Danner Light II
Price Paid: $75
So far these boots have been fairly good to me. Bought them slightly used on eBay for $75. The Gore-Tex liner keeps water out and the soles are nice and stiff.
- The soles are pretty stiff when new and the waffle sole does keep mud, so not a good boot if you're going to be going in and out of your house a lot.
- The tongue is gusseted to about an inch and a half from the top of the boot, so at first I did have some problems getting it to stay smooth while lacing it up, but once you hike in them it sort of "sets" and the leather stays put
- They can be very pricy and hard to find in retail stores for sizing. (I bought them on the hope that at my price they would be easy to sell back for at least as much.)
- There was absolutely no toe bang going down a very steep deer trail and almost no heel slip going up (only if you continually walk on your toes).
- The nylon panels on the side are very tough and help the boot to breath, which was nice.
- You will want to get some insoles like the Dr. Scholls ones because the Airthotic ones that come with the boots only go half way and are nice feeling, but the rest of your foot is right on top of the footbed with very little cushioning.
Break-in Period: not much, but give it some for better comfort
Weight: not light-weight
Price Paid: $200
I have heard about the quality of Danner from a friend who has owned his boots for over 20 years. I tried on others at the store but these felt the best right out of the box. I got the 12 EE and they were just big enough for me. I didn't have much time for break-in and it turns out, I really didn't need any.
I set out for a 35 mile hike. The first couple trail days I spent more time than usual adjusting the laces and sock combo to get the right feel. The laces and studs are an excellent features of this boot, making lacing up in the morning easy. By day three I had a good sense of tightness and they felt as good as they could for 13 mile days. I will admit I had a few blisters, but they were minor and more of my issue rather than the boots. My right foot is about a half size different so it took me a while to dial in the laces and socks. My feet were refreshed every morning and boots felt more and more like slippers with every new step.
I crossed several streams and never once got my feet wet. I also hiked in some wet, mucky terrain after rain and never felt a drop on my feet, nor slipped. I had about 6500 feet of elevation gains and never had toe jams or bad heel lifts. This was a huge PRO in my book.
Overall the boots took a solid beating right out of the box. I wouldn't recommend no break-in, but they performed as I expected. At the end of the trail the boots had a few scars but otherwise still looked fairly new and I actually look forward to wearing them more often.
A boot I can grow old with and made in the USA, nice.
Perhaps the only CON - they are a bit heavy despite the name.
Update: September 27, 2010
This is merely an update to a previous review.
After another 35 miles or so in the Yosemite wilderness these boots just get better. I didn't have one major foot issue this trip (which is rare for me). Yes, I got a few hot-spots on my toes (edge of big toe and pinky toe) but those were quickly averted with some quick duct tape patches. More of my fault for being a bit loose on a steep downhill.
Perhaps my only issue would be a larger, more protected toe box. Larger because this seems to be the only area I have any significant issues (and those were minimal, I was going down 4k feet in an afternoon). I am sure a cobler can stretch the toe box a bit for me.
As far as protection in the toe box, I simply mean the front of my boots have a few battle scars that perhaps some material over the leather might help reduce potential problems. I am a bit lazy with my feet sometimes and I never once hurt my toes or did an ankle-bender (the boots saved my ankles more than once). I do wear gaters which help a lot, both in terms of hitch-hikers and water penetration.
Besides the weight, which I am used to, these are very comfy boots and they only seem to get better. (laces are excellent and stick right where you set and tie them, wow).
Materials: leather and gore tex
Use: all outdoors, hiking, recreation, work, snow
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 3 LB
Price Paid: $129
I bought a previous version of Light2 in 1991. They are finally worn out. I won't buy anything else. I don't need to read anyone's reviews or ratings. These boots have done far more than I ever expected.
Trouble is they are brutally hard to find in retail stock. I need to try on a pair since might foot may have changed in 18 years (not that anything else has). I wish Danner put more effort into trying to serve their customers. I'd hate to have to settle for something less but may be forced to do so. Is their plan for me to ship boots back and forth through internet sales until I find the size that's right?
I'm happy to spend $235 on this great boot, I just wish it was possible to do so.
Materials: denier and leather
Use: hiking, back-packing, and walking
Break-in Period: right out of the box
Weight: never noticed
Price Paid: $199
For my feet, Danner fits the best without exception. Will last for years and countless miles. I bought my second pair seven months ago after the first pair which I had for twelve years. I finally gave them to a friend who was just getting into hiking with tons of miles left in them.
Price Paid: $178
I am disappointed on this model. I bought these boots because they have a great look to them and my Montrail boots were finally falling apart. Also Danner company is an American company and we should support American companies.
I am disappointed in these boots, because Danner does make a great boot. However the feel of these boots are just weird. No matter how tight I lace them, they feel kind of loose when taking a step. When I take that step, the boot feels like it is filled with water and is hesitant to move with your foot. Or as you are lifting your foot, the boot moves a fraction of a second slower than your foot.
Also when walking, it feels like I am walking on dry sand or wet sponges, and I feel like I am expending extra energy on each step. My Montrail GTX and La Sportiva Glaciers feel more of a part of my foot than this boot, and when you take a step with them, each step feels solid.
Also the soles looks thick, but I seem to feel every stick and rock I step upon. The leather feels a tad soft, and I see myself wearing a hole in them over a bit of time.
Overall, if you like Danner Boots, check on their other hiking boots (I really did like some work boots I bought a couple of years ago). But I am disappointed in the feel of these boots, and I don't see myself wearing them out on the trails, maybe around work, but not on the trails.
Richard in Boise Idaho