Danner boots are American staples for outdoor lovers, and known as some of the best hiking boots out there. Recently, I got my hands (well, feet) on a pair to try out. I went with the Danner Wallowa Hiker, which seemed to be a great option for those looking for a price-conscious pair of casual hikers. You can check out the complete line of hiking boot options here. The Wallowas are among the least expensive in the Danner line, but I really liked the look of them…more of a classic hiking boot feel.
The first thing you’ll notice about Danner boots, even before you take them out of the box, is that they are well-crafted. Just solid. Danner prides themselves on their craftsmanship, an overused word that all too often doesn’t live up to expectations. Not here. The materials used for this boot are scruff- and abrasion-resistant, and the performance tread is incredibly tough, yet flexible. The suede and nubuck leather upper is designed to protect your feet in cold and wet environments. Their construction process and love of the craft is highlighted in this video from the Danner website.
The main reason I chose the Wallowa hiker, though, is its versatility. I want to be comfortable whether I’m on a day outing with the family or an extended backcountry trek. They even work if you’re stuck in the office for awhile and then heading out afterwards.
Wearing the boot for the first time, I immediately noticed both the level of comfort underfoot and the firm ankle support. The performance tread outsole is built to provide traction over rugged terrain, and you can feel that traction as you move along. One of my first hikes in these boots featured rugged, rocky terrain, and I felt much more stable on the rocks than I had on previous hikes.
Graduating from a basic trail hiking shoe to this boot, I have to say that having a supported ankle will take some getting used to. It makes the boot seem a little heavier (total weight is 53 oz.), but it’s important for safety and hiking in rougher terrain – definitely an immediate confidence boost on the trail. The abrasion-resistant toe and heel cap also lend themselves to a sturdier fit. I had to re-tie my laces to secure my heel in place, but once that was done, I was able to keep going without any sliding problems.
The fit was excellent from the moment I tried them on. Of course, it will take a few miles to break them in, but after a couple of full days of hiking, I’ve had no problems with blisters or discomfort.. The extra support, especially after wearing light hikers for so long, was welcome. Additionally, the Wallowas feature waterproof Danner Dry liner, which pulls moisture away from the foot.
Another great thing about Danner boots is that many of them can be resoled. If your boots have stitch-down construction around the perimeter of the boot, they can be repaired. There’s something cool about going so many miles in your boots that they need to be repaired, but being able to continue your journey together. The craftsmen at Danner can do everything from a minor part replacement to a major reconstruction. See the recrafting info on their page for details and to find out if your boot qualifies.
I’m looking forward to many great days and memories made with my Danners. Wearing them makes my ability to become a more serious hiker possible, and I’m excited about the confidence, safety, and comfort I’ve gained by getting them. Walk on!
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