Danner Mountain Light II
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300
- Look great all cleaned up
- Good fit
- High maintenance
- Long uncomfortable break-in
I like these boots. they're as amphibious as hiking boots get. i try to test them every day i wear them, and i wear them pretty much every day. i've had them for a little over a year now, and they've gotten some serious battle scars.
I DO NOT recomend these for stomping through the pricker bushes of northeastern PA in hunting season, it will put a good beating on these shoes, and damn near kill them (i do however recomend chippewa super logers ar ar ar ar). the leather is too soft for sharp edges, but it does make it hug your foot like a good backpacking boot should (once the month long break in is finished. be patient).
They're kind of high maintinance because of the leather. you don't want it to dry out and crack. i like to use sadle soap & mink oil, but who wants to carry these added items on an extended hike?
The weird tongue design, gore-tex lining, and one-piece leather construction all add up to make this boot very water resistant. i've walked through many creeks and streams testing these boots, and as long as you don't get into water over the tongue fold (roughly 4" of flowing water), you'll stay dry.
The vibram sole provides a good grip on most surfaces. i love the tread, i feel like i can run up any hill with minimal slipping (like mudders on a jeep). the sure grip is a great feeling. i also like how i can walk along rocky creek beds all day fishing, jumping from round pointy rock to round pointy rock, and the arch of my foot will feel fine. and these shoes are very flat footed by the way.
You will probably want some sort of insole (i use the plastic one that it comes with, but it's starting to break). over all, if i had the money i'd get these shoes a 2nd time. i destroy other shoes in a matter of months, and these still have plenty of life after a solid year of wear & tear. i quit buying shoes held together by glue. plastic and glue are generally junk. i'll sacrifice breathability for durability. i'll just change my socks more often.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $310
It's Danner time!
- Tough as nails
- Solid leather
- works in winter
- Great traction and rubber
- Stitch down sole is rebuildable
- Easy break-in
- MADE IN THE USA!
- Heavy (not for wusses)
- Hot (too sexy for most feet)
I paid $310 from the Danner store in Portland.
I have had these boots for about a year and half now. I have worn them hiking, backpacking, working, snowshoeing and pretty much any time between. They are my go to boot for just about everything.
They broke in super easy. I have only got a hot spot twice from them and it was because my socks were wet. The leather stretches to accommodate my wide EE feet. The boots are water tight up to the top of the ankle.
In all my hiking around Oregon (in the rain duh) my feet would emerge dry and toasty. The Vibram sole has good traction and leaves a boot print that looks badass as a bonus. Not one of those sissy curvy girly tread patterns.
The biggest perk is that you can get it resoled for around $60-$100 from Danner. I have worn down the rubber pretty quick. I predict in three years I will send them in to get repaired in Portland. That's right, These things are made in Portland Oregon! That is a huge perk for anyone who has a heart. I am happy to support an awesome American company that looks after me and their employees.
My feet get hot in these in the summer. That is to be expected wearing something so sexy looking though. Two layers of wool socks and these turn into winter boots. I snowshoed and camped for a few days last winter and was toasty the whole time. I also wear them for 8-16 hours on pavement at work without a problem. My feet have gotten pretty attached to these boots, I would say its going to be a long term relationship.
If you are considering them—I say go for it. If you are considering some Chinese made junk that is held together with glue...well you wouldn't be reading this review anyway.
Materials: Leather/ gore-tex liner
Use: short dayhikes, daily wear, or just kicking it
Break-in Period: 3 days
Weight: 3lb and a few oz's
Price Paid: $172
Let me say this was my 3rd pair of Danner boots so it was not a brand I just wandered into or was talked into by a helpful sales assistant. I found just as many have the sizing on boots are just crazy these days since so many are imported, a size 10 in China might be a size 8 or 12 here in the States. It was for that reason when I went looking for a heavier pair of hikers I decided to go with the Mountain Lite II versus playing the musical hiking boot game since I knew my sized 13 feet would fit into a size 13 Danner boot.
The quality is what your would expect from Danner, it is not a real heavy boot but if you're used to the newer cordura, gtx light weight hikers they might be little heavy at first. The kletterlift vibram sole will not win you a lot of friends who have tile or hardwood floors as they mark and mud and dirt cling quite well to them LOL. But they are stiff enough to support a good deal of medium duty backpacking but not heavy mountain hiking the boot is too short in ankle support, another inch would have made this boot a little more universal.
