or crampons. On the top near the toe there is a D-ring for attaching gaiters. The toe is molded rubber for extra protection.
The round laces route through five sets of eyelets (three sets are webbing and two sets are loops), through a strap near the toe and through one strap in the center of the tongue to hold it in place. There are two upper sets of hooks for tightening the boot around my ankles.
The insole is Oboz BFit Deluxe insulated footbed which provides arch stability and protects high-impact areas while also providing extra warmth. The bottom of the insole has a reflective finish.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the boots looked very much like what I expected based on the website information and photos. I immediately tried them on and found a good fit with the thin dress socks that I was wearing. So with my winter hiking socks I was concerned that they'd be too tight. However, I loosened the laces quite a bit since they were very tightly laced from the factory. Then the fit seemed just right with heavier socks.
I tried them on and walked around inside the house a little. Although the boots are somewhat stiff they seem more flexible than my other winter boots. I was surprised to find that my other boots weigh only slightly more than the Bridgers. I'm curious to get out on the trail and in the snow to see how they perform.
The Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Boots are a rugged pair of winter boots that look and feel more like trail hikers.
Nothing so far
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the Oboz as my primary hiking and snowshoeing boots over the test period. I wore them for one three-day backpacking trip, one three-day fishing/crabbing trip, three snowshoe day hikes and several short hikes or walks.
Pacific Crest Trail, San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California: 3 days; 44 mi (71 km); 2,922 to 5,601 ft (891 to 1,707 m) elevation; 25 to 52 F (-4 to 11 C). Conditions ranged from clear and sunny to cloudy with strong winds.
Fort Bragg, Northern California Coast: 3 days; sea level; 34 to 56 F (1 to 13 C); mostly sunny
Wentworth Springs Area, Sierra Nevada, California: 2.5 mi (4.0 km); 5,776 to 6,094 ft (1,761 to 1,857 m); 32 F (0 C); cloudy conditions with storm moving in
Loon Lake Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 6.2 mi (10 km); 6,327 to 7,030 ft (1,928 to 2,143 m); 23 to 26 F (-5 to -3 C); clear, sunny conditions changing to windy snowstorm conditions
Blodgett Experimental Forest, Sierra Nevada, California: 2.1 mi (3.4 km); 4,080 to 4,200 ft (1,244 to 1,280 m); 26 F (-3 C); clear, sunny to cloudy conditions
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Bridger boots have been an excellent combination of a comfortable hiking boot and a warm winter boot. In my previous experience I had never worn a pair of winter boots that were comfortable for long distance hiking. And I never owned a pair of hiking boots that were able to handle both long-distance trips and be warm enough for winter snow activities. The Bridgers are that!
My first experience with these boots was just some short day hikes to see how comfortable they were. Then I wore them for a day snowshoe hike and they were nice and warm. Then with an upcoming 44 mile (71 km) backpacking trip in the desert I had to decide whether to risk wearing these boots for long days that might reach 18 mi (29 km). Yikes. I surely didn't want to carry two pairs of footwear and I really wanted to have some warmth since the overnight temperatures were expected to be in the 20's (-6 to -1 C). I didn't decide until right at the trailhead but jumped in with both feet and trusted the Oboz. What a great decision it turned out to be! The days and nights were cold and clear with areas of frozen ground and some light snow cover. I was in heaven to be wearing warm boots! And to my great relief the boots allowed me to truck along for three consecutive 13, 13 and 18 mile (21, 21 and 29 km) days with no problems to my feet. Wow, I am truly impressed. On the coldest morning I did have some discomfort on my left ankle bone but I found that in my frozen haste to get on the trail I had tightened the laces a bit too tight. It was easily remedied and my feet didn't suffer. I had no blisters, no hot spots and no sign of any issues with my feet. I had plenty of room in the toe box even with my thicker socks.
On the fishing and crabbing trip I was thrilled to have the Oboz with me. Again the days were cold and clear and it was great having warm boots especially when the risk of getting feet wet in the cold ocean was likely. The boots have been completely waterproof. When they were brand-new they were completely hydrophobic in that the water just slid off with hardly even a water droplet remaining. Now after some use there are a few areas at the bend points that seem to wet out on the leather. But there is no breach in the waterproof liner.
For snowshoeing I've had years of difficulty in finding winter boots that wouldn't give me a blister on my heel. Despite rarely ever getting a blister while backpacking, I struggled with the weight of snowshoes causing sliding of the boots on my heels. So even though I've found some other great winter boots, I was concerned whether the Oboz would fare as well. No problem! Once again they have proven to be solid performers in every way. I wore them on several snowshoe hikes but the longest was over 6 mi (10 km) and was certainly a good test of the potential blister issue.
