If the Oboz Bridger Mid was to be psychologically assessed it may well be described as ‘passive aggressive’.
Whilst the soft nubuck leather and muted colour options (walnut, grey and merlot red) create the impression of a laidback character, the Oboz Bridger Mid’s aggressive, chunky outsole and stubborn-looking toe and heel bumpers automatically suggest otherwise. This eyebrow-raising combination results in a pumped up looking hiking mid designed to quietly and confidently chew up any off road challenge put in its way.
In terms of feel, the Oboz Bridger Mid Walking Boot (available in men's and women's sizes) is comfortable and supportive out of the box and a large part of this can be directly attributed to the integration of the company’s infamous O Fit Insole.
Born a decade ago in Montana, American outdoor footwear specialists Oboz have established an international reputation for the quality of their proprietary O Fit Insoles designed to deliver optimum fit, feel and performance out on the trail. This was our first experience of the technology and we were particularly impressed by the high density EVA sculpted arch and heel cup that offered the kind of support one would normally only expect from an expensive custom-fit insole.
Oboz describe the Bridger Mid to be ‘Standard’ width and best suited to Medium volume feet but I found they fitted my narrow, low volume feet just fine. Spacious without feeling vacuous, the toe box offers just the right kind of ‘roominess’ for feet and toes to expand when temperatures and terrain dictate but still provides the level of precision we value when travelling over rocky, challenging terrain.
"The chunky hiking-specific Granite Peak outsole with deep 4mm directional lugs is built to last..."
The Bridger Mid’s out of the box comfort is impressive both under and around the foot yet things become a little less agreeable when you travel higher up the boot. Despite Oboz’s claims of a ‘pliable, extra comfortable collar’, we found the ankle cuff to be pretty stiff initially and experienced a bit of rubbing in that area during the first few hours in the boot, particularly when flexing into high upward steps. We did however appreciate the robust lacing system that locks halfway up the boot as it allows you to customise the fit around the ankle, thereby helping to minimise the effects of the breaking-in period.
If you’re looking for a plush, comfortable and flexible boot solely for low level walks in the park then the Bridger Mid may not be for you as it’s a strong and stable (take that Theresa May) boot that’s built to endure and perform in rather more rugged terrain. Think South Downs Way rather than Richmond Park and you’ll be in the right territory.
Durability, protection and support are the key words here and the Oboz Bridger Mid is packed with features to deliver on all three fronts.
Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Boot
Weight: 459g (women's) 528g (men's)
More info: https://obozfootwear.com/en-gb/products/mens-bridger-mid-b-dry-waterproof
Off-road stability comes courtesy of the nylon shanks and TPU chassis in the midsole that combine to provide a dependable and solid ride and help to reduce lateral movement and accidental ankle rolls.
The chunky hiking-specific Granite Peak outsole with deep 4mm directional lugs is built to last, provides solid underfoot protection from rocks and stones and offers decent levels of traction over the majority of terrain. Whilst loose stony paths and muddy trails are all good, the Bridger Mid will not be the best choice if you’re going to be doing a lot of scrambling as you’ll need a stickier rubber outsole for maximum grip on the rock.
In terms of protection, the moulded rubber heel and toe bumpers are robust and more than fit for purpose and while the Oboz’s B-Dry waterproof/breathable membrane does a really good job of keeping feet dry in muddy puddles and shallow river crossings, just remember you’re wearing a mid rather than a boot so any deeper aquatic adventures will be off the cards.
At £150, the Oboz Bridger Mid might sit at the higher end of the hiking trainer category when it comes to price but if you’re looking for a well made, durable and capable boot then it’s certainly worth a look. You’ll need to be packing a decent amount of patience to put up with the breaking-in period but if you’re prepared to put in the hard yards early doors then the Oboz Bridger Mid will deliver in the long term.