Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review: Big Comfort For Wide Feet

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The Oboz Bridger Mid pairs traditional leather uppers with elevated fit and comfort, but can they compete with their faster and lighter competition?
Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Introduction
I found the Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof delivered equal parts comfort and stability.



Specs: 
– Price: $200
– Weight: 2.5lbs /1122g (per pair)
– Cushion: Medium
– Waterproof: Yes/ B-DRY Membrane
– Best use: Hiking, backpacking
– What we like: Great sizing, excellent fit, super comfortable
– What we don’t: A little heavy/bulky, not great in mud




The Wise Adventurer’s Verdict

This is The Wise Adventurer’s field test and review of the Oboz Bridger Waterproof Mid, a first-hand account of how this all-leather hiker performs out in the real world. I’ve walked through sun, rain, and snow in these boots as part of our recent hiking boot comparison, and I’m convinced they deserve a spot on the map for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - TWA Verdict
The Oboz Bridger is an excellent all-around hiking boot with premium build quality and attention to detail.

If you’re a fan of traditional hiking boots, the Oboz Bridger deserves a hard look. They deliver everything most folks want out of a burly leather boot like padding, support, and durability, but also offer one of the most comfortable and best-fitting designs I’ve tested to date. 

You may not be familiar with Oboz, as the Bozeman, Montana-based brand is still a relative unknown compared to some of the bigger legacy brands out there like Salomon, Lowa, and Merrell. If that’s the case, consider this a wake-up call: These hiking boots go toe-to-toe in terms of quality and comfort with the best in the business, and even outclass many of the long-standing favorites we tested them alongside in terms of fit and finish. 

Of course no boot is perfect, and the Bridger is no exception. Here’s my detailed breakdown of the Bridger Mid Waterproof after getting to know them for a few months. 

Check Women at REI / Check Women at Amazon




The Test: Why You Should Trust Us

For this review I took the Oboz Bridger out hiking around the mountains and valleys of North Georgia, mixing in equal parts short and sweet day hikes with overnight adventures carrying a fully loaded backpack. The majority of my miles were logged from early fall to late winter, which gave me a variety of temperatures and weather conditions ranging from warm and sunny to cold, wet, and miserable. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - The Test
I tested the Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof hiking and backpacking in the mountains of North Georgia.

I took notes every step of the way, paying particularly close attention to the more technical aspects of performance like waterproofing, breathability, and support under load in rough terrain. The goal of this standardized testing is to compare several very different types of footwear in very similar situations to determine how they perform compared to their competitors, and I’m pleased to report that the Bridger held their own in that regard. 

Detailed Evaluation of the Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof

First Impressions

This year marked my first foray into Oboz boots, but I’ve always wondered what makes them special. Oboz has a small but ravenously loyal fanbase, and most of the folks who wear them refuse to buy anything else. After logging my first few miles in them, I totally get it. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - First Impressions
Oboz makes the most well-cushioned, springy heels I’ve tested to date.

The most striking initial impression I had with the Bridger is that it’s got the best heel in the business. Every heel strike in these boots feels soft and springy, yet somehow still extremely robust and supportive. Much of this can be chalked up to Oboz’s unique insole (you’ll be hearing a lot about this further down), which is anatomically shaped to cup your foot and also features a gel-like compound directly beneath the heel to dampen impacts and increase overall comfort. 

I’ll also note that Oboz uses a rounded tread profile at the heel that seems to contribute to the Bridger’s smooth-stepping feel, as well as a softer-than-average midsole and rubber compound that soaks up any remaining chatter. 

Fit and Comfort

While the Oboz Bridger has pleasantly surprised me in many ways over the last few months, it’s the fit of these boots that really makes them special. Specifically, it’s the portion of the boot running from the ball width of the foot to the end of the toe box, which feels uniquely wide and unconstrained compared to every other traditional hiking boot I’ve worn. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Fit and Comfort
I found the Bridger holds the heel and ankle in securely, but leaves extra room in the toebox for added comfort.

While the Bridger doesn’t quite have the “wide open” toebox feeling as something like the Altra Lone Peak Mids I tested them alongside this year, the shape does feel comparable, and I quickly identified it as one of my favorite parts about the boot. Even in the standard, non-wide sizing, the Bridger feels wider than most, so this would likely be my top recommendation for folks with wider, higher-volume feet who struggle to find comfortable hiking boots. 

