Danner 453 GTX
Price Paid: $50
I suppose it's heresy to knock a pair of Danners, but so be it. Actually when I first got them, the 453's were great. Very comfortable, good support and the Gore-Tex lining did a pretty good job of keeping my feet dry - for a while.
I seemed to be getting good service out of them until one day when I couldn't figure out why my right foot was thoroughly soaked. Upon inspection, I noticed a split in the leather just above the midsole which rendered the boots pretty much useless in wet weather (and at the time, it just happened to be winter).
In any case, they were worn a bit longer (on dry days) before reaching an early retirement. Aside from the split, it looked like they still had plenty of life in them and if I had paid full retail, I probably would have squawked at Danner.
Fortunately, I had gotten the 453's for way cheap on clearance as they were a discontinued color. My only other gripe was the dye used in the tongue had a habit leeching into my socks and staining them.
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 42 oz
Price Paid: $149.99
I am actually a meter reader for a gas company in Michigan. I average about 8-10 miles a day of walking. I tried other boots, and tennis shoes, but nothing worked. With a Cabelas' not far from us I decided to try and find a good boot.
I tried the Danner 453 GTX and I have been buying them ever since. (I am on my 8th pair). I wear them year round. They are lightweight, waterproof, and very good feeling on my feet.
I worked in a factory for 20 years before this job, so I have the heel spurs, and flat feet and the support from this boot is awesome.
I very highly recommend this boot for hikers, backcountry enthusiasts, or working people looking for great comfort for their feet.
Use: hikes, car-camping, backpacking
Break-in Period: 2 days
Price Paid: $147
I bought my first pair of hiking boots in 2007. This was the pair that I bought. I wasn't going to buy them, as I thought the comfort wasn't there. I was going to get some Columbia boots, don't recall the style, as they were cheaper than the Danners.
The sales girl told me that I would love the Danners 100 fold, within 2 weeks. She stated that they are the most comfortable hiking boots that they have in the store, and that I would regret buying the Columbia brand.
I made the purchase and never looked back. It took me 2 days of doubling socks to break them in, and that was at work. I have never had any issues with leaking, or discomfort. I have gone through rocky areas, wet areas and a wide range of temperatures, from 30 below zero, to 100+...
In a nutshell, best boots that I ever bought
Materials: Full grain nubuck/gore-tex
Use: long hikes for me/ rough trail/off trail
Break-in Period: very short
Weight: about 3 pounds
Price Paid: $139.95 no shipping
These are very handsome and obviously very well constructed. I just happen to be a nubuck fan and there is some synthetic material as well. The fit is true to size right out of the box; I feel comfortable in mail order as I always wear a 10D and have been told I have the "perfect" foot(s). Danner says they are a little wider and a midweight sock is perfect. They are about between mid and high cuts. Great ankle support. (Bean Cresta socks are great) Again the fit is great; a very slight heel pull from the right shoe, but a loop tie fixed that. There is virtually no break in particularly after coating them with Danner's nubuck waterproofing (water based).
Very comfortable and soild on and off trail; I've only done a few short mile hikes to date but I am confident they can handle just about any terrain. I just use a shoulder bag so I have no idea about heavier packs. The Gore-tex is a plus and Backpacker gave them a "best-buy" rating in the recent year gear review. I did look at some others including Bean's Cresta Hikers, but they are more bucks (or is that more new bucks? hey moe!) and heavier. The Danner 453 GTX is outstanding!
Break-in Period: one day
I hike several miles in the Phoenix Mountain Perserve every day with my dogs. I have wide feet and the 10 1/2 EE fit well with no break in. They lasted me 8 months, 2 months longer then the previous boots I have purchased. I am buying another pair because they are the best boot I have had in a long time and they lasted longer.