One word I never thought I would associate with an insulated boot is “versatile”. However after nearly nine months of putting the Men's Bridger 8” insulated hiking boot through their paces in fall, winter, spring and even summer (yes, you read that right), that’s exactly what they are—versatile…and then some.
The Men’s Bridger 8" Insulated Waterproof is surprisingly versatile, writes ambassador Kyle Taylor. All images: Kyle Taylor.
Living at a ski resort, I wanted a boot that I could use year-round, in a variety of different conditions. However, I suffer from poor circulation in my feet, so I opted for the insulated 8” version of the Bridger. I prefer lightweight socks and a more performance-oriented fit, so I figured this would be my best bet for most scenarios. And, man was I right. With temperatures sometimes reaching as low as -25 C (-13 F), this boot has almost become my daily driver in the winter months. Basically, if I’m not in snowboard boots on the mountain or dress shoes in the office, you will likely find me in my insulated 8” Bridger’s.
Fit/comfort: The first thing I noticed with the fit of the boot was the surprisingly low profile. While your feet feel sturdy and protected by the winterized Granite Peak Outsole, the low-profile footbed inside really gives you a grounded feel, resulting in more balance and stability on a variety of different terrain and surfaces.
Right out of the box they perform as advertised. They astonished me, as they honestly required no breaking-in period. I embarked on a 6.5km snowshoe trek to “First Pump” at Mt Seymour in Vancouver, BC, last March, and returned with warm, dry and most importantly blister-free feet!
Image 2: While they have created a bit more volume inside for thicker socks options, they certainly don’t lose a step if you just want to put on a regular athletic tube sock either (see image).
The O-Fit Thermal Insole will keep your toes at a comfortable temperature in almost all seasons (maybe not peak summer). This is largely due to the Mylar base layer material on the footbox of the insole, which acts like an emergency blanket, reflecting and retaining the heat in your toes. However, I am really impressed with how the felt wool top layer dissipates moisture and keeps your feet warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm.
Performance: I was extremely impressed with both the waterproofing and breathability of the Oboz’s proprietary BDRY system. Your feet breathe, and moisture is wicked out. I wore my insulated Bridger’s on some hikes in early summer with a thin Dri-Fit sock and they stayed comfortable and dry on the inside throughout the day.
I also found that, for me (and my poor circulation), the 200g 3M insulation was just the right weight, allowing me to customize my level of warmth with various sock options, depending on the season. On the colder days I noticed how the Thinsulate works to trap air molecules between my foot and the outsole, creating insulation and retaining much needed heat.
I was impressed with the overall cushioning of the midsole. I like how well the dual density EVA foam soaks up all the bumps, rocks and uneven terrain on the trails. Additionally, the nylon shank seems to provide the perfect balance of rigidness and flexibility, allowing for a stronger, more confident gait.
The Granite Peak outsole excels in the colder temperatures. Whether it is walking across a frozen parking lot at the ski hill, or scrambling up snowy rocks in the mid-alpine, the winterized tread responds remarkably well against the elements. I am also a big fan of the robust notch just above the heel cup, allowing for secure attachments of virtually any snowshoe.
Durability: In the almost 9 months of having the highly capable Bridger 8” Insulated boot in my arsenal, I have definitely put it through its paces. It’s been hiking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, rock scrambling, dog walking and everything in between. And I can honestly say the boot hasn’t lost a step in its support, construction or waterproofing. And the tread on the Granite Peak outsole holds up admirably. The boot is solid. I’m expecting for my Bridger to keep on trucking for many years to come. Warm, dry and very supportive. 10/10 would recommend.