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Danner Trail 2650

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Danner Trail 2650 trail shoe

The Danner Trail 2650s are a great all-purpose trail shoe that handles a variety of trails and terrain with ease, are comfortable enough to wear all day, and get plenty of positive comments for their good looks. With tons of options available in both men’s and women’s sizes, as well as different leather options, there is a color and configuration for just about everyone.


  • Supremely comfortable
  • Nice mix of materials make them durable and light
  • Breathable
  • Tons of options (colors, mens/womens, heights, waterproofing)


  • Some caking in the lugs
  • Sweaty tongue (that’s fun to say!)
  • Odd-looking external heel system (looks are odd, but function is good)


For the past two months in the warm and wet spring and early summer, I’ve worn the Danner Trail 2650’s (named for the 2,650-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail) for a variety of activities, including hiking (day trips and overnight trips), casual bike riding, evening walks around the neighborhood, and scouting for hunting locations...roughly 75-100 miles so far, with the most at one time being 11 miles. The shoes have crossed streams, descended soggy trails, battled grassy fields, ran quickly away from upset rattlesnakes, and scrambled the rock-laden ridge-top trails that epitomize hiking in Pennsylvania.




  • Size: Men’s US 13, this is my typical shoe size and these fit very true to size. 

  • Weight: 26.7 oz (757 grams) for a men’s size US 13 (or 48 European size) 

  • Model: Prairie Sand (Low)—full grain leather and textile upper, non-insulated, 3" height, non-waterproof. Several color, fabric, height and waterproof options exist in both men’s and women’s sizing. GTX versions available in both low and mid versions, non-GTX versions available only in low version. 




I have slightly narrow, long feet, which are very forgiving in most shoes and boots. The Trail 2650’s fit well, are true to size, and have a little extra width in the front of the shoe, which I personally like. I’d much rather have a little extra room than be a little tight. The 8mm drop that comes with Danner’s DT6 last seems to work well for my feet. I have not needed to change the lacing system or the Ortholite footbed for any reasons. I've previously owned one other pair of Danner footwear, and these fit similarly. 




I may have been pushing my luck a little bit when I took these out for an 8-mile hike on pretty rocky terrain almost immediately upon receiving them. Usually, I would do shorter hikes first to ensure a shoe doesn’t have any pressure points or hot spots. Instead, I took these out and hoped for the best.

Luckily, over the 8 miles of rocky terrain, steep inclines/declines, and rock-hopping across small streams, the shoes were comfortable the whole comfortable in fact, that I forgot they were brand new shoes. They felt more like a pair of old faithful shoes molded perfectly to my feet after years of use than they did a brand new pair right out of the box. I guess that’s the long way of saying that no break-in period was needed.

After wearing them regularly on the trail, off the trail while scouting some hunting areas, and around town for two months, they remain very comfortable and well cushioned. 




The Danner Trail 2650’s come in two different height options - 3" (Low) and 4" (Mid). The ones I tested are the lower 3" version, which have adequate ankle support, but I assume the 4" height would have increased stability and support. The insoles are easily removable, but that is not something I’ve needed to do.

Additionally, the Trailguard TPU shank and an EXO heel system work in tandem to take on even the gnarliest terrain. The EXO heel system is that thick black chunk of rubber on the rear exterior of the shoe. Normally, this is located inside the heel, to prevent heel slippage. Moving it to the exterior of the shoe, certainly won't win any beauty contests, but it does stabilize the foot well. 




Temp Control: 

I would’ve assumed, just by looking at the Trail 2650’s, that they wouldn’t be highly breathable, due to the partial leather upper and padded ankle and tongue. However, I was mostly wrong, with the exception of the tongue (more on that in a minute). The leather upper is perforated (see those little holes in the photo below) and actually breathes noticeably well.

The one area of the shoe that I’ve found to overheat is the tongue, which has a propensity to soak in sweat like a sponge and hold it there. If I’m wearing them for an all-day hike in the warm weather, this soaked sponge feeling in the tongue typically occurs by mid-afternoon and then stays soaked into the evening. 






The traction is pretty good on the Vibram 460 megagrip outsoles. I’m not entirely sure what “self-adapting lugs” are and how they work, but the traction is strong on wet surfaces and on rocky trails. The only drawback to the outsoles is that they are prone to cake and collect mud and rocks, without shedding debris free, which leads to decreased confidence in the traction. The caking seems to occur most commonly in the heel area, particularly when the combination of mud and small stones/pebbles are present.







Having worn them for roughly 75-100 miles thus far, the only signs of wear are scuff marks on the full-grain leather, which was to be expected. So far, I've treated the leather one time, like I would any other pair of full grain leather footwear, to ensure suppleness to the leather. I'll update this review as I put more miles on the shoes.


Best For: 

The Danner Trail 2650’s are somewhat of a jack (or jill)-of-all-trades type shoe. They can be worn around town or they can be worn at the campsite. They can go on a multi-day hike or they can be a go-to travel shoe for vacation. I haven’t found an activity that the Trail 2650’s can’t handle yet (although I haven't tested them beyond their reasonable capacity). So I’d say they are best for someone who wants a versatile shoe, instead of having highly specialized shoes for each pursuit.  


UPDATE (March 16, 2021): 
After several more months of wearing these, including regular use through a rather substantial winter, these shoes have become go-to favorites of mine. The comfort and breathability truly shine in all seasons. As is the case with any leather upper, it shows signs of wear, particularly after a rough winter, if not treated properly. 


When I think of Danner, the first images that come to mind are of their rugged work boots made for the farm or factory. However, my perception is changing with these lightweight, extremely comfortable hiking shoes. It seems Danner is upping their game and introducing more and more footwear made for additional outdoor interests. The Danner Trail 2650’s are the second pair of Danner footwear I’ve owned and one of countless low-hikers that I’ve worn over the last 15 or so years spanning numerous brands.

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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leather full-grain leather
Price MSRP: $150.00
Current Retail: $118.96-$169.95
Historic Range: $91.97-$219.95
Weight 24 oz per pair
Height 3 in
Footbed EVA OrthoLite
Shank TPU
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8mm
Last Type DT6
Liner Mesh
Outsole Vibram 460
leather full-grain leather
Price MSRP: $150.00
Current Retail: $127.39-$169.99
Historic Range: $44.22-$189.95
Weight 18 oz per pair
Height 3 in
Footbed EVA OrthoLite
Shank TPU
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8mm
Last Type DT6
Liner Mesh
Outsole Vibram 460
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