Oboz Bridger 10″ (400g) Winter Hiking Boots Review

Oboz Bridger 10” 400g Winter Hiking Boot Review

The Oboz Bridger 10″ is a waterproof and insulated winter hiking boot with 400-gram Thinsulate insulation, making it suitable for extreme cold weather use. Oboz doesn’t publish a temperature rating for them but they’re comparable to other 400-gram insulated winter hiking boots (-40F) in terms of warmth. I’ve been winter hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains with the Bridger 10’s for several years and bought a replacement pair this year after the last pair wore out. They’re awesome.

Specs at a glance

  • Gender: men’s (women’s model is called the Bridger 9″)
  • Insulation: 400g Thinsulate (approx -40F below)
  • Waterproof/breathable: Yes
  • Uppers: Leather Nubuck
  • Wide sizes: Yes
  • Shank: Nylon
  • Gaiter ring: Yes
  • Weight Per Pair: 3 lbs. 8 oz. (men’s size 10.5)

The Bridger 10″ has thick nubuck leather uppers and a beefy, rubber front toe kick providing your toes with ample protection when wearing snowshoes, crampons, or microspikes. The tongue is gusseted to prevent water from leaking into the boot if you step into a deep puddle, and there’s a front gaiter ring at the base of the laces. The back of the boot has a rigid heel cup that gives the boot excellent stability and has a narrow protruding “shelf” to capture a rear snowshoe strap. It’s priceless for keeping the boots in the snowshoe binding.

The boots are calf-height providing more warmth than a mid-height boot
The boots are calf-height providing more warmth than a mid-height boot.

The upper part of the boot is fairly stiff out of the box but loosens up with use. But the height of the boot provides a lot of insulation around the ankle and lower calf, which will keep your feet and lower legs warmer than a mid-height boot will. It also requires a slightly different gait, propelled more by your shins and less by your ankles, because your ankle has much less range of motion in a taller boot. It’s not hard to get used to walking with the Bridgers, however and doesn’t tire you faster. It’s very subtle: you might not even notice the difference if you use a mid-height boot.

The toe box is robust enough to prevent compression by an elastomer harness.
The toe box is robust enough to prevent compression by an elastomer harness.

Despite being a 400g boot, the Bridger is quite agile, with a curved sole that makes it easier to walk with them. While the sole does flex some, it’s pretty stiff, which is beneficial when hiking with microspikes, crampons, or snowshoes. The toe box is also robust enough to resist compression by the elastomer straps on lightweight traction like Microspikes or Hillsound Trail Crampons. This can be a real problem with a softer boot and can lead to cold or cramped toes.

In terms of sizing, the Bridger 10″ boots run slightly narrow but true to size. Oboz says that the heel is a size “C” width, which is indeed narrow, while the toe box is a regular size “D” width. I have plenty of room inside to spread out my toes, even with a third-party insole. Regardless, the Bridger 10″ is also available in wide sizes and those are available if you need more foot room.

The Bridger 10 comes with a sculpted insole covered on one side with reflective mylar and the other with wool
The Bridger 10 comes with a sculpted insole covered on one side with reflective mylar and the other with wool

The Bridger 10″ comes with a wool-covered insole that is coated on the bottom with reflective mylar. The insole is sculpted to cup your heel and has a small shock-absorbing pad underneath. It provides good arch support and is a superior insole as manufacturer insoles go. REI even sells them as a standalone thermal insole, side-by-side with insoles from Superfeet and Sole.

The Bridger 10″ has an aggressive exterior sole with big lugs that provides excellent traction on snow and off. The lugs run up the sides of the sole a bit, making them good for scrambling on loose gravel or open ledge. If you’ve owned Oboz trail shoes or boots, then you’re probably familiar with the Granite Peak outsole used on the Bridger 10″, since it’s also found on many of Oboz’s other hiking shoes. Of course, you’ll still need microspikes or snowshoes when snow and ice make the scene. The sole has a nylon shank that provides very firm heel support with a TPU chassis to absorb shocks and a high arch for gaiter compatibility. A men’s 10.5 weighs 3 lbs 8 oz/pair.

The Bridger 10 has an aggressively lugged sole that provides excellent traction on slush and snow.
The Bridger 10 has an aggressively lugged sole that provides excellent traction on slush and snow.

The lacing system uses a combination of fabric loops, metal eyes, and speed hooks near the top collar. The boots come with round laces that are a little on the short side. If you decide to replace them, check out Ironlace Round Bootlaces. They’re so tough to break, they’ll probably outlast your boots.

There’s a slight ridge on the back of the heel that keeps snowshoe straps from slipping off the boot.
There’s a slight ridge on the back of the heel that keeps snowshoe straps from slipping off the boot.

