In addition to their Sawtooth line and their Sawtooth line, the Bridger Boot is also a cult product of Bozeman in Montana. Oboz. The design of the boot can be seen as an example of what has made the company such a success: a secure fit, tough materials, and a high level of comfort and support. But after trying out this Bridger Mid while hiking in Patagonia and in the Pacific Northwest, we found that the boot is beginning to look old and is heavier and slower than many of its contemporary competitors. Here’s a summary of our experience using this model of the Bridger Mid. To compare it against the competition check out our article on the most comfortable trekking boots.
Its Oboz Bridger Mid has been a staple within the collection of the company for a long time and certainly appears dated once you put it on. The sturdy leather upper and the substantial tread beneath and the bolstered-up midsole not the same as the minimalist trail runner-inspired shoes that are beginning to take over the market in recent. Although it was initially stiff that required a few long walks and hikes to break into the Bridger, the Bridger is a very comfortable boot overall. There’s plenty of cushioning beneathfoot to guard against the impact of rough trails and rocks. the lacing system can be a little stiff, but it does an excellent job of holding and keeping at a constant level all day long, and there’s plenty of cushioning on the collar, which helps to keep the boot but without creating any pressure point. In all despite the somewhat dated design, the comfort on the trail remains high.
One place where the Oboz truly stands out is the high-end insole. Many manufacturers provide a standard and flat footbed but the unique O Fit insole in the Bridger is well-sculpted and features the middle-height arch and a the heel is cupped. This results in a more customized fit straight out from the box. Of course, people who have flat feet may feel uncomfortable and those who have sensitive feet could still have to swap the shoes We do thank Oboz for his efforts here.
Due to its leather construction and the thick midsole, Bridger Mid’s hefty weight of just 2 grams 7.6 pounds and a pound (for my size 9 for men) was an unexpected. The comfort-oriented design feels more hefty on the feet (something we experienced in the Oboz Sawtooth II mid) The weight savings could be because of the boots low elevation, which merely removes your ankle. In the wider market, the advertised size of 2 pounds and 6 ounces is very competitive. Vasque’s Talus AT and Keen’s Targhee III are similar with 2.35 pounds, 3 pounds and 2.8 pounds, respectively. the more popular, but less robust Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP is just a bit better at 2 pounds and 4 pounds and 2.8 ounces. It is possible to go lighter with boots similar to one like the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid (1 1 lb. 15.7 oz. ) This will give you a lighter and more agile setup which is more comfortable to hike fast. However, if you prefer the comfort of leather the Bridger is a great choice at the surprisingly low weight.
Although Oboz Bridger Mid Oboz Bridger Mid is competitive in terms of weight, the traction is not quite as good. The lugs are too big and aren’t spaced enough to let mud out effectively (the boot is susceptible to caking when in these situations). The sole of the rubber, which is Oboz’s exclusive Granite Peak compound–is reasonably tacky and soft enough to stick to rocks, however the boot’s rigid and upright design isn’t conducive to fast climbing or boulder hopping. In these situations we’d recommend an easier and more agile model such as this Salomon the X Ultra 3 GTX. It’s fair to say that it’s traction is adequate for the majority of trails. It has no major flaws however the tread pattern can be a hindrance to the boot’s already awkward appearance.
Stability and Support
The boots that cost less than $200 rarely do well in terms of durability on trails however, this Bridger Mid is a good overall performance. The construction of the leather is durable and Oboz has added TPU reinforcements underneath the forefoot as well as nylon shanks on the midsole, which create a firmly-feel. In all to that, the Bridger is sturdy enough to feel secure carrying a large backpacking bag. But, remember that the height remains quite low, sat just above the ankle. This means that it’s not able to compete with a taller and heavier (and costlier) boot such as the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX. We’d prefer that the heel was bigger to provide an even more solid base. However, for the price, you’ll be difficult to find a better supportive choice.