I love the way the heel kick works not only to assist in removing the boots but also as a secure point for my snowshoe straps to grab onto. I need to note though that the heel kick is made of some seriously hard plastic so I'm only able to use it for removing the first boot by using the other foot to push it off. Once I'm only wearing one boot, I can't use the socked foot to push off the boot. The plastic is just too rigid and my socked foot is too wimpy to handle the pain from pushing on the heel kick! If I loosen the laces a lot then I could do it but by then it is easier to just pull the second boot off with my hands.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I continued to wear the Oboz as my only snowshoeing boots over the test period but with temperatures warming I didn't wear them for lower elevation backpacking. I wore them for one overnight snow backpacking trip, six snowshoe day hikes and several short hikes or walks. In total for the entire test period I would estimate that I wore them for over 100 mi (160 km).
Shadow Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days; 10 mi (16 km); 6,327 to 7,264 ft (1,928 to 2,214 m); 28 to 52 F (-2 to 11 C); sunny and clear; 10 to 15 ft (3 to 4.6 m) base with several in (cm) of good snow conditions with some melting slushy areas
University Falls, Sierra Nevada, California: 6.1 mi (10 km); 3,450 to 4,100 ft (1,052 to 1,250 m); 35 to 45 F (2 to 7 C); sunny
Loon Lake Polaris Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 6.1 mi (10 km); 6,327 to 6,510 ft (1,928 to 1,984 m); 32 F (0 C); stormy, windy, snow conditions; 6 ft (2 m) base with several in (cm) of great snow conditions with some light powder atop
Ellicott Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 1.5 mi (2.4 km); 4,700 to 5,000 ft (1,433 to 1,524 m); 32 to 36 F (0 to 2 C) with clear skies; snow was 8 to 12 in (20 to 30 cm) deep and patchy due to heavy runoff
China Wall OHV Area, Sierra Nevada, California: 4.6 mi (7.4 km); 4,900 to 5,100 ft (1,494 to 1,554 m); 33 to 39 F (0.5 to 2 C); sunny with large puffy clouds; snow conditions were 12 to 36 in (30 to 91 cm) of deep wet snow, i.e. Sierra Cement with several inches (cm) of fresh powder atop
Coldstream Valley, Donner Lake, California: 3.3 mi (5.3 km); 5,935 to 6,236 ft (1,809 to 1,901 m); 33 F (0.5 C); mostly cloudy with storm moving in; 10 ft (3.3 m) base with several in (cm) of great snow conditions
Mount Rose, Carson Range, Nevada: 1.8 mi (2.9 km); 8,911 to 9,080 ft (2,716 to 2,768 m) elevation; 43 F (6 C); sunny and clear conditions with brisk wind; snow depth was 20 ft (6 m)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Bridgers continue to be really great winter hiking boots. I love their slimmer size feeling more like hiking boots than heavy winter boots. The insulation is warm and comfortable. On the snow backpacking trip they kept my feet warm despite many hours in camp atop deep snowpack. I was only wearing mid-weight socks at the time so the boots did a great job keeping me warm. I usually add another insole and wear warmer socks with my other winter boots.
The traction with these boots has been very good. On one snowshoe trip there was so much runoff and melting that we ended up doing some mud hiking without snowshoes. The traction was excellent and I always felt that my footing was secure in these boots.
I ended up getting a couple of blisters with one being on TOP of my second littlest toe. I attribute this to my over tightening of the toe strap on my snowshoes and not to any problem with the boots.
I didn't wear gaiters with the Bridgers mostly because with their height and my pants cuff staying down I didn't need them. But I did notice that the front clip for the gaiters is directly underneath my snowshoe toe strap.
The heel kick was perfect for holding on my first pair of snowshoes as noted in the Field Report but it is above the strap on my new snowshoes so it didn't help (or hurt).
I loved to use the webbing loop at the heel to pull on the boots but wasn't able to fit a gloved finger inside the loop (even thin liner gloves) so I had to remove my gloves to use this feature. If I just tried to grip the closed loop, it would slip out of my grip.
The outer Nubuck leather is wetting out at several locations but there is no breach in the waterproof liner and the boots seem to dry out quickly. The durability of the boots has been excellent with the boots looking reasonably good after quite a few miles of wear.
The Oboz Bridger Insulated boots area a wonderful combination of a durable comfortable hiking boot and a warm cozy winter boot.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
Comfortable even on long mileage days
Heel webbing loop is too small to use with gloves
This concludes my Long-Term Test Report and this test series. Thanks to Oboz and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Oboz gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith