Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Review

The Oboz Bridger Mid is a tough hiking boot. Whilst not as light as some more modern trainer-inspired alternatives, we still think these are a great choice for a hiking ‘all-rounder’.

Oboz Men's Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot,Sudan,7 M US

Great news: This product is also available in women’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Tough build
  • Great fit and comfort

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • A little heavy
  • Not the most breathable

The Bridger is one of Oboz’s key product families for hiking, comprising shoes, the mid-high boots we are assessing here, and also extra insulated winter models in both 8 inch ankle height and 10 inch ankle height variants. The Bridger prirotizes insulation and water resistance over breathability and whilst that may seem like a negative point, it’s actually a positive if you hike in cooler conditions or at altitude. These boots offer an attractive combo of rugged build, water resistance and comfort – and on this last point, it’s also worth noting that they are offered in a wide range of sizes and widths. These are an excellent choice for those who hike in changeable weather, and they could even be the only pair of hiking footwear many hikers need.

Editor’s note: This article is part of our guide to the best hiking boots, be sure to check out the rest of this guide for our top buying tips:

Compare to Similar Products: 

Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX Boots
Hoka Trail Code GTX
Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid
Asolo Fugitive GTX
Scarpa Rush TRK GTX
Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2
Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry
Skechers Relment-Pelmo
Teva Grandview GORE-TEX
Timberland White Ledge Mid Waterproof
Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid Gtx - Raw Green/pale Frog - 14
Hoka Men's Trail Code GTX Lightweight Hiking Shoes (Castlerock/Persimmon Orange, us_Footwear_Size_System, Adult, Men, Numeric, Medium, Numeric_8)
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Black Olive/Golden Brown, 7 US
Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boot - Men's Wool/Black 8.5
SCARPA Men's Rush Trk GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Hiking and Backpacking Boots - Dark Anthracite/Black - 8.5
ALTRA Women's AL0A7R7J Lone Peak All-WTHR Mid 2 Trail Running Shoe, Black - 5.5 M US
Oboz Men's Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot,Sudan,7 M US
Skechers Men Relaxed Fit¿: Relment - Pelmo Chukka Boot, Khaki Suede, 6.5 US
Teva Men's Grandview GTX Hiking Boot, Chocolate Chip, 7
Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Wheat, 7
Buying Options
Our Ratings
Best Overall Men's
Most Stylish
Best for Long Distance Trails
Most Breathable
Best for Winter/Cold Weather
Best Lightweight
Best for Backpacking
Pros
Excellent comfort. Great combo of breathability and water-resistance.
Excellent Grip. Excellent water resistance
Excellent comfort. Great durability
Tough and durable. Great water resistance.
Excellent durability (including ability to be resoled). Excellent ankle support
Very light. Extremely comfortable
Tough build. Great fit and comfort
Very comfortable. Reasonably priced.
Comfortable. Looks good
Often very inexpensive. Offered in a wide range of sizes.
Cons
Can be pricey. May be a little tight if you have very wide feet
The styling is not to everybody's taste. Some durability concerns
The loos are a little dated. Are relatively expensive outside of the USA
Some may find the upper too flexible. Can be expensive.
Can be pricey. A little heavy
Long term durability concerns. Not well suited to more technical terrain
A little heavy. Not the most breathable
Not suited to technical hiking. Styling is a little dull.
Some durability concerns. Not suited for more extreme trails
Low water resistance. Less ankle support than others.
Traction
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Good
Breathability
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Good
Low
Excellent
Low
Low
Good
Low
Ankle Support
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Very good
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Good
Good
Average
Arch support
Regular to good
Regular
Regular
Minimal
Minimal
Regular
Good
Good
Regular
Regular
Fit
Fits true to size available in a single width
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Fit true to size. Available in normal and wide fit and with a wide range of sizes
Fits true to size. Available in standard and wide fit.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Fit is true ot size. Available ins standard and wide versions.
Available in a wide range of sizes with several width options. sizing may run large.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Runs small. Available in regular and wide fit.
Materials
Suede leather upper and synthetic
Full synthetic
Leather upper and synthetic
Suede leather and synthetic
Suede leather upper with synthetics
Full synthetic
Leather upper with synthetics
Suede leather upper with synthetics
Leather and synthetic upper
Leather and synthetic upper
Appearance
Modern hiking boot
Modern sports shoe inspired hiking boot
The design is a little dated
The design is a little dated
Modern hiking boot
Modern sports shoe
The design is a little dated
Regular hiking boot
Retro inspired modern hiking trainer
Traditional hiking boot
Durability
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Very Good
Good
Good
Water Resistance
Gore Tex membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
Keen.Dry' breathable waterproof membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
In-house waterproof membrane
B-Dry Membrane
Water-resistant treatment and possibly a water-resistant membrane
Gore Tex membrane and water resistant treatment
Water resistant treatment and sealed seems
Weight (pair)
1.04kg/2lb 05oz
868g/1lb 14.6oz
970g/2lb 2oz
1.39kg/3lb 1oz
1.19kg/2lb 10oz
856g/1lb 14oz
1.08kg/2lb 06oz
964g/2lb 02oz
Insoles
Modular insole system to fine-tune fit
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Shaped 'O-FIT' insole
Air Cooled Memory Foam Insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Break-in Period
Minimal
Minimal
Very minimal
Minimal
Short break in required
Very minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Lacing system
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Toe Protection
Reinforced rubber rand on toe
Reinforced toe section
Leather reinforced with rubber toecap
Reinforced toe section with rubber rand
Reinforced rubber toe cap
Rubber reinforced toe
Reinforced rubber toe cap
Rubber rand at toe
Reinforced rand and rubber toe cap
Sole extended up to form a small toe cap