They are resoleable which I for one wished more higher end boot makers would get back to, I have nothing against glued soles but after a certain price range is reached I think they could go the extra mile since they want to take a long nap in your wallet at time of purchase.
I've seen where some have taken issue with the leather in these boots I do not, a moderate coating of dressing softens them up enough to break in. Too much will saturate the leather and alter it's natural ability to repel water or moisture and break it down their not a baseball glove, let the gtx do it's job and you should be good to go.
Is this the last boot you will ever need probably not but it's a damn good solid boot that will serve any owner for a long time, sized as indicated, made in the USA and I would recommend it to anyone who needs this type of boot without any regrets.
Price Paid: $260
Typical Danner quality, and they look like a million bucks.
I normally wear a 9R for dress and "tennis" shoes, and normally go a half size bigger for boots. I went with the 9.5W after reading that the boots run narrow.
I could have got away with getting 9.5R instead of the 9.5W, but they still fit just fine. I have to wear thick socks, but that is just as well. They do stretch after break-in.
These are "Old School" boots and will tear your feet up the first 25 miles or so, my heels were fried until mile 22, then they broke in perfectly. If you are looking for comfort right out of the box, then look elsewhere, these are traditional hikers...and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Crossed many streams, and just got back from the snow. They worked perfectly. I also like that they are a "low" cut boot, so you don't get all that shin pressure from "taller" boots. As to ankle support, they have plenty, and I pack heavy (40-50 pounds).
I waited to write this review until I had worn the boots about 150 miles, and so far, so good!
Did I mention that they are pretty? Even non hikers have complimented me on how "expensive" they look.
Price Paid: $100
I bought 1/2 size larger than my regular shoe size, put in Dr. Scholl gel inserts, went straightaway to Big Bend for 6 days of hiking, 4 with 40-50 pound pack.
Only breakin issue was it took a couple of days to keep the laces tight at the lowest eyelets, once they stayed snug, it was great.
They were fine on the rocky trails, good traction even on gravel, nice wide footprint. My hikers wouldn't have been good boots. Sure glad I got them out of layaway at Cabelas before I went. Price at the Bargain Cave was $100.
Maybe some other boots are better for strictly mountain boots, but in my mind these will work for good all around mountain/hiking/hunting boots without breaking the bank.
Use: Dayhikes, backpacking, snowshoeing
Break-in Period: Two weeks
Weight: 3 1/3 pounds per pair; 1 2/3 pound per boot
Price Paid: 50$
I have spent several hundred dollars trying to find boots that were comfortable and appropriate for my hard-to-fit-foot. They had to be stiff, voluminous enough to accommodate my heavy-duty orthotics, but comfortable enough to not cause blisters.
While looking into hand-built boots I started reading about Danner boots.The boots had several qualities I wanted in boots. They had features including Norwegian welt stitching, stiffened shank, full grain leather, gore-tex liner, classic waffle-stomper sole.
Since I live within comfortable driving distance to Portland, Oregon, I figured I could give the factory seconds from the Danner Factory Store a go. If I liked the boot, I saved a bunch from full retail price. If I didn't like them, I knew I would not be out too much in the resale.
I can tell you now that after wearing the boots for a while, ranging from day hiking in downpours, to backpacking through thick volcanic sand, to snowshoeing in heavy slog, I would pay full retail price for these boots.
I have had few blisters from these boots; I have been very happy with the support these boots provide; I have been pleased with the performance.
Bottom line, I would buy these boots again. These are likely the last pair of boots I will ever need.
Price Paid: $150
Light, comfortable, waterproof, supportive and with a real Vibram sole, what's not to like?
I fall between a 8 1/2 and 9 in shoes/boots. I ordered a size 9 first and they were too big. Exchanged them for 8 1/2 and they are perfect. So I say they are true to size with a middle weight sock.
Hiking with 30# is easy and there is plenty of boot for the job. I hike on a lot of rock and don't feel them through the Vibram sole.
This is my second pair of Danners. The first pair lasted decades. I'm thinking these will too. And it's really nice to know that Danner has a recrafting service available.