Waterproofing and Breathability
One area where Oboz appeared to cut costs was in the use of their in-house B-Dry waterproof liner. The good news: as with our experiences with Oboz’s own Bridger Insulated and Sawtooth, the Bridger Mid effectively kept moisture out. I have found the leather upper does start to soak up water if conditions are particularly wet, but I haven’t had any leaking or failures during stream crossings or when hiking in light snow.
The main downside of the in-house B-Dry build (in conjunction with the full leather upper) is that it’s quick to overheat. I ran hot in the boot even while wearing lightweight merino wool socks on mild, late-winter days—something we haven’t experienced with Gore-Tex-equipped models like the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX or Asolo’s Falcon GV. But to be fair, not many in-house technologies are standout breathers (B-Dry is fairly average in this regard), and Gore-Tex remains the class leader.
Foot and Ankle Protection
One clear benefit of the Bridger’s traditional leather build is solid all-around protection. The sides of the foot can better cushion against rocks than the mesh-heavy boots that dominate the market, and Oboz also included a sturdy heel counter and very burly rubber toe cap that covers the entire front of the foot. It’s true the boot isn’t very tall, but it still completely clears the ankle, and the collar is sufficiently cushioned to keep it thoroughly protected. All in all, for hikers that prefer a lot of protection against rocks, roots, and other trail obstacles, the Bridger is a great match
The Bridger Mid is a durable leather boot built to last. The upper of the leather is comfortable and smooth, Oboz strategically incorporated metal hardware to create the lacing system while the sole is of premium quality. My pair has held up over a variety of rough hikes, however, I haven’t put an excessive amount of miles on the boots recently (we’ll review this article when any issues arise). But there are a few customers have mentioned that the outsole’s soft rubber can occasionally crack or break off in particularly rough terrain. The one we have is in good shape however, this could be a problem when your local trails are particularly rough (especially with rocks that are rough like granite).
Fit and Sizing
The fit of the boot plays a major part in comfort and performance and is an aspect in which Oboz excels. The Bridger Mid is just what many hikers would like it to: tight in the heel area to keep it in place to allow for longer climbs, moderate at the middle of your foot (although it’s easy to tighten it down when needed) as well as comfortable and spacious between the toes. I chose my usual size 9 for men and was completely satisfied with the comfort. The shoe slid comfortably around my foot, with no obvious spaces of tightness or space. Additionally, you get the O Fit insole, which offers significantly more arch and heel support than we’re used finding in standard footbeds. A nice perk for people with larger-volume shoes: Oboz makes both the women’s and men’s footwear with wide-sizing options.
Other Versions of the Oboz Bridger
Apart from the men’s Bridger Mid BDry tested here, Oboz also offers a number of other variations. For starters, the same boot is available in a women’s-specific model with an identical leather build, reinforced midsole design, and Granite Peak outsole. The only differences are in colorways and weight: the women’s Bridger Mid is sold in red, maroon, and brown designs and clocks in lighter than the men’s pair at 2 pounds 0.4 ounces. The popularity of the Bridger name has also spawned a range of Bridger products, from low-top shoes ($145 for the waterproof version) to non-waterproof “Vent” models ($150) and even burlier insulated winter versions. And last year, Oboz released a Bridger Premium, which includes numerous upgrades like Vibram rubber and full-grain leather for an extra $30.
What We Like
- The Bridger is a sturdy, supportive, and well-made leather boot at a good price.
- O Fit insole is high-quality, nicely sculpted, and very supportive (most of the competition includes more basic and fairly flat footbeds).
- Offered in dedicated wide sizes for those with higher-volume feet.
What We Don’t
- Feels slower and heavier than much of the competition.
- B-Dry waterproof membrane is quick to overheat, even in mild conditions.
- Lugs aren’t widely spaced and tend to cake up in mud.
