Boot Review: Oboz Insulated Bridger 8" BDry
The Oboz Bridger 8” Insulated BDry boots can withstand any conditions winter throws at your feet. All images: Aaron Hussmann
Slipping your feet into the Bridger 8” Insulated BDry boots and romping through a foot of fresh powder is the outside equivalent of cozying up in a plush, fire-warmed cabin sipping hot cocoa while a winter storm rages outside the windows.
During weeks of field-testing I’ve taken these hardy boots in fresh powder, bone-chilling sleet and slush, mud and ice resulting from the aforementioned sleet and slush, and even waded in the frigid near-shore waters of Lake Tahoe just because. I can confidently say that these are the best winter boots I’ve ever owned, and living in Lake Tahoe, CA for the past 27 winters means I’ve owned a lot of winter boots.
It’s no secret that all of the boots in the Oboz line are some of the most comfortable and durable boots on the market, so it made logical sense that they would expand their reach into the winter boot action. With this expansion they’ve transferred over some of their key tenets of footwear to make a badass, super warm, ultra-comfortable winter boot. I see the strengths of the Bridger 8” Insulated BDry boot in its luxurious comfort, toasty insulation, sticky traction, and bone-dry waterproofing.
Plunging your feet into these winter boots is an unexpected experience. My years of boot ownership have taught me that winter boots can either be stiff and unforgiving, but also very burly and trustworthy – or they can be lush and comfortable but barely make the grade for a winter boot. The Bridger 8” boots offer a burly exterior with an ultra-comfortable foot bed and an interior that hugs your feet in in a warm embrace.
Comfort is an important thing on our winter adventures. When we’re trudging through knee-deep snow for hours on an epic snowshoe adventure, we need our feet to be happy. Fortunately, my feet have been blister-free after several weeks and multiple journeys in these boots. But can you really expect anything different from Oboz?
The Bridger 8” Insulated BDry boasts super toasty 200g Thinsulate™ insulation. This somewhat abstract number means that these boots are perfect for high levels of activity in cold weather. Thinsulate™ is designed to be effective but lightweight and breathable. If you’re planning on doing some adventuring in your Oboz boots (and why wouldn’t you be?) you actually don’t want exorbitant amounts of insulation that will cause your feet to sweat, trap moisture, and ultimately give you damp, cold feet that are all too common with many winter boots.
The 200g insulation in these boots strikes the balance between trapping heat and allowing moisture to escape to keep you moving on all of your adventures. I wore these boots for a solid 12 hours during a recent cold snap in Tahoe. This full day consisted of walking our mercilessly slow dog in the bitter morning hours, running errands around town, going on a long hike breaking trail through ankle deep fresh powder, and walking the dog once more while she sniffed every square inch of the forest. After 12 hours of consecutive use, my feet were bone dry without being clammy and I retained full, warm-blooded feeling in my toes for the duration of the day, which is more than I can say for most winter boots.
Thinsulate insulation keeps feet warm whether your snowshoeing or trying out these super cool boot-capable skis.
These boots are made for walking. Specifically, they are made for walking during long, active days in icy, wintry conditions. Following the aforementioned forays through ankle deep powder, Tahoe suffered a disheartening downpour of rain that turned our trails into sheets of slick ice. I was thoroughly surprised by these boots’ ability to keep me stable and on my feet across mixed trail conditions. Oboz infused their burly outsole with a winter-specific mix to give the Bridger ultimate traction.
While I wouldn’t take these boots ice-skating, they do a tremendous job gripping to slick pavement and trails. I especially liked that snow clumps don’t seem to gather on the tread, allowing you to maintain full traction on a hike.
Waterproof, insulated boots can be a tricky thing to perfect. As discussed earlier, you want to be able to keep your feet warm and dry, without suffocating them in your own sweat. This is where the legendary Oboz BDry waterproof membrane comes in. For scientific reasons I don’t quite comprehend, this membrane allows moisture from your feet to escape the boot while preventing moisture from the outside world from giving you the dreaded feeling of wet socks. I spent about half an hour walking through ankle-deep frigid waters (about 45 degrees) along Tahoe’s shoreline without so much as a milliliter of water seeping to the inside of my boot.
BDry waterproofing and Thinsulate insulation keep your feet dry and toasty, even in the frigid waters of Lake Tahoe.
The Oboz Bridger 8” Insulated BDry boots are a force to be reckoned with. Their quality is evident as soon as you pull them out of the box and is proven as soon as you hit the snow-covered trail.
Aaron Hussmann is author of 500 Miles of South Lake Tahoe Hikes and is currently on a year-long road trip teaching responsible outdoor ethics.