As for comfort, the Bridger feels planted and secure, but noticeably springier, plusher, and more forgiving than more “committed” hiking and backpacking boots I’ve tested like the Lowa Renegade and Salomon Quest. I’d chalk this up to the Bridger’s combination of a softer-than-average midsole foam combined with their excellent multi-density insole and softer-than-average rubber outsole. 

Support and Stability

Another unique feature of the Bridger (and most Oboz footwear) is its excellent arch and heel support. This I’d credit mainly to Oboz’s excellent “O-Fit” insole, which is much more anatomically sculpted and supportive than anything I’ve found from any other brand. Typically to get this kind of outstanding feel and support you have to shell out for an aftermarket insole from brands like Superfeet or Sole, and considering those insoles go for around $60 a pair, this is a major selling point of the Bridger for me. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Support and Stability
Oboz’s O-Fit insoles feature extra support at the heel and arch and add considerable value compared to something like the Lowa insole here I photographed alongside it.

Apart from the insoles, I feel the Bridger gives above-average support across the board, which I attribute to the tall rubber rand around the heel, a sturdy nylon shank, and the urethane foot plate that sits under the outsole (which you can actually see as small orange details peeking out around the perimeter of the boot). This outstanding combination felt surefooted regardless of the terrain I was crossing, especially when side-hilling across off-camber trails or climbing up rough and rocky terrain. 

Grip and Traction

Overall I found both grip and traction to be solid in the Bridger, and I’m particularly fond of Oboz’s in-house Granite Peak outsole rubber compound, which is a bit softer and stickier than your average boot. This added grip allowed the Bridger to stick particularly well to the granite-laden sections of my local trails, and I was particularly impressed by how well they held on when things got wet, be it over rocks or city sidewalks. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Grip and Traction
The Bridger’s sticky rubber compound gripped especially well on the large granite slabs and boulders that line my local trails.

Muddier hikes were the only time I felt the Bridger left something to be desired, and the slick red clay we have around North Georgia is slipperier than most. Smaller, more widely spaced lugs like those found on the Salomon Quest or Hoka Speedgoat 5 I tested this year perform better in serious muck, but in everything else, the Oboz hold their own. 

Weight

My Oboz Bridgers weighed in at 1122g a pair in a size 11, making them one of the heavier boots I tested this year, although nowhere near the heaviest. That’s to be expected in an all-leather boot with a chunky outsole underfoot, but it’s worth noting that the Briger definitely doesn’t feel like a lightweight boot. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Weight
The Bridger’s chunky outsole and leather upper make them heavier than many modern alternatives, but that’ll be a welcome tradeoff for many hikers and backpackers.

With that being said, I never found fault with the Bridger’s weight unless I was comparing spec sheets. These boots are comfortable and relatively fatigue-free on all-day or even multi-day hikes, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the weight unless “fast and light” boots are a major priority for you. 

Durability

Durability is a strong suit of the Oboz Bridger, and after a few months of testing I’ve got no concerns to report. The all-leather upper feels hearty and substantial, and I’ve yet to see any delamination issues rearing up anywhere around the toe, midsole, or heel rand. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Durability
The Bridger is clearly built to last, although their comparatively soft rubber compound may wear a bit faster than some alternatives depending on the terrain.

The rest of the boot seems to follow suit here, and Oboz’s lacing system and rugged metal hardware look and feel built to go the distance. The one caveat I’d register is that while I love the grip and feel of Oboz’s proprietary rubber compound underfoot, it does seem to be wearing slightly faster than some of the boots I’ve been testing lately. 

In the lab I tested the Bridger’s tread compound with a standard Shore A Durometer and found the rubber registered a hardness of roughly 60 across the board. That’s about average compared to other boots I’ve tested this year, so I’m guessing any accelerated wear would have more to do with the tread layout than the materials used. 

Breathability

The Bridger employs a combination of a water-resistant leather upper and Oboz’s own “B-Dry” waterproof membrane. As you might expect, this makes these hiking boots run warmer than any of the textile-heavy or trail-runner-inspired alternatives I’ve tested recently.

