Cover image: Oboz Yellowstone II BDry
Once upon a time in England, Wales or Scotland, I used to be a “kitchen sink-carrying” kind of guy. A couple of embattled lumbar discs later, I had to re-think my approach to mountain enjoyment (to say nothing of my my everyday routine of walking or cycling to the office... which is my Guitar repair shop). Fortunately, the transition from carry-all-rucksack-Hell to light-weight-save-a-gram-Heaven was easy.
I used to be the 'BIG' boot guy, full leather, high cuff, Vibram soles, B1 all year round chap. But back trouble is going to either stop you in your tracks, or, if you're passionate about the outdoors, make you re-think what's what.
I discovered Oboz from my friend at my local outdoor store. I tried them on; they felt substantial, good materials, ethics, great foot bed, etc. SO, a year ago, well before I became an ambassador for the company, I purchased a pair of Yellowstone ll. A year later I'm still singing their praises.
Putting the boots to the test.
From summer through winter, from low level to mountains, walk, bike and hike, they're still going strong. They were so good, I I purchased another pair!
I've never really got on with boots / shoes with a membrane liner. My feet sweat. A lot. I was skeptical of the BDry liner, but I shouldn’t have been. It does as good as anything else I've used, and no nasty niffs. Winner. I've given theses boots a good thrashing around the welsh Mountains, Lakeland Fells, and with some biking and low level trekking and found them as sweet as a nut, and very durable.
The sole on the Yellowstones is grippy enough for British mud and guts, it's been a very wet this year, and with a suitable gaiter to fit the shallower heel breast, these boots proved themselves again and again. (If I were in the market to replace I would certainly buy this boot again, one trick pony for most activities I'd throw at them.)
Good soles are essential in terrain like this.
Bridger Mid BDry
The men's Bridger Mid BDry.
The Bridger Mid BDry has a more aggressive sole unit, and slightly wider fit, higher ankle cuff. I've used these on snow and ice above the snow line with microspikes on straightforward routes with zero problems. With these boots, I've had bone-dry feet, zero blisters, and none of the usual aches and pains I've encountered with other brands.
The orthotic footbed certainly helps reduce fatigue and also aids in foot stability; I've got high arches and these are a good fit for my feet. More toe room in the Bridger allows for a thicker sock, I don't like socks too thick, so a liner and a merino mid weight sock have been great for Fell and Mountain day walking on snow and ice, Mud, scree etc.
More Good Things
Another great feature I really like on both The Yellowstone and the Bridger is the molded rubber toe bumper. Great for kicking into powder and a bonus for walking crampon, and microspike use, it certainly extends the lifespan of the boots.
Finally, lacing. I like the long lacing loops that extent from the toes then up to the hooks, I've found they stay where I lace them. Tension-wise, I've had foot operations and I don't like too snug a fit. In my opinion, these boots excel at almost every walk/bike/hike I've thrown at them.