One pair of boots will get you by in most situations, but having a pair of 3 season boots and a pair of winter boots is ideal. The Oboz Bridger BDry Insulated boots are stuffed with synthetic Thinsulate insulation to provide protection and comfort from the elements as the ground turns to ice and snow.
The Bridger BDry Insulated Boots are formed primarily from a full leather upper, with a full BDry waterproofing membrane throughout. This provides waterproofing and some breathability while adding another layer of warmth to the boot. Stuffed inside resides 100 grams of Thinsulate, a high quality synthetic insulation that provides warmth even when wet. A fairly stiff BFit Deluxe insole provides padding and protection from rocks and heavy packs. A rugged dual density EVA midsole with a sturdy nylon shank provides shock absorption and adds stability for the ankles on unstable ground. The boots are finished with durable laces, metal eyelets and hardware, as well as a thick padded tongue. The boots weigh in at just 19.9 oz and retail for $180.
What I liked
Oh, what the difference 100 grams of insulation can make. The Bridgers managed to keep me warm and dry in all the conditions that I’ve subjected them through. Ice, flowing water, busy streets, and thick, frosty mud were never a problem for the Thinsulate insulation. Paired with a mid weight wool sock, I’ve yet to have cold toes while wearing them, both on the move and while sitting around. While trotting around through the snow at temperatures ranging in the teens, my notoriously cold toes were oblivious to the freezing earth below them thanks to the thick, insulating midsoles. In fact, my feet often began to feet too hot, and I had to slow my already mediated pace. The water proof BDry membrande paired with a treated hydrophobic leather made sure snow and slush slid right off.
As far as comfort goes, the Bridger’s are top notch. A firm, well contoured sole and snugly wrapped side walls provide generous arch support which helped dodge sore feet from hard pounding on rocks and dirt. The boots fit close to the foot, cradling them without sliding around or shifting. The included BFit deluxe insoles (molded insoles with various densities of padding where needed) provided miles of hiking comfort on hard granite rock along the Slick Rock trails of North Carolina without hammering my feet into submission. The upper body is soft and flexible, which helps the boot to flex when climbing, and also to stay in place while descending (which prevents blisters). The firm heel and built-in toe bumpers provided excellent impact protection. Stumbling through rocky outcrops was completely painless, and I never once jammed my toes into the front of the boot or ended up with a sore heel. The back of the boot rolls nicely along the back of the foot, wrapping up onto the heel, locking it in place to prevent heel slip. A nice pairing with a soft, comforting tongue prevented my feet from shifting around at the ankles. This snug design resulted in blister free hiking, even while treading along miles of laterally angled rock faces. I’ve had no problems with stubbing my toes or bunching up my socks, a sure sign of a great fit.
Stability was also great. Thick lugs dug in on steep climbs, and the softer, winter-centric outsole is made to provide enhanced traction on ice and wet rock. Flowing streams of water across weathered granite and limestone provided little challenge for the “Granite Peak” out soles, as I happily strolled along steeply angled shelves with nary a slip. The ankles are built to be extra stable, with thick, firm padding and a nice support system to ties directly into the laces. This is essential when navigating rocky terrain or in areas of unsure footing. I always felt stable and secure, without worrying about rolling or twisting my ankle.
They look great. The color palate is earthy, stylish, and provides just enough contrast to stand on their own without being too self aware. They mostly fade into the backdrop, but demand attention once noticed.
Durability has been excellent. Despite the soft, grippy tread, the soles have held up quite well over granite, limestone, and gravel. The upper body is made from a rugged leather that has held up to many miles of hiking in various conditions. The waterproofing has held up through mud, grit, dirt and snow. I’m yet to see a single stressed seam or pealing seal. I’m quite impressed with the build overall.
Breath-ability was also great. Even on warmer days when the temps rose into the 50’s, my feet stayed dray and comfortable (even paired with heavy-duty expedition grade socks).
What I didn’t like
The laces, while durable, do tend to come undone a little more often than I’d like. I had to cinch them extra tight to ensure they stayed laced.
The top open eyelets are quite small which makes lacing them up while wearing gloves a little bit trickier than some. This does however increase the comfort level, as the small eyelets are basically sensory invisible. You can’t even tell they’re there.
The Oboz Bridger BDry Insulated hiking boots provide a solid solution to a problem that’s vexed many backpackers for years; Cold feet. Given their high quality build, exceptional stability, and enough insulation to provide ample warmth well below freezing, they provide real winter protection that will last for many seasons. It doesn’t hurt that they look great either. If you’re searching for a light weight, capable hiker for colder weather, these are certainly worth a look.