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Breathability
The waterproof membrane in the Bridger isn’t the most breathable I’ve tested, but it gets the job done just the same.

Compared to other leather-heavy competitors, the Bridgers hold their own just fine, although they do seem to run a bit warmer than GoreTex alternatives like the Lowa Renegade or Salomon Quest 4. I’ll also note that while I experienced no issues with Oboz’s proprietary waterproofing treatment, the Bridger’s leather upper does seem to absorb moisture more readily than the Renegade as well, so shorter creek crossings or spells of rain are more likely to impact their ability to shed heat. 

Waterproofing

Despite some minor shortcomings in the breathability department, Oboz’s B-Dry membrane performed flawlessly for me during testing. While the leather uppers do absorb moisture more quickly than some, the membrane does its job handily, and water never managed to make its way into the boot as long as I kept it below the Bridger’s flood height. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Waterproofing
Oboz’ B-Dry waterproof treatment never let me down through creek crossings and rainfall alike.

As for intentional “lab” testing, the Bridgers kept my feet dry through a full hour of rainy hiking, and also passed our bathtub soak test without issue. Regardless of how waterlogged these boots looked on the outside, they kept my socks dry whether I was dunking them for a few quick seconds or a full minute of submersion. 

Value

As much as I enjoy the Bridger personally, I believe their value will be more subjective than most. As someone with a slightly wider/higher volume foot, I found the Bridger’s accommodating shape and roomy toe box uniquely satisfying, but hikers with narrower or thinner feet may not see the appeal there. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Value
Old school v. new school: The Bridger’s all-leather construction will be a feature for some and a compromise for others.

The Bridgers aren’t the most expensive boot out there, but considering they typically retail for around $200, they’re definitely not a budget pick either. I will point out that Oboz easily has the best insole of any boot or brand I tested this year, so if your feet can benefit from the extra arch and/or heel support, you’ll find a ton of added value in the Bridger. 

Who Should Buy the Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Boot?

If you know that you want an all-leather hiker, I think you owe it to yourself to go try a pair of these on. The Bridger’s unique feel and outstanding support felt like striking gold when I first put them on, and I suspect I’m not alone in that regard. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - Who Should Buy
If you want traditional leather boots with a focus on fit and comfort, the Bridger is a great candidate.

Of course I’d also recommend you know what you’re getting into here, as all-leather hikers have a well-deserved reputation for being a bit heavier and less breathable than many of the more “modern” alternatives I tested the Bridger alongside this year. Boots this rugged will likely be overkill for your average hiker or even lightweight backpackers who keep their loads under the 40lb mark, and if you see a lot of deep water crossings or hot desert miles in your future, chances are you’ll be better served by a fabric-heavy design. 

Alternatives:

  • Oboz Sawtooth: Same outstanding insole, support, and heavily cushioned heel, albeit with a smaller volume toebox that’s better suited to smaller or more narrow feet. 
  • Lowa Renegade Mid GTX: Another very durable, all-leather option with more ankle support, added stability, better traction, and an upgraded GoreTex lining for a little extra cash.
  • Altra Lone Peak Mid All WTHR: A superlight trail runner/boot hybrid with a wide-open toe box and an insanely cushy midsole. Not quite as tough or supportive, but works great for your average day hike or the lighter side of backpacking. 

The Bottom Line

Classic leather hiking boots get a bad rap nowadays because there are so many lighter, faster, and more breathable alternatives. I think there’s still a ton of value to be had in the durability, protection, and stability of traditional boots like these though, and the Oboz Bridger is an excellent all-rounder that gets bonus points for its well-cushioned heels and elevated arch support. 

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Review - The Bottom Line
The Bridger won’t be for everyone, but their unique fit and feel made them one of my favorite boots in this year’s testing.

The Bridger’s niche may be a bit slim by comparison, but I’ll also reiterate that if you have a wider foot or simply prefer the feeling of a wide, high-volume toe-box, it’s one of the best hiking boots out there. There are certainly more technical options out there, but the Bridger’s combination of rugged build quality and a focus on fit is worth considering if you’re in the market for a traditional hiker. 

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