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Hands-on Gear Review
Oboz Bridger Mid BDry - Women's Review
Cons: Difficult to break in, very stiff, lacking flexibility in forefoot
Bottom line: The stiffest boot in the fleet this year, these boots are all leather and take time to break in, yet offer unsurpassed sturdiness.
A small company based out of Bozeman, Montana, Oboz brings a more traditionally designed hiking boot to our fleet of boots this year. The Bridger Mid BDry ended up being the stiffest, most durable boot we tested and required a bit more time to break in than some of the less burly models we tested. The tread is very aggressive and the soles are thick to protect your feet on the gnarliest of trails. For those looking for a long-lasting, more traditional style hiking boot, the OBoz Bridger Mid BDry might be the boot for you.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Hiking Boots of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Oboz Bridger Mid is a well-made, aggressive all-leather hiking boot that will hold up to lots of trail miles with a large pack.
These boots scored lower on comfort than any other metric because of their stiffness and long break-in period. They were almost debilitatingly stiff on steep terrain, especially trails with large rock steps. The stiffness of the leather upper made it difficult to flex the foot forward when walking uphill. That said, with time and a strategic break-in plan, these boots could become a great option for long backpacking trips. For folks looking for a boot comperable in stiffness, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's are another option. For a comforable, but less stiff boot, the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Womens is the top pick for comfort this year.
The lower scores the Bridger Mid received in the comfort category are made up for in their ability to provide support for long periods of time. Our feet did feel very stable inside the Bridger Mid's due to the nylon shanks and thermoplastic urethane forefoot plates. There was little movement from side to side and we never felt like our ankles were going to roll, even on uneven terrain. Similar to the Salomon X Ultra 2 Mid - Womens, the boots have lots of padding on the sides and the soles are thick, which made our feet feel protected and supported. The toe caps on the Oboz are reminiscent of those found on the Keen Targhee II - Women, and both boots felt like they would be a good option for manual labor, as the thick rubber on the front protected our toes from rocks and tools.
At just over two pounds, these boots are actually fairly light for the amount of material used in their construction. They are a similar weight to the all-leather Lowa Renegade, which makes sense seeing as they have a very similar contstrution. They are a similar weight to the all-leather Lowa Renegade, which makes sense seeing as they have a very similar construction. The Hoka and the Ahnu Montara are the closest in weight to our two heavy-weights, falling 3 oz short of two pounds. These boots also have leather components, but lack the entirely leather design of the Oboz, making them lighter and quicker to break in. The sole, especially the heel and toe rubber, seem bulky and their all-leather upper makes them seem heavier than they actually are. But, the scale does not lie, so by the numbers these are actually a fairly light boot for being so burly in their design.
With large side lugs and 4 mm directional lugs on the bottom, the Oboz Bridger feels grippy on rocky surfaces and loose gravel. Similar agressive tread patterns were found on the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's and the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Womens. Just by looking at them we could tell that these would hold up to steep, variable terrain based on the thick, rubber soles and rubber toe and heel reinforcements.
Constructed with waterproof Nubuck leather uppers, these boots will keep your feet dry even if they are fully submerged in flowing water for a minute or two. The height of the sole and the leather and rubber construction provide protection from shallow puddles, but even if the leather upper got wet, we never felt our feet get wet. All leather boots with waterproof coating perform very well in terms of water resisitance, as shown with the Lowa Renegade and the Bridger. The Salomon X Ultra 2 Mid is a good option for a waterproof boot that is lighter weight and has a synthetic and mesh upper.
Only the award winner from last year, the Lowa Renegade GTX, comes close to the OBoz Bridger in durability. The design and choice of materials makes these a long-lasting shoe. Even after many days of wear, they still looked brand new. They are so tough that it was actually difficult to break them in, which was one of the few negatives we found with this boot.
The Oboz Bridger is most at home on long, rugged hikes, preferably with a heavy load and a creek crossing or two. With their long break-in period and all-leather construction, these are the closest to a traditional hiking boot of all the boots we tested. These boots have the support and sturdy construction to hold up on long backpacking trips or on long hikes over rugged terrain.
Because they are a small company that values using good quality materials, the Bridger Mid fall into the mid-range price category. They go for $165, but they are definitely built to last. If you buy these you know you are purchasing a burly shoe that will last many hiking trips.
The Oboz Bridger Mid is a real blue collar hiking boot. They are tough and durable, but because of this we found them difficult to break in. Their thick sole and aggressive tread pattern had our feet feeling protected and stable on uneven terrain. The leather upper and integrated lacing system also provided ankle support. They are sturdy, durable, and very water resistant. They seemed to really shine on rugged trails and worked very well in all conditions — mud, rain, dust, gravel.
— Jane Jackson
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