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Danner Recurve

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Danner Recurve backpacking boot
Version reviewed: Recurve 400g Insulated

An out-of-the-box comfortable 7” hiking/hunting boot made of a full-grain leather and suede upper. I tested the insulated version (non-insulated also available), which is waterproof and suitable for winter hiking, hunting, and most definitely playing with kids in the snow.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Great for long days of hiking in cold weather
  • Perfect for pulling kids in a sled through the snow!

Cons

  • Lacing can be a little tricky
  • No women's version

Conditions:
I’ve worn the 400g insulated Danner Recurves in the mountains and valleys of Central Pennsylvania during the fall and winter season while hiking, hunting, and playing in the snow with my kids. All told, I’ve worn the boots regularly for 3 months, logging several all-day scouting/hunting trips (15+ miles per day), numerous day hikes, and even some early-season sledding adventures with the kiddos. 

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Fresh out of the box. 

Fit and Options:
I wear a men’s US 13 (EUR 48) and have slightly narrow feet. In most cases, my feet are pretty forgiving, and I don’t typically struggle to find shoes/boots that fit well. And for what it’s worth, anytime I’ve worn Danners, they have fit true to size and work very well for my feet. The manufacturer does note that these can run a little larger than normal, so if in between sizes, choose the smaller of the two. I normally wear a men’s 13 and tested a men’s 13 in these boots, which fit perfectly for me. 

The Recurves only come in men’s sizing, both in the insulated (1 color option) and non-insulated versions (2 color options). Somewhat confusingly, the manufacturer calls both versions the same thing. Danner does offer a few, albeit limited, options for women’s hunting boots, but the Recurves are not one of them.

 

Weight
Total combined weight for both boots in men's size US 13/EUR 48 = 52 oz (1.5kg). I'd consider this relatively lightweight for a 7-inch leather hunting boot that is waterproof. For the non-insulated pair, the weight is noted to be 45 oz (1.3kg) per pair. 

 

Comfort:
I’ve worn a variety of Danner footwear over the years, so it’s no surprise to me that these boots are out-of-the-box comfortable on my feet…I think all Danners I’ve ever worn have been this way. If you’re used to really stiff boots or needing time to break them in, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with these. With this flexible comfort comes slightly less support, but I've had no issues with sore feet/ankles, and I've stood on them for 10+ hours at a time. 

Another aspect of comfort is whether or not a boot keeps debris like ice and small rocks, out of the boot. I’ve walked through creeks, over rocky terrain, down long gravel roads, through shin-high snow, and across icy trails, and nothing has penetrated the boots thus far. They do a good job of keeping out all debris. 

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Kicking my feet up for a few minutes after hiking to the top of the ridge to sit in a ground blind. 

Water Resistance:
The Danner Recurve boots feature Danner Dry technology, which is a 100% waterproof barrier that allows moisture to escape the foot area without letting water in. After walking through dew-laden fields in the early morning, crossing several small creeks (above the toe depth), and playing for hours in the snow with my kiddos, I can confidently say that the waterproof lining in these boots works. Not once has water penetrated the boot. 

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Go ahead, get the Recurves wet. Your feet will be just fine. 
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Traction: 
The Vibram outsole, known as the Vibram Recurve (not sure if that means it is especially for this boot or what), is capable of most hunting and hiking needs. It’s not meant for super-technical terrain or swampy jungles, but for the vast majority of users, the traction will meet their needs. For me, that means sure footing while crossing shallow cold-water creeks in the late autumn, walking up/down rocky sides on the sides of Appalachian mountains, moving through the forest floor of soaking leaves on uneven terrain, and braving the groomed but icy trails in the winter. These are just a few of the more challenging situations I found myself in while testing the Danner Recurves and I don’t recall a single instance where I lost my footing. The outsoles never caked terribly with mud either. 

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After 3 months of regular use, here's what the soles look like. 

 

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It's hard to tell in the photo, but this road is a sheet of ice. 

Temp Control:
The Danner Recurve boots come in two styles—the 400g Thinsulate Ultra Insulated version (which I tested) and the uninsulated version (which actually comes in two color options, brown and camo). 

I can only speak for the insulated version, but it does a fine job of keeping my feet at a comfortably warm temperature…not too hot, not freezing cold. Hunting season in particular can be a challenge at finding boots that can handle long days of strenuous hiking as well as long days of sitting as still as possible. Sometimes that means having two different boots for those different occasions, but sometimes one boot can handle both pretty well, which I attempted to see if the Recurves could handle.. 

