Your favorite boots glory days have long come and gone. The soles are shot, tread is a thing of the distant past, and the ankle support is non existent on your scambles. Your starting to eye up the shiny boot collection at your local outdoors store, but aren’t sure which way to go. Let us introduce you to a brand that REI sells, but doesn’t have available at any of it’s stores. The maker is Danner, and these boots are built to last.
Meet the Danner Light II’s. Made in America and tough as nails. If you are doing serious hiking or carrying a few days gear on your backpacking journeys, these puppies will quickly become your best friend. They are waterproof, provide excellent ankle support, and are built to last for decades. If you happen to wear them down, the boots can be recrafted. Danner offers part replacements, leather care, and restitching. The customer service is exceptional and we were very pleased with our experience. We ordered these from REI and they came in without the airthotic instep cup for the heel. After reaching out to Danner via email, we received a response quickly, and the insert showed up at our doorstep within a few days.
The boots are made with Nubuck Leather and a 1000 denier nylon upper. At first we were skeptical of the Nylon but it has proved to bring breathability to the boots, trim back some of the weight, and also cut down on abrasion. The GORE-TEX liners are excellent like always. We’ve crossed quite a few streams, trekked through the snow, and walked through wet grasslands with them. Our socks have always been dry after the abuse. Right out of the box you will be able to see the impeccable craftsmanship. It’s obvious that these are made with care and attention to detail.
These boots have hiked out of the Grand Canyon, through the Olympic Peninsula, into the hardwood flood plains of Congaree, scaled Angel’s Landing at Zion, trekked through the slot canyons of Utah, traversed the Great Smoky Mountains, and countless other trails. Other than some minor scuffs on the leather, they look great still.
So you’re probably thinking what are the cons of these boots? Well, they aren’t cheap (good quality never is) and they are a beast to break in. We endured a few heal blisters and hotspots on our ankles during our first few runs with them. The nubuck leather takes time to break in properly, but if you can bear through it, the leather eventually molds to your feet. There are a lot of theories on how to break these puppies in. Some say to walk through a stream and then walk in them until they dry out. Others have said to step into a warm bathtub and use a bristle brush to scrub off the chemical coating so the leather can become porous and breathe.
We tried the bathtub method and didn’t really see a major difference afterwards. What we would suggest is keeping them conditioned with a leather conditioner. Think back to to childhood if you ever tried to break in a baseball mitt. Once you have that down, wear them around the house and gradually increase how long you wear them. When you feel comfortable and want to start breaking them in on the trail, there are a few companies that make hiking liner socks that go underneath your wool socks. The theory is that the liner will take the friction instead of your feet, and we must say, it does work.
The Wilder Minds Rating
These boots are highly recommended by us. We only deduct a half point due to the long break in period. Other than that, we can easily envision these boots being around for at least a decade.
Have any experience with Danner boots or favorite tricks on breaking in leather? Share a comment with the community below.
DETAILS FROM DANNER
- 61 oz per pair
- Danner Airthotic
- LAST TYPE
- VIbram Kletterlift
- Made in USA
MADE IN USA
This classification of manufacturing is our promise that this product was built from top to bottom in our Portland, Ore. factory. Our USA Made boots are built with the same commitment to superior craftsmanship that we’ve been known for since 1932.