I (Mara) was super excited to review the Oboz Bridger boots because fining a good boot is a top priority for me. The following are my thoughts on them.
If my feet are miserable on a trek, then I’m miserable. It doesn’t matter if they are cold, wet, cramped, blistered, or all of the above, it can nearly ruin a hike. And let me tell you, I’ve had some miserable trips because of my feet. So I was excited to be able to review the Oboz Footwear’s Bridger for Hike Like A Woman.
My foot situation
First I will tell you that I really like these boots. But before I get to the why, I need to give you a little bit of background on my misadventures in the foot department.
I have an odd shaped foot. I’ve come to that conclusion over my 30 plus years on earth. I wear a six and half in a non-hiking boot or non-running shoe, and I have a little bit of a wide foot. My right leg was broken in two places, and I had to have surgery about 11 years. Because of this, my right foot swells more than my left making it wider.
If you have read the book “Wild”, or seen the movie, Cheryl Strayed was fitted for hiking boots, but began losing toenails along the trail. Everyone kept telling her that her boots were too small. Well this happened on my first pair of hiking boots. I went to the outdoor store. Was fitted by a professional to a seven and half (one whole size larger). I marched up and down the stairs, and they felt good. Then on epic hikes, I was finding that a few weeks later my toenails were turning black, well dark blue really, and eventually falling off.
I just chalked it up to battle wounds and bragging rights. “I hiked so much I lost my toenails!” I would tell people. Then I hiked the furthest I have ever trekked, and by the fourth day my feet hurt so bad I literally questioned whether my pinky toe was broken.
I brushed it off as just hiking too much. However, on my next epic hike, even with duct-taping blister prone spots, the same thing happened.
So I went back to the outdoor store and was fitted to nine. Remember, I’m a size six and half in a normal shoe. My nines felt pretty good and I put in some long epic hikes in them, but my pinky toenails were still becoming victim to the boots.
Why I liked the Bridger
That leads me to the first thing I love about the Oboz Bridger. They have wide toe box. Or at least wide enough that I have been able to keep all my toenails. I read reviews online and decided to go with an eight and half because of the wider toe box. This was the perfect size for me.
Also when my other boots began to tear up my feet, the first thing I noticed was blisters on the bottoms of my toes and on the outside of my pinky toes. Then came blisters in between my toes. Then came blisters on my big toes. With the Oboz Bridger I have not gotten one blister on any of my toes. Not even a little one that you can handle.
My toes do not feel cramped either. Nor do I feel like there is too much room. I have worn them with thick wool socks and thin wool socks. They are super comfy on my toes.
After my first hike in them – I did a nine-mile day hike with 5,000 elevation gain – I did get some blisters on the outsides of my feet at the heels, but none that were too bad. On my second long hike in them – 21 miles with one night on the trail – I got some pretty nasty blisters in the same spot.
But the following weekend, I did another one-night backpacking trip, put Band-Aids over the blisters with duct tape over that, and had absolutely no problems. My feet felt great on that hike.
Another great feature is that the boot laces up with only one set of brads. I like this because after a few days on the trail my fingers begin to get sore where the laces have rubbed from pulling them tight so many times. In my old boots, I would tighten the laces, loop them around a brad, tighten them, loop them around a brad, tighten them again, and then tie them. These boots are easier on my fingers having one step of tightening the laces out. And they stay tied and tight my whole hike.
I wore the boots to work for two days before taking them out on the trail; however, I’m not sure they need a whole lot of breaking in. The first hike I did was nine miles and the bottom of my feet were a little sore at the end. But that was the only pain I had.
The they have a pretty good grip on wet surfaces. The waterproofing is great as well. They have a rubber-tipped toe, which I like because that is usually the place that gets the most wet. With this toe, I don’t have to worry about the waterproofing wearing off and water seeping into my boots there.
They are very flexible and have a really good bend as I hike. Sometimes I thought maybe they were too flexible because I could feel some of the rocks and roots that stick up on the trail.
I’m glad I got to review these boots, because I really like them. I foresee many more miles hiking on the trail in them.
These boots were provided to us for review by Oboz. All thoughts and opinions are our own.