Materials: full grain leather w/ gore-tex
Break-in Period: ~2 weeks
Weight: 59 oz/pair
Price Paid: $200
I love my Danners. I've had the same pair since the mid 90s--they're on the third (maybe fourth) set of soles, with boot structure and Gore-tex still holding up well. Even the laces are original.
I've used them for rugged multi-day backpacking, carrying as much as 50 lb (tho' I never carry that much these days); off-trail peak-bagging; day-hiking; snowshoeing; and occasional around-town or light construction (although I try to save them for hiking).
I broke the boots in carefully (which includes "training" the tongue to lie the right way), and have never had a single blister. For hiking (all seasons) I wear high-quality merino wool socks without liners, and my feet have stayed warm hiking across snowfields in the Cascades, cool while hiking a section of the AT in July, and dry on muddy trails, in the rain, and on late season, slushy snow.
A couple times a year, I treat the boots with Obernauf's leather preservative, a beeswax formula approved for Gore-tex that my local Danner dealer recommends. I warm the boots, then scrub the preservative into the stitching and leather with an old toothbrush.
I've had just one problem with the boots--after one of the resoles, a separation developed in the midsole around the shank, causing an annoying popping sensation with every step. The repair shop I use (a Danner dealer) was able to strip the sole back down and fix the problem, which has never returned. As this problem was easily fixed, and didn't happen during the life of the factory soles, I don't consider it a strike against Danner.
As with any full-grain, traditionally-built boot, Mountain Lights will not fit everyone. My Danners are size 10 "D", and my feet must be a near match to the lasts Danner uses to build these--they fit me perfectly, using the Airthotic inserts that came with the boots. However, I know people who cannot wear Danners, usually because their heels slip. A person really has to try boots on to find the brand/model that is perfect for them.
Mountain Lights are also heavy compared to suede and mesh boots or trail runners. I've been transitioning to a lightweight/ultralight backpacking style, and just bought a pair of trail shoes that may replace my Danners. I don't like the idea that trail shoes are basically disposable, and thus more expensive over the long haul (my Danners, including resoling, have cost me less than $30/year) but with a multi-day base weight of 10-15 lbs, boots that weigh almost 2 lbs each don't make much sense. If the trail shoes work out, I'll be sorry to leave my Danners behind.
Materials: leather and gore-tex
Use: all year at work in State Parks in all terrains
Break-in Period: 2 weeks
Weight: not too bad.
Price Paid: 237
So far so good. After reading all the reviews and doing a fair bit of research (and not wanting to spend $1500 on a hand made pair) I bought a pair.
The only complaint I have is the laces. I could not get them to lace up tight enough with the supplied green laces and when pulled tight so many times they actually started to cut into my fingers a bit. So off they came and were replaced with a slightly thicker pair.
I have been lacing them with a second twist on an overhand knot just above the rings and then another extra twist just above the top hooks. This extra twist I find holds the tension better than just a straight overhand knot and allows me to get the boot laced up nice and snug. The only other minor thing is the dark brown finish starts peeling off with the first little scuffs, so if you like exactly how they looked in the box, don't kick the dirt.
And I did call Danner and they are not making any more until they get a new shipment of leather. So if you can find them somewhere, get them now, or wait until they start production again. I got one of the last 2 pairs of my size from Campmor.
Use: daily wear, day hikes, backpacking, rugged trials
Break-in Period: 2 weeks
Price Paid: $225
I've owned this pair of boots for greater than 12 years. They are by far the most comfortable footwear I have ever owned. I just had them resoled.
It did take a little time to break the boots in though. However, since broken in they have been incredible. Extremely rugged and durable.
Break-in Period: rough trails and outdoor work
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
I like these boots very much because they feel good and fit my feet better than other boots do. I just received my third pair. I will always have a pair of these boots in my closet. They are very high quality boots. Very tough. They are just right for me, but I could see how you would want more ankle support or a stiffer sole. The longer you have them the better they fit and the more supportive they are because you can strap them on tighter.
When you first get them it is a trick to figure out the tongue, but you get used to it and the padding actually does you some good. You need to pull the top of the tongue towards the inside of the boot to keep it from making a ridge in the leather that will irritate the top of your foot. It folds together fairly well that way. Once you figure that out and wear them around a little they feel good.