So far, the highest temp I’ve worn the insulated Recurves in was around 55F/13C (while mostly sitting still and hunting) and the lowest was -10F/-23C, although I wasn’t out long in those really cold temps. The lowest all-day hunt I did while wearing these boots was, on average, 20F (-7C), and I hiked nearly 15 miles that day.

I’ve never needed to wear anything more than one pair of socks with these boots—a lightweight or middleweight merino wool sock in warmer temps and almost always the Darn Tough Full Cushion heavyweight sock in cold temps. The boots breathed enough to wear in the 50s (F), but I wasn’t logging major miles in those temps. I think the insulated version is ideal for cold days when lots of hiking is in the forecast. 

If I had to choose either wearing these for the days I hike a lot when hunting or the days I sit a lot, I’d choose the more active days, as they are flexible and warm but not sweaty, which makes them a great hiking/hunting option. While I will continue to wear these on many “sit still” days, I may opt for something a little bit warmer if the temps drop into the 20s (F) or lower (anything below -1C). 

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Doing a little late season scouting, looking for antler sheds and observing animal tracks while wearing the Danner Recurves. Deer, turkey, and raccoon tracks were all observed. 

 

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The Recurves in the wild on a warm autumn day.

 

Construction and Features:
The 7-inch Recurves look like a traditional hunting boot, not unlike those I saw on the feet of many “old-timers” when I grew up hunting. But the features that these boots possess meet modern day expectations. For example, it does have a full-grain leather and suede upper (great for abrasion), but it also has a 100% waterproof liner that doesn’t trap in sweat. The boots breathe well and are waterproof. The Vibram midsole and Ortholite footbed make for a lot of impact cushioning, so taking on rocky terrain or jumping over fallen trees aren’t at all a problem for the boots. The footbed is easily removable for those who want to add custom insert or orthotics. 

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The lacing is the only area where I’ve thought to myself, “this could be improved.” When tying them, the provided laces almost seem a little too thick for the open eyelets. They’ve failed to catch properly and slipped off multiple times when tying my boots. This isn’t a huge deal, but worth noting nonetheless. And once tied, I’ve never had a problem with the laces coming untied, even during a long day of hiking. 

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A (secondhand) word on the non-insulated version:
Remember, I tested the insulated version of the Recurve boots, but in the process of testing these boots I met someone wearing the uninsulated version and got their feedback. They were actually on their second pair, as they wear them every day for work, as well as autumn archery season.

The uninsulated version does look a bit slimmer in the upper, which I guess would be expected since it doesn’t have a waterproof lining. He raved about how comfortable his boots were (so did I) and how he can spend all day, 7-days a week, in the boots and not feel any aches or pains. That is secondhand info, so you can take it or leave it, but I thought it was good to have a little insight into the uninsulated version as well. 



Overall Recommendation: 
I recommend the Danner Recurves for folks (hunters and hikers alike) who want the warmth of a winter boot and the comfort of a midweight hiker, coupled with functional waterproofing. Theoretically, the uninsulated version would offer the same benefits as well, but without the added warmth.   

Background

I’m not a stranger to Danner footwear, but I’m not a seasoned veteran to the brand either. These are the third pair of Danners I’ve owned in the last 5 or so years. I know their footwear fits my feet well and are remarkably comfortable. As for winter boots that I can hike and hunt in, I’ve been trying different boot heights and insulation types for 20+ years. These rank up there among the best all-around boots for these purposes.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for testing and review provided by Danner)

About the Author

Tyler (KiwiKlimber) is a hiker, hunter, and mountain biker who roams the ridges and valleys of Central Pennsylvania (USA). Occasionally, he helps facilitate team-building initiatives and high ropes challenge courses. His hiking and hunting friends know him as the guy who always packs extra food, no matter what.

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Specs

uninsulated insulated
Price MSRP: $250.00
Historic Range: $229.95
Weight 45 oz per pair 48 oz per pair
Insulation none 400G Thinsulate Ultra
Height 7 in
Footbed OrthoLite
Shank Nylon
Last Type DPDX
Lining Waterproof
Liner Danner Dry
Outsole Vibram Recurve
Product Details from Danner »

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