Our Oboz Bridger Boots Review explores a winter boot designed to excel in snowy and icy conditions. We hope you find it useful.
As we approach winter, and if your preferences falls towards getting out in the cold stuff, a pair of insulated boots might be on the shopping list. There are a few manufacturers on the market that produce products of this type. However, I suggest it pays to look for a company specialising in outdoor footwear manufacture. It also pays to choose one that hails from a place where cold snowy winters are the norm.
Oboz ticks all these box. They are a small and passionate outdoor footwear brand from Bozeman, Montana. So, having previously tested out some of their approach shoes and found them to be extremely capable performers, it was time to put some of their new Bridger 8” boots for a test ride.
What I had previously learnt about Oboz is that attention to design detail reflects their pedigree as a company focussed purely on outdoor footwear. They are really just a bunch of outdoor folk who started a footwear company. After all, I believe any serious manufacturer needs to use their products to know what works.
To that end, the Bridger is full of intelligent design details. At their heart is Oboz’s proprietary O-fit insole. Infact, in this case it is their O-fit thermal. These are moulded individually to match the size and shape of each model. This is very important for good fit and is something, in my experience, that many footwear manufacturers neglect. In this case the thermal insoles are also made with an insulated top sheet and Mylar bottom sheet designed to reflect heat back to your feet and toes.
Next up is the second key feature of any performance footwear. The midsole offers a footwear’s lateral stability and is also a key factor in a boot’s stiffness. For the Bridger Oboz have used their Granite Peak Unit which combines a TPU skeleton with single density EVA to offer cushioning and comfort. This combination, say Oboz, offers a combination great for day hiking and yet is burly enough for a multi-day hiking trip.
Finally, the Bridger features a winterised version of the Oboz Granite Peak outsole. This is based on their popular Granite Peak sole but with a special rubber compound to offer grip in winter conditions.
The upper of the Bridger is made totally from waterproof Nubuck leather with substantial toe protection offered by a PU toe box. At the back heel area Oboz have added a moulded heel kick. As well as offering additional protection, this is also designed to easily allow you to kick one boot off with the other. This is perfect if your boots are muddy or snow covered.
Inside the Bridgers is a layer of 200gm 3M Thinsulate insulation. Thinsulate is a high performance synthetic insulation that works well even when wet or damp. Having said that, one of Oboz’s B-DRY waterproof/breathable layers is the final line of defence. These boots should stay dry inside at all times anyway. The lacing system incorporates D loops and hooks to offer the combination of good fine tuning and security.
Firstly, I think Oboz have done a great job with the Bridger’s styling. They don’t have a flashy or radical appearance, but they look subtly stylish in their dark brown NuBuck skin. The black toe cup and heel plate with the Oboz logo are also subtle. They look like they mean business, just in a cool and understated way.
The next thing to consider with any footwear is fit. As a review pair I don’t normally have the luxury of trying on several sizes and so plumped for my normal shoe size. Oboz say these fit true to size and and I have found they are right. They were bang on. The boots are designed to cater for a thicker winter boot and that is the case. The width is also great for my medium to broad foot.
They fit well, and also feel great to wear. They were comfortable for me right out of the box and continue to be so. When you tighten up the laces and have a stomp around you’ll immediately feel a medium hardness sole unit. I’ve found it offers good general support and yet has an appropriate amount of lateral stiffness. If you are crossing a steep snowy slope you’ll want the boot to allow good edging capabilities and yet, for walking up or down slopes, the flex in the sole is welcome. Oboz have hit a nice sweet spot that will suit a broad range of users.
The sole has an deeply lugged tread pattern designed around their Granite Peak outsole. This has horizontal edges ideal for gripping on mud, loose terrain and, of course, snow. It is a confidence inspiring design. As mentioned in the features, Oboz say that the rubber is winterised. I couldn’t find more information on this, but took this to mean that the rubber is designed to stay flexible therefore offer better cold weather grip. This is a similar principle to the way winter tyres work.
The Bridger sits high on the ankle (the higher the better in deeper snow) but still strikes a good balance that would allow these to be used as a trekking boot. I have used these comfortably for walks up to 10kms without any grumbles from my feet.
Cold Weather Performance
Which leads on nicely to the cold weather performance. So far these boots have been used in temperatures down to -5 degrees, but it is clear they can go much lower. I can confidently suggest these boots will keep your feet comfortable in some seriously low temps.
I’ve also used boots with a reflective layer in the insoles before. I think this is very important (along with other elements of the insole/ midsole/ outsole combo) in cold weather footwear. This is especially true if you are stood still for any length of time. Heat is lost into the ground faster than into the air and this is obviously significantly affected by the temperature of the ground.
For this Oboz Bridger Boots Review I’ve certainly tested the waterproofness of the Bridger. On one round of our local hills recently they were splashing through ankle deep puddles and squelchy bog and not a drop of water was evident inside. I had taken the time to proof the outers with Nikwax waterproofer and so that Nubuck is a great barrier, but having the Oboz B-DRY liner is also reassuring.
Lastly, the tough PU rand is doing its thing well. The boots have stood up to some abrasive gritstone without issue. That, and the all leather construction, should give a boot that lasts and lasts. Oh, and that heel kick is genius. Getting one mucky boot off using the other is simple. I’ve often used the heel kick against the edge of a step instead. Either way, it’s a great idea Oboz.
Having used a batch of cold weather boots over many years, completing this Oboz Bridger Boots Review has shown them to undoubtedly be my favourite. The boots are packed with intelligent design features to cope with extremely cold wet and snowy conditions. They are also beautifully constructed to give a long and dependable life. It is the same great attention to detail and quality I saw in the Oboz approach shoes I have tested. If you work or play outside in the winter months, do give these a shot. I am confident you won’t be disappointed. Full details about the Bridger’s can be found on the Oboz website here. Please also have a watch of the useful video below.
If you are heading to snowy places our Mammut Allugator Pro Snow Shovel review here might be of interest. Oh, and if you are wondering how to use that Mammut shovel to dig a snow shelter, one of our snow shelter adventures here might be the perfect place to learn.