Try to get the gussets lined up right the first few times so you can start "setting" the shape of the folds from the start. The gussets could be a little higher too because water gets in if you step in ankle deep water. It's not a big problem because the materials they make them of are pretty good and the boots dry well. They get a little hot on the achilles the first few times out. I think that this would not happen if they were a little higher or lower, but I like them just as high as they are and wouldn't want them to change. It doesn't last long.
Aside from that I just love 'em. I have walked places in my Danners where I wouldn't wear anything else, to some extent because they are so comfortable. Its good to have comfy boots when the walk home is so long. And, of course, they look good. Very traditional styling.
Materials: 2.2mm leather, Gore-Tex liner
Use: rocky trails, weekend backpacks
Break-in Period: short
Weight: 3.6 lbs.
Price Paid: $180
It's been seven months since I bought these boots, and I'm now confident I can put in my final word on them.
I've done a weekend backpack in these things, worn them with snowshoes, hiked some rocky, steep trails and even bushwhacked a bit in them.
Unfortunately, these boots are now mushy-soft. The cambrelle lining has bunched up inside, making lots of uncomfortable folds. The leather has gone completely soft and is all stretched out. There's not much ankle support left. The only thing keeping these boots waterproofed at all is the Gore-Tex liner, because the leather gets soaked in wet conditions, even after treatment with Nikwax.
On the bright side, the Vibram Kletterlift sole is acceptably stiff, but not stiff enough to be worth the relatively heavy weight of these boots (3 lbs. 10 oz. for size 9.5EE). For that kind of weight, the boots should be stiffer and more supportive. The sole is very grippy and has worn well. Vibram soles are great.
My biggest problem with these boots is the fit. These Danner boots are narrow and have a small toe-box. I did try the next size up (10EE), but the crease at the ball of the foot was right over my toes, rubbing them. Size 9.5EE fits better, but is too narrow in the big-toe area, even though the boot seems long enough.
I really wanted to like these boots, because of their classic, 'old school' looks and the stitchdown construction. But I'm sorry to say that they just haven't worked out. Oh well... They do make good (if expensive) workboots, and I can use them for walks and short hikes. They're well-made enough that they'll last for years of that kind of use.
If you're looking at these boots and you want my advice, I'd say look for something else unless you're completely captivated by their looks (they do look very 'retro-classic') and you mostly take day-hikes on maintained trails. I would not recommend these boots for heavy backpacking or serious off-trail stuff.
Materials: leather, Vibram outsole
Use: rugged day hikes, weekend backpacks
Break-in Period: 1 week
Weight: 3.6 lbs. for the pair
Price Paid: $175
I read a scathingly bad review of these boots on another site, which made me hesitate to buy them. But I'm glad I went ahead and got them anyway.
I have wide feet with pronounced bony areas at my fifth metatarsal joints (outsides of the balls of my feet), so most boots just don't fit me right, even some EE-width boots. The Mountain Light II's have been comfy right from the start, and with heavy wool socks and the Airthotic insoles, I've been able to get a great fit. (Note: These boots should be used with liner socks and heavy wool outer socks to provide cushioning and volume. Fans of a single-layer sock should probably look at more modern boot designs, unless you have very high-volume feet.) Break-in was quick and pretty much painless. I've even spent several long days in snowshoes with them, and haven't had so much as a hot spot...
I can see how some might complain that these boots don't provide enough ankle support, and it's true that good modern designs are more supportive, but the Mountain Light II's lateral support is excellent and the relatively stiff Vibram sole is great. While I quickly make mincemeat out of modern light hikers (most of which are really just "sneaker boots"), I expect these Mountain Light II's to hold up for a good long time.
The leather looks great, and the old-school stitchdown construction should make re-soling cheap and easy. I like the classic 'retro' styling (the Mtn Light II's are essentially unchanged from the original 1957 design), although I'm sure many would prefer the more high-tech looks of the modern designs.
The only reason I didn't give these boots a '5' is because of the lack of ankle support. But if you are looking for a better-made, more durable lightweight hiking boot than today's typical "trail sneakers" -- and you (like me) prefer old-school style -- I don't think you'll do any better than the Danner Mountain Light II. They're workin' out great for me.