Analysis and Test Results

The Oboz Bridger Mid is a well-established product with a great reputation for comfort. Whilst they are not a traditional hiking boot, they do look a little old-fashioned next to some more modern alternatives and it’s easy to list the ways they are behind the curve: they are a little heavy; the sole could perhaps do with updating and some may think they look a little tired.

None the less, we think these more heavy-duty and rigid boots are still very relevant – especially so if you hike in poor weather, like to venture onto more technical terrain or often carry heavy backpacks. In this regard, the ’drawbacks’ of these boots are minor and we still think they make a compelling choice for many hikers.

Performance Comparison

Traction

The Bridger comes with Oboz’s in-house outsole and features a thread pattern with deep lugs. This promises good grip, but, on the flip side, the wide lug spacing means that mud-build up, which can really weigh your boots down, can be a problem.

Whilst the boots generally give good grip, it’s worth bearing in mind that even the grippiest of sole can be defeated by wet, slick rock, muddy grass and ice.

Breathability

The Bridger prioritizes insulation and water resistance over breathability. These two factors are often a trade-off. In acknowledgement of this, Oboz previously offered a more ventilated version of these boots called the ‘Bridger Vent’, though this model now appears to have been discontinued with the Sawtooth fulfilling this role in the Oboz product family.

Whilst the lack of ventilation may seem like a negative point – and it really is if you hike in very warm places – for those who hike in mixed weather or into the colder seasons, then trading off some ventilation for increased insulation is absolutely worth it. It’s also worth noting that these boots are not unventilated and, further more, the material your socks are made from can also have a major influence on how hot and sweaty your feet feel during a hike.

We think Merino wool is the best choice of material for hiking socks as it naturally wicks moisture away from the skin and keeps odor under control.

Ankle Support

If you’re used to hiking shoes, then the mid-high version of the Oboz Bridger offers a big step up in terms of support. The heavily padded ankle support can be tightened or loosened via the laces. Whilst these boots won’t offer the same level of ankle support as more rigid, technical boots, they do offer a good mid-point that’s comfortable for longer hikes.

Arch Support

Most hiking footwear provides fairly neutral arch support – and that’s just fine for the vast majority of buyers. Hower, for those that need it, extra arch support can make a big difference to comfort on a long hike and in this regard, Oboz do better than most manufacturers in that they provide all their footwear with custom-shaped insoles – they call these ‘O-FIT’ and they offer that little bit extra arch support.

If these aren’t enough, they can always be swapped out for a more heavily shaped or custom-made third-party alternative.

Fit

Fit is one area where Oboz shine. These boots are offered in sizes from US 7/UK 6/EU 39.5 through to US 15/UK 14/EU 50 in both standard and wide variants. If you do any research on these boots – and indeed Oboz footwear in general – you’ll find plenty of reviews complimenting their natural fit and high levels of comfort and, whilst fit and comfort are a very subjective experience, we are pleased to say that our experience backs this up.

The boots are shaped to grip your heel whilst allowing a bit more space around the toes. For more technical hiking, you may prefer a more-foot-hugging shape, but for general hiking and trail walking, the Oboz fit is hard to beat.

Materials

The Oboz Bridger Mid uses thick Nubuck leather in their upper section. The toe and heel have substantial rubber reinforcement and the synthetic materials that are used appear to be durable nylon. All in all, these are tough materials and they instill confidence in the build of the boots. 