- Some users have reported the outsole has a tendency to chip away or rip off on particularly rocky terrain (we haven’t experienced this issue ourselves).
|Oboz Bridger Mid BDry||$180||Light/mid||2 lbs. 6 oz.||Yes (B-Dry)||Nubuck leather|
|Merrell Moab II Mid-WP||$135||Lightweight||2 lbs. 4 oz.||Yes (M-Select)||Mesh / leather|
|Keen The Targhee 3 WP Middle||$150||Lightweight||2 lbs. 2.8 oz.||Yes (Keen.Dry)||Nubuck leather/textile|
|Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX||$165||Lightweight||1 lb. 15.7 oz.||Yes (Gore-Tex)||Suede / nylon|
|Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX||$190||Midweight||2 lbs. 11 oz.||Yes (Gore-Tex)||Mesh or leather|
|Lowa Renegade GTX Mid||$240||Midweight||2 lbs. 7 oz.||Yes (Gore-Tex)||Nubuck leather|
- A boot that is suitable for hiking as well as backpacking, the Oboz Bridger has a wide web. The most sought-after choices for this type of boot is Merrell Moab 2 Mid. In comparison to the Oboz the Merrell is a bit lighter with a weight of 2 pounds 4 8 ounces (the Bridger weighs 2 lbs. 6 oz.) and is more flexible underneath and on the upper due to its mix of mesh and leather. We prefer the soft cushioning of the Merrell however, the Oboz is stronger and more comfortable on terrains with rocks due to its more durable upper and more stiffness. The final decision on the value of more than $45 will be entirely up to you.
Another lightweight model to keep in mind should be Keen’s Targhee III Waterproof Mid. As with similar to the Bridger and Moab the Targhee is waterproofed in-house and weighs in at the same 2 pounds 2.8 grams. It’s also a fantastic value for the money, with a $150 leather construction and the overall protection and comfort. The Bridger is an upgraded version that offers better support and stability, however the downside is that the Oboz is a little clumsier when you’re on the trail. In the end the final choice will be based on personal the weight and agility of your choice (the Targhee wins out) against a solid, secure experience (the Bridger gets the edge).
The most rated hiker’s boot for the year was Salomon’s Ultra 3 Mid GTX It’s got the same ankle height as the Oboz however, it is different in many other ways. It’s lighter, weighing just 1 one-pound 15.7 ounces, is more flexible underfoot, and offers an athletic-like feeling. Its full leather construction is a great option if you’re looking for additional protection, but the Bridger is a bit dated and slow at the trails when used in tandem to the Salomon. In the end this X Ultra 3 wins out in all other categories which makes it the top choice to go from daily hikes to backpacking light.
For a little more than $10 over Oboz for the same price Oboz, Vasque’s updated Breeze AT is an intriguing alternative. The Breeze is also stiff right in the box, but it is a bit higher than the rest of the leg, which increases security and stability. There are also upgrades available, such as the Gore-Tex liner (which is much more breathable than Oboz’s B Dry) as well as the tacky Vibram rubber. The most significant drawback is the substantial increase in weight from 2 pounds 11 pounds 11 ounces. We’ve also found that its lacing system is a bit finicky to use , and we’re nervous about its durability. However, we believe Breeze AT is a great boot. Breeze AT should be a shoe to be on the lookout for.
The final option is the one that is more expensive the $240 Lowa Renegade GTX Middle. It is a popular choice for a long time, and especially excels in backpacking due to its superb cushioning and support as well as the tough leather upper. Similar to the Breeze AT it is similar to the Breeze AT in that the Renegade is higher on the ankle as opposed to the Bridger and breathes more easily due to the Gore-Tex Liners, and offers more traction all around thanks to the Vibram outsole. It’s also around identical in size (2 pounds. 7 oz.) but it is surprisingly more agile and lighter. If you’re looking for a durable boots for backpacking We think it’s well worthwhile the additional $60 (or you could look at Salomon’s Quest 4D 3 GTX in the same area for less than $10).