Materials: Leather, Gore-Tex
Use: Backpacking, Day Hiking
Break-in Period: A few months to get them to not leave hotspots
Weight: about 4 Lbs
Price Paid: $219
I've had these boots for about a year and I have hiked a few hundred miles in them and I feel I can finally put in a review. First the good stuff. They have very heavy duty hardwear. They look very cool and elicit compliments all the time. They will last a long time. Quality construction is there. For me this is where it ends.
The problems really lie in the design of the boot. It took me a long time to break them in. And they still don't fit well. They have a narrow toe box and in the heel the area where the leather meets the lining gets bunched up and causes irritation. The tongue design is not very good. The leather bunches up on the top of the boot and presses down on the toes. Also because the tongue fold is so low they are not waterproof to the top of the boot. Water can leak in about 2/3rds of the way up the boot. Forget about wearing them in the snow without gaiters.
Also the sole seems a bit soft but offers little padding. The soles are already staring to wear a bit thin so they will have to be resoled soon. Finally they don't offer great ankle support because they are low (5 inches) when carrying even a medium sized pack over uneven terrain or scree.
I have other boots I like more and I don't hate these, they are still great for work and for short hikes but not good for any heavy stuff. My other boots (LL Bean Cresta Hikers are Much better in my opinion for heavier duty). I also thought that I might have weird shaped feet but I have never had a problem with any other footwear I have ever bought so ...
Materials: Full Grain Leather with Gore tex liner
Break-in Period: couple weeks around the house and work
Price Paid: $189 + tax
Just a dam good boot.
Bought my 1st pair in the early 90s. I’ve had them resoled 4 times and am in the process of a 5th resole. But finally needed to retire my Mountain Lite 2s for around the house. I used a thin coat of Danner’s “Clear Boot Dressing” several times a year and believe the helped the longevity of the boot’s upper.
When shopping for a new pair of boots I looked at a variety of brands in the $200 range. But went with another pair of Danner Mt Light 2s.
The boot is a basic full grain leather with only seams on back, a gore-tex lining and vibram sole. The shoes broke in quickly like a pair of favorite slippers with plenty of support. The initial break in was minimal.
The boots do run a bit narrow. Danner agrees, so I went with an EE width. The boots were already very comfortable, but even more so when I started using after market insoles by Super Feet.
During the Fall through Spring, I use them as my primary backpacking boot for typical hikes of 1-4 days with 20-30 lbs. During these hikes I typically don’t think about my feet much! The boots are very comfortable and keep my feet dry and warm. In addition when I am in between hikes, the boots are comfortable enough to wear to work and around town.
Use: Everything from town to hiking trail
Break-in Period: Solid Leather....Of Course! But not very long!
Weight: light enough to log some miles!
Price Paid: $179 + tax
I will have to say that this is the best boot I have ever owned. It have been on multiple hiking trips from Colorado to Arkansas and the get better every time.
My first trip was in a pair of Vasque Sundowners, and needless to say I GAVE them away after a trip to the mountains (and yes they were already broken in). I am talking massive blisters. A friend on the same hiking trip had a pair of Danner Mtn. Lights and could not say enough about how they performed.
After I got home, I went and purchased a pair and the rest is history. Oh, a pair of SuperFeet insoles work perfect for me. I have a small foot with a fairly wide toe box (sz.7D)and I could not ask for a better fit. I have NEVER even come close to having a blister in these boots, and I have beat them up continuously.
I know every foot is different, but if you like an old school type boot and can sacrifice a little weight for the perfect fit and dry feet, no questions asked, buy them...you won't be disappointed!
Materials: full gain leather and gortex lined
Use: rough trail and backpacking
Break-in Period: 2 weeks and a day hike
Price Paid: $210
I agree with the other reviewer. The Danner Mountain Lights are like a cadillac for the feet. They form to your feet and are oh so comfortable.. The Vibram Ketterling sole holds up well and the Goretex booty makes them all but impervious to water. I only have two words of advice and they are minor and my just be due to my feet.
Make sure to break them in as they are thick leather and take some time in the heal cup to get used to. After blistering once i switched to liner socks and now have no problems.. Also the Airthotic insole that comes with the boot is a bit plastic for my taste. All i did was switch it with a pair of superfeet inserts and Jumanji!!!-- magic happy feet.
