User Review: Danner Mountain Light II
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.