Oboz Bridger Mid BDry
$160, 2 lbs. 8 oz. (men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 8-12, 13, 14, women’s 6-11
How much should you expect from boots that weigh just two-and-a-half pounds and cost just $160? I wondered that as I set out in these boots on an overnight backpacking trip in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in late March. Carrying up to about 50 pounds—including gear and food for my two kids and me plus, at one point, 13 liters of water—I honestly was ready for my feet to feel a bit sore and beat up by day’s end. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of support and performance delivered by boots at this weight and price.
What’s in the secret sauce? Basically, Oboz built only what feet really need into the Bridger Mid. With a board-lasted construction that’s designed for heavier loads, and a dual-density EVA midsole with a ¾-length nylon shank, these boots punch above their weight and price point when it comes to support. Then there’s Oboz’s deluxe footbed, which provides much more cushion and arch support than most standard inserts, in part thanks to PU patches beneath the heel and forefoot. You’d pay at least $35 for after-market insoles of this quality.
There’s enough forefoot flex to the boot for easy, natural striding on trail, yet the torsional rigidity is excellent—the boot feels very stable, even in rugged terrain with a big pack on. The large, 5mm-deep lugs in the carbon rubber outsole gripped well whether hiking gravelly and sandy trail, crossing sections of mud, or scrambling on steep slickrock with a heavy pack.
The boot is armored for abuse, from the all-leather uppers to the rubber toe cap and heel counter. Metal hardware allows smooth movement of laces on the upper foot and ankle, while webbing eyelets at the forefoot prevent the laces from slipping there. The fit will accommodate a wide range of foot shapes because of the wide toe box, yet snug midfoot and heel. The proprietary BDry waterproof-breathable membrane didn’t leak when I stood in a creek to test it, and my feet never got overheated even when backpacking on desert afternoons in the 60s. Construction appears to be excellent, too: I expect you’d wear out the outsole before any other part of these boots, which translates to hundreds of miles of use.
All in all, the Bridger Mid BDry is a great value in a boot for backpacking with moderate to heavy loads.
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NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.