Supportive, all-leather, and recraftable
These are amazingly comfortable, supportive, and hard-wearing boots. That being said, I'm always wary of boot reviews, since everyone's foot is different. Some folks might like these boots, and others might not. So, to make this review helpful, I'll focus on what makes these boots stand out compared to others.
First, it's a classic full-grain-leather, stitch-down, Norwegian-welt backpacking boot, with minimal stitching. What this means is that it's extremely durable. Also, the boots can be resoled and even recrafted when they eventually wear out (ie, the leather can be re-polished and re-tooled, the midsole or liner replaced as needed, etc.) by sending them to the Danner factory in Portland, Oregon. What this means is that these boots will last a long, long time.
Second, for that kind of all-leather construction, these Danners are actually pretty lightweight. Of course, they're nowhere near as light as boots with synthetic or mesh uppers. But I, for one, was tired of shelling out good money to buy new boots every year, only to have them fall apart after 300 miles or so. For me, the durability and quality of the Danners more than make up for the small weight penalty. Again, that's a matter of opinion, and your mileage may very...
I personally also like the fairly low cut of the boot; in my opinion, ultra-high ankles aren't needed on anything short of mountaineering boots. The three-quarter height of these boots work for me. Also, I like that there's no "Achilles notch" at the back of the ankle. I like the secure feel it provides, and the leather becomes supple enough after break-in that you don't even notice it. Again, those kinds of details are things on which individuals may differ.
Of course, what this all-leather handmade construction means is that these boots need some break-in time. Take them to a city park or easy dirt trails for a few miles at first, gradually increasing the distance until they feel like a well-fitting glove. Then, you'll be ready to start backpacking.
In short, if you are looking for lightweight hiking shoes with no break-in time, these boots are not for you. But if you are looking for a long-term affair with a quality product that is handmade in the Pacific Northwest by people who will stand by it when issues come up, these boots deserve a look.
I was glad to see these quality boots on the REI website.
These boots are not for the casual dayhiker, but come into their own on backpaking trips or challenging trails and weather.
As a convert to leather hiking boots, I was frustrated by other brands where the sole is glued to the leather; after many hikes in wet Northwest weather, I found my boots coming a apart at the sole just when the leather was perfectly broken in.
An important design advantage to these boots is the sole is sewn to the uppers. I'm on my second pair now, and my first lasted a decade-other boots lasted me 3-4 years. Also, pay attention to the tounge on these boots, which keeps your toes from jamming into your boots even on long, steep downhill trails with a heavey pack on your back.
If you are considering these boots, I suggest trying them on in the store to be more certain the fit is right for your feet and the weight will work for you. Also be aware that a break-in period and routine application of leather conditioner is essential.
My feet have been protected over many happy miles with my mountain lights, and I wish you the same.
I use this boot for day hikes, snowshoeing, and street use. They're so rugged and comfortable, that I also plan on using them for hunting this fall.
The construction is bombproof, and the traditional design is quite handsome. While they're heavier than many newer style hiking boots, the weight isn't noticeable on all but the longest hikes.
The only way you're going to get a better boot than this is to go semi-custom with something like a Limmer. These are as good as off the peg gets, and frankly a bargain. Made in Portland, OR to boot.
Water resistance is great, tongue is well designed, but will leak first. Breathability seems about as good as a waterproof leather boot (even Gore-Tex) is going to get. My sole criticism, is that I can't get the upper portion tighter around my ankle, which is either simply a fit and flex issue or perhaps could have been alleviated by the addition of another row of speed-lace hooks.
I've had these boots for several years now and still going strong. They are almost ready for a re-sole now after being worn nearly every day. The only "complaint" I have is that they are very stiff when new so I wore them every other day for a couple of weeks before they had conformed to my feet. After that they provided good protection from sticks, rocks etc. while hiking. The build is superior and it seems like the uppers will last forever. I rate comfort as good, getting better with use, as they aren't tennis shoes. They offer great protection from the elements though. They are totally waterproof, even standing in shallow water. I would recommend these boots to anyone wanting high quality of build and materials that will last a long time. I liked them enough to buy them for my sons.
Heritage and timeless favorites
I had a pair of Danners that I got rid of years ago and have missed them ever since so finally this year I took the plunge and bought these to reclaim the durability and heritage of a a true hiking boot. There is no concession to the latest fashion or technology, only the time proven design and materials that makes this boot a fantastic choice. Putting them on was as if I never took them off. Yes, they are heavy and require breaking in but that's fine with me. They are sturdy, stable and very well made. They will support your heaviest load while also serving you well for a long day hike. I think they're great.
made in usa, good with a pack animal
I have been hiking in my danner mtn lights for over 25 years. most of my hiking is with a pack burro, a blm wild burro adoption. these boots, being all leather offer great protection in case her hoof meets my hoof. also, being a veteran and a patriot I appreciate buying items made in the u.s.a. I've had my danners recrafted once and have hundreds of Arizona trail miles in them. I keep 'em in great condition with huberds boot grease, and old school product now made in sunny Arizona! tom, rei member
I just recently went back to Danners. I wore them in the military and switched to non-leather style hiking boots when I got out. After 8 years I finally decided to bite the bullet and go back to leather boots. These are a great pair of boots. Because they're leather you should expect more weight and a much longer break-in, but once broken in they're great. I recently wore them for work hiking around the woods in Alaska (10 to 35 degrees F). Warm, dry and comfortable. Good traction.
The Real Deal
I agree with the other reviewer that having a glue soled hiking shoe come apart is unforgivable, and it happened to me 30 miles from a change - and those where "top quality", expensive hiking boots. These Danners are rock solid, and for me that is far and away the number one consideration. I bought them a 1/2 size big and use a bottom liner. They may be a little heavy, but the stability and protection is the pay-off. Gorgeous boots.
After the painful break in process, these boots should hold up for many years. Don't expect to be able to wear these on a regular basis until you've broken them in. It took me a month and some very bad blisters on my Achilles heel. Comfort rating based on post break-in.
Nice good old fashion leather & vibram Hiking Boots