Appearance

Whilst the Bridger is certainly not a traditional hiking boot, the range has been around for a while and, next to some more modern competitors, the design does look dated – though we would not say these are bad looking boots. We’d say these boots are also showing their age when you consider their weight and breathability compared to some more contemporary competitors such as the Salewa Alp Trainer 2. The men’s Bridger is offered in two earthy colorways with detailing in a contrasting brighter color.

Durability

Durability is one area where the Oboz Bridger has built its reputation. These boots are made from tough (and heavy!) materials and we have no reason to think they won’t last a long time. The oiled nubuck leather uppers should resist staining better than suede leather and the heavy-duty rubber used on the soles and elsewhere on the uppers should also do a great job of absorbing and abrasions you might encounter on the trail.

We’d imagine that given consistent wear the sole will wear out before anything in the upper fails.

Sustainability

Oboz don’t publish any sustainability info on individual products – so we can’t say if they incorporate recycled material, for instance. However, in other regards, the company has some impressive sustainability credentials: They are B-Corp certified and they are also committed to planting a tree for every pair of shoes or boots sold and claim to be at over five million to date.

They are also committed to minimizing waste in production and to ensuring that their products can be recycled when they reach the end of their lives.

Water Resistance

The Oboz Bridger Mid features Oboz’s in-house breathable waterproof membrane – called ‘B-Dry’. This does more or less the same job as a Gore-Tex membrane – keeping water out whilst allowing the boot to remain breathable. These boots will keep your feet dry in the rain or if you need to cross a shallow stream, but remember that water can still get into the boot if it goes above the ankle cuff and it can also soak in if your socks get wet.

Weight

It could be argued that weight is one area where the Oboz Bridger shows its age. Coming in at 1.08kg/2lb 06oz for a pair, they are outwardly much heavier than many of their trainer-inspired competitors. But, we don’t necessarily feel like this is a fair comparison that shows the full picture. The Bridgers are generally much tougher and more rigid than their lighter competitors. For many hikers, absolute light weight is not the key priority in hiking footwear and instead they look for shoes or boots that offer a good blend of rigidity and support versus weight.

In this regard, and when compared against boots that feature tough leather uppers and that give good rigidity and ankle support, the Bridger is still competitive in terms of weight against newer rivals (for example, they’re only slightly heavier than the Salewa Alp Trainer 2).

Insoles

The Oboz Bridger Mid comes with what Oboz call ‘O-FIT’ insoles. They proudly state that these insoles are tailored to fit each specific model of footwear they produce and give a better fit than the generic insoles most other manufacturers provide. To be blunt, we doubt that many buyers will notice the difference and we doubt that the insoles alone will sway many buyers’ purchase decision.

None the less, it’s good to see Oboz putting the extra effort in here. Of course, if you need more arch support or padding than the supplied insoles provide, then it’s trivial to swap them out for another pair.

Break-in Period

With their sturdy construction, we think that the Oboz Bridger Mid does benefit from being worn on a few shorter local walks or even around your home for a day or so before being taken out on a longer walk. However, it’s also worth noting that these are not at all like the stiff hiking boots of the past that needed lengthy break times and we are sure that there are plenty of hikers who’ve worn their Bridgers on long hikes straight out of the box.

Lacing System

The Oboz Bridger uses regular laces. Most hikers don’t realize that traditional laces are actually a very versatile way of adjusting the fit of your boots as tensioning or loosening the laces at different eyelets can make a real difference to how the boot fits your foot. Different lacing patterns can also be used to further refine – or radically change – fit of your boots.

Toe Protection

The Oboz Bridger Mid features a substantial rubber toe cap. This, coupled with the thick leather used in their upper section, will help deaden many of the bumps you can expect if you accidentally kick into a rock or trip up on the trail. In this regard, these boots are better than many others we’ve assessed.

Conclusion

It seems the general trend is that hiking footwear is moving away from traditional hiking boots towards lighter, trainer-inspired models. In this regard, the relatively heavy and rigid Oboz Bridger seems a bit behind the times. However, we’d argue that there’s still a lot to recommend a more conventional hiking boot over the lightweight alternatives that seem to be taking the limelight.

If you venture onto more rugged, technical terrain, or if you often hike with a heavy pack, there’s a lot to be said for more supportive boots – even if they are generally heavier than their more modern alternatives.

The fact that boots like the Oboz Bridger can do double duty as general hiking or trail walking boots just adds to their flexibility and appeal. Whilst there are any number of more specialized alternatives that are better than them in some ways, there are few that match their broad capabilities and, in this sense, they are a great option for those looking for a pair of ‘all-rounders’, especially so if you hike in colder and wetter places.

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