The outside of the Bridger 10″ is coated with DWR, which rubs off pretty quickly because snow and ice are so abrasive. If you ask the manufacturer, they’ll tell you to retreat the exterior leather with Nikwax DWR to restore the water repellency and maintain the boots’ “breathability.” I put that in quotes because insulated waterproof/breathable winter hiking boots have never been particularly breathable in my experience.

My recommendation is to seal the exterior with SnoSeal, which is a waterproofing wax that soaks into the leather and provides much longer-lasting waterproofing. Despite what Snoseal claims, once applied, the boots won’t be breathable anymore (I’ve confirmed this with SnoSeal). I melt it with a hot air blow drier so it soaks deeply into the leather and boot seams. It works great. Do it once a year and your boots will never get soaked through. It will darken the leather though, so make sure that’s what you want because there’s no going back once it’s applied.

Recommended winter hiking boots (2022-2023)

Men'sWomen'sInsulation
Oboz 10" Bridger InsulatedOboz 9" Bridger Insulated400g
Salomon Toundra ProSalomon Toundra Pro400g
KEEN Revel IV High PolarKEEN Revel IV High Polar400g
Vasque Snowburban IIVasque Pow Pow III400g
Oboz Bridger 8" InsulatedOboz Bridger 7" Insulated200g
Columbia Bugaboot III Columbia Bugaboot III 200g
KEEN Revel IV Mid PolarKEEN Revel IV Mid Polar200g
Merrell Thermo Kiruna Mid ShellMerrell Thermo Kiruna Mid Shell200g

Recommendation

The Oboz Bridger 10″ is a comfortable and warm winter boot with 400 gram Thinsulate insulation and excellent traction. The high cuffs provide excellent ankle support and help seal in the heat, while the boot’s beefy leather uppers provide excellent protection and durability. The aggressive Granite Peak lugged sole is identical to that used on many of Oboz’s other boots and shoes and is equally capable in snow and slush. If you already use Oboz boots or shoes and love the way they fit, then getting the Bridger 10’s is probably a no-brainer. If you’ve never tried an Oboz boot, these are great cold-weather hikers, well-built, and with plenty of protection to keep your feet warm and happy on long, all-day hikes and snowshoeing trips. The Oboz Bridger 9″ is the women’s version of this 400-gram insulated hiking boot.

I bought a second pair to use this autumn, winter, and for the next few years and I only do that if I really like a product and it is best-of-breed. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: The author purchased these boots.

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10 comments

  1. Hey Philip,

    Just picked up a pair in preparation for this winter season up in The Whites. Although I have yet to take them out on-trail, I’ve been testing them out with all my traction devices, sock layering system etc and came across a very interesting discovery…

    The d-ring on my set of Bridgers was too small to accept the boot-lace hook on the OR Crocodile Gators! I couldn’t believe it – easy fix with a small file to the sides of the hooks on the crocs!

    Hope you have a safe and warm winter season!

    -AK

    • I never use the gaiter ring myself – it’s take too much effort to take the gaiters off when I get home. I just hook it onto the laces. But on other gaiters, sometimes all you need to do is to expand the gap with a screwdriver.

      • My wife and i hiked the Portugese camino. 500 miles with one new pair of oboz bridger and i wore a slightly used pair. In moderate rain we both had wet feet . Misirable performance for hiking boots. No good in the rain.
        I’m sure snow seal would be a must. The gore tex is a joke!

        • 1) there’s no gore-tex in these boots and 2) I doubt you used a 400g insulated boot in Portugal or you’d drown in your own sweat. It’s a different bridger boot. They make several different models.

        • I haven’t tried snoseal. The original waterproofing lasted about 150 miles in the Whites for me. After that, applications of the Nikwax DWR for shoes have lasted approximately 100 miles per application.

  2. the boots we wore are advertized as waterproof

  3. Looks like these Bridger model boots would make good cold weather hunting boots – except for the lack of a WPB liner.
    Thanks for this review.

    P.S. You still need a Vapor Barrier Lining (VBL) to keep the 400 gram insulation dry and WARM all day.

  4. I love these boots. They are supportive, comfortable, and very warm. So warm, in fact, that I only need one pair of regular merino or alpaca socks. Since I find the Bridger runs smaller than my other boots in the same size, this is a good thing. If you like heavy socks or prefer to double layer, you might consider going up a size, at least for women.

    I was concerned that these boots would not fit well in the MSR Paragon binding, but I’ve had no problems.

    My boots came tied with a unique lacing pattern. I used one boot tied their way and the other tied my usual way. The Oboz technique held my foot better. These are the tallest boots I’ve ever hiked or snowshoed in, so that might be why lacing style mattered.

  5. I am a 63 year old male with size 9 wide foot with bunions. I have tried Keen, Merrell and TNF footwear over the years. I recently purchased a pair of Oboz Sawtooth X hiking shoe. My feet have been thanking me every mile I hiked (25+ miles a week). I look forward to trying these winter hiking boot. I wish I would of found Oboz footwear many miles and years ago.
    The design, quality and comfort are unmatched!!!

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