Even though the weather outside is making quick work of making us all think winter is over, I know better. So while a winter boot review might seem silly when it feels like spring outside, I’m diving in here anyway.
Anyone who knows Minnesota winters knows that they can be a challenge to keep warm. From your head to your toes, thinking about the gear you use can be the difference between a miserable time and embracing time outside. I’ve lived in the state for most of my life, wearing all kinds of shoes and boots. But when I got into camping and hiking I knew I needed to up my boot game. It’s taken me a number of years to find just the right winter boot. Last year I was due for a new pair and did quite a bit of research to find my next pair.
I landed on a brand that I’d not heard of before even though they have been making shoes for outdoor enthusiasts since 2007. Oboz is based in Bozeman, MT, making a boot that surprised me with it’s fit from the first time I put my feet inside. Almost every winter boot I’ve owned up to this point has been too loose in the heel, eventually causing me blisters on the back of my ankles. The Oboz Bridger 7″ BDry Insulated Winter Boot was different. My foot slid in and there was this satisfying way my heel locked into the boot. It felt like my heel was being cradled while the wide toe box let me toes wiggle around. That meant my toes wouldn’t be crowded as I walked longer distances. Again, avoiding another blister point I’ve had in the past. I was smitten But how would they feel after a few miles?
It wasn’t long before I had an opportunity to try them out. Minnesota winters don’t disappoint and with a fresh coating of nearly a foot of snow coupled with a warming that would have the snow melting, followed by a following freeze, I could give them a run. On the fresh snow, the deep lug sole offered a solid footing. The boot itself was just tall enough to keep the snow dropping in around the top to a minimum. And when it got into the single digits above zero? My feet were toasty and warm. Even when standing in the snow while taking the time for a snack.
As the temperature increased, the melting snow showed the next feature I have come to love about these boots. The BDry Waterproof system handles keeping the melting snow outside easily. Combined with the 200g 3M™ Thinsulate™ insulation, my feet stayed warm without getting sweaty and wet from the inside.
WHAT I LOVE:
The way my heel fits into the boot, how warm the boot is no matter what weight of sock I use and the deep lug sole. The color is great too and I’m really impressed with the overall construction of the boot. These boots are toasty and warm thanks to the insulated insole and the thick lugged sole.
I also like the molded heel kick. It makes getting the boots off a breeze and helps to lock my snowshoes and spikes in place. The height of the boot is just right in most instances. When I need something to keep deep snow out, I add my gaiters and keep hiking.
I’m also a fan of Oboz program that has them planting a tree for every pair of boots sold. Learn more at One More Tree.
WHAT I’M NOT A FAN OF:
While the lug sole is great on snow, on ice I’ve had to slow my stride because I get absolutely no grip. It’s my one disappointment in this boot. To have a winter boot that requires traction gear no matter how much ice is out there seems to miss the point. Having to wear traction devices when I’m walking to the bus or on an icy stretch of trail isn’t what I’d hoped for.
Model: Bridger 7″ BDry Insulated Winter Boot
Retailer Where Purchased: REI
Specs: Recommended for snowshoeing and hiking. The boot is an over-the-ankle, lace-up style. Materials include BDry waterproof breathable membrane, waterproof unbuckle leather upper, tricot mesh lining and 200g 3M Thinsulate synthetic fiber lining. The midsole is a dual-density EVA. The support is a thermoplastic urethane chassis/nylon shank and sits on a winterized rubber outsole. Overall weight for the pair is 2 pounds 9 ounces.
Next Post Preview: When the weather warms up and snow starts melting it’s more important than ever to do some trail cleanup.
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