Insulated boots aren’t an option in the northeast — they’re a necessity. Last year my Bridger 7” Insulated Waterproof boots snowshoed up mountains and across frozen ponds, kept me upright while shoveling piles of snow, and walked countless miles with a frisky German shepherd puppy. This year, when I slipped on my Bridgers for the first time, it was like donning a pair of fuzzy, but supportive, slippers. One more reason to love winter in Vermont!
These boots feature a heavy duty lug sole, which makes me feel darn near invincible on snow-covered, icy trails. They are incredibly grippy, and the only time I’ve run into trouble is on the black glare ice that coats the sidewalks after a nasty winter storm. Those are the days when I should be reading by the woodstove instead ice skating down the street.
The Bridgers feature a supportive heel cup and a wide toe box. This keeps your heel from slipping and gives you plenty of room for heavy socks without feeling cramped. In the past, the thing that made my toes go numb on a winter hike, was not having enough room for my toes to move around. I’m so glad that issue is finally solved!
The insulated Bridgers feature the B-DRY waterproofing system, which hasn’t failed me yet, even after a full six months of daily use through too much snow. This spring after a season of wear, I gave my boots a thorough cleaning and waterproofing using this method, and I can only hope that my Bridgers will serve me well again in their second season.
Which Insulated Bridger is Right for You?
Oboz currently makes two different women’s insulated Bridgers, a 9” model, which comes with 400 grams of 3M Thinsulate insulation, and a 7”, which comes with 200 grams. The boot you choose will depend on your personal preferences, and the level of warmth you’re looking for.
While I’d like to call myself a hardcore adventurer, the truth is that I am more of a casual hiker and snowshoer in the winter. My feet get cold easily, but with a thick pair of wool socks, the 7” Bridgers keep them totally warm and dry.
If you are undecided about which insulated Bridger to get, think about the amount of time you spend in cold temperatures, the type of activity you pursue in the winter, and whether your feet run hot or cold.
For the Deep Snow, Cold Weather Adventurer
The 9” insulated Bridger would be perfect if you work and play in deep snow, if you spend more than 4 hours outside at a time, or if your feet tend to get very cold on winter hikes.
For the Three-Season, Colder Climate Adventurer
The 7” insulated Bridger provides a bit more flexibility around the ankles and is easier to pull on and off. It’s a great choice for casual hikers and winter adventurers like me.
Both models provide the same O Fit thermal insole and winterized rubber outsole. Currently, the 7” model is offered only in gray, and the 9” is available in ebony black or winterberry red, which is a black and red combination.
Tips for Staying Warm in the Winter
I’ve been a Vermonter for most of my life, and over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about staying warm when the temperatures drop. Awesome insulated and waterproof boots are just the beginning — here’s how I stay warm through a long Vermont winter.
- Layer up - I always start with merino wool long underwear. They are more expensive than synthetic layers, but wool is so much softer, and synthetics next to my skin make me stinky. After the base layer, I can usually get away with hiking pants and a lightweight wool sweater, followed by a waterproof shell. I have a super warm down coat too, but I only wear it when it drops below zero.
- Don’t skimp on the socks - Darn Tough Vermont socks are my very favorite winter socks. They are merino wool, made in Vermont, and unconditionally guaranteed for life. Plus they come in all kinds of cool color combinations, and are super thick and warm. Wool socks will wick away moisture from your feet, keeping them dry and preventing blisters.
- Cover your head - Did your mother ever tell you that you would lose all of your body heat through your head if you didn’t wear a hat? Turns out this is a myth, but your head is more sensitive to changes in temperature, which makes you feel colder when you go outside bare headed. That’s a really good reason to wear a hat.
- Stay active - Winter isn’t the time for passive recreation. Keep your body moving, and you will stay toasty on the coldest days. If you can’t make your own heat, be sure you’re cozying up next to a campfire for maximum warmth.
Whether your winter is about bagging peaks, building snowmen, or trying to stay upright on icy sidewalks, you owe it to yourself to invest in warm boots with plenty of traction.
Tara Schatz is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and family vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone. Her goal is to help families connect with the world and each other by stepping out their front door and embarking on journeys big and small.