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a hiker in the forest with the Oboz Bangtail Mid winter hiking boots

The high cuff of the Oboz Bangtail Mid creates great support when loaded with a heavy pack. Photo: Lindsay Gough//The Inertia

The Inertia

I love Hiking. I love winter. But hiking in the winter can often be a bit of a chore. When the mercury dips below freezing, things get slippery out there. While most hiking boots worth their salt can boast good traction underfoot, the same traction doesn’t always hold up in freezing temperatures. Enter the Oboz Bangtail Mid.

It’s a waterproof, insulated hiking boot with an eight-inch cuff that not only offers great traction but is one of the most comfortable hiking boots I’ve tested. And that goes for winter, summer,  or any time of the year!

Plus, most active boots that aren’t made for cold temperatures lack the lining necessary to keep feet warm for hours on end. There is a wide array of winter boots out there today, but most of them are meant to insulate and keep the snow out and aren’t meant for logging miles on the trail. Those that do are often bulky and heavy. Not the Bangtail Mids.

I’ve been testing these boots all winter in the mountains of British Columbia, and as time has gone on, they have become the go-to boots for exploring when it’s cold and slippery out. There is a lot that goes into the workings of this boot, so let’s break it down below.

Oboz Bangtail Mid: First Impressions

Pros Cons
Excellent comfort Difficult to get on/off
Waterproof Laces can come undone
Great traction

Weight: 21 ozoboz bangtail mid for our review of the best winter boots
Insulation: 200g PrimaLoft
Boot Height: 8″
Closure: Lace
Upper Material: Nublock Leather
Lining: Wool/Polyester
Outsole: Poly/Silica/Vulcanized compound

Although this is classified as a mid-height boot, its eight-inch height is noticeably taller than most “mid” hiking boots. For winter romping, this is a welcome difference, especially when it’s insulated.

As I put the boots on the first time, I immediately felt like they were ready to go with very little break-in needed. Lacing up was a bit tedious, but once tied up, the comfort took away any thoughts of frustration at the time it took to get a tight fit. Indeed, these boots aren’t the type of winter boots made for taking the garbage out or checking the mail; they’re for getting out on the trail and not letting a bit of snow or ice hold you back from a good session out in the wild. So, we gave the lacing-up time a pass. As for performance out on the trail? Read on.

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Notable Features of the Oboz Bangtail Mid

Oboz Bangtail Mid: Insulation

Being that the Oboz Bangtail Mid is a winter boot, good insulation is key. But being that Oboz cares about the environment (it’s a certified B corporation, after all), the insulation can’t be any old insulation. To that point, the Bangtail has 200g PrimaLoft Bio insulation throughout. PrimaLoft Bio is a 100% recycled fiber that also biodegrades after it’s life is up, ensuring less microplastics in the ecosystem long after it’s been discarded.

This is a huge win and we can only hope that more companies jump on this bandwagon to help keep more microplastics out of our biosphere when a product’s usable life is over. On top of that, the insulation is effective — my feet were warm and toasty throughout a frosty winter in British Columbia.

Outsole — A Winning Oboz Bangtail Mid Feature

The next big feature of the Bangtail is the Vibram ArcticGrip compound on the outsole. If you’ve seen our Best Winter Boots review, you’ll have seen us singing ArcticGrip’s praises on a number of our top picks. That’s simply because it works well!

This rubber’s traction on icy surfaces is second to none, and it works so well that brands regularly include warnings against using it indoors. But for snow and ice, we couldn’t find a winter compound that could compare. Similar to how winter tires are a step ahead of all-season models in the snow, so too is the ArcticGrip for outsoles.

Comfort for Days

The other big feature is simply the comfort. These are some of the most comfortable hiking boots I’ve tried, and I’ve tried dozens of pairs over the last year. Oboz Bangtail Mids fast became my go-to for their support and how they felt underfoot.

hiking on a log with the oboz bangtail mid winter hiking boots

The Vibram ArcticGrip outsole provides good traction on more than just snow, such as this sketchy log traverse. Photo: Lindsay Gough//The Inertia

Drawbacks of the Oboz Bangtail Mid

There honestly wasn’t much bad to say about these boots. I tested them for five months, and they excelled in most use cases. If anything, they do take a while to get on and dial in the fit. This is more due to the high cuff of the boot and the flat laces that can get sticky if the snow is caked on. A good DWR treatment can help this out and save a bit of frustration for you if you get impatient.

oboz bangtail mid winter hiking boots in the snow

You’ll appreciate the eight-inch boots when in the snow, but just don’t expect to get them on and off in a hurry. Photo: Steve Andrews //The Inertia

Final Thoughts on the Oboz Bangtail Mid

The Bangtail Mid was the top pick for hiking boots in our review of the Best Winter Boots this year due to several factors: the warmth of the PrimaLoft Bio insulation, the tackiness of the Vibram ArcticGrip on the outsole, and simply the comfort that you feel from day one.

It even worked well above freezing—I’d say this is a good shoulder-season boot as well. I didn’t notice the insulation being a drawback until it was about 50 degrees or so. That means that this boot is much more than a winter hiker, depending on where you live.

the underside of the Oboz bangtail mid winter hiking boots showing off the vibram arcticgrip outsole

ArcticGrip really does live up to the hype, especially on snow and ice. Photo: Steve Andrews//The Inertia

The Oboz Bangtail Mid isn’t a quiver-killer, especially if you tackle the majority of your hikes in the summer. But if you want to extend your time on the trail to being year round, this boot will suit you well when the temperatures drop and things get slippery out there.

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Editor’s Note: Looking for more boots? Peep our reviews of the Danner Cloud Caps, Merrel Moab 3s, and Baffin Chloe Women’s Snow Boots.  For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

a shot of the vibram arctic grip outsoles on the danner cloud cap winter boots while walking in the snow
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