While they may seem a bit heavy the weight pays off at the end of the day when your feet are not all bruised on the soles. Besides that they are so darn pretty.. What a beautiful boot. I sometimes hate getting them dirty, but that's what boot polish is for.
Use: Extreme World Travels
I have owned two (2) pairs of Danner Mountain Light II hiking boots in the past 15 years. They have taken me through the most extreme climatic conditions on four (4) continents. I am impressed by how well they have served me in my travels through burning deserts, soggy and muddy rain forests, snowy and icy mountain treks (including several up to 18,000 feet in the Nepali Himalayas), etc. I have been thinking about buying another pair because I was beginning to worry that, with the continuing trend in "ultra light weight" hiking boots, Danner might discontinue making them. My Internet search for them, in fact, is how I ran across this site.
In any case, these boots are the very best I have ever owned. My extreme confidence in their performance has obviated any potential fears in facing difficult situations (i.e., extreme challenges in the field).
Materials: fullgrain leather gore-tex
Use: every day use / serious backpacking
Break-in Period: wear them to work for a few weeks
Weight: What the boots?
Price Paid: Get this! $75
Because I live in Portland, I get my boots from the person who made them. This is not a crappy boot made in Indonesia; it is the real deal. I have two pairs, and got the first pair for only $35! I have been wearing them for 6 years and finally had them resoled for another $35. I bought this new pair for wearing around town. They are the most beautiful boots I have ever seen. They are so comfortable, that my feet cry then I take them off. I can wear them with a 65lb pack hiking 18 miles and not have a single problem. Good socks are a must or the boots are useless! The boots are no doubt worth $200+. Go get yourself a pair, or come to Portland and see the factory!
Materials: leather outer, gore-tex lining
Use: backpacking in the sierras, backpacking the rockies, and work in chemicals
Break-in Period: 3 months due to wrong socks
Price Paid: $210
When I first bought these boots I had no idea what I was buying, I simply thought they looked tough. After years of hiking and working in the worst conditions I am glad I ended up with these as I am sure no other boot would have lasted this long.
They did take a significant time to break in, but once I found the right socks, they rocked. I have abused these boots and not maintained them (resoling and oiling) and am extremely sad to see these go. They have torn at the stitching and yet have still kept my feet dry for a year. I think I may cry when I must retire these friends.
Use: All trails, rough and otherwise...no crampons though. Heavy pack okay.
Break-in Period: Maybe one hour.
Weight: 3.5 lbs. per pair
Price Paid: $179
First thing I did was buy Superfeet insoles for these boots. These are the most comfortable, dry, not too hot, plenty tough, great quality, on and on and on...boots I've yet had. And I've had Salomons, Vasques, La Sportivas, Montrails and others. Granted, these Danners aren't ice/snow mountain boots, but they don't claim to be. But for on and off trail work with any resonable pack weight, they're awesome. No plastic in these babies! Leather, leather, and more leather. I can't say enough. Check them out at www.danner.com
Materials: Full Grain Leather
Use: Hiking and Backpacking
Break-in Period: Not Much
Price Paid: $175
These boots are the best boots I have purchased. If you have considered buying a pair or these boots, stop considering and go out and buy a pair. You will not regret it. They are some of the most comfortable boots right out of the box that I have ever worn. I wore them around the house for a couple weeks and have since gone on hikes to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Trail in the upper peninsula of Michigan. They performed excellently in all situations. I'm extremely pleased with them.
Materials: leather with gore-tex liner
Use: LIGHT trail hikes, around camp
Break-in Period: none
Weight: way too heavy for their use
Price Paid: $210
These boots are what they are. Nothing more than an overpriced LIGHT hiking boot. The design is average at best. The way the tongue folds causes the leather to bunch uncomfortably on top of the foot. The leather is extremely soft out of the box and after just a little wear has almost no structure left to it. If you have anything other than a flat foot you'll need a pair of good insoles because these boots offer little to no arch support.
Finally, the vibram outsole is very thin and soft. it's like trying to hike in tennis shoes. Even with a good insole you'll feel every rock you step on.
If you plan on doing anything other than light trail walks without a pack, buy something else. I'm not sure how different the newest model of these boots has changed from the time of the older reviews. I bought these boots based on my reading of this site's reviews and a few others. Buyer beware.