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Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Waterproof Review

A stable and comfortable winter hiking boot with many uses
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $185 List | $137.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, good traction, waterproof, warm, supportive
Cons:  Poor on ice, shorter construction, technical style, 1/2 size too small.
Manufacturer:   OBoz
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2018
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weather Protection - 25% 8
  • Comfort & Fit - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Traction - 10% 7

Our Verdict

If you are serious about hiking in the winter, the Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Waterproof is a great option. It is a super comfortable winter boot that does well on snowy surfaces. Thinsulate lining keeps the boot cozy, and wool pile lines the cuff, hugging your ankles with softness and warmth. The molded footbeds are supportive while still leaving plenty of room for your toes to move around. The boot is waterproof. Its only limitations are a relatively short shaft and its poor performance on the ice. Its technical style is best left on the trails but works for running errands around town. This past Editors' Choice is an all-around performer. Be sure to size up a half size if you wear thicker socks or want a little extra warmth in the toe box.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Waterproof boot is legit. We wore these winter hiking boots to the top of snow-covered volcanos and tested them for traction, warmth, and comfort. With a form-fitting shoe bed, cozy insulation, and great traction, it stands out as a very stable and supportive winter hiking boot. Like most winter boots, its performance on ice is subpar while its short design doesn't do the best in deep snowdrifts. Add a pair of microspikes or gaiters to help combat these extreme surfaces and conditions, for one of the best winter hiking boots we've tested.

Performance Comparison


The Oboz Bridger winter hiking boot is a warm and comfortable hiking boot perfect for hiking on volcanoes  using it with a pair of snowshoes or simply running around town. Its fit is a little small  with performance on ice that is subpar.
The Oboz Bridger winter hiking boot is a warm and comfortable hiking boot perfect for hiking on volcanoes, using it with a pair of snowshoes or simply running around town. Its fit is a little small, with performance on ice that is subpar.

Warmth


With 200-grams of Thinsulate insulation, this winter hiker provides excellent warmth for your winter backcountry adventures. The Bridger boot is a top performer in our ice bath test, losing only 14.7 degrees over the course of 20 minutes. This makes us believers in the B-Dry and Thinsulate system. Indeed, it kept our toes super toasty during cold winter hikes, and offers plenty of active warmth.


We found that this 200 grams of Thinsulate feels warmer than 200 grams of many other types of insulation. Consequently, this boot provides extra warmth with less bulk and kept us warm into colder temps. The lacing system locks in heat while the wool-topped collar adds coziness. The Bridger is fitted with a removable thermal insole that ensures your foot is warm underneath and the rubber sole is thick and insulating from the frozen ground. The construction of the boot is quite breathable, which also adds to the other warmth, allowing moisture to vent through the fabric, keeping feet dry.

Thinsulate lining and wool pile on the top make for toasty toes.
Thinsulate lining and wool pile on the top make for toasty toes.

The wool pile topping on the cuff adds a little flair and provides a barrier against cold air. The lining is cozy and soft on our ankles and provides support for all-day adventures. Use it while hiking, snowshoeing, or simply running around town. We tested it in temperatures that dipped into the double negatives. Standing around, it's not as warm as burlier competitors, but while hiking, it is quite nice.

You don't necessarily need the thickest, warmest sock for winter hiking. Having room for air to circulate in the boot will actually keep your feet warmer. We prefer a thinner merino wool sock and a snug, but not tight, fitting boot.

Weather Protection


During our waterproof test, we wore every boot in four inches of water in a cold alpine lake for 10 minutes. Its nubuck weather upper proves to be 100% waterproof. In the depth test, it only let in water when we reached the height of the cuff, in six inches of water. It was also perfectly waterproof when hiking in sleet and wet snow for hours. Just as importantly, these boots breathe well. When we were working hard uphill, our feet didn't get soaked with sweat.


The suede is treated with DWR to help it repel water, and Oboz recommends treating the outside of the boot annually. While that helps water bead up at the service, there is also a waterproof and breathable membrane sandwiched into the upper that truly keeps water out. This boot has you covered!

While we found the Oboz to be 100% waterproof  the relatively short back means you aren't protected in the deepest puddles.
While we found the Oboz to be 100% waterproof, the relatively short back means you aren't protected in the deepest puddles.

The Oboz is the shortest of the winter hiking boots we tested. While it lives up to it's 7" name at the front of the cuff, the back is a full inch shorter. This could be a problem for deep drifts, but snow pants or a gaiter can provide additional protection. If you are looking for a taller hiking-style winter boot, there is a 9-inch version of the Bridger Insulated Waterproof available that will do better in super tall snowbanks. The shorter version fits easily underneath pants, making them snowpant and softshell pant compatible, adding to its protective qualities.

You can see the water-shedding nubuck leather at work on the most comfortable boot we tested.
You can see the water-shedding nubuck leather at work on the most comfortable boot we tested.

Comfort & Fit


Of all the winter hiking boots we tested, the Bridger is the most comfortable. It has an engineered insole that keeps our feet in place while giving us enough room to wiggle toes in thicker socks. We never experienced pinching, hot spots, or cold toes, not even on the first hike! Women often have narrow heels, and this boot hugged ours comfortably with zero slip even on the steepest slopes. The insole provides arch support and is intended to keep the foot in a neutral position. We all agreed that the heel felt slightly lifted at first and then quickly forgot about it.


The heel is stable and offers a great fit while the shoe is rigid  protective  and offers amazing comfort for all-day use.
The heel is stable and offers a great fit while the shoe is rigid, protective, and offers amazing comfort for all-day use.

Oboz says the heel is shaped to a B-width while the toe box is a C-width, allowing for the extra volume in the toe box. Because hiking boot laces are so adept at adjusting for different foot shapes and sizes, these boots worked for testers with narrow to medium width feet. Based on a few online reviews, many reviewers suggest to size up this boot if wearing thicker socks. The toe box is wide enough, but a little shallow for those with wider feet. That said, a half size up will accommodate a thicker sock and keep your foot warmer. If you're on the fence, size up. Overall, we are big fans of its comfort and fit as it is supportive and comfortable, perfect for winter trails.

The hi-pile insulation is cozy and warm  adding to the comfort of this awesome hiking boot.
The hi-pile insulation is cozy and warm, adding to the comfort of this awesome hiking boot.

Traction


This boot has deep and varied lugs aplenty! They dug into the snow and held traction in steep, loose, and wet terrain. This boot has the deepest lugs of the boots we tested, and its Winterized Rubber stays grippy in a range of conditions.

A look at the burly and aggressive traction that works well on mud  slush  and snow  but doesn't seem to stick well to icy surfaces.
A look at the burly and aggressive traction that works well on mud, slush, and snow, but doesn't seem to stick well to icy surfaces.

We motored along in soft, slippery snow. Ice is a challenge, no matter the boot. In our ice traction test, the Bridger did not perform well. Unfortunately, the rubber composite stays rigid and does not wrap around the crystallized surface, but instead repels it. While it does better than other boots with even harder rubber composites, we can only recommend using a pair of microspikes if you find yourself on ice all the time. Otherwise, look at other boots with softer rubber composites that are "stickier" on the ice.

The lugs are deep  grabbing steep trails. We just wish the rubber on the lugs was softer.
The lugs are deep, grabbing steep trails. We just wish the rubber on the lugs was softer.

Ease of Use


Any hiking boot with a dialed-in fit doesn't let you just kick it off when you get back to the house. They have to be untied, you may have to unhook the top two lace hooks, and you might even need to loosen the laces. That said, once untied, it opens up generously and is easy enough to slip on or off.


As for getting the right fit, the lower-bulk lining means that getting the boot tied comfortably for a long hike is a piece of cake.

With two lace hooks above the eyelets  it takes a little work to get the boot on or off  but it makes for a precision fit.
With two lace hooks above the eyelets, it takes a little work to get the boot on or off, but it makes for a precision fit.

Value


This boot is in the middle price range of the hikers we tested. With the excellent support, warmth, and traction it offers, it will not let you down on your winter adventures. It scored highly in all metrics and we feel it is worth the price. It is best for ladies looking for a winter hiker that isn't too ugly or techy looking.

Hike  hike  hike! This boot has all the features of an excellent hiking boot but keeps the toes toasty!
Hike, hike, hike! This boot has all the features of an excellent hiking boot but keeps the toes toasty!

Conclusion


The Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Waterproof boot is an excellent winter hiking boot that easily became a favorite. While it is suited for cold backcountry adventures, it can certainly be used while walking the dog, shoveling snow and all the rest. It offers great warmth and breathability that will allow you to tackle winter without a second thought.

